PLAT DU JOUR
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE: Pierre Cardin has been busy on the political front. He was one of several dozen guests who dined with Fidel Castro Tuesday night at Hotel de Marigny, a townhouse the French government provides for visiting dignitaries. Cardin has been to Cuba twice in the past year. Thanks to his friendship with the Maximum Leader, the designer has cinched a deal to market Cuban cigars under the Maxim’s label. The restaurant will export three million Cuban cigars this year — the first stogies, in fact, have already hit shelves in Europe.
“Fidel is a remarkable man. We talked about everything from my investments in Russia and China to Gandhi and the Pope,” said Cardin, who has also been taught by Castro to roll cigars. “When I first went to Cuba in June last year, everybody had a good laugh. Now what will they say?” Cardin has already selected a site for a new Maxim’s restaurant in old Havana.
SHOW STOPPERS: Though many regarded it as a joke at first, the threat by French journalists to walk out of any show that started more than 30 minutes late has been having some effect. Maybe too much. Dries Van Noten, Wednesday’s first major collection, started just 20 minutes late, and as a result many fashion editors were forced to stand and take notes. Dior kicked off 25 minutes after its scheduled time, with everyone seated. “Some editors were fed up with waiting for shows to start, so we responded to their demands. But truthfully it’s we who often have to wait for them to arrive,” said Dior managing director Francois Baufume.
IT’S A SNAP: The latest front-row lady to take her own photographs at collections is German Vogue editor Angelica Blechschmidt, who snapped away merrily at the Dior show. Carolyne Roehm raised a few eyebrows during the couture season by doing the same thing. Commented one incredulous observer, “Can’t Angelica rely on her photographers?”