MORE FROM VENICE: Wim Wenders has become the latest film director to jump on the 3-D wagon. Wenders screened a short film at the Architecture Biennale and said he had no choice but to do it in 3-D. The film, sponsored by Rolex, is called “If Buildings Could Talk…” The star of the show is the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, designed by Japan’s SANAA Studio and unveiled earlier this year. The 10-minute film follows a day in the life of the center and even features a voice-over that’s supposed to come from the building itself. “I could never have done this film in flat, two dimensions — it would never have done the building justice,” said Wenders on the sidelines of a lunch at the Gritti Palace hotel. “The building has its own hills and valleys — sometimes you even feel like you’re on a mountaintop.” Kazuyo Sejima, a founder of SANAA and this year’s director of the Biennale, commissioned the project from Wenders. Next up for Wenders is a 3-D feature film focused on the late Pina Bausch and featuring her company of dancers. Called “Dance or We’re Lost,” it’s set for release early next year.
This story first appeared in the August 30, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
BY THE BOOK: Frank Gehry revealed his sensitive side — and some sharp edges — during a talk in Venice on Friday at the opening of the 12th International Architecture Biennale. The architect, who is working on a museum in Paris for the Fondation Louis Vuitton, talked about the first time he saw the building site, in the Bois de Boulogne. “I thought to myself that — absolutely — Marcel Proust had been here, and that brought tears to my eyes. So I knew I wanted the building to have an ephemeral quality; I wanted it to exist with the trees and in relation to the children’s park nearby. I wanted there to be a progression of art and landscape into the building,” he said during a Q&A on another of his ongoing projects in France, LUMA/Parc des Ateliers in Arles.
The Vuitton building, which is currently under construction, “has a lot of glass, which is counter-productive for a museum — so there will be an inside shell,” Gehry said. He added that Bernard Arnault, who is the president of the foundation, was a “very hands-on client” — but nonetheless an easy one to work with. The museum will open at the end of 2012 and house 20th-century art. Gehry wasn’t as effusive, however, about the state of America. “The messiness of the modern city represents the messiness of our politics today. I recently took refuge from the political idiocy in the United States by rereading ‘Don Quixote’ — and it made me feel better.”
BEAUTY REDUX: Could Véronique Gautier be heading back to the world of beauty? According to industry sources, the former Jean Paul Gaultier president — who left the fashion house last month — is taking up a position in L’Oréal’s Luxury Products Division. It’s said Gautier, who was previously Hermès Parfums’ chief executive officer, will soon begin work at Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics.
PRADA STRIKES BACK: The legal wrangling continues between Prada Japan and Rina Bovrisse, a former retail manager accusing the company’s managers of sexual harassment and discrimination. Bovrisse confirmed that both Prada Luxembourg and Prada Japan have filed a countersuit against her alleging she has made false statements. The case’s first hearing was held Tuesday in Tokyo, but neither Bovrisse nor her lawyers attended the session. A Prada spokeswoman declined to comment, but Bovrisse said the Italian house is asking for 33 million yen, or about $390,126, in damages. “I’m not really worried about it,” Bovrisse said, adding she is meeting with United Nations human rights officials in the coming weeks to discuss her case. “I didn’t say anything untrue.”
Bovrisse is suing Prada for about 58 million yen, or $686,236. She alleges that Prada Japan chief executive officer Davide Sesia asked her to “eliminate” about 30 retail staff members because he considered them overweight or unattractive. Another hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 3.
GAB FEST: The New Yorker Festival will take Manhattan for an 11th year in October, and though the goings-on are sure to offer plenty for the tweed-jacket set as usual, at least one panel should appeal to the fashion flock. New Yorker staff writer Judith Thurman will moderate a discussion titled “Fashion’s New Guard” due to feature a crop of relative design upstarts. Maria Cornejo, Naeem Khan, Phillip Lim and Rag & Bone masterminds David Neville and Marcus Wainwright will all join the conversation set for 1 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the School of Visual Arts Theater.
QUENTIN’S TURN: Quentin Tarantino, president of the Venice Film Festival jury, will be the guest of honor at the annual Uomo Vogue party on Tuesday. The event will be held at the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli on the Grand Canal, and Silvia Venturini Fendi, Alberta Ferretti, Naomi Campbell, Stephen Dorff, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others, are expected to join the magazine’s editor in chief Franca Sozzani, who dedicates an issue to the festival each year.
MELLON TO BE HONORED: Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon has been chosen by the Elton John AIDS Foundation as one of five recipients of its “Enduring Vision” award. The organization cited Mellon’s support in both the U.S. and U.K., and her creation of special fund-raising projects to benefit women and children in Africa. The award, which honors those who raise awareness for and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, will be given at the organization’s ninth annual An Enduring Vision benefit at Cipriani Wall Street in October.
EMANUEL RETURNS TO LONDON FASHION WEEK: London-based designer Elizabeth Emanuel, who’s famed for designing, with her then-husband David Emanuel, Princess Diana’s wedding dress, will make a runway comeback during London Fashion Week in September.
Emanuel, who designs under the label Art of Being, will show a collection themed around the black dress at London’s Il Bottaccio venue Sept. 21. One of Emanuel’s best-known designs is the daring, low-cut black dress she and David Emanuel designed for Princess Diana’s first official appearance following her 1981 engagement to Prince Charles. In June, the dress sold for $276,426 at a London auction.
“I’ve chosen the little black dress as a theme because it is such an iconic fashion item,” said Emanuel. “The collection is going to be classic but edgy, with an emphasis on bias cut and interesting silhouettes.”
Emanuel lost the right to design under her own name to an investor, Continental Shelf 128 Ltd., in the Nineties. She launched her Art of Being by the designer Elizabeth Emanuel label in 2005. In 2008, she launched a line of wedding gowns for the British high-street store BHS.
BOND TAKES STAKE IN CYCLE COMPANY: Andy Bond, the former chief executive officer of Wal-Mart-owned Asda, has made his first foray back into retail after stepping down from his role at Asda earlier this year. Bond has taken a stake in the British online sports and cycling retailer, Wiggle, along with a non-executive director role on the company’s board. Bond — whom the company said is a keen cyclist himself — will continue in his part-time role as a chairman at Asda.
Wiggle, which sells items such as cycling wear, mountain bikes and helmets, is backed by the British private equity firm Isis, which took a 12 million pound, or $18.6 million stake, in the business in 2006. Last year, Wiggle recorded sales of 55 million pounds, or $85.3 million at current exchange.