BREAST KEPT SECRET: Lingerie maker Agent Provocateur had a few tricks up its sleeve for the inauguration of its corner at Printemps on Wednesday. But instead of pulling a rabbit out of its hat, it pulled Beyoncé Knowles. In town vacationing, the American beauty and her beau, Jay-Z, took in a saucy burlesque-cum-magic show, where one model’s errant modesty tassel caused the most startling eyeful since Janet Jackson‘s Super Bowl moment. Beyoncé, showing just a peek of her own Provocateur bra under a décolleté jacket, said she hopes to attend a few more shows in Paris. Elsewhere in the room were Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren, parents of Provocateur co-founder Joseph Corre. “We like to keep things a bit noir, a bit dangerous and edgy — with a sense of humor,” said Corre, who said the name for the brand came to him in a dream. Later in the evening, Beyoncé and Jay-Z were spotted at the hot nightspot Neo.
LIVE WIRE: John Galliano has been a busy boy this week. Besides a Christian Dior show Tuesday and one for his signature collection coming Saturday, he was also instrumental in designing the house’s new e-commerce site, diorboutique.com, which went live on Thursday. The site, initially for French customers, will be rolled out in the coming months to Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., selling a range of bags, shoes, small leather goods, scarves and watches, according to a Dior spokesman. The site guarantees all merchandise shown is in stock, and pricing is on par with that of boutiques. Dior products are already sold online in the U.S. via eLuxury.com and the online stores of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
BOY ZONE: There was a bit of a baby boom in the front row of the Celine show on Thursday. Rebecca Carcelle, wife of Louis Vuitton chief executive Yves Carcelle, made her first public appearance since giving birth last Saturday to Nicolas. “We’re good at boys,” she quipped. The new addition brings to four the total number of boys in the Carcelle household. Meanwhile, French stage actress Barbara Schultz said she could only go to one fashion show because her seven-month-old daughter, Minne, has a cold. She’s currently preparing for a leading role in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion.”
THE BIG TEESE: “I’m here in Paris with my fiancé, and that makes all the difference,” said Dita Von Teese as she inspected bags at a Mulberry cocktail party Wednesday at the Pershing Hall hotel. “I’m having a wonderful time.” The man in question, of course, is Marilyn Manson, who the Los Angeles burlesque performer said she would accompany to a trio of Paris shows this weekend. “He’s very excited,” she continued. “Manson’s never been to a fashion show.” John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton are his selections, Von Teese said. Meanwhile, Mulberry creative director Stuart Vevers sipped champagne with editors and friends, including designer Giles Deacon, as he showed his new range for the hot London accessories house. “We’ve made the bags lighter this season,” Vevers said, “but still very Mulberry and for the girl in the know.”
GRAPHIC INFLUENCE: The fashion flock knows him best for having designed the elegant, enduring logo for Yves Saint Laurent. But Cassandre, the influential French graphic artist, was a multifaceted talent. A rich selection of his seminal early work as a poster artist is on exhibit at the Bibliotheque National in Paris through Dec. 4. “He was hugely controversial,” said curator Anne-Marie Sauvage. “He broke the codes and established a whole visual language.” Sauvage points to Cassandre’s advertising posters for the “Normandie” transatlantic cruises. “He romanticized the machine,” she said. “That was incredibly new at the time.” In doing so, Cassandre, whose real name was Adolphe Mouron, tapped into the zeitgeist sweeping through the arts, especially in Dada artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Andre Breton. “He was considered as an artist in a period in which advertising was a kind of art,” said Sauvage. Cassandre’s fame grew in proportion to his influence; in 1936, MoMA in New York established an exhibit of his work. Harper’s Bazaar’s Alexey Brodovitch was so impressed he hired Cassandre to do the magazine’s covers, a collaboration that lasted until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. “The war started a dark period for Cassandre,” said Sauvage. He always had considered himself an artist and Cassandre gravitated to theater design and painting, never achieving his prewar success — though in this period he designed the timeless YSL logo. After several unsuccessful suicide attempts, Cassandre killed himself on June 17, 1968.
