SPARKLING COCKTAIL: On Saturday night, Paris’ cultural set was perusing through the personal jewelry collection of Pharrell Williams — at a book signing of the monograph dedicated to his custom-made jewels at cocktail bar Cravan.
“Pharrell: Carbon, Pressure & Time: A Book of Jewels,” scheduled to be published by Rizzoli New York on Tuesday, is dedicated to what the musician and creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton once described as “a costly habit” of his.
Among the eclectic crowd who feted the musician and creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton were Ambush designer Yoon Ahn; New York-based English musician Dev Hynes; Olympic, World and European fencing champion Enzo Lefort; Sarah Andelman, the former buying director at Colette and founder of consultancy Just an Idea, and French chef Jean Imbert.
Cocktail hour was ideal timing for a flying visit, said Imbert, who confessed he hadn’t been able to resist dashing over even as the dinner service at the Plaza Athénée was about to start.
Some arrived bright and early to lock down a good spot before Williams arrived. “I feel like I’m just going to hand him my résumé or something,” gushed one guest, clutching their new acquisition to their chest.
Others rolled up in style, like Instagram’s EMEA head of strategic partnerships Clara Cornet, who arrived standing in the cargo box of a bicycle ridden by husband Luca Pronzato, founder of creative culinary studio We Are Ona.
The new book was certainly shaping up to be a must-read, with copies rung up at a brisk pace as the “Happy“ hitmaker was given a tour of the establishment by founder Franck Audoux.
“I just can’t wait to dive into it,” gushed 3.Paradis designer Emeric Tchatchoua, who slipped in under the 8 p.m. wire to get his hands on a copy of the freshly released tome.
As guests waited for Williams to ready his Sharpie, chatter buzzed around the 100-plus custom pieces featured throughout the book, ranging from bejeweled “unauthorized” Casio G-Shock watches and gem-encrusted N.E.R.D. Brain pendants by Jacob & Co. to William’s early collaboration with Louis Vuitton from 2008.
“I had no idea that [jewelry] was so important to him,” said Études cofounder Aurélien Arbet, leafing through the 216-page tome with creative partner Jérémie Egry. “It was a real discovery and you understand the look.”
It is “the first monograph of a connoisseur of the [hip-hop jewelry] space, on an individual creator within [it]” and set a new bar for the genre, said Rizzoli’s Ian Luna, who serves as editor for the book.
“Like everything else that he’s done, you know, [Williams] has innovated within this fashion space,” he continued, naming “Cuban links with diamonds, the use of color on pendants, the use of both natural and engineered diamonds to create color and texture” as examples.
The tome also includes conversations with the likes of Kenzo creative director Nigo; rapper Tyler, the Creator; Ahn and partner Verbal of Japanese label Ambush; jewelers Lorraine Schwartz and Jacob Arabo as well as Tiffany & Co. executive vice president, product and communications Alexandre Arnault.
“[Williams] popularized some very important forms of [hip-hop] jewelry that are now in the high jewelry collection of big luxury houses,” continued the editor and author, who also curated the Rizzoli book selection sold at Cravan.
The evening also served to inaugurate the Rizzoli outpost and mark its position as a cultural hot spot. “Since Colette closed, there hadn’t been a place for the kind of fashion-forward, very youthful books [offered in the selection],” Luna said. “Pharrell [Williams] being the principal event for the opening of our bookstore keys in with this philosophy.” — Lily Templeton
PARIS PROJECT: Calvin Klein is ready to make a big splash in Paris. The company will open a new store at 44 Avenue des Champs-Élysées in 2024, although details were sparse.
A company spokesperson would only confirm that Calvin Klein was working on a store that will open in 2024, but declined to reveal any details. The storefront under construction in Paris has signage with the black-and-white Calvin Klein logo and large-scale images of Kendall Jenner in the windows wearing Calvin Klein Sportswear, a hint at what just might eventually be carried inside.
Calvin Klein’s fall campaign, shot by Inez and Vinoodh, features Jenner wearing Calvin Klein womenswear, whereas recent campaigns have been solely focused on Calvin Klein Jeans and Underwear. The Calvin Klein womenswear is produced in-house.
Calvin Klein has stores in Paris, but it couldn’t be learned at press time how many were operating there now. In 2020, Calvin Klein opened a store at 42 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, featuring several of its collections such as Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein Underwear.
