HILFIGER’S RAGS TO RICHES?: Tommy Hilfiger is at it again. After selling his company for $1.6 billion May 10, the designer-producer invested $20 million through his entertainment company, Tommy Hilfiger Entertainment (THE), into a feature-length film about — what else? — the fashion industry. “Rags” is a tale about a young African-American woman aspiring to be a fashion designer.

“The authenticity of [the story] is very valuable,” Hilfiger said Friday night at the Race to Erase MS benefit in Century City, Calif. No word yet on who will play the lead, but Hilfiger confirmed producers are “in talks with several stars.” Perhaps Beyoncé Knowles, the face of his True Star fragrance, could be a candidate.

ON TO CHICAGO: Fur designer Dennis Basso is about to get some competition in the Chicago retail scene. Gilles Mendel plans to open a J. Mendel boutique on Michigan Avenue near Louis Vuitton. Basso opened a store on Magnificent Mile last year. Mendel said he is also eyeing locations for freestanding stores on the West Coast. He recently opened a concept shop in Moscow, a city where the demand for fur coats has driven up skin prices in recent months.

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.