Oscar de la Renta

<b>UP AND DOWN:</b> Look who’s marching downtown: <b>Christian Louboutin.</b> This summer, the Paris shoe and handbag designer plans to open a boutique on Horatio Street in New York. He promises a more “extreme” selection than what...

UP AND DOWN: Look who’s marching downtown: Christian Louboutin. This summer, the Paris shoe and handbag designer plans to open a boutique on Horatio Street in New York. He promises a more “extreme” selection than what is found uptown — “meaning extremely flat or extremely high” — plus unique offerings from his wholesale clients, including Jeffrey, whose blessing Louboutin was grateful to obtain. He’s also grateful Sant Ambroeus just opened in the buzzing neighborhood. “I even have a new canteen,” he quipped.

This story first appeared in the January 28, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

MI CASA ES SU CASA: Oscar de la Renta made a sold-out crowd at the D&D Building feel right at home Tuesday morning. The designer guided them through his homes in Manhattan, Kent, Conn., and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, with the help of a slide presentation.

Eighteen months into a licensing deal with Century Furniture, de la Renta said designing clothes isn’t such a stretch from designing for homes. “The philosophy is very similar. It’s not that I want to design a lady like a couch, or a couch like a dress,” he said. “When you design clothes, you imagine a woman has a certain lifestyle and lives a certain way. She surrounds herself with a certain taste level, and that includes clothes.”

De la Renta opened a window into his own homes, showing off 18th-century English chairs, a three-fireplace living room, jam-packed bookcases and a nonworking Swedish stove, among other things. Even Lucky, one of his six dogs, got some air time. But there’s some discrepancy about how he got his name.

“I found him in the Dominican Republic. I thought, how lucky for him we found him and brought him to our home. My wife thinks he’s called Lucky because we’re extremely lucky to have him,” de la Renta said.

IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS: How much does Hearst Magazines president Cathie Blacklove Ellen Levine? Enough to ask her magazine chiefs to do whatever it took to wrangle one of Hermès’ much-coveted Kelly bags for Levine in less than 48 hours. Levine, the editor in chief of Good Housekeeping, is due to be inducted tonight into the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame, as selected by the American Society of Magazine Editors. Needing a suitable gift for the occasion, Black settled on procuring a fire-engine red Kelly bag. Rather than leaning on Hermès p.r., Town & Country editor Pamela Fiori called one of her Paris-based contributors, Jean Bond Rafferty, who happened to have a written a profile of the company a few years before. Rafferty simply strolled into Hermès’ flagship and sweet-talked the sales staff into selling her one. (The profile probably helped.) Black presented it to Levine at a reception of Hearst editors last week, just two days later. Customers stuck on the waiting list should expect it to take two years.

POPPY LOVE: Even Ellen DeGeneres has jumped on the Coach bandwagon, literally. On Tuesday, the comedienne rode onto the set of her talk show on a customized Coach Vespa featuring a pink poppy seed motif that draws from Coach’s Poppy collection. The reason? DeGeneres officially launched Coach’s Poppy For Peace initiative in aid of Peace Games, a nonprofit organization that encourages young people to be “peacemakers” through skill-building and problem-solving games. As part of the program, 10 percent of the proceeds from Coach’s limited-edition Poppy handbags will benefit Peace Games. Poppy bag owners already include Demi Moore, Amy Smart, Taryn Manning, Mandy Moore and Maggie Gyllenhaal.