COUNTRY WEDDING: While Renee Zellweger‘s spontaneous nuptials to country singer Kenny Chesney on Monday may have surprised everyone, her choice of designer did not. Indeed, the petite actress asked her favorite designer, Carolina Herrera, to create a simple, strapless off-white gown with slits above the knee. “We made it quickly because it was decided in a very quick way,” said Herrera of the bamboo twill confection. “She had her last fitting on Thursday. I really didn’t know what it was for. I knew it was for a special occasion and deep in me, I knew that it was going to be something like a wedding, but I didn’t want to ask too much because Renee is very private and she doesn’t say too much and I respect that because I’m the same way. So I knew, but I didn’t.”
But Herrera said Zellweger has been dating Chesney for longer than reported. “They love each other and they have been going out for a long time,” the designer said. “It’s not only two weeks as they say. It’s like six months, at least.”
CAROL’S DAUGHTER TO GET NEW FATHERS?: Market reports are circulating that Brooklyn-based beauty firm Carol’s Daughter will announce its financial partnership with a veritable galaxy of heavy hitters — who are said to include Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay-Z, Jimmy Iovine and Steve Stoute — next Tuesday. The aim: to expand the brand’s reach, both nationally and with a Harlem flagship that founder Lisa Price previously has said will open in August at 24 West 125th Street. Spokespeople for the brand and for the celebrities involved declined to comment. Founded by Price in 1993, Carol’s Daughter’s product range includes fragrance and hair, body and home items. It is currently in more than 20 doors nationally, including its own freestanding shop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It also has a sizable catalogue business.
IN LIVING COLOR: Calvin Klein Inc. is continuing its efforts to revive the Calvin Klein color cosmetics line — albeit with a different partner than Unilever Cosmetics International, which had produced the original cosmetics. Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein Inc., said in a keynote address at DNR’s CEO Summit late last week that the color cosmetics brand will be relaunched in fall 2006 with a new partner. (DNR, like WWD, is published by Fairchild Publications Inc.) Unilever had launched the line in 2000 in a narrow lineup of doors — about 120 globally — and phased it out in 2003. A formal announcement of the new partner is expected within the next few weeks, said a Calvin Klein Inc. source.
MARC’S FALL HITS: Marc Jacobs’ fall collection was much talked about because of its dark and brooding theme inspired by Violet Incredible, but don’t think that the controversy is turning clients away. Last Thursday and Friday, Barneys New York allowed customers to pre-buy pieces from the collection, raking in about $300,000. Top sellers were a diamond jacquard button-down blouse with ruffle bell sleeves at $995; an astrakhan and fur-trimmed bolero, $9,900; a striped cropped pant, $725; a metallic dot tweed ruched round-collared jacket, $2,800; a tweed mandarin-collared jacket, $2,100, and a flared coat with a detachable tulle collar, $2500. Barneys even sold one of the collections’ pièces de resistance — a $38,000 gray chevron mink coat.
BENDEL’S GALAXY: Henri Bendel was abuzz last week with celebrities actually paying retail prices for a variety of splurges. In the Fifth Avenue flagship on Friday, Meryl Streep picked up two one-of-a-kind pieces of Lulu Frost jewelry, Natasha Richardson bought a pair of Juicy jeans, Ashlee Simpson sought out Song Mile High Jeans by Chip & Pepper and Angela Bassett indulged in a slew of MAC products. Earlier in the week, Paris Hilton rang up 15 bags, six Diane von Furstenberg dresses and four belts; Amanda Bynes went away with a linen Juicy slipdress that she wore on “The View” the following day, and Zooey Deschanel invested in a few Rick Owens pieces. Marcia Cross also was spotted in the store, but the “Desperate Housewives” star left empty-handed.
DOWN THE HOMESTRETCH: Oleg Cassini was playing family favorites when he bet on Giacomo — despite 50-to-1 odds — to win Sunday’s Kentucky Derby. He said he had to go with jockey Mike Smith‘s horse, since Da Giacomo is the name of the Upper East Side restaurant co-owned by his niece’s daughter, Dara Ferrari. Staffers at the popular uptown eatery were less lucky — none of them bet on the race. But even Cassini was disappointed with his $10 bet. “What I did stupidly was I placed too little of a bet.”