OH BEAUTIFUL: After 28 years of living in the U.S., Carolina Herrera became an American citizen on Friday. Shortly after her naturalization oath ceremony, the Venezuelan-born designer said, “I have been here for many years, and I love this country very much. I love New York and everything about America. It was very emotional for me.” Moving as it was, the scene at the U.S. District Court Southern District was not quite what she had envisioned. “I thought there would be people there waving little American flags and at the end everyone would sing ‘America the Beautiful,’ but it was very businesslike,” she said. For the past month, Herrera brushed up on her American history in preparation for the mandatory naturalization exam. During the seemingly round-the-clock work weeks that go hand-in-hand with show season, Herrera had plenty of time to quiz staffers. “I was constantly testing people in my office [who often fell short with their knowledge]. I told them, ‘With this test, you would never become a citizen,’” she said. “Now I know more than they do.”

Due to a prior dinner commitment, Herrera had no plans to beat the band Friday. “It’s all right. I’ve been celebrating every day — I’ve been telling everyone,” she said.

This story first appeared in the September 28, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

TOM’S NEXT MOVE?: Now that he’s got his directorial debut out of the way, it seems Tom Ford may be getting serious about launching his own women’s collection. While the designer has always admitted a return to women’s was possible, Thomson Reuters reported last week his company was seeking $50 million or more to fund the collection and that Credit Suisse was leading the process. Domenico De Sole, chairman of Tom Ford International, declined comment on the report, saying theirs was a private company. However, sources confirmed De Sole and Ford are out trying to raise financing. Although they weren’t certain funding had been found, the goal is to launch Tom Ford women’s wear for fall 2011. It would have the same high-end positioning as Ford’s men’s wear, which is produced in a joint venture with Ermenegildo Zegna.

ROLLING STONE: Gianluca Lera, who helped spearhead Bulgari’s recent push into accessories, is exiting the Roman house, according to industry sources. Lera joined Bulgari from Fendi and coordinated an array of categories, from handbags, travel and work collections to gifts and small leather goods. Sources described Lera’s departure as an amicable one. Bulgari officials could not be reached for comment.


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