PIANO MAN: Most executives know the value of a little marketing, and it seems the Archbishop of New York is no exception. On Thursday afternoon, Cardinal Edward Egan presented the Catholic Charities Christmas Angel Award to Josie Natori at a lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria before an audience of 600 that included former governors Mario Cuomo and George Pataki, as well as police commissioner Ray Kelly. Before the presentation, Natori introduced Egan to some of her guests, one of whom, he was told, works for this paper. “In that case,” he said, “I hope you’re doing full-page stories on Natori and Cruz.”

Apparently, the event helped to forge a friendship and, just possibly, a duet made in heaven. In his remarks, Egan told the crowd that he and Natori have made tentative plans to tinkle the ivories together in a concert at her New York apartment sometime soon. “We’ll knock the ball out of the park when we sit down with ‘Schumann’s Concerto in A minor,'” he said. “She’s my fellow piano player. Except,” he corrected himself, “she’s a pianist. I’m a piano player.”

This story first appeared in the December 7, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

ST. JOHN ROCKS HOLLYWOOD: What a difference a year makes. A new chief executive officer, the return of Kelly and Marie Gray to the design team and a positive response to new product appear to have St. John in upswing mode. The streak continued Tuesday morning when the company sponsored The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 Breakfast (previously supported by Ellen Tracy). Among the fashion plate guests were actresses Monet Mazur and Kelly Lynch, both of whom usually turn heads in vintage and European designers, but this time wore St. John resort, as well as Andrea Wong and Susanne Daniels, chief executive officer and president of Lifetime Entertainment. Of course, honorees Jodie Foster and Sherry Lansing opted for their usual Giorgio Armani, but it was a big day for the Irvine, Calif.-based St. John, which also dressed Jaime Pressly for her Emmy-winning night in September.

YSL HONOR: Yves Saint Laurent was made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor by French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday. The ceremony took place in the intimacy of Saint Laurent’s home with few guests, among them business partner Pierre Bergé and actress Catherine Deneuve.

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT: ‘Tis the season for shopping and charity. Amid the whirlwind of events this week, clotheshorse and political activist Shiva Rose hosted a shopping party with W magazine on Tuesday night at Mulberry’s Melrose Place boutique to benefit the war-relief nonprofit No More Victims. The hostess wore Mulberry’s Victorian silk dress and her singleton pals, Ryan Haddon and Alexandra von Furstenberg, were equally well turned out, as were up-and-comers Jud Tylor (yes, she’s a girl) and Michelle Borth. Though guests shopped the current season, they also got to preview the spring collection, where the vinyl Roxanne tote was a hit, especially with its three-figure price point. One holiday shopper remarked, “It would make a great baby bag for Halle Berry.”

Meanwhile, a few doors down, the starlets and socials turned out at the Oscar de la Renta Home boutique for a “Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People” book signing by Hamish Bowles. Ginnifer Goodwin, Jacinda Barrett, Jennifer Morrison, Cameron Richardson and Angie Harmon joined Crystal Lourd, Eva Chow, Jamie Tisch and Lulu de Kwiatkowski and Oscar chief executive officer Alex Bolen for the affair. Bowles didn’t have a moment to sip Champagne — the ladies kept him signing for two hours straight, and when he ran out of books in the back, the in-store displays had to be dismantled to meet the demand. At least ODLR’s Miles Redd was on hand to rearrange the furniture.

“Gossip Girl” has been a hit with New York viewers and Henri Bendel staffers have had good reason to do their share for the Nielsen ratings. Scenes from the show have been shot in the Fifth Avenue store and Henri Bendel has been mentioned in the story line several times. All the free publicity has left some TV watchers curious about what’s in store. After each episode, the retailer’s Web site and consumer hotline have seen upswings and many Henri Bendel visitors have asked if scenes from the show were really shot there. Even two of the show’s stars, Taylor Momsen, who plays Jenny, and Blake Lively, who plays Serena, have dropped by to shop.