Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Glamorissimo Armani!

A belated update on last week's Armani dinner - there was major buzz at the Museum of Modern Art, where Armani staged his couture collection.
Two looks from the Armani couture show. The gown on the right would look fantastic on Cate Blanchett on Oscar night (photos: Marcio Madeira/

Though the invitation was for 8 p.m., the Italian designer had planned to broadcast the collection live on the Internet an hour later. We whiled away the time drinking champagne surrounded by samples of Armani's new skincare line, Crema Nera, which comes with an obsidian stone extracted from the island of Pantelleria. Do I believe that massaging a cream into my face using a piece of petrified lava will make it worker better? No. Did I do it anyway? Yes. The stone, incidentally, is great for massaging your forehead when you have sinus headaches, like I do. Anyway, I digress. Guests at the show included New York socialites like Tinsley Mortimer and French actress Natacha Régnier (who saw my friend Kerstin and I looking at her, gave us a big smile and said hi) and her boyfriend Bruno Ghiomà (who gave my friend a cheeky smile). With some 600 guests, this was Armani's biggest show in Paris since he started doing couture two years ago. With me sitting in the entrance and Kerstin right opposite the celebrity section, we were texting franctically in the run-up to the show. Katie Holmes and her green sari? So-so. Cate Blanchett sweeping in wearing a black skirt suit? WOW.
Cate Blanchett and Katie Holmes; Natacha Régnier and Bruno Ghiomà (photos: Stefano Guindani/

With all that going on, it was hard to concentrate on the clothes, inspired by India's maharajahs but given a classic Armani touch with minimalist cut and neutral colors. After the show, I asked Cate Blanchett if she was wearing Armani to the Oscars (she is nominated for best supporting actress). She told me she hadn't decided yet, though she pronounced the show "extraordinary". But word is she had her fitting earlier that afternoon, after jetting in from New Orleans (where she is filming with Brad Pitt) on Armani's private plane. She showed up at the SAG awards later that week wearing an Armani gown that many said was the dress of the evening.
Cate Blanchett in Armani at the SAG awards on Sunday (photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

After the show, we repaired to the basement, which had been transformed for the evening into a chic restaurant with mirror-lined walls and rows of white banquettes. When I got to my table, I found Cameron Silver - owner of the vintage boutique Decades in Los Angeles - entertaining a gaggle of blondes, but I decided to go and sit with Kerstin instead. The champagne was flowing, and after several servings of bread rolls (carb alert!) we were served vegetable maki, crab with caviar and a delicious black truffle risotto. We had to force ourselves to skip dessert in order to go back to the office and file our stories.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dita shows for Gaultier

Mystery revealed! Dita Von Teese made her much-anticipated appearance during Paris couture week on the catwalk of Jean Paul Gaultier. The French designer is still thinking about Madonna, but this time it was the Virgin Mary herself.
Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese works the catwalk at Gaultier

After the show, a reporter from French pay-TV channel Canal Plus asked if the tears on Dita's cheek were in mourning for shock rocker Marilyn Manson (the two are getting divorced after less than a year of marriage). Gaultier laughed and said: "Yes, that must be it. She was bleeding a little, there was some blood and some red, but that's what is beautiful about passion, no? It's love and pain at the same time." Of course, Dita has an (indirect) connection to Madonna. Her first name is borrowed from silent movie star Dita Parlo. Does the name ring a bell? Madonna used it as her alter-ego in her book "Sex" some 15 years ago...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Couture hits fever pitch

It was the usual madness today chez Chanel, which really outdid itself on the guest list: Sigourney Weaver, Victoria Beckham, Diane Kruger, Vanessa Paradis, Sofia Coppola, Sean Lennon, Marianne Faithfull, Rachel McAdams, Kate Bosworth, not to mention the usual slew of French actresses, led by Chanel muse Anna Mouglalis. It really felt like a who's who of fashion.
The bride at Chanel passes in front of French first lady Bernadette Chirac (in the pink suit) and brewing heiress Daphne Guinness (far left) (photo: Joelle Diderich)

