HITTING MIAMI: Looks like Balenciaga will be opening in more places than Asia during the next year or two. The Parisian fashion house just inked a lease at Bal Harbour Shops, where it joins other Gucci Group brands YSL, Bottega Veneta and Sergio Rossi. Balenciaga takes possession of its nearly 1,400-square-foot space on the first floor between Fendi and Tod’s in June, according to Matthew Whitman Lazenby, general partner and director of leasing for the center. Calling it an exciting brand that continues to evolve, he reports the partnership has been a long time in the making. “We have a great relationship with Gucci Group and started these conversations even when Balenciaga was just emerging again,” said Lazenby.
HOMECOMING: After taking over every square inch of the vast Grand Palais in Paris for its spring ready-to-wear show earlier this month, Chanel is reverting to more intimate environs for pre-fall. On Dec. 7, the French house plans to show its latest métiers d’arts collection — a luxury rtw line made with the specialty ateliers Chanel owns — where it all started back in 2002: at its Rue Cambon couture salons.
FOR THE DOGS: Pet lover Vanessa Getty pulls out all the stops when it comes to raising money for her charity supporting a free mobile spay-and-neuter pet clinic in the San Francisco Bay area. On Thursday she threw a party for her pet project, with the help of designer Ralph Lauren’s fall 2010 collection — and brother-in-law Peter Getty, who opened his beautifully appointed late-19th-century Italianate Victorian to the cause. Friends listened to San Francisco Symphony principal pianist Robin Sutherland play — and shopped. “It’s very Ralph in here. It all fits,” Vanessa Getty said to guests, remarking on how well the designer’s clothes meshed with the mansion’s decor, while reminding everyone that 15 percent of sales would go to the pet clinic, operated by the Peninsula Humane Society. Getty — whose family has four rescue cats, including one brought home this summer from a vacation in Hawaii — said she handpicked the fashions to reflect the chic but casual lifestyle of San Franciscans. Swooping in early to make a purchase was Christine Suppes, who picked up a beaded and sequined black silk-georgette cocktail slip dress with tulle overlay from Lauren’s runway collection to wear that night at a donors’ party at the city’s Palace of the Legion of Honor museum.
MANGO NIGHT: Jean Paul Gaultier took the gold — the “Gold Button,” that is — honoring his fashion career at the El Botón-Mango Fashion Awards, held in Barcelona’s National Museum of Catalan Art. Gaultier called the awards “a great opportunity for young designers. Apart from the economic generosity, the chance to produce a collection for a brand like Mango will open so many doors. If such an award had been around when I first began, I would have presented myself as a candidate,” he concluded. Beating out nine other finalists, the winner of Mango’s third international newcomer competition was Belgian designer Lena Lumelsky. Prize winnings totaled 300,000 euros, or $418,000. “I’m going to stay in Antwerp,” she said, “but thanks to this award, I can fulfill my dream, which is to show one day in Paris.”
In the crowd was Mango’s fall ad face Scarlett Johansson, who said she is collaborating with the Barcelona retailer on a handbag line. And as for the future, “Maybe I’ll have a family in 10 years or so, who knows. I live in the present.”
DESIGN DUO: Ally Hilfiger, who has styled Nary Manivong’s collection for the past two seasons, is teaming up with him to design a brand-new line called Nahm. “It’s all shirtdresses of different fabrics, lengths and cuts,” said Hilfiger. Hilfiger and Manivong plan to introduce the line for fall 2011 and manufacture it entirely in New York, where they are based. Manivong had previously produced his own collection for five seasons. The Laotian-American designer was nominated for a Rising Star Women’s Ready-to-Wear Award in 2009 and 2010 and starred in the 2009 documentary “Dressed,” which chronicled his story from homelessness in Columbus, Ohio, to the runway.
BUFFING UP: There was plenty of eye candy at Sotheby’s Monday night when the New York Academy of Art hosted its 19th annual Take Home a Nude benefit auction, this year co-sponsored by Chanel and Baccarat and honoring artist Eric Fischl. Multiple galleries were set up on the seventh floor teeming with silent-auction lots — featuring various interpretations of the evening’s theme — that had Eileen Guggenheim, Maureen Chiquet, Dalia Oberlander, Samantha and Aby Rosen, Jamie Tisch and Hana Soukupova making the rounds during cocktails.
A five-months-pregnant Gretchen Mol admitted to not being terribly shy about posing in the buff, even in her current state.
“Will Cotton did some photographs of me towards the end of my [first] pregnancy for his own collection and gave me a print,” she said, adding that she had no idea of the current provenance of said works. “If you trust the artist, it can’t be that damaging.”
A less free-spirited Padma Lakshmi had an entire wall of one gallery devoted to portraits of her from a recent sitting she did for 15 artists — clothed.
“I felt more comfortable in what I was wearing,” she said simply of abstaining from going completely bare (Lakshmi wore a champagne Collette Dinnigan slip). “I found it very meditative. I was most worried about moving.”
And there was a live auction of works by the likes of John Currin and Donald Baechler, followed by dinner.
SLAVS TO FASHION: French couturier Stéphane Rolland will be the guest designer at TOP Ukraine’s annual Le Grand Fashion Show, to be held in Kiev today. The designer has tapped a number of top models to walk in the show, including Karolina Kurkova who will open the 37-look fall-winter couture collection. Wearing the bridal dress will be Ukrainian born Snejana Onopka. A spokeswoman for Rolland said actors Robert De Niro and Jean-Claude Van Damme are awaited. Founded by Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Onishchenko, TOP Ukraine is an organization that aims to promote the Ukraine internationally.