As reported, PVH Corp., parent company of Calvin Klein, has moved to take full control of its North American wholesale business, phasing out a series of licensing deals with G-IIII Apparel Group and bringing the Calvin Klein business in-house. The licensing deals with Calvin Klein have staggered expirations from 2025 through 2027.
Stefan Larsson, chief executive officer of PVH, said last month that the work is ongoing to bring both its Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein women’s wholesale businesses in-house.
“We are in a very good place with our multiyear take-back plan and activities. We have already secured the products, we have secured the pricing, the relationships with the wholesale partners where we cocreate the path forward,” Larsson said. — Lisa Lockwood
CLIQUE IN RESIDENCE: An intimate dinner at the storied Il Baretto al Baglioni location in Milan celebrated the collaboration between Gigi Hadid’s cashmere brand Guest in Residence and LuisaViaRoma on Thursday.
The event saw the model and entrepreneur’s fashion inner circle in attendance, including the likes of Moncler chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini; Vogue’s global creative and cultural adviser Edward Enninful; makeup artist Pat McGrath; models Toni Garrn, Ashley Graham and Bianca Balti, in addition to LuisaViaRoma’s president Andrea Panconesi and Style Capital founding partner and CEO Roberta Benaglia.
“On behalf of myself and the Guest in Residence team I just wanted to thank the whole LuisaViaRoma team for being such wonderful people to work with, such a great, exciting partner for us,” Hadid said while raising the glass for a toast.
“It’s so nice to celebrate here in Milan. Well, Milan has given me so much in my career and so many of you in this room have, so it just means a lot to me for you all to be here,” she said, before getting emotional and wrapping up her speech.
Seated next to her, Ruffini quickly intervened in her help. “For me, Guest in Residence is one of the best upcoming brands,” he said, recalling how he’s known Hadid since the beginning of her modeling career.
Encompassing extra-fine rib knit cardigans with fluid bell sleeves, cashmere bandeau tops and midi skirts priced between 155 euros and 530 euros, the range of exclusive styles dropped just few hours before the event at the retailer’s flagship in Florence and online, alongside the label’s main fall 2023 collection.
As reported, to further mark the launch, the LuisaViaRoma Florentine store will dedicate to the tie-up two installations — one this month and one to be staged in November — as well as multiple activations off- and online.
Founder and creative director of the brand, Hadid officially launched the fashion label in September last year, after having teased the project on social media with behind-the-scenes images of the design process, which sparked instant internet buzz at the time.
Earlier this year, Guest in Residence released an exclusive co-branded capsule with The Snow Lodge, the sister property of The Surf Lodge, located at the St. Regis in Aspen. It consisted of three 100 percent cashmere styles, including an oversize hoodie and true crew, and boasted a co-branded logo.
While this is Hadid’s first clothing brand, she has been in the fashion world virtually her whole life, starting her modeling career as a toddler, when she appeared in a campaign at the age of two. She ultimately signed with IMG in 2011 and made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2014. Ever since, she has become one of today’s biggest models, working with all the major design houses and fronting advertising campaigns for brands of the likes of Miu Miu, Versace, Jacquemus, Hugo Boss and Self-Portrait, to name a few.
Hadid made a foray into design by collaborating with brands including Frankies Bikinis, Reebok, Stuart Weitzman and Tommy Hilfiger. In particular, her tie-up with Hilfiger marked the first time a celebrity codesigned a collection and shared the label with the American designer. — Sandra Salibian
SUCCESSFUL NIGHT: The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation’s fundraising gala raised a record number of funds on Thursday night at The Beverly Hills Hotel. (The organization was unable to disclose the amount by press time, when reached for the sum.)
The news was shared on stage by Christine Chiu, co-chair alongside Elizabeth Taylor’s goddaughter and ETAF ambassador Paris Jackson.
“I am thrilled to announce that this year’s ball is the most successful gala hosted by The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in its history,” said Chiu, before sharing a series of thank yous — including to Earvin “Magic” Johnson and wife Cookie.
The couple was honored for their work in HIV and AIDS awareness. The NBA star announced his HIV diagnosis to the world in 1991, the same year Taylor established the foundation. Barack Obama, MIA at the dinner, had a message for Johnson. The note was read by Courtney B. Vance, the evening’s cohost with wife Angela Bassett.
