CAVALLI’S CHIANTI: Fresh from the frenzy-inducing launch of his collection for H&M this month, Roberto Cavalli threw a dinner party last weekend at his villa in the Florentine hills to present his latest venture, Cavalli Selection and Cavalli Collection. No, not more spotted spin-offs for the huddling masses, but wine. Specifically, blends of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Alicante Bouchet. The grapes are grown at the family estate in Tuscany’s Chianti, the 70-acre Tenuta degli Dei. The project is managed by Cavalli’s son, Tommaso, but the Selection labels bear his father’s historical animal prints while the Collection bottles are all black with brass RC logos and the designer’s iconic snake motif. “Tommaso never asked me for anything in his life and wanted to give the name of the territory to the wine,” said the designer. “He’s the true idealist….He didn’t want to take advantage of my name, but it’s taken me 40 years to build my brand — why not make reference to it to promote the wine?” Eight years in the making, the first 5,000 bottles from 2004 will be selectively distributed only in Tuscany. In the spring, the wine from 2005 will be available in other markets such as Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and the U.S.
Never one to stand still, Cavalli also is working to set up an exhibition of photos he has taken over the past 20 years. The photos include portraits of his family as well as natural scenes — budding flowers, ocean waves and birds, among others. “I want to prove to myself that I have an artistic vein, not for any other reason,” Cavalli said of the show. “I’m entirely engrossed by this project, I spend the nights working at my computer organizing the photos.”
PAINT BALL: A Tyvek jumpsuit isn’t Behnaz Sarafpour’s typical weekend attire. But on Saturday, at Intermediate School 286 in West Harlem, N.Y., the designer threw just that over her cashmere sweater and jeans as part of a benefit for Publicolor, a charity that repaints New York City public schools in vibrant colors. Assigned to the cafeteria, Sarafpour picked up a roller alongside fashionable pals including socialite Adelina Wong and Alex Schuman, vice president of women’s design at Michael Kors (whose mother-in-law, Ruth Lande Schuman, founded the charity). “I didn’t really do anything that creative,” demurred Sarafpour, who helped coat the room in an orange shade called Citrus Blast. “But it was a lot of fun.” The designer got involved with the group when she attended a benefit dinner this year. As for the jumpsuit, “I took it home with me,” she said, explaining that she and her husband are in the midst of painting their New Jersey farmhouse. “I was painting the school and then I went home and started painting the house.” But not in Citrus Blast.
STARS AND STRIPES: Palais Royal, one of Paris’ most chic and picturesque shopping destinations, is getting more fashionable by the minute. Word has it Ralph Lauren plans to open a boutique there as part of a Paris push that also will see him open significant retail emporiums on Avenue Montaigne and Boulevard Saint-Germain. It’s not clear which of his brands Lauren plans to showcase in Palais Royal, but the palace and gardens increasingly have an American accent, boasting shops by Marc Jacobs and Rick Owens.