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COCO NUT: Karl Lagerfeld, the ultimate expert on Gabrielle Chanel, was so enamored with Justine Picardie’s recent biography of the fashion legend that he created a series of original sketches for a new edition about to be published by Steidl. The designer and Picardie, a British journalist, are to host a cocktail and signing session for the launch of the French edition on March 24 at landmark Paris bookstore Galignani, one of Lagerfeld’s favorite haunts. A German edition is slated for release in April, with the English version to follow in June.

Harper Collins first published the book last year. It recounts in detail Chanel’s foray into London society during the Forties and Fifties, and her love affair with a German official. The Steidl version retails for 38 euros, or about $53 at current exchange.

This story first appeared in the March 17, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

ALL NET: Giorgio Armani, ever the basketball fan, has pledged 42 million euros, or $57.9 million at current exchange, over the next three years to the Milan-based Olimpia Armani Jeans team, of which he is a sponsor and partial owner. In October, the Italian designer said he would donate 2.4 million euros, or $3.3 million, to restore Milan’s historical Palalido sports center.

Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani kicked off a charity initiative this week committed to promoting access to clean drinking water. Dubbed Acqua for Life, the project, in conjunction internationally with Green Cross International and UNICEF’s Tap Project in the U.S., aims to provide a minimum of 40 million liters of drinking water worldwide to populations in need. For every bottle of the fragrances Acqua di Giò or Acqua di Gioia purchased, the Italian fashion house has pledged to donate around 100 liters of drinking water to the cause through the end of March. Customers will have the opportunity to double their drinking water donation by logging onto a dedicated Facebook page. An iPhone app, Twitter and Internet site intend to virally boost awareness for the cause.

TALKING MONEY: Nina Garduno is coming to grips with the fact that expanding Freecity isn’t going to be free. The former vice president of men’s wear at Ron Herman, who opened the 800-square-foot Freecity Supershop in Malibu, Calif., six years ago with funding from Herman before a self-funded move to Hollywood to launch a 3,000-square-foot Freecity Supershop Supermät last year, has been setting up meetings to discuss the possibility of bringing on board a financial partner. Although she declined to disclose who she has been meeting with, investment could help Garduno add Freecity locations in key cities such as Paris and New York, as well as smaller units in secondary markets. It could also be used to grow the Freecity apparel brand, which has built a cult following for its sweats, shirts, hoodies and pants retailing for around $75 to $300, from its current distribution network of around 15 U.S. doors, and 25 doors in Europe and Asia.

SEVIGNY SHORT: Chrissie Miller and Madeleine von Froomer of New York’s Sophomore label will debut their new seasonal video tonight in L.A. at a private screening at hotspot Paul and Andre’s. Titled “Truth or Dare,” the video short stars Chloë Sevigny, Jen Brill, Drea de Matteo, Shooter Jennings and PJ Ransone. It will go up on the Kanon Organic Vodka Web site on Friday, which is the presenting sponsor of the video.

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