FILM FOOTAGE: Adding a little royal flare to footwear, Princess Olga of Greece has teamed up with Christian Louboutin to shoot a short fashion film. “It’s all shot from the knee down,” she said at the Loewe show on Thursday. The film will premiere today in the Christian Louboutin boutique in Paris. Her new film career has certainly kept the princess out of the party scene. “I’m a working girl now,” she said. “I don’t have time for parties.” But she admitted she would head to the Louis Vuitton party at the Petit Palais this Sunday. Meanwhile, a slew of stunning Spanish actresses came to support their fellow countrymen. Najwa Nimri was taking a break before starting on her new thriller, “Trastorno.” “I’m always a bad girl,” she professed. “I’m excited to play a good person now.” Nimri said that her new record, dubbed “Walkabout,” would launch this January. Also down the row, Spanish actress Maria Jurado took time off from filming a new comedy in France.
WITHOUT BIAS: As reported, designer Sophia Kokosalaki has been secretly working on the relaunch of a Madeleine Vionnet collection. Lo and behold, Arnaud de Lummen, development director of Vionnet, was sitting at her show Thursday, albeit back in the third row. “No announcements,” he said when approached by a reporter. Meanwhile, up-and-coming men’s wear designer Kris Van Assche, who shares the same public relations firm as Kokosalaki, took in her show, as well as Undercover, Viktor & Rolf and Veronique Branquinho, this week. “It’s good for energy,” he said. And for ideas for a foray into women’s wear? “I’d love to because I did it in school,” said Van Assche, who worked with Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme before launching his own collection.
DARK MATTER: The future’s so bright at Chloé, they gotta wear shades. To wit: The fast-growing French house just inked a licensing deal with L’Amy Group to produce and distribute ophthalmic frames and sunglasses. None will be seen on the runway this weekend at Phoebe Philo‘s show, however. The first collection will be presented at the Mido eyewear fair in Milan next year.
ART MART: Several fashion types managed to break away from the shows to check out the FIAC, the annual contemporary art fair held in the Grand Palais. Among them were LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault and his wife, Helene, who strolled the halls hand-in-hand during a two-hour window reserved for collectors on Wednesday. Also stalking the halls was Azzedine Alaïa with his friend, Carla Sozzani.
COLD FRONT: Kal Ruttenstein has been a notable absence in Paris front rows since Tuesday. The Bloomingdale’s fashion director, saddled with a bad cold since Milan, returned to New York on doctor’s orders. “I’m fine, but I have a cold,” he said over the phone Thursday. “The truth is, I would very much like to be there.” No worries. He’s calling his team regularly for live updates from the runway.
A LONG LIST: Louis Vuitton may be the first fashion house to legitimately give journalists a multipage list of celebrities for its show on Sunday night, which will be followed by a party to celebrate the world’s largest Vuitton store bowing on the Champs-Elysées next week. Expected to join the celebrations are Salma Hayek, Catherine Deneuve, Diane Kruger, Eva Green, Jade Jagger, Samantha Morton, Jeanne Moreau, Winona Ryder, Pharrell Williams, Takashi Murakami, Chow Yun Fat and, of course, the current face in the ad campaigns, Uma Thurman.
MUSICAL INSTINCT: Sharon Stone, who is staying in Paris through Sunday to attend the Louis Vuitton fashion show, has been moonlighting as a songwriter for a good cause. The actress will hold a press conference shortly to announce the release of “Come Together Now,” a song and DVD to benefit Habitat for Humanity in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Stone’s lyrics — in the spirit of the “We are the World” effort of yore — are sung by Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Ruben Studdard and others.
A NEW CASA?: Giorgio Armani, who just announced double-digit profit growth in the first half, is expanding in Paris. Sources said the Italian designer has zeroed in on a location on tony Avenue Montaigne for his second Giorgio Armani boutique — in a location currently occupied by the linen firm Porthault. It is believed the new store will bow sometime in 2006. An Armani spokesman had no comment. The Italian designer also has a boutique for his top line on the Place Vendôme.
DOUBLE VISION: Polish twins Agata and Renata Kaczoruk are back on the modeling track, having hit the runways this season following a year off to finish their studies. The leggy 19-year-old beauties, both from IMD, have been strutting their stuff (together) at such ready-to-wear shows as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and Celine in Paris, following appearances in Milan last month.
SIZE MATTERS: Artist Jeff Koons may be known for thinking big, but he skillfully scales small as well. “Stella and I designed necklaces and charm bracelets for the show,” he said at Stella McCartney‘s show on Thursday. “She’s a wonderful woman and a wonderful designer. It was a privilege working with her.” Koons, who has been busy working on a public sculpture for the World Trade Center site, is being kept busy as the Pinault luxury goods empire expands. “I am very involved in working with François Pinault.” He will have center stage at the inaugural exhibit at the François Pinault Foundation at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.