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FANTASTIC VOYAGE: The Plastiki, David de Rothschild’s boat made from 12,000 plastic bottles, completed its much publicized, epic voyage on Monday. De Rothschild and crew pulled into Sydney Harbor after crossing the Pacific Ocean on an 8,000-nautical-mile adventure that lasted more than 130 days. The project, officially partnered with watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen, set out to raise awareness of plastic waste and its impact on the oceans.

This story first appeared in the July 27, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

MICHELLE SAYS ‘HOLA’: First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Spain from Aug. 4 to 8 with her younger daughter, Sasha, age 9, for a “private mother-daughter trip with longtime family friends,” according to her office. President Obama and older daughter Malia will not make the trip — even though the President’s 49th birthday is Aug. 4. The First Lady will also pay an official visit to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain — although not in Madrid; instead at their summer palace on Mallorca. The White House had previously revealed the entire First Family will travel to Florida’s Gulf Coast on Aug. 14 and spend the weekend — hoping to boost tourism in the oil spill-plagued region.

Don’t expect the First Lady and her daughter to rough it in Spain, however. According to local media reports, they will stay at Villa Padierna, a five-star hotel skirting Marbella, where the Obamas are said to have reserved upwards of 35 accommodations including Tuscany-inspired villas — normally priced at 3,300 euros, or $4,285 at current exchange, a night. Side trips are planned to Granada’s Alhambra and nearby Puerto Banus.

TANSKY’S FAREWELL TOUR: For Neiman Marcus Group’s outgoing president and chief executive officer Burt Tansky, it will be a long, long goodbye with a lot of partying. Tansky said in late April that he will officially retire on Oct. 6, but, to bid an early adieu, Josie and Ken Natori will host about 40 designers and vendors at a dinner Wednesday night at La Grenouille in Manhattan, setting in motion a string of farewell festivities through the fall. Among the highlights, a big bash at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan on Sept. 15 for retailers and suppliers, followed by another celebration during Milan Fashion Week on Sept. 26. By the end of it all, Tansky should be ready for a good rest.

SHORT STORIES: Mike Figgis, Michael Nyman and Paolo Roversi will be among the film and fashion folk judging entries for the third edition of a “Shaded View on Fashion Film,” the Paris-based festival that showcases short fashion films. Joining them on the 15-member jury will be Bryan Adams, Boudicca designer Zowie Broach and Dita Von Teese. Launched by fashion critic and blogger Diane Pernet, the festival will run from Sept. 24 to 26 at the Pompidou Center. Installations based on the films in competition will be open to the public at advertising agency BETC’s Passage du Désir venue from Sept. 25 to 28. The short films will compete for prizes including Best Film, the Samsung Prize for Best Emerging Talent, the Shu Uemura Beauty Prize, Best Sound and Best Actor/Actress.

MILLY’S MADISON PLAN: Milly will open a 1,900-square-foot shop at 900 Madison Avenue between 72nd and 73rd Streets. The store will bow in early 2011, along with a new collection of handbags and small leather goods. Milly’s colorful, sophisticated aesthetic has made it a top contemporary resource at Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Designer Michelle Smith launched her line in 2000. Since then, the brand has grown to include resort and jewelry.

LADY LIBERTY: Model Liberty Ross soon will add a new title to her résumé, with Madonna’s help. The Los Angeles-based Brit will try her hand acting in Madonna’s directorial debut, which will begin filming later this summer in London. Though it’ll be her first time on the big screen, portraying a Thirties New York socialite seemed natural to Ross, considering how deeply she always immersed herself in fashion shoots. “I put my heart and soul into each character,” she said. Some things she wanted to keep to herself, however, like the title of the movie, whose wardrobe is being organized by Arianne Phillips. “I don’t want to jinx it and I don’t want Madonna to fire me,” she confessed. Still, Ross was able to cull some acting tips from thespians Ione Skye, Julia Jones, Minnie Driver, Monet Mazur and James Van Der Beek, who joined musicians Ben Lee and Brett Anderson, vintage retailer Cameron Silver and lots of cute kids at the lawn party Ross hosted Wednesday at her Hollywood Hills home for the new children’s line from London label Issa. Issa designer Daniella Helayel, who plans to open her first stores in London and São Paulo early next year, received the ultimate compliment for her whimsical prints from Ross’ daughter, Skyla, who wanted to keep the Issa headband, dress and tent.

BRIEFS ENCOUNTER: There will be less to gawk at this year on National Underwear Day, as its founder and sponsor,, is forgoing its usual antics of skivvies-clad models in Times Square or a celebrity fashion show as in years past. Rather, the e-commerce site will mark the day, Aug. 5, by giving away 5,000 pairs of underwear via an online contest from brands including Calvin Klein, 2xist, Ed Hardy, Natori and Elle Macpherson Intimates. The Web-only promotion will allow the company to reach more people, said Freshpair president Michael Kleinmann.

INSIGHTFUL GIORGIO: In a new tactic, Giorgio Armani for the first time dedicated a full ad campaign to its Frames of Life eyewear collection, solely made up of prescription frames. The ads were shot by Serge Guerand, who zoomed in on models Marta Berzkalna and Kelly Rippy as they go through their daily routine of shaving, applying lipstick or soaking it up in a bubbly bath. The campaign breaks worldwide in September in leading magazines and newspapers. Many of the rotund shapes or butterfly frames featured in the stills hail back to the Twenties and Forties. To produce the Frames of Life line, which bowed earlier this year, Armani’s licensor Safilo Group restarted old production lines.


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