THE SKIN-NY: Hedi Slimane, known for his body-grazing Dior Homme suits, is set to launch a men’s skin care line to match. The French designer said he’s been working on the project for more than two years. “I’m really interested in the idea,” Slimane said. “I’ve always considered the relationship between skin and fabrics so it’s a very natural project for me to do.” Details are limited but the collection is expected to launch in July, most likely during the men’s spring 2007 collections in Paris.
SUPPER CLUB: Vogue’s André Leon Talley was the guest of honor at a swanky dinner Monday night given by his longtime Paris friends Beatrice and Eric de Rothchild, who, Talley was delighted to find, have Andy Warhol prints of Marilyn Monroe in their garage. Talley was joined by the likes of Miuccia Prada, Olivier Theyskens, Martin Grant, Lee Radziwill, Christian Louboutin, Betty Catroux and Giambattista Valli.
FASHION REIGN: It’s not every day that you see ladies wearing lace crowns and folkloric gowns sitting in the front row at the couture. But that’s exactly what happened Tuesday at Christian Lacroix, where the so-called Queen of Arles, Nathalie Chay, 20, sat garbed in traditional Provencal dress, flanked by her two ladies-in-waiting. Arles, in southern France, is Lacroix’s native city. And the couturier invited the town’s queen to his Paris show after having made her acquaintance this year at the annual bullfights. And what exactly are the queen’s responsibilities? “I promote our local culture,” said Chay, who was elected to her throne in May for a three-year term. “It’s charity work and I’m Arles’ 19th queen. But I think I’m the first to come to the Paris couture.”
CAMERA ACTION: It looks like Becca Cason Thrash is on her way to social superstardom. In Paris for the usual heptathlon of parties and couture shows, the Houston socialite is also making her television debut in a BBC documentary film on couture, costarring fellow clotheshorse Daphne Guinness. “Two grips, all the sound people, the director and the camera crew were all in my car,” Thrash related. “I was pushed up against the window. I felt like a cockroach!”
BELSTAFF’S BALLET: Outerwear firm Belstaff knows the Hollywood product placement game well. Its jackets have appeared in dozens of films and Tom Cruise will wear a bulletproof version in the soon-to-be-released “Mission Impossible III.” Now the company is focusing on a different facet of the entertainment industry: the dance world. Presenting its fall collection during the men’s shows in Milan last week, Belstaff dressed a dance troupe, including Teatro alla Scala star Roberto Bolle, for a one-act ballet called “The Myth of Phoenix.” Bolle pirouetted and pliéd about the stage in a copper-colored leather bomber with elasticized elbow and shoulder pads, a garment he helped design. Dubbed the “power jacket,” it gives his character, a newly crowned king, the strength to battle evil in a mythological wrangle with a warlord. George Balanchine might have cringed to see his craft being used for such blatantly commercial pursuits, but he probably would have warmed to the idea when he found out that the dancers donated part of their fees to a scholarship fund for ballet students at La Scala.
GETTING PERSONAL: Considering the legendary womanizer Giacomo Casanova was determined to undress his conquests, it is not such a shock to learn that his own attire was not out-of-the-norm. At a party last Thursday in honor of Arthur Japin‘s new book “In Lucia’s Eyes,” a Knopf novel about Casanova’s teenage love, at Jeanne Wikler‘s art-laden town house, the scribe said he didn’t unearth anything surprising about the way Italy’s foremost philanderer dressed but “I did learn a lot about condoms. Apparently, Casanova liked to used a rimmed-out lemon.” Laughing and eyeing a crowd that included Princess Alexandra of Greece, Benita Eisler, Daniel Mendelsohn and Roger Hodges, Japin said he had no idea why. Lucia, on the other hand, was often seen on the street wearing veils, especially later in life when she had turned to prostitution and smallpox facial scars could have hindered business. He also mentioned how women in his native Netherlands — young ones in particular — have taken to wearing veils. Another footnote he could not explain. But then again, his mind has turned to other subjects. Japin’s third book, a tale of a dwarf who has to leave behind his Coney Island roots to tour the grand cities of Europe, is soon to be released in Holland, with 800,000 copies ready to go. And he is already at work on an all-encompassing book about Texas. On top of that, another topic that is closer to his heart has him scribbling away. “I’m working on a book about Federico Fellini. A love triangle that involved me. It’s personal.”
BOUCHERON’S BAUBLES: High jewelry and couture are perfect partners, which explains Boucheron’s presentation in Paris this week of its latest dazzling confections, from a stunning 556-carat emerald necklace to a 10-carat emerald-cut diamond necklace mixed with rare pink Caribbean pearls. It was a banner year for high jewelry — pieces priced more than 50,000 euros, or $61,400 at current exchange — with record sales reported from firms all around the Place Vendôme, the trade’s Parisian nerve center. The collection Boucheron introduced last July — called Trouble Desir — sold out at a breakneck pace. And the house’s president, Jean-Christophe Bedos, forecasts continued success. The pieces on hand, with necklaces that transform into brooches, are additions to Trouble Desir, drawing on similar exotic influences, such as India and the Far East.
Also on parade are a selection of new “bijoux” (5,000 euros, or $6,100, and below) and “jewelry” (5,000 euros to 50,000 euros, or $6,100 to $61,408), including a pointy hedgehog ring and a heart-shaped ring, pendant and earring set.
Bedos emphasized the animal and the heart aren’t intended to be cutesy — the animal is a night dweller and the heart comes bound in a chain with a small dangling garnet symbolizing a drop of blood.
“We couldn’t have a heart that looks like it comes from the Garden of Eden,” offered Bedos. “Boucheron is more about sin and ambiguity.”