HAMMIN’ AND JAMMIN’

Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — Retailers were in rare showbiz form last week. Tuesday at Lord & Taylor, legendary pop artist and jazz musician Larry Rivers took command of the main floor playing his sax to the crowd of hundreds that came to meet him, see his Fashion 2000 Monte Carlo exhibit in the windows and receive free posters commemorating the occasion. His daughter Gwynneth got into the act, singing with his accompaniment.
For Rivers, L&T’s Fifth Avenue windows replicate gallery walls and have his colorful fashion art offset by dark designer dresses. “It was very inventive,” said Rivers, pleased by the presentation. The art-meets-fashion concept did confuse a consumer or two, who asked on what floor the Larry Rivers dresses could be found. But that really didn’t matter. “If we can provide a bit of education and culture, and get people interested through that, then we’re doing something different,” said Lavelle Olexa, L&T’s senior vice president of fashion merchandising. “It’s becomes a great reason to come here.”
On Thursday night, Bloomingdale’s blocked traffic on Lexington Avenue for thousands who came to see Nicole Kidman, star of the new movie musical “Moulin Rouge.” “Skinny, I’d expect, but she’s so tall. It blew me away,” said Bloomingdale’s chairman Michael Gould. Kidman appeared briefly in a black Gaultier gown, plugged her movie and Bloomingdale’s exclusive “Moulin Rouge” T-shirts, the proceeds of which get donated to the UCLA Women’s Reproductive Cancer Program. “It’s a cause that’s close to my heart,” Kidman said. Then, the Moulin Rouge windows were unveiled, and out raced the cancan dancers, high kicking and throwing up their petticoats, just like they do in the infamous Paris night spot. “It’s damn aggressive,” said “Moulin Rouge” movie director Baz Luhrmann, describing the dance form at a reception in the store’s third floor “Moulin Rouge” shop. “The cancan is incredibly hard to do.” His movie depicts it just as it was originally performed. “We did very precise research,” he said. “It was really a street dance. Like break dancing.”