“As much as I love Magic today, it didn’t start out that way,” the former president wrote. “As a young man, I remember watching Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the 1980 NBA finals. I was a Sixers fan at the time, and I wasn’t too thrilled watching a rookie end my team’s season. But it wasn’t long before Magic won me over, like he did so many other people, with his combination of unmistakable talent and undeniable charm. And then came 1991. All these years later, it’s hard to explain to young people just how big a deal Magic’s announcement was. At the time, a lot of people didn’t understand HIV and AIDs. We didn’t know if Magic would survive, let along play basketball again. But as the saying goes, adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. And Magic’s pragmatic, optimistic approach to his diagnosis ended up changing the way the world saw the disease.”
Johnson, alongside Cookie, told the crowd: “God is so good. What a true blessing it is to be here tonight, to receive an award from the woman who Cookie and I cherish and worked so hard with to change the face of the disease, to bring awareness, to raise money, to care for people who were living with HIV and AIDS, to provide housing for them, and last but not least, to stop discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.”
Turning to Cookie, he said: “32 years ago, no way I would have made it without you.”
For her part, Cookie told the audience, “Elizabeth meant so much to us. She was one of the first to stand up for the disease. Despite the ridicule she got for it, she just kept pledging ahead and look at what it has done.”
While there has been scientific progress treating and preventing HIV, Bassett said, there is still “stigma, discrimination, criminalization and profound inequities” faced by those living with the virus.
“Over the more than 27 million people living with HIV global, over 10 million still lack access to life-saving medicine,” she added.
Bulgari returned as diamond sponsor for the fundraiser, now in its fourth year, joining presenting sponsor and biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. Attendees included Samuel L. Jackson, Dr. Gabriel Chiu, Jennifer Tilly, Wallis Annenberg and Kathy and Richard Hilton. Guests bid on an auction presented by Christie’s, with Jackson taking home a portrait of Johnson by Herb Ritts for $20,000.
A performance followed by “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight, bringing everyone to their feet. The Johnsons were the first on the dance floor, slow dancing to “The Best Thing That Ever Happened.”
Knight pointed to the couple, as Johnson blew her a kiss.
“Oh, I like that for y’all,” she said. — Ryma Chikhoune
TEAMING UP: Lifestyle label Sporty & Rich is partnering with the legendary Le Bristol on a capsule collection geared toward the hotel’s chic clientele.
The co-branded clutch of travel essentials includes pajamas and loungewear, as well as upscale athletic basics with a focus on fabrics such as velour track suits and coordinated cashmere sweatpant and crew-neck sweater sets. Accessories include totes and baseball caps.
“We just always want to work with brands that I like and use and know and admire, and Le Bristol is definitely one of those brands,” said founder Emily Oberg. The collaboration strategy has proved to be a successful brand builder for Oberg, who has partnered with the likes of Adidas, Clarks and Lacoste, among many others, but it’s a first for the hotel.
Oberg first fell in love with the hotel during many trips to Paris. She’s now prepping for a more permanent place in the French capital, where the marjority of her 30-person team is based.
“We’re at a really interesting point in the company and I want to be around for that more. Being on the other side of the world is not really working anymore, so I think it’s time.”
The main markets for the brand are the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea. “The Korean market loves us, so we really have accelerated that a lot,” she said. The brand is now in three stores there through a joint venture.
Even though her team is based in France, it is not a big market for the brand, and outside of Le Bristol, she has no immediate plans to open in the capital. Instead she’s eyeing Dubai and London for new store locations.
That international expansion will follow the opening of the New York flagship in July, which has blown past sales targets, she said.
“It has been way more than we imagined and expected,” she said. “I was a bit nervous because retail is always a pretty big risk, especially when we’re self funded. Financially, it’s a huge risk. It’s proven that people want it and there’s a demand, so I think we would probably look at expanding next year.”
The New York flagship reached $4 million in sales in its first three months, well above the projected $2.5 million, Oberg said. The company racked up $30 million in sales last year worldwide.
The store strategy will be a pillar with its just-launched skin care products. The minimalist product line also comes with gut reset guides and protocols developed with her naturopath. “I definitely do not think any products can change anyone’s skin. I think that’s very gimmicky — it’s food and nutrition and lifestyle first,” she said. And probably a good night’s sleep.
While the collection will debut with a fashion week party at Le Bristol, Oberg has never been to a show and will skip the front row this time around, too. “I’m really not like in the fashion world at all, which is weird because I have a brand, but I’ve just never been interested to be honest,” she said.
Following the Le Bristol launch, the collection will be available at Le Bristol’s boutique, which will morph into a Sporty & Rich pop-up, and online from Sept. 27. — Rhonda Richford