MIDSUMMER ROMAN DREAM: To fete its newly refurbished Rome store on Via Condotti and its 70-year presence in the Eternal City, Gucci will show its new cruise collection there on July 8. The show’s backdrop will be the manicured gardens of a 17th-century Roman villa in the Gianicolo neighborhood, which coincidentally is where creative director Frida Giannini grew up. A private dinner and party will follow.

“I’m excited to be bringing the cruise collection to my hometown,” said Giannini. “I wanted to do something very special to celebrate Gucci’s 70 years in Rome.” For the occasion, Giannini will whip up a few extra looks that will be exclusive to the Rome store.

This story first appeared in the April 1, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

SETTING CHINA: Beijing’s Forbidden City is fast becoming a magnet for international fashion launches. Nike plans to unveil a new fashion-forward sportswear collection there May 12 with a spectacle conceived by theater director and playwright Bob Wilson. The event is timed to be 88 days before the Olympic Games (eight being the symbol of good fortune in China). As reported, Yohji Yamamoto plans to stage a fashion show at the Forbidden City April 24 and unveil a fellowship at an event designed to mend China-Japan relations.

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Naughty French television journalist Mademoiselle Agnès, who masqueraded as Anna Wintour on the last day of Paris Fashion Week, is trying her hand as a model. She stars in a new ad campaign for century-old Paris brand Weill. “It’s a classic bourgeois brand with a great history based in the heart of Montmartre,” she explains. “Weill owners wanted to communicate a youthful, more fashion-forward image, and well, that was me!”

As for her next character, this miss has plenty of ideas. “I’d like to impersonate Donatella next,” Agnes mused of Donatella Versace. “In fact, I should be an actress, I love dressing up. I’d like to do many impersonations, such as Karl Lagerfeld and Sonia Rykiel.”

WEEKEND BARKFEST: Adam Lippes has partnered with the ASPCA for a dog adoption weekend at his Manhattan boutique at 678 Hudson Street from April 4 to 6. There will be about 20 dogs, ranging in breed and size, in the windows of the store throughout the three-day event. Adoptions will be facilitated through the ASPCA with the fee ranging between $75 and $200. Any shopper adopting a dog will receive a limited edition “ADAM Loves Dogs” T-shirt. Lippes will be at the store on April 5 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “I can only hope that all of these dogs will find loving homes and will be surprised if I don’t walk away with one of them myself,” Lippes said.

HOT MAMA: Nicole Richie, who recently announced she’s launching a jewelry line in September, also revealed she’s giving birth to a maternity line later this year. Richie came to the Balenciaga opening party in Los Angeles Friday night to “Thank Nicolas [Ghesquière]. I wore so much Balenciaga during my pregnancy that he was one of my main inspirations.” Though she lived in the designer’s motorcycle leggings and scarves in her third trimester, Richie also had a few other belly basics in her roster: “I wore jeans until six months and heels until nine months. When my shirts got too short, I wore Joel’s [boyfriend Joel Madden] with a jacket on top.” Richie said her own line will cover casual to dressy and small bumps to large. “My line will be about making women look and feel good at a really emotional time. It’s about showing your best self, not your tired, worn-down self. Guys don’t go through that, they just don’t understand,” she said.

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