CHARRON’S NEXT CHAPTER: Paul Charron, former chairman and chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., is headed back to work as a senior adviser at Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm. Beginning next month, Charron, 65, will work part-time at the Manhattan firm and become involved in the consumer products sector. His role is to counsel the team of Warburg specialists and identify and evaluate opportunities.
Charron stepped down as chairman and ceo of Claiborne in November 2006 and officially left the company at the end of that year. Since then, he’s been under contract to Claiborne as a consultant, but sources say Charron has had virtually no involvement in the firm. The consulting contract expires at yearend. “I looked at a lot of opportunities,” Charron told WWD Monday. “I like the consumer space. I have a lot of experience running companies and evaluating acquisitions. I have zero interest in running a company on a full-time basis.”
WESTWOOD’S LONDON FLING: Vivienne Westwood will paint London red in February. On Monday, the designer said she plans to show her Red Label diffusion line during London Fashion Week. Her announcement confirms a WWD report on Nov. 14. “The sales of all of our lines are increasing and we decided that the Red Label, which is successful worldwide and so popular in the U.K., should have its own show,” Westwood said. This will be the first time Westwood has shown in London since the early Eighties. The launch will coincide with the release of “Vivienne Westwood Opus,” a coffee-table book of portraits she’s taken of celebs including Helena Bonham Carter, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
CRUZ-ING ALONG: Mango sticks to a good thing: For the second consecutive season, the fast-fashion chain’s ad face is Penélope Cruz. The campaign features Mango’s signature collection for spring — not to be confused with the Penélope & Mónica Cruz for MNG line that rolled out in September. (The second design effort with sister Mónica Cruz will hit select Mango stores mid-February.) As for the Mango ads, they were shot in London’s Spring Studios by fashion duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and break globally in February. Regarding Cruz’s other career as an actress, her agent in Madrid said she will start shooting Pedro Almodóvar’s “Abrazos Rotos” (very roughly translated, “Embraces Torn Asunder”) in May and will appear in the Rob Marshall-directed film “Nine,” based on Federico Fellini’s autobiographical “8 ½,” next fall.
SPRING FEVER: Capping one of the busiest weeks of the year, Miu Miu threw a party at its SoHo boutique in Manhattan on Friday to sell special pieces from its spring collection weeks before it hits stores. The likes of Arden Wohl, Lauren Davis, Amy Greenspon, Stella Schnabel and a gaggle of editors braved the cold to take out their credit cards and walk out with some spring merch. That night, some 10 items, including a silk cape, a taffeta top and skirt and a multicolored clutch, were exclusive to the event, which means they won’t be available anywhere else in the U.S. They sold out, naturally.
Miu Miu had held a similar event in Paris just two days ago, which drew a crowd that included Audrey Marnay and Ludivine Sagnier.
OPEN WINDOW: Retailers are as determined as ever to draw attention to holiday windows. Bergdorfgoodman.com last Tuesday night introduced a three-minute video giving a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this season’s holiday windows, which are inspired by the late interior designer Tony Duquette. In the video, David Hoey, BG’s senior director of window merchandising, and his creative team glue together thousands of seashells on a 12-foot table, a representation of water and the natural elements that Duquette often incorporated in his designs. Meanwhile, Lord & Taylor has had a 15-second video about its windows running in 3,500 taxis since last week. “We are focusing on how to get our share of the tourist traffic,” said Jane Elfers, L&T’s chief executive officer. “We don’t have an international presence. We’re much more known in the U.S., and we wanted to leverage the fact that we are the oldest American department store.” The video showcases the windows, plays a jingle and has Elfer’s voice-over inviting people to the store.
CLOONEY, CHEADLE AND BELSTAFF: That worn black leather jacket Will Smith wears in his new film “I am Legend”? It’s made by Belstaff, the rugged Italian brand. Belstaff and Hollywood have a history. Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and James Dean wore the leather jackets — often on-screen — and Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Cameron Diaz can be counted among the company’s clientele. It wasn’t too surprising, then, when George Clooney and Don Cheadle stopped by when the Belstaff flagship in Rome was unveiled Thursday. Clooney and Cheadle were in town to pick up a peace award for their work in bringing awareness to the plight of millions who fled their homes in Darfur. They received the award at a ceremony marking the opening of a yearly meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Located at Via del Babuino 16 near the Piazza del Pololo, Belstaff’s sales last weekend exceeded those of all its other stores’ opening weekends by 50 percent, said Franco DiCarlo, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Belstaff U.S. Standout items included a women’s quilted leather blousson with fox trim on the collar and cuffs for $2,450, a trench-length quilted leather Fennec coat with fox trim, $2,895, and the large Colonial canvas handbag, $395, which was sold out. The handbag was also featured in the movie.