BLUE CLUES: There were two keen students of Italy at Roberto Cavalli on Friday: Eva Amurri and Victoria Beckham. “I’m actually studying in Bologna for one semester,” said Amurri, the daughter of Susan Sarandon, a budding actress and an Italian studies major at Brown. But she hopes to be back on the screen soon and hinted a film project is in the works for summer 2006. Just down the row, Beckham said she’s about to make the leap from front-row to catwalk with her collection done in partnership with Rock & Republic. She’s planning a fashion show in Los Angeles later this month to show what is so far mostly a jeans line. But her fashion ambitions stretch much further. “At some point, I would love to do sunglasses, and more tailored clothing,” she said. “I’m working my way up and I’m really enjoying it.”
BIRTHDAY BOY: “This is a party — no budget,” Domenico Dolce declared before he and his partner, Stefano Gabbana, hosted a lavish bash last Thursday to celebrate 20 years of Dolce & Gabbana. He wasn’t joking. Held in a cavernous warehouse on the fringe of Milan, Dolce and Gabbana created the world according to them, if just for one night. They started with the entrance, covering the adjacent building in mirrors and dusting diamond glitter on the road. Guests included Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — celebrating his birthday, no less — Kelis and David Lauren, who walked a red carpet to a sprawling space done up as a sleek Art Deco lounge. Inside, some 2,000 guests lounged on gold leather circular divans and sipped on hundreds of magnums of Dom Perignon, Grey Goose vodka and a special anniversary cocktail. Everything about the night was big, from the gilded baroque mirrors in the entrance to the huge D and G letters lit with hundreds of lightbulbs that framed the back of a gold stage. Tucked in a corner and surrounded by a gaggle of bodyguards, Berlusconi chatted with Italian Vogue’s Carla Sozzani before being whisked off by one of the designers. “I’m with Berlusconi,” Gabbana said excitedly. Next up, disco diva Donna Summer performed seven songs, leaving guests screaming for more. Dressed in a white beaded gown and wrapped in a white feather boa, Summer performed her greatest hits, including “Love to Love You Baby,” before bringing Dolce and Gabbana on stage to extend birthday wishes and thanks before partying in earnest.
GOLD RUSH: They’ve been photographed together in Milan, and their names are similar, but all likeness ends there. Jim Gold, of course, is president and chief executive officer of Bergdorf Goodman, partial to sober suits and quiet ties. Jim Goldstein, on the other hand, wears studded snakeskin head-to-toe, a Crocodile Dundee hat and he doesn’t work in fashion at all.
But given his ubiquity at runway shows — yes, that was him in the second row behind the Bergdorf crew at Roberto Cavalli last Friday — Goldstein is often mistaken for a retailer. Rather, he is a big, big shopper.
He’s coy about his profession — “I make investments,” he demurred — and his business card reads “fashion, architecture, basketball,” because he is a devoted fan of all three. He is front-row royalty for the NBA, when he’s not chez Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana or John Galliano.
Although his leather jeans, ponyskin coats and printed shirts look custom-made for him, they’re all off the rack, or the runway. “I’m fortunate enough to be the same size as the models,” Goldstein said backstage at Cavalli, where he was among the first to rush and congratulate the designer. “I can buy the samples and prototypes of things that are never produced.”
Goldstein said he shops mostly in Milan and Paris, and occasionally back in Los Angeles at Maxfield.
As for his architectural interest, he said he often lends his famous Sixties house by architect John Lautner, which juts out from a cliff in Beverly Hills, for — what else? — fashion shoots.
THIS JUST INN: Dubai is getting more fashionable by the day. Not only will Giorgio Armani open a hotel there with EMAAR Hotels & Resorts, but a group of investors from Dubai has asked Roberto Cavalli to draw up a hotel project, too, according to Milan sources. This will not be Cavalli’s first foray into interior design. As reported, the designer also is creating a concept for the interiors of the new Playboy club at the Palms Casino Resort, scheduled to open in Las Vegas early next year.
MOONSTRUCK: It’s smooth sailing for Prada. In its first challenge in Italy in preparation for the America’s Cup, Patrizio Bertelli‘s Luna Rossa won two races on the waters off Trapani, Sicily. Despite slack winds, Prada’s yacht last week outperformed the other competitors. Lapo Elkann, in charge of Fiat’s brand promotion, was on board. Perhaps a good luck charm? The America’s Cup will be held in Valencia, Spain, in 2007 with Switzerland defending.
SHOE GAZING: Guy Laroche has its eye on the financially troubled Charles Jourdan shoe and accessories business. Jean-Francois Ferrandiz, Laroche’s chief executive, said he has started to look at the Jourdan dossier and could make an offer within the month. “There would be synergies,” he said. To be sure, deals seem to be multiplying in Europe. On Friday, Le Coq Sportif changed hands. Swiss investment fund Airesis said it had purchased 70 percent of the activewear brand, which has an estimated 150 million euros, or $180 million, in sales.
HOLD THE PRESSES: The Italian media blankets its pages and newscasts with coverage of Milan Fashion Week, down to the smallest designers. So journalists’ decision to strike over salary issues last Friday, coinciding with the tail end of the Milan week, suggests meager coverage for shows including Gianfranco Ferré, Roberto Cavalli, Etro and Miu Miu. Still, many Italian journalists were spotted at shows. Some took notes and intended to write a summary for today’s papers while hardliners attended merely for personal interest, to pay respect to designers — or to prepare for future assignments. “As a professional, it’s important for us to be at the shows, because we will work on what we see this week for the next six months,” said Laura Asnaghi, a fashion reporter at the daily La Repubblica. Better late than never.
TICK TOCK: Everyone knows Karl Lagerfeld just can’t sit still. The latest evidence? A style supplement dedicated to the designer to be published by Paris daily newspaper Liberation on Saturday. Not only is Lagerfeld on the cover — photographing himself — but he lensed several stories inside, as well, including a portfolio of his pictures of New York.
Meanwhile, Lagerfeld answers questions about his childhood in Germany, while several articles examine the mystery of what keeps Karl ticking.