JACOB THE JEWELER IN COURT: Jacob Arabov, founder of bling jeweler Jacob & Co., pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit on charges of participating in a scheme to launder more than $270 million in illegal narcotics proceeds of a Detroit drug organization called the Black Mafia Family. Arabov has been accused of selling jewelry that was purchased by alleged ringleaders Terry Lee Flenory and Demetrius Flenory, and others. Arabov, known as Jacob the Jeweler, was arrested at his Manhattan flagship on June 15. If convicted, he faces as much as 20 years in prison.
LEVI’S CITY DIGS: Levi Strauss & Co. inked a deal for a 3,500-square-foot retail store, blocks west of Union Square in Manhattan at 25 West 14th Street. The jeans maker expects to open in time for the holiday season in 2006. Robert K. Futterman & Associates represented Levi’s and the landlord, Vornado Realty Trust.
BAG BUY: Kathy Van Zeeland, a handbag company started two years ago, has acquired Tignanello Handbags, an 18-year-old handbag firm. Both are based in New York. Leonard Dreyfuss, president and founder of Tignanello, will continue to work with the brand, which specializes in leather handbags that sell at stores such as J.C. Penney and manufactures private label bags for department and better specialty stores. “Tignanello Handbags will strengthen our portfolio of brands by filling a niche of leather handbags that retail from $75 to $120,” Bruce Makowsky, chief executive officer and co-president of Kathy Van Zeeland, said in a statement. For fall, the company will launch a higher-priced line of leather bags under the name B. Makowsky.
MACY’S WINDOW PROJECT: Viewers who missed the premiere episode Wednesday night of “Project Runway” can check out the winning design in Macy’s Herald Square’s 34th Street windows this morning. Macy’s, the national sponsor of “Project Runway,” will showcase the winning outfit the morning after each episode. The previous winning designs will remain in the background of the window.