HOAX COUTURE: April Fool’s Day is still a week away, but someone in Italy (where they don’t even have April Fool’s Day) must have been in the mood for a prank. A mysterious firm sent out an e-mail Monday proclaiming that George Clooney was launching a men’s and women’s fashion brand. Problem is, “this is a hoax,” said Clooney.

“I have no connection whatsoever with any clothing line bearing my name, and more specifically, GC Exclusive by George Clooney.”

This story first appeared in the March 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The e-mail had been dispatched by Mass Media Distribution LLC, and was full of red flags. It appeared to be translated poorly from Italian, and stated the collection would be launched with a fashion show at the Westin Palace in Milan — not exactly the normal place in the Italian fashion capital for a show. No date or time was given for the supposed launch, but the e-mail noted that Clooney would be present. “Invitation open to all journalists and TV,” it stated. “Invited? Only important people and celebrities.”

Clooney isn’t the only celeb said to be doing a fashion line. Recently news emerged that Katie Holmes was going to be designing a collection for Giorgio Armani. The designer vehemently denied the rumor.

ARRIVEDERCI ARMANI: Giorgio Armani vice president of public relations Christian Leone resigned on Friday. Leone worked at Armani’s U.S. division for the past two years and, prior to that, was in public relations at Alberta Ferretti. He told WWD on Monday that he wanted “to switch gears and look into different opportunities, in a different capacity in fashion.” Leone will stay at Armani through the May 5 Costume Institute benefit, where the designer will serve as honorary chairman.

MAN OF STEEL: Jonathan Schwartz, son of former Calvin Klein honcho Barry Schwartz, is building up more than his business. After recently opening Splits59, a women’s athleticwear store in Brentwood, Calif., Schwartz headed Down Under to compete this month in the 2008 Ironman New Zealand competition. Schwartz completed the race in 10 hours, 52 minutes and 12 seconds, and placed 285 out of 1,100. Asked how he enjoyed the New Zealand scenery, Schwartz quipped: “It’s really beautiful. But as my trainer told me, ‘If you’re racing properly, you shouldn’t be admiring the countryside.'” However, he said he did take the time to look around, but the day was rainy and windy. “It was more difficult to be a spectator than a participant,” said Schwartz, whose parents and girlfriend stood outside in the rain and watched. “It was a very long day for the spectators.”