EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK: Jay-Z is launching his first book, “Decoded,” with a scavenger hunt of sorts sponsored by search engine Bing — with Gucci in on the game. Pages of the book have been placed in various places meaningful to the hip-hop impresario, with clues revealed on Jay-Z’s Facebook and Twitter pages, Jay-Z.com and on a dedicated Bing site, with fans winning prizes for finding them. On Thursday, Gucci revealed two of the pages in the windows of its Fifth Avenue flagship, printed on the lining of a one-of-kind leather bomber jacket designed by creative director Frida Giannini. The display will remain on view until Nov. 16, when the book goes on sale — and then the jacket will be gifted to Jay-Z. Other places where pages from the book can be found include the bottom of the pool of the Delano hotel in Miami and underneath plates at the Spotted Pig restaurant in New York.
FINE ART: Monday night’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards will get a dose of art courtesy of Rachel Feinstein, who made special trophies for the night. Taking her cues from Cesar de Santo’s reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s lost “Leda and the Swan” painting, Feinstein created a bronze swan for the winning designer and two bronze eggs for the runners-up. The three winners will also take home the original sketch that Feinstein created for the trophies. The artist and her artist husband, John Currin, will join the fashion crowd at Skylight SoHo that night, which will feature keynote speaker Karl Lagerfeld and guests such as Carey Mulligan, Leighton Meester, Kim Kardashian, Karlie Kloss, Seth Meyers, and practically every designer worth his or her salt.
ALL FOR ART: Cynthia Rowley’s been on a major collaborative kick lately, especially when it comes to the arts. She wrapped up a performance-based exhibit for “MOVE!” at MoMA PS1 two weeks ago, with artist Olaf Breuning, and just revealed that the two are re-creating the installation for Art Basel in Miami next month. But first comes a collaboration with online gallery LittleCollector.com, which launches with a preview party on Saturday at New York’s Salon 94 gallery. (The official debut, however, takes place on Dec. 13.) The Web site, which features contemporary art for children, includes two of Rowley’s “Slim: A Fantasy Memoir” drawings. For the full story on LittleCollector.com, founded by art consultant Chrissy Crawford, see WWD.com.
DR. OF ETHICS: Brunello Cucinelli received an honorary degree in ethics and philosophy from the University of Perugia in Italy on Thursday. The institution decided to bestow the degree on Cucinelli for his humanistic approach to workplace conditions as well as his contributions to the revival of Solomeo, a medieval hamlet in Italy and the location of his company’s headquarters.
The brand, famous for its sporty-chic looks and high-end cashmere, forecasts sales of 193 million euros, or $265.7 million at current exchange, for this year, which would be a 22 percent increase from 2009. Cucinelli, who recently commented on his label’s growth in China, Russia and India, is predicting an 11.5 percent rise in sales in emerging markets such as these by year’s end.
SPEAKING OF GUCCI…: The event might have heralded a new Gucci store, but fashion took a backseat to education Wednesday night. The opening, at Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va., included a cocktail reception and a charity tie-in to musician John Legend’s Show Me Campaign, with 10 percent of sales during the party going to the organization, which works to fight poverty through access to education.
The 4,770-square-foot space was designed in keeping with Gucci creative director Frida Giannini’s new store concept, featuring warm ambers, browns and gold accents instead of the old black and silver. Legend, decked in head-to-toe Gucci, said he looks forward to “coming to play” with friends in Washington, but he has also focused a lot of attention on the city because of its efforts at education reform. Before the reception, Legend said he was with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and interim chancellor of D.C. public schools Kaya Henderson at Howard University talking about teacher recruitment.
“We’re here in the nation’s capital because there is a lot being done to reform education in this administration,” he said, adding that Gucci made a natural partner for his foundation’s work because the company also does work around education issues.
ON THE PHONE: Giorgio Armani seems to have the technological touch. The Italian fashion designer has teamed up once again with electronics giant Samsung to create Galaxy S, the fourth cell phone collaboration between the two over the last three years. The device sports a four-inch AMOLED touch screen as opposed to its sliding-keyboard predecessor, which came out in October of last year. The Android-operated Galaxy S features a 5-megapixel camera, multimedia player, push e-mail and 16 gigabytes of memory. The phone will retail at around 700 euros, or about $965 at current exchange, and will be available in Giorgio Armani boutiques and leading mobile retailers in Italy, France, the U.K., Germany, Dubai, China, Hong Kong, Spain, Russia and the Netherlands starting from December.
BY THE CLOCK: Omega, the Swiss watch manufacturer, is planning a significant retail rollout. The company will open nine stores in the U.S. in the next six weeks, including locations in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Nashville and Jacksonville, Fla. The company currently operates one unit in the States, on Fifth Avenue in New York. Omega president Stephen Urquhart will hit Manhattan next week to reveal the company’s retail plans, which include the addition of 20 to 22 locations in 2011.
THEO FENNELL’S SILVER STREAK: The British designer known for fine jewelry made with opulent precious stones is turning his hand to silver jewelry. This week, Theo Fennell launched a collection of highly crafted silver designs, called Alias, at Harrods. “I’d always wanted to do a silver collection, but I didn’t want to lose my design integrity or craftsmanship,” said Fennell, who was showing off the collection on Thursday morning. “It’s not a fashion range – I wanted it to have some permanence and be worn by people for years.” The collection includes several different lines, such as Mamba, made up of bracelets and charms fashioned from silver snakes; Bees, with rings and silver charms embellished with delicate bee figures; and Heroes & Villains, chunky rings carved into images of the famous and infamous, such as Gandhi, Che Guevara and Lenin. Prices range from 75 pounds, or $120 at current exchange, for a silver snake charm to 895 pounds, or $1,444, for a key-shaped pendant with a skull on top. Along with Fennell’s London stores and Harrods, the collection also sells at Selfridges in London and Harvey Nichols in Manchester. Fennell said he plans to launch the collection internationally next year.