CALIFORNIA BEACH SALE: That didn’t take long. The Malibu Lumber Yard, a 30,000-square-foot shopping center that opened in April of last year, is on the market for an undisclosed price. The selling points are well-heeled customers, including neighborhood celebrities; stores such as Kitson, Intermix, James Perse and Alice + Olivia, and retail sales topping $1,000 a square foot, said co-owner Richard Weintraub. The downside? Tenants who complain about high operating costs, competitors such as the refurbished Santa Monica Place and what Weintraub described as “a lot of challenges in the retail economy.”
NEW FRIENDS: Forever 21 feted its collaboration with Brian Lichtenberg — its first stab at courting, not (allegedly) copying, designers — with a festive launch party Thursday night at Los Angeles’ Beverly Center. Fast-fashion-clad PYTs swayed to Madonna and Britney Spears, customized Lichtenberg’s Forever 21 styles for him to judge and gazed at mannequins donning the new collection. “It’s where all my clothes come from,” said aspiring singer Madisen Hill of Forever 21, before praising Lichtenberg’s work with the retailer for “adding variety” to its assortment.
For his part, Lichtenberg, who is known for dressing the likes of Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, was readying himself for broader exposure. “It’s a little overwhelming,” he admitted. “Maybe some family members are going to come out of the woodwork.” Lichtenberg’s $14.90 men’s T-shirts and $14.80 women’s Ts for Forever 21 are being showcased with merchandise displays at the retailer’s top 250 doors, but also will be sold in its other 250 locations.
HOMESCHOOLING: John Demsey, a group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., hosted a party celebrating the publication of Annmarie Iverson’s new book, “In Fashion,” in his Upper East Side town house Wednesday evening. Perhaps the most surprising arrival of the night was “Precious” star Gabourey Sidibe, who said she had just finished “The Big C” for Showtime. Her connection to the party was apparently through Bobbi Brown, who had done the actress’s makeup for the Golden Globes. There was talk that Sidibe had been in the Bobbi Brown offices that day, discussing the possibility of doing a color cosmetics collection, but no one involved with the company would confirm the report.
Iverson wrote the book, a how-to user’s manual on breaking into the fashion business, about a year ago before she joined the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics division of Lauder as senior vice president of creative brand development. She said the best part of the project was spending a month in Switzerland while writing the guts of it, and the worst aspect was the editing, chopping 275,000 words down to 225,000. Iverson also said she enjoyed interviewing people as disparate as Pam Baxter and RuPaul — and especially her mentor at Harper’s Bazaar, the late Liz Tilberis, to whom the book is dedicated.
FRIENDS, INDEED: Patricia Field rounded up a few hundred friends at Carnival to lend a helping hand to the model-turned-designer Larissa. The Russian-born dark-haired beauty was Thierry Mugler’s muse and a regular at Andy Warhol’s Factory, but recent days have been less glamorous, so Field stepped in. “The easy thing for me to do would have been to write a check. But I wanted to do something that would give Larissa a boost,” Field said. “You know those rockets they launch at asteroids to keep them from hitting stars? That’s what I’m doing. I want to set Larissa on another path.”
Others in the crowd included Marc Balet, Roxanne Lowit, Torkil Gudnason, Perry Ellis’ daughter Tyler, Lars Nilsson, Roland Nivelais, Rados Protic, Amanda Lepore and Mickey Boardman. Many marveled at the images of Larissa’s modeling days that flashed on a movie screen. Looking pleased as punch to see so many familiar faces, she greeted friends — old and new — while seated in a velvet thronelike armchair.
Another downtown regular, Jerry Joseph, was talking up Akvinta vodka, which is triple distilled and made from organic Italian wheat. No longer involved with his well-known diner, Jerry’s, Joseph has been busy selling the Croatian-made libation. Field also has a few new pursuits, namely traveling to Asia to consult with film and TV outlets there. “It’s no longer about countries — the United States, Russia or anywhere else. I have always been global, but now I am really embracing it,” she said. “It’s about where is the money, what’s going on and what do they need?”