WOMEN’S VOICES: In a star-studded performance Monday night, Meryl Streep, Alanis Morissette, Gloria Steinem, Sarah Jones and comedian Kate Clinton, among others, took over the Gramercy Park Theater in New York to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Equality Now, an international human rights organization that defends women’s rights all over the world. Dressed in a long, lime green coat (which she bought in London), Streep mesmerized the audience as she read a poem written by Eve Ensler about Afghan women called “Under the Burqua.” Having performed a diverse assortment of women’s roles throughout her career, Streep said she’s come to realize that women worldwide share many of the same joys and concerns. Morissette performed two songs” “Hands Clean” and “Sister Blister,” while playwright and actress Jones, who hosted the event, recounted tales of women who have endured debilitating and often fatal human abuses, such as rape, domestic violence and genital mutilation. The event was sponsored by Marie Claire and was followed by a cocktail party at Commune, where Streep held court and chatted with guests, while Steinem and her husband, David Bale, partied a few hours and closed the joint.
AT HOME WITH ARMANI: Giorgio Armani doesn’t sit still, but when he does, it’s on furniture of his own design, no doubt. A day after detailing his 2001 financial results (down 9.1 percent) and expanded investment plans, he presented his Armani Casa collection at his headquarters in Milan. The collection features lighter, honey-colored wood and vibrant touches ranging from fuchsia to purple and green. He’s also looking for international distribution for the Casa line, and is in talks to produce a vase collection. Can Armani flower seeds be far off?
HIP, HIP, FERRE: With a gala dinner for 300 on Thursday, IT Holding will officially celebrate its acquisition of Gianfranco Ferre’s fashion house. After cocktails, the designer will stage a theme-driven runway show of about 60 looks that have highlighted his 24-year design career, including some intricate numbers from his days designing couture for Dior. For the occasion, the designer has called in a handful of top models from the good old days: Naomi Campbell, Ester Canadas, Nadege, Marpessa and Helena Christensen will all grace the runway in his elaborately structured pieces for day and night.
PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES: German artist Sabina Streeter is a real drama queen, and she’s now starring at Barneys. Her oversized cinematic-inspired drawings of glamorous people in suggestive positions are front and center in the store’s Madison Avenue windows through April 23. The store’s creative director Simon Doonan first stumbled upon Streeter’s work in a Sag Harbor art gallery. Sotheby Germany’s president Heinrich Graf von Spreti is another fan of her work and owns a few pieces.
Doonan says, “I’ve known Sabina for a long time. She’s vintage Eurotrash like me. Her work is Euro pulp [fiction] with a little film noir thrown in. There are moody characters with Lichtenstein bubbles speaking some incomprehensible European language.”
Streeter does her drawings “fast, like a fashion illustrator,” and her storylines are reminiscent of a fashion spread for the untrained eye. “They’re not like a cartoon with a beginning and an end. They are taken out of context and there is no narrative,” Streeter explains.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR: Steven Spielberg and friends will be meeting up on the Upper West Side tonight to celebrate the Web site launch of Shoah, his foundation that has chronicled the testimony of 50,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses. The director has booked Compass, a new 10,000-square-foot Upper West Side eatery, for the private party. Rogers Marvel Architects, the TriBeCa firm behind Kate Spade’s stores and the Studio Museum of Harlem, designed the fire-engine red space that opened to the public Monday.
IF THE SHOE FITS: Nordstrom paid a house call to Chicago’s W Hotel Saturday, turning a suite into a makeshift shoe salon at the request of a guest wanting to surprise his wife for their 10th wedding anniversary. As part of its “Whatever, Whenever” service, the hotel cleared out the room’s furniture and rolled in $35,000 worth of size 7 spring shoes. Price tags were removed from each of the 175 pairs of shoes, so as not to inhibit the shoe hound in her selections. The lucky wife took home 15 pairs, worth about $4,000. Ironically, Saturday also marked the husband’s birthday. He got to pay for it all.
CLUBBING IT AT 21: French filmmaking brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, the force behind the 9/11 documentary, kicked back a bit Tuesday afternoon over lunch at the “21” Club with producer David Friend of CBS, the network that aired their work last month. The Naudets, whose work about a rookie fireman that wound up being a chilling account of the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center, were seated at table 21 — what staffers call “The Sweet Smell of Success.”
Meanwhile, Chris O’Donnell celebrated a friend’s birthday at “21” Monday night. He takes to the stage May 1 in Arthur Miller’s “The Man Who Had All the Luck” at the American Airlines Theatre.
During a recent cameo at the restaurant, Art Linkletter bent the dress code a bit, turning up in a baby pink jacket.