Among the bounty being auctioned at Wednesday night’s Viva Glam Casino benefit for DIFFA is a $25,000 fancy-shaped diamond ring that was created by the event hostess, Maggie Rizer, in collaboration with jeweler Susan Rosen on adiamondisforever.com. Fitting into this year’s theme of diamonds, Rizer said she was inspired by the classic tale of “The Little Prince,” creating a three-pointed band that resembles a crown, which she calls “The Little Princess.”
“It is like wearing a crown, but on your finger,” she said. “It has a very powerful design, something a modern royal would definitely wear.”
As for the rest of the prizes at the event, Bloomingdale’s is featuring some of the goods in three of its windows this week.
DONNA’S BIG-SCREEN DEBUT: Well after the lights came up at the Clearview Chelsea cinema and the audience had downed a Corona or martini or three Thursday night, the real reviews came out on Donna Karan’s debut film project, “New York Stories.”
The 18-minute film, featuring the DKNY fall collection and directed by Steven Sebring, shows a day in the lives of three women —?an actress, writer and musician —as portrayed by Angela Lindvall, Sophie Dahl and Michele Hicks.
“Yeah, 18 minutes and all it really proved was that models still can’t act,” cracked one guest.
Karan seemed to take any criticism with stride, however, as the after-party at Serena’s in the Chelsea Hotel quickly filled up with the stars of the film, including cameo actresses Sylvia Miles and Lauren Ezersky. Oscar winner Anna Paquin, a DKNY fan, and Federico Castelluccio, who portrays Furio Giunta on “The Sopranos,” also attended the party and the screening, where Castelluccio sat directly in front of the designer.
“I don’t think he got it,” Karan said, pausing to explain. “I don’t see clothes. I see characters. I kept looking at this on a little screen to make sure the colors were right. So now that I see it on the big screen, oh my God!”
As the tag line of the movie said, “It’s a little film about a big city,” and given the designer’s constant inspiration from the streets of New York, with plenty more stories to tell, there’s bound to be a sequel. “I was dying to get Woody Allen,” she said. “Maybe next time.”
WORKING CLASS: Azzedine Alaïa said Friday he’s not staging any runway show during couture week in Paris July 7 to 10, even if he may invite buyers to see some new pieces. No matter. His headquarters on Rue de Moussy is a full-on construction zone. Besides the three-suite hotel he’s building with Milan retailer Carla Sozzani, with a design gallery and bookstore on the main floor, the designer disclosed that he plans to open an Alaïa boutique across the street. Not that he’s only into his own designs — he’s also plotting a major exhibition next year to highlight the revolutionary designs of Rudi Gernreich.
COSTUME PARTY: North Hollywood’s Western Costume Co. scored a coup recently when it acquired the 16,000-piece collection, dating from the early 1800s through the Seventies, of Helen Larson, whose own costume house shuttered after four decades of business — and nearly six of collecting — in 2001 when she died. It’s been a revered source among Hollywood costume designers for decades, most recently tapped for “Chicago,” “Moulin Rouge” and the upcoming “The Aviator” and “Seabiscuit.”
Western, one of the chief costume resources with more than 5 million pieces in its archives, officially opens the collection Thursday at the newly built 5,000-square-foot Helen Larson “closet,” air- and UV-controlled, at an exclusive party for the costume design community. Exclusive because in recent years, Western has apparently had to come down on fashion designers borrowing for purposes that had nothing to do with entertainment production and everything to do with runway “inspiration.” Its policy now is to require proof of production.
BOOKISH TYPE: Susan Fales-Hill took a two-day jaunt to L.A. over the weekend to promote her book “Always Wear Joy” with a private breakfast at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills for 40 benefactors of the Los Angeles Public Library. “Sometimes I have an audience of two, but I’m feeling very embraced by Los Angeles,” she said via cell phone on her way to LAX. “Being a first-time author is humbling. You go from sitting in an ivory tower to being a Fuller Brush salesman pounding the pavement.” Fales-Hill was in a rush to get back to her four-month-old daughter, who’s never far from her mind. “Every book I sell is another contribution to my child’s college and couture fund,” she said.