The clothes were impeccable - I was almost going to say "as usual", except that Karl Lagerfeld has had a few dodgy moments in the last 12 months, at least as far as I am concerned. I loved the dresses with ostrich feathers and the long skirts made from see-through tulle. But my favorite show today, I have to admit, was Givenchy.
Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci created a dramatic atmosphere with stark lighting and set design (photos: Joelle Diderich)

The label's Italian designer Riccardo Tisci has garnered mixed reviews (let's face it, who hasn't at Givenchy? It's like that label is cursed). If I have to agree that his ready-to-wear can be somewhat...puzzling, I loved the last two couture shows. This one was held in a theater warehouse on the outskirts of Paris where water leaked into puddles on a black asphalt catwalk (I hear you crying - PRETENTIOUS!). Well, it worked. The models were working a "French Lieutenant's Woman" vibe in their long dresses paired with military coats or long capes. Then they lingered behind a huge rainsoaked window, circled with mist. The Goth in me LOVED IT! I also got to talk to some great people today - Sean Lennon, who told me he was busy writing songs with Irina Lazareanu, the supermodel and former drummer with troubled rocker Pete Doherty's band Babyshambles.
Irina Lazareanu
Irina Lazareanu looking uncannily like a young Sonia Rykiel in this shot from a Jean Paul Gaultier show

Irina was given a helping hand by Kate Moss and in less than 12 months has become a favorite on the fashion circuit, though I will buck a trend and say her slouchy-shouldered, po-faced pose gets tired pretty quickly. I also chatted to Dita Von Teese, who refused to reveal any details of the secret performance she is due to give in Paris this week. I am hoping it will be at the Armani dinner tomorrow - I am dying to see her act. The nicest interview of the day was with Christian Lacroix, who was humble, witty and fascinating as ever.
A dress from the Christian Lacroix show (left); the designer takes a bow with his catwalk bride, Lily Cole (photos: Joelle Diderich)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dior kicks off Paris couture

Couture week kicked off in sumptuous style with a Japanese-inspired show by John Galliano for Christian Dior.
Two looks from Dior's spring-summer 2007 haute couture show (photos: Joelle Diderich)

Getting to the Dior show is always a hassle. Between the tickets that arrive at the very last minute, the venue (a polo club on the outskirts of Paris with no public transport access) and the obstructive security guards, it is a miracle anyone makes it inside the tent. But once the lights go down, all rancour disperses. Galliano's creativity, coupled with the craftsmanship of his couture staff, combine to make pure magic.
Model Erin O'Connor poses in an elaborately embroidered coat; a creamy chiffon dress with parasol hat (photos: Joelle Diderich)

It's a year of anniversaries for Dior. Galliano this year celebrates 10 years at the helm of the house, which itself commemorates 60 years of existence. To celebrate the event, the house created a set inspired by its historic headquarters on avenue Montaigne. The idea was that the models would amble slowly across the different parts of the set - except that the girls could barely move in their heavy gowns, so that by the middle of the show, they were literally queuing up to pose for photographers. Still, it gave the audience all the more time to admire their outfits.
A model in a kimono-inspired jacket is showered with paper butterflies (photo: Joelle Diderich)

Among the guests was the ever-friendly Diane Kruger, who told me she does not use a stylist except for junkets (and also admitted she slightly rued her choice of dress for the Golden Globes last year). Also attending was the newly single Dita Von Teese, wearing the cutest little black sequin beret. The star quotient is due to rise on Wednesday, with Cate Blanchett and Tina Turner expected at the Armani Prive show. On that subject, I received a invitation today to the Armani dinner after the show and, to utter a classic line, I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ricci choice

Reese Witherspoon proved her fashionista credentials by getting her mitts on the eagerly awaited new Nina Ricci collection ahead of everyone else.
Reese Witherspoon
Witherspoon won plaudits for wearing this daringly-colored creation to the Golden Globes

