ADORING DIOR: It looks like Olivier Bialobos, worldwide head of public relations for Yves Saint Laurent, a Gucci Group company, is being poached by rival luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Sources in Paris said Bialobos is heading to Christian Dior. It is understood he will succeed Elizabeth Musmanno in a role she set up: global director of communications. Reached late Wednesday, Musmanno confirmed she will soon leave Dior and return to the U.S., saying she completed her one-year mission to establish a communications structure and strategy for the brand. She declined to say what her next move might be. Bialobos could not be reached for comment.
ARMANI TURNS UP THE HEAT: The Latin theme at a dinner for the one-year anniversary of Voto Latino on Tuesday night extended even to the air temperature. “Our air conditioner froze,” a security guard at the Emporio Armani boutique on Madison Avenue said, explaining the sultry vibe in the upstairs denim showroom, which was converted to an elegant dining room for the occasion.
There to nibble king crab and striped bass prepared by chefs from Cru were Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Rosie Perez, MTV vice chairman Herb Scannell and rising singers Amerie and Goapele, while downstairs, Armani continued the party with salsa music from charanga band Johnny Almendra.
Dawson, who cofounded Voto Latino with Phil Colon three months before the last presidential election, said their goal was to create a unified political voice among the Latin American youth. “We didn’t know how much of an impact we would be able to have so close to the election, but we got 100,000 people registered to vote with our street teams,” she said. “We try to make it about issues that affect kids: immigration, Social Security for their parents, health insurance, the cost of college tuition.”
Alba, whose father is Mexican, said she was impressed with her “Sin City” co-star’s efforts because, she said, the Hispanic community isn’t exactly an easy group to corral. “In the Latino community, there are so many different factions. There’s the mainland, Mexico, the islands,” said Alba. “You can’t get s–t done when everyone’s separate.”
Asked to recall her first time in the voting booth, Dawson said, “I was that person. It was my first time voting in the last election.” She added that after voting, “You actually want to pick up the papers and watch CNN. It’s like okay, there’s actually a trail here. I can help.”
Of her first vote, Alba said, “I had to vote in Canada. I was 18. I had to use my parents’ address. I travel a lot, so I have only voted by absentee ballot.” When a partygoer complimented her on performing her civic duty in spite of logistical obstacles, Alba said, “Yeah, but I’ve never done jury duty.”
MODEL CITIZEN: Naomi Campbell‘s typical tardiness was overlooked Wednesday since the press conference at the Bryant Park Hotel she held up was for a good cause. The supermodel announced that Fashion for Relief, the last-minute runway show she pulled together to cap off 7th on Sixth’s September edition, had raised $1 million for Hurricane Katrina victims. In the Ralph Lauren-designed Fashion for Relief T-shirt, Campbell noted the shirts are still available at Polo.com.
Campbell, who did her first modeling job in New Orleans, said $500,000 of the $1 million raised had already been given to AmeriCares. Additionally, the MAC AIDS Fund has donated $500,000 to Fashion for Relief to go directly to AIDS-related organizations.
Among the well-wishers was André Leon Talley, who hoped Rosa Parks was smiling down on Campbell for her altruism. Diddy surprised the crowd by turning up to praise her efforts. “If any of you guys know anything about the fashion world, you know how crazy it can be,” he said. “[In September], we were all wondering how we can have a fashion show and go on with business when our brothers and sisters were suffering.
“In fashion, there are so many different egos and so many different labels and brands. But everybody put that aside,” he said. “She did it.”
Some wondered how Campbell could organize a runway show in less than a week. Fern Mallis admitted she initially thought, “‘There’s no way it’s going to happen.’ But we’re here to say we were absolutely wrong.”
“Are we going to do it again? We should do it again.” Campbell egged her on, but Mallis skirted the question for now.