BICEPS MEET BARNEYS: Several of UFC’s ultimate fighters were out of their element at a fete for Coach president and executive creative director Reed Krakoff’s new photo book, “Fighter,” at Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship on Tuesday night. Fighters such as Keith Jardine, Ken Florian, Dan Henderson and Jon Fitch mingled with the fashion crowd and autographed their portraits in the book. Fitch, for one, was shocked at the fanfare. “I thought they’d just roll us in off a bus, and that we would have dinner with a bunch of suits,” he said. “I didn’t expect all this.”

This story first appeared in the October 8, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

But ultimate fighting has some unexpected fans, besides Krakoff. Alexis Bledel and Mandy Moore were there to support the athletes. “I feel like I’m at groupie status now,” mused Moore, whose interest in the sport was piqued two years ago. “Once I saw a match in real life, I was sold in a heartbeat.” She conceded, however, that when it gets a little too gory, she averts her eyes.

Later that evening, Krakoff made an appearance with his wife, Delphine, at a dinner for Hong Kong-based accessories designer Fiona Kotur at Waverly Inn, which also drew the likes of Tory Burch, Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, Stefanie Greenfield and James de Givenchy. “I can’t believe that I was in Hong Kong 24 hours ago,” said Kotur, who has been busy showing her collection in Europe and elsewhere.

BASH FOR BAZ: The New York social calendar will get a jolt of Australian flavor on Nov. 10, when the Museum of Modern Art hosts its first Film Benefit to honor filmmaker Baz Luhrmann. Louis Vuitton and Men’s Vogue are sponsoring the gala for the director, whose credits include 1996’s “Romeo+Juliet” and 2002’s “Moulin Rouge.” Hugh Jackman, star of Luhrmann’s upcoming epic, “Australia,” opposite Nicole Kidman, is honorary chairman and will be joined by co-chairs Marie-Josée Kravis, Jay Fielden and Antoine Arnault.

ROCK THE BOAT: After Venetian and Arabian outings, Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy seem to be in a rock ’n’ roll state of mind. The duo picked the theme “Rock and Roll Circus” for their annual holiday bash on Dec. 10 at the Rainbow Room. Referencing “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus,” the iconic documentary about the 1968 concerts organized by the Stones, the invite cites inspirations such as Yoko Ono, Marianne Faithfull, Jethro Tull, The Dirty Mac Clowns and Lovely Luna & The Fire Eater — which should give the party’s typically creative crowd plenty of fodder for their costume concepts.


CURTAIN CALL: No rest yet for Alber Elbaz. A mere three days after presenting his spring collection for Lanvin a the end of Paris Fashion Week, the designer was in Monte Carlo, Monaco, to stage yet another fashion show Wednesday night. Hosted by Princess Caroline of Monaco and in aid of the charity for the elderly l’Oeuvre de Soeur Marie, the charity event put the spotlight on Lanvin’s fall collection at a gala dinner at the Hotel Hermitage. Asked what it was like to move backward in fashion time to an earlier season, Elbaz said: “It’s like if you are married for a second time and you come back with your first wife!”

PAINTED LOVE: After ogling countless masterpieces by Renoir, Manet, Ingres, Goya and Titian at the opening of the “Picasso and the Masters” exhibition at the Grand Palais Monday night, actress Eva Green was asked for her impressions. “Oh, it was all right,” she shrugged, with arch irony.


The staggering works fired up the fatigued fashion flock, including the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs (in Bottega Veneta), Empress Farah Pahlavi, Jacqueline de Ribes, Bernadette Chirac and Dennis Hopper, who later supped with exhibit sponsor Bernard Arnault of LVMH in the shadow of his treasured Richard Serra. During a brief predinner speech, Arnault remarked on how odd it felt viewing such artistic riches on a disastrous day for global markets. His takeaway?

“I guess Picasso is a good investment,” he said, to much laughter.
Actress Mylène Jampanoï said she soon would be in a film about Serge Gainsbourg, which had her relishing the androgynous costume possibilities. “Gainsbourg invented fashion,” she enthused.

EARNING THEIR STRIPES:Sir Paul Smith isn’t content with building his own brand — he’s supporting a new generation of designers, too. Smith has funded a new scholarship exchange program, which will offer four students at the U.K.’s Nottingham Trent University — located in Smith’s hometown — the opportunity to spend 10 weeks studying design at the Bunka Women’s University in Tokyo. In turn, Smith will provide funding for two Japanese students to study for a yearlong master’s degree in fashion futures at Nottingham Trent University. The program will run for an initial five-year period, and the first group of students began the exchange program in September. “I am very pleased to be in a position where I can give what is hopefully an exciting opportunity to students,” said Smith. “I think one of the most important experiences in life is travel and the way it can open your eyes to the world.”


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