The brand's new designer, Belgian Olivier Theyskens, this week presented his pre-fall collection - the first under his contract with Nina Ricci - to retailers in New York. The collection was more daywear-oriented than his spectacular creations for Rochas, which earlier this year decided to close down its loss-making ready-to-wear division.
Nina RicciNina Ricci
Some looks from Nina Ricci's pre-fall collection

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Golden Globes stylewatch

Ladies and gentlemen, it's awards ceremony season again (didn't we just get through the last Oscars?) and open season for celebrity trendspotting. And the winner of last night's Golden Globes ceremony is...the goddess gown!
Drew BarrymoreKyra Sedgwick
Drew Barrymore is my personal favorite with this liquid gown by Christian Dior, which perfectly sets off her honey golden tan. Kyra Sedgwick also gets my vote in this beautiful dress by J.Mendel.
Kate WinsletMeryl Streep
Are they auditioning for the biopic of Helen of Troy? Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep, accompanied by her daughter, opt for draped gowns by Azzaro and Carolina Herrera, respectively.
Helen MirrenAngelia Jolie
Variations on the Grecian theme include these dark-hued versions worn by Helen Mirren (in Donna Karan) and Angelina Jolie (in St.John).
Heidi KlumEllen Pompeo
Heidi Klum is the red carpet disaster of the evening with this unflattering tent, err, dress by Givenchy. Is she pregnant again? Ellen Pompeo looks halfway decent in Versace, though I still wish she would eat.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another celebrity perfume - yawn

Even as department stores report flagging sales of celebrity clothing lines like JLo's Sweetface and Nicky Hilton's Chick, cosmetics firms continue to sign up singers, actors and sports personalities for major perfume deals. The latest in line is Christina Aguilera, who has just inked a licensing deal with Procter & Gamble.
Christina Aguilera
A rare shot of Xtina looking classy (photo Carter Smith for Jane magazine)

Celebrity fragrances can be particularly divisive, as you really have to like the personality of the star in order to even approach the fragrance counter and smell their offering. Having witnessed Christina's diva-like behaviour at the fashion shows, I think I'll give this one a miss!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Too cool for school

Is going to rehab turning fashionable? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I spotted this insider's guide to five of the top substance-abuse clinics in W magazine.
Courtney Love
Repeat rehab attendee Courtney Love

Gimme gimme gimme

It's no longer a guy thing. Even the girliest of girls is crazy about gadgets these days, and I am positively salivating over Apple's long-awaited iPhone, unveiled this week but only scheduled to go on sale in June.

A combination telephone and iPod, this little baby has a touch-screen that allows you to make calls, send e-mails, download music and video, take pictures - hell, it probably takes out the garbage for you too! The iPhone will be available in 4 gigabyte and 8 gigabyte models that will retail at $499 and $599 respectively in the United States. While you wait, you can familiarize yourself with the gadget on Apple's website. Creating pent-up demand - now isn't that clever?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chloé channels Mia

These cute little dresses from Chloé's cruise collection really remind me of Mia Farrow in the horror classic Rosemary's Baby!

The brand, which is about to change direction under new designer Paulo Melim Andersson, said its spring-summer collection was inspired by American heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. As a 70s babe, I can only be thrilled that this somewhat forgotten decade is making a comeback.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hilton duds

Not content with the record, the book, the clubs, the perfume and jewelry, Paris Hilton is about to unleash her own clothing line, scheduled to go on sale in the fall.
Paris Hilton

The line will consist of sportswear and lingerie, which will include a leopard print camisole accented with ruffles and pink bows. "Paris was big on the ruffles, we couldn't use enough ruffles and enough pink," Sammy Sitt, president of SBH Intimates (which holds the lingerie licence) helpfully told industry paper Women's Wear Daily. To paraphrase the PETA campaign, I'd rather go naked.

Pretty Clive

Be still my beating heart...Rumor has it that Lancôme has just signed up Britain's most scrumptious actor, Clive Owen, to be the new spokesman for its men's products.
Clive Owen

I have been a major fan of the "Inside Man" star for years. I once had the extreme pleasure of bumping into him as I was entering the Criterion restaurant on Piccadilly Circus. Unfortunately, he was just leaving...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007