LICENSE TO CRITICIZE: Gianluigi Facchini, president of Italian group Fin.part and the owner of Nino Cerruti, reacted bitterly to criticism by the founding designer of Fin.part’s handling of the business. As reported, Nino Cerruti said Fin.part, which bought his house last year, is “driving it into the ground.” Reached on Monday, Facchini questioned why he was being slammed “by the same person who thought it best to sell the company because of the difficulties encountered in developing feasible projects.”
He added: “Our goal, ever since the first day after the purchase, was to make the Cerruti label really international and global without giving up on our strategies.”
DRESS RACE: She’s rumored to have a Dior in her possession — and undoubtedly scores of others’ dresses. But since Nicole Kidman wore Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche to the Golden Globes and YSL couture to the recent BAFTA awards in London, the bets are on in Paris that Chanel might win out on Oscar night. Fuelling the theory: Kidman’s stylist, L’Wren Scott, was spotted dining with Chanel’s Eric Wright at Dave.
CARGO BOYS: Nicolas Ghesquiere is officially an equal-opportunity designer. His debut men’s line for Balenciaga, on sale in Paris this week in a temporary showroom on the Left Bank, includes a blue, masculinized version of Ghesquiere’s green cargo pants for spring that have women panting — and the style is selling out even before it hits the store. Other noteworthy items include a leather bomber jacket with knit cuffs, a short peacoat, a two-button jacket in Prince of Wales check or black, shirts with military pockets on the front and a chunky sweater with a zippered collar similar to styles in the Balenciaga women’s line.
VERSACE HEAT: There’s nothing like a hot collection to heat up the rumor mill. Versace, which showed a strong fall collection in Milan, is now facing speculation that it might be looking for a new partner — or even go public. One Italian report had Versace on the verge of selling 25 percent of the company to help finance a new retail and licensing strategy, making much of its relations with the investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston. But sources said no transaction is imminent and a Versace spokesman said Credit Suisse has been advising the company for two years. “Versace is continually reviewing strategy and evaluating the changing landscape of the luxury goods marketplace,” he said.
SOCKS AND GUINNESS: After those quirky handbags and pretty shoes, Lulu Guinness is putting the final touches on her newest venture: legwear.
Last Wednesday, the whimsical London designer signed a licensing agreement with legwear firm American Essentials Inc. for socks and pantyhose. Slated to launch for holiday, first prototypes for the line are true to Guinness’ fun-loving nature, featuring her signature mirror motif, a cameo adorned with little faux pearls as earrings — and the tag line, “Put on your pearls, girls” — and puppy dogs with studded collars, priced between $20 and $30. But that’s not all the whimsy: Expect to find tea-tray-like display fixtures and signature purple-and-white packages and hangtags when it hits upscale department and specialty stores at the end of October.