A BRIEF AFFAIR: Unlike The Warnaco Group’s tempestuous and glitzy annual meetings at the Four Seasons hotel in the Nineties, Wednesday’s 15-minute meeting at the Warnaco offices and showrooms at 501 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan reflected the cautious optimism of a tough economic environment. Joseph R. Gromek, president and chief executive officer, said he felt bullish about overall Warnaco business this year, which was lifted by its Calvin Klein Underwear, jeanswear and accessories businesses as well as numerous cost-cutting measures. Asked about the status of Speedo-sponsored Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, following Phelps’ drug and alcohol scandals, and most recently his romp with a stripper, Gromek told WWD, “The company still has Phelps under contract, and we’re looking forward to cheering him on at the World Swim Meet in late July.”

This story first appeared in the May 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

COOL HAAN: Cole Haan is getting its groove on. The accessories firm will today present “An Evening with Angel Taylor,” the 21-year-old singer-songwriter hailed as one of the next big names in music. Taylor’s 30-minute acoustic set will take place at Cole Haan’s Columbus Circle location at 7 p.m. The show is open to the public, and all attendees will receive 20 percent off their purchases.


THE GEM PALACE: Gary Barnett’s Extell Development is ready to start construction on its much-awaited International Gem Tower located at 50 West 47th Street. Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be present at the Tuesday ribbon cutting ceremony for the building, which has been both feared and revered by old-school Diamond District vendors. Extell claims the technologically advanced office-cum-condominium tower will unify all aspects of the industry from wholesalers to retailers and designers. Others have lamented the hi-tech complex will tarnish the unique nature of New York’s ironically gritty diamond district.