THE BLASS WORD: Bill Blass did not get around to dedicating his memoirs before his death, but he did pen a tribute to Carole Lombard in a second book coming out in October, “Bill Blass: An American Designer,” which Abrams is printing as a catalog for the opening of the Blass exhibit at Indiana University. Blass grew up in Indiana near Lombard’s childhood home, said Helen O’Hagan, who edited the Abrams book with Kathleen Rowold and Michael Vollbracht. “She was his longest muse,” O’Hagan said, noting that Blass made note of the fact that the actress died in a plane crash in 1942, ironically, on her way out of the state. He writes: “Like her life and legend, it is not without significance. Indiana, after all, is the place where the dream began.” The book also includes contributions from Anne Bass and Charles Gandee and features several images of Blass’ homes.
As for the memoirs, HarperCollins set aside a dedication page, but it was not filled before Blass’ death on June 12. Cathy Horyn, fashion critic for the New York Times, who edited the book, said, in its place, she selected a line from “Ridin’ High” in Cole Porter’s “Red, Hot and Blue” that seemed applicable, considering Blass’ dreams of becoming a fashion designer at such an early age. “Life’s great. Life’s grand. Future — all planned.”
WASH AND WEAR: Cynthia Rowley is headed back to the Hamptons for her second celebrity men’s wear show there. But this time, she’s modeling a lot of the clothes on women, including Ileanna Douglas, Scarlett Johannson and Jodi Della Femina, since the area seems to experience an unusually high female-to-male ratio this time of year. The designer will also unveil a new project at the event on Sunday at the PlayStation 2 mansion that’s particularly suited to the environment: men’s and women’s swimsuits printed with the Tide laundry detergent logo, which will close the show on Douglas and actor Anson Mount. Sales of the $48 suits, which will be available beginning July 1 in Rowley’s boutiques and at Tide.com, will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
ARMANI CHOP: When the social set break out the “high karate,” they mean slipping on a tux. But the phrase will take on a whole new air come this October when Jackie Chan sports a Giorgio Armani black and white for Dreamworks’ “The Tuxedo.” Not surprisingly, Armani — who’s calling it the “ultimate tuxedo” — custom-designed this black-tie number for the black-belt superhero who plays a chauffeur-turned-secret-agent. Yeah, but does that wool crepe stretch? Chan takes a turn in other Armani looks throughout the flick, as does costar Jennifer Love Hewitt. Meanwhile, she is joining Dylan McDermott and his wife, Shiva Rose; Matthew Rhys, Ioan Gruffad and other Hollywood pals in the front row today at Armani’s spring 2003 men’s show in Milan.
SPRUCE LOSES: Wallpaper group has lost yet another editor. Following Tyler Brülé’s exit earlier this year as editorial director of Wallpaper — and a string of other defections — Anne Urbauer will be leaving her freelance role as executive editor of Wallpaper’s spinoff title Spruce as soon as the third issue goes to press next month. The company said Spruce was becoming increasingly “aligned” to its parent brand and is using the “skills and experience” of Wallpaper’s fashion and art teams. A Wallpaper spokeswoman, however, was quick to deny speculation that the two titles would merge. “Wallpaper and Spruce are two very distinctive brands, although we are currently integrating the two teams. They will continue to remain separate titles.” She added that IPC, a division of Time Inc., was looking for a replacement for Urbauer.”