INSIDER TRADING: Carolina Herrera, Rachel Roy, Lorry Newhouse, Hamish Bowles and Amy Fine Collins were among the fashion insiders who got a jump on the upcoming Posh sale by donating some of their favorite designer finds at a high tea Saturday. This marked the first time organizers held a warm-up for the four-day shopping spree, which kicks off May 12 and will benefit Lighthouse International, a nonprofit dedicated to combatting vision loss. Herrera, who will be honored at the event’s more formal event on May 11, the Posh Affair Dinner Gala at the Oak Room, has donated 100 items from her spring collection for the sale. Michael Bruno, president and founder of 1stDibs, will also be feted at the Plaza Hotel. First dibs (in the more traditional sense) were not allowed at Saturday’s gathering, but that didn’t deter guests from making mental check lists, said Newhouse, who is cohosting the gala with Bowles and Collins. A trove of Arnold Scaasi dresses provided by Lynn Ban, a bubble gum pink Balenciaga jacket, a purple Marchesa evening dress compliments of Georgina Chapman and a pearl Chanel bag from Vogue’s Filipa Fino were among the crowd-pleasers. Anticipatory as the overall mood was, memories of some shoppers’ strategies from previous sales caused a few laughs. “There were lots of funny stories about donors that had been given items in the past and then raced to come to buy them back,” Bowles said.
BRUNELLO SENDS HIS REGRETS: Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli has had to postpone his visit to New York because of a mild case of pneumonia, but the company will go ahead with a scheduled luncheon today at the Madison Avenue store. A spokesperson says the designer — dubbed the Prince of Solomeo in a recent New Yorker profile — is expected to make a full recovery with enough rest. The luncheon, hosted by Fiona Rudin, Nathalie Kaplan, Diana DiMenna and other swans, benefits the New Victory Theater and its education program, and was expected to serve as a belated grand opening for the store, which opened for business in January.
DIEGO THE RESTORER: Diego Della Valle’s interests outside the company keep multiplying. Piqued by a recent meeting with Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, Della Valle has agreed to help restore the Coliseum, in large part with his own money, but also by getting a string of entrepreneurs to pitch in. The total cost to bring one of the world’s most prominent monuments back to its original splendor is estimated to be around $31 million.
ETERNAL FASHION: Milan may be the fashion capital of Italy, but Rome is holding its own, especially now that Silvia Venturini, Fendi’s accessories director, was elected president of AltaRoma, a fashion organization founded in 1988. “Rome is a city with unparalleled potential, that has always been able to transmit intense emotions behind which there are elements that must be sustained and realized with as many initiatives,” said Venturini, who wants to boost the city’s role in fashion. “To realize this mission, it is fundamental that we construct an agenda with a message that is concrete, stimulating, innovative and highly qualitative to capture attention both at a national and international level,” said Venturini.
AltaRoma already has in place various initiatives including its biannual AltaRomAltaModa fashion show whose participants include Gattinoni, Gabriele Colangelo, Max Kibardin, Sarli, Pascal Gautrand and Lorenzo Riva, alongside Who Is on Next, aimed at uncovering fresh talent. Venturini succeeds Nicoletta Fiorucci, who calls Venturini a choice of “unquestionable competence and prestige.”
BROOKS BY THE BAY: Amanda Brooks has taken her show on the road. She recently swept through San Francisco as part of the international tour for her book, “I [HEART] Your Look.” Ralph Lauren’s new boutique in Pacific Heights was packed with friends like Vanessa Getty, Alexis Traina, Katie Traina and Marissa Mayer. Interior designer and design blogger Scot Meacham Wood couldn’t keep himself from trying to be useful. “I used to work in creative services for Ralph Lauren, and it’s hard for me not to want to fluff up the flowers and rearrange the sweaters,” he said. Also mingling were Juliet de Baubigny, Elizabeth Touw, Trevor Traina, Ricky Serbin, Eva Beale, Sloan Barnett and Gabriella Sarlo.
KIRA PLASTININA HITS MANILA: She may have been a victim of the recession in the U.S., but Kira Plastinina is still going strong elsewhere. The teenage Russian fashion designer arrived in Manila on a whirlwind visit to officially inaugurate not one but two Kira Plastinina Style Studio boutiques. Apparently the self-proclaimed “fashion prodigy” is embarking on global expansion within Asia. She has more than 80 stores in Russia, as well as in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The first Kira Plastinina Philippine boutique opened last July in Manila’s MegaMall, the first such international franchise for the Russian label. A second Style Studio opens this week at the nearby Shangri-La Plaza, an upscale shopping complex. As for the U.S., last year, Plastinina declared bankruptcy in America and closed most of her stores. Only two remain in Los Angeles, rebranded as K. Plastinina.
CASTELBAJAC’S NEW DIGS: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is heading across the river to expand his Paris store presence. The French designer will open a new shop on Rue Jacob on the Left Bank this summer to showcase his main line. His existing store in central Paris will be dedicated to his secondary line JCDC and will twin as an exhibition and concert space, a spokesman said.
CLOTHES QUARTERS: “True Prep,” the follow-up to “The Preppy Handbook,” has yet to hit stores, but the “Brooks Brothers Clambake” seems to have a jump on the renewed interest in Ivy Leaguer attire. This hour-long variety show, which made its debut Friday night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, is the work of Alex Scordelis and Chris Schell. The two portray themselves as prepsters Drake and Prescott Brooks (aka The Brooks Brothers). Their characters dress head to toe in Brooks Bros. seersucker and claim to be heirs to the Brooks Bros. clothing fortune. The piece isn’t meant to be a farce, Scordelis said, adding: “Chris and I are actually big fans of Brooks Bros. clothes, and we wear their stuff all the time. We’re not making fun of them — this show is just a tribute to our favorite clothier.” Their repertoire also will include “The J. Crew Dance Crue” and “The Lilly Pulitzer Prize for Poolside Gossip.”