THE SKY’S THE LIMIT: The Audemars Piguet flagship on 57th Street in New York welcomed some star power on Tuesday night when Jay-Z (aka Shawn Carter) hosted a champagne reception there to celebrate the release of the Swiss brand’s limited-edition line of watches honoring his 10 years in the music business. Naomi Campbell, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Kanye West and Gabrielle Union entered into the cozy space from the scorching New York heat and embraced and chatted it up while Jay-Z modeled the luxe timepieces for guests.
Jay-Z, for one, was looking forward to the after party being held in his 40/40 Club downtown. “I’m going to have some drinks and kick back,” he said. But it doesn’t seem like he will have time to kick back for long. The rap star, founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, recently named president and chief executive of Def Jam Recordings and co-founder of Rocawear, said he was looking forward to working on a new S. Carter line for women. He didn’t give details, but did say the line would include designer ready-to-wear and accessories. “I’m leaving it open to all,” he explained.
SWING TIME: While the fashion flock was celebrating at the CFDA Awards, others were uptown at the fourth annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Spring Gala. The Wynton Marsalis Septet entertained the crowd and there were also special performances by Tom Jones and actor Robert Downey Jr., who sang his own song, “Kimberly Glide,” and then Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile.” Downey’s fiancee, Susan Levin, cheered him on, along with Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Jonathan Farkas and date Fiona Hansbury and co-chair Ashley Schiff.
Some, however, had more pressing business to attend to. Spike Lee convinced Wynton Marsalis to abandon his duties early and sneak out to catch the end of game seven of the Miami Heat-Detroit Pistons NBA playoff series.
FACE FORWARD: Watch company Longines has chosen a new face to represent the brand: Harry Connick Jr.
When the 173-year-old watch company conducted a survey in search of who Americans perceive as the most elegant man today, Connick, the musician, actor and onetime ex-husband of Grace Adler on NBC’s “Will and Grace,” was chosen above runners-up Sean Connery and Richard Gere.
“It was time for us to come up with a contemporary [person] for the brand,” said Linda Passaro, general manager, Longines US, a division of Swatch. “We need icons in today’s culture that represent grace and poise as an option — it’s the responsibility of someone to show that [elegance] is a cool thing and makes you successful, you just don’t see that in our culture.” Humphrey Bogart’s image has been used in the men’s campaign up to now. The women’s campaign, which bowed this month, features Indian actress Aishwarya Rai, and has formerly included images of Audrey Hepburn.
The new men’s print campaign will bow in July issues of Elle, In Style, Esquire and Fortune magazines, while outdoor ads begin this month.
In an interview Tuesday at the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan, Connick — in a black blazer, jeans and loafers — said, “It’s one of those things [to be chosen most elegant man] — I was blown away.”
Connick will release a duet’s album next week and is working on an animated television movie, “Happy Elf,” based on one of his songs of the same name.