MOLTO MARIO: Narciso Rodriguez is an expert at making friends and keeping them. After designing the uniform for Mario Batali‘s new restaurant, Del Posto, sources close to the designer say he’s mapped out his fashion week plans. He’ll be having the after party at the just-opened Tenth Avenue eatery hosted by friend and sometime muse Rachel Weisz, fresh off her Golden Globe win for best supporting actress on Monday; her fiancé, Darren Aronofsky, and Barneys New York head Howard Socol. Barneys, of course, is the place where Rodriguez’s much-anticipated men’s wear line is making its debut exclusively in early February.
STAR SEARCH: Expect a smattering of big-name celebrities during couture week in Paris, which kicks off Monday morning with the likes of Sophia Loren and Charlotte Rampling at Armani Privé. Victoria Beckham is expected at Valentino during the week. Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior declined to reveal their star charts.
SECOND THOUGHTS: The first row is so last season. For his Chanel couture show Tuesday in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld has done some creative math to compensate for a circular seating plan that will leave a very happy few with a row number-one seat assignment. To wit: he has invented row zero, the latest in fashion bragging rights.
DUAL TONES: Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s award-winning performance in “Capote” clearly made an impact on some. The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Pantene Pro-V are teaming up to host “Icons in Black & White” on Feb. 1, and the suggested dress code is black and white. The event, to be held on the fourth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art, will celebrate seven personal fashion moments chosen by designers Oleg Cassini, Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein, Mary McFadden, Diane von Furstenberg and Vera Wang. Among the snapshots is a photo of Jackie O. in Oleg Cassini; a Francesco Scavullo shot of von Furstenberg; the iconic photo of Brooke Shields in Calvin Klein jeans, and a Herrera ad photo taken by Terry Richardson. Pantene Pro-V stylist Gavin Harwin will cull inspiration from these images and offer interpretations on real-life models at the party. Pantene — the official hair sponsor at Olympus Fashion Week — is also supporting the Alice Roi and Peter Som shows next month, and making a $100,000 contribution to the organization and will hand over the check that night.
SANTUCCI’S COMEBACK: Former Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana executive Giacomo Santucci has resurfaced in Milan as a partner at consultancy Value Partners. He started his new job last week, overseeing the luxury goods, retail and “Italian lifestyle” industries. Santucci, 50, was most recently commercial, licenses and retail director at Dolce & Gabbana, a post he held for just six months before he resigned in September. Between 2001 and 2004, he was president and chief executive officer of the Gucci brand division at Gucci Group. Santucci has also worked at Ferragamo and held various posts at Prada. “Giacomo Santucci will capitalize on both his exceptional abilities and Value Partners’ international presence, especially in high-growth [regions] like the Far East and Eastern Europe,” Value Partners president Giorgio Rossi Cairo said in a statement. Santucci said in an interview that, “After 20 years [in the fashion business] you obtain a broader point of view. To be a consultant, you have to be proactive to stimulate businesspeople.”