DOWN THE AISLE: Move over, Oprah. Martha Stewart is good for the occasional freebie too. After catching a fashion show of wedding dresses presented by the new e-commerce site The Aisle, 180 guests at last Tuesday’s “Martha Stewart Show” were given $100 gift certificates for the members-only site and $72 Rachel Leigh Gatsby-inspired earrings. David Yassky, one of The Aisle’s co-founders, wound up chatting on-air with the talk show maven, thanks to Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings. The rest of his crew — Shara Levy, Mark Ingram and Deborah Moses — was planted in the audience for moral support. Stewart’s fans got a sneak peek of Isaac Mizrahi’s capsule collection, as well as gowns from Amsale, Elizabeth Fillmore, Angel Sanchez and Lela Rose. Eyeing the abbreviated overskirt on Mizrahi’s peplum dress, Stewart couldn’t resist mentioning how it would provide great coverage for a shotgun wedding.
FASHION FUND-RAISER: The Council of Fashion Designers of America is planning an online fund-raiser to help Japan’s disaster victims. On Tuesday afternoon, executive director Steven Kolb sent out a letter on behalf of the CFDA, notifying its members of plans for “Fashion & Friends for Japan” including several online auctions on Charitybuzz.com. In the letter, Kolb asked designers to donate “at least one or two packages to the auction. We are looking to maximize the amount we can raise without overstressing your organization, and so are looking only for very special experiences or over-the-top, one-of-a-kind items for the auction.” The auction process is scheduled to kick off on April 5, and sales will benefit the Japan Society, which will forward the money to organizations directly involved in Japan’s recovery.
BIRTHDAY: Armani Exchange is turning 20 this year and it’s time to celebrate. Giorgio Armani will mark the anniversary with seasonal capsule collections, a series of events around the globe, a commemorative brand on its logo, and the launch of A|X Stylepad, an interactive create-your-own app that launches today. IPhone and iPad users will be able to design their own A|X pages by selecting a background, casting a model from supplied images and writing a personalized message over the image to share with friends on social networks. A|X Stylepad will be housed on the A|X Mobile site and will provide a preview of the limited edition product, exclusive video and access to the A|X Life section for events, trends, music and brand news. A|X, which is targeted to young men and women with an urban sensibility, currently operates 201 freestanding stores in 24 countries.
SHOUT OUT TO MOM: Mothers from all walks of life will be honored May 5 at the 33rd Outstanding Mother Awards luncheon at The Pierre hotel. Susan Sarandon; Donna Karan; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.); Joyce Armeli, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., and Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour, will be recognized. Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN Inc., will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event. Proceeds will benefit Save the Children’s U.S. Programs, which are dedicated to making positive changes in the lives of children living in poverty.
HAPPY FAMILIES: “They’re like wedding bands,” said a cheeky Tomas Maier, as he and his chief executive officer, Marco Bizzarri, showed off their matching Bottega Veneta watches during a dinner in Mayfair Monday night. The hardworking pair was celebrating the refurbishment of Bottega’s Sloane Street store with a dinner at Mark’s Club hosted by Elizabeth Saltzman, with guests including Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle Macpherson, Carmen Busquets, Tamara Beckwith, Amy Sacco, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Matthew Slotover. But Maier — a perfectionist down to his Bottega boots — couldn’t really relax because there was still so much work to be done. The Bond Street store, he said, has no dressing room, and clients need to try on their Bottega duds. “It’s like having children — the work never ends,” he said. After a quick trip to London, where he whipped through the art galleries of Pimlico and Mayfair, Maier was headed to Munich and later Berlin “to see my fellow Germans” and to inaugurate new stores in those cities.
WISE WU: Attention royal wedding dress designer, whoever you are: Jason Wu has some wisdom on offer. Over tea and cakes in London on Tuesday, Wu, who designed Michelle Obama’s inaugural ballgown, was thinking about Kate Middleton’s wedding dress — and the future of its mystery designer. “You become a global brand overnight. People outside of fashion know your name, and they get excited about fashion,” he said, adding that the pitfalls of fame are many. “I could have been a reality star, a TV personality, a spokesperson for this or that. There were book and movie proposals. They wanted to make me into a ‘personality.’ It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind,” said Wu, who is on a flash trip to London this week to visit retailers and private clients. His advice to the chosen one? “Embrace the moment of attention, but be prepared to make your next step. Your career is not just about one experience, one hit show. You have to figure out what your next acts are going to be.”
STEPPING UP: Following in the footsteps of Oscar de la Renta, Anna Sui, Estée Lauder, Judith Leiber, Cynthia Rowley, Michael Weiss, Ralph Rucci and Linda Allard, Leonardo Ferragamo will be inducted into Kent State University’s Fashion School Hall of Fame. He will also receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the university. The special ceremony will take place April 7 on the Kent, Ohio, campus.
Ferragamo is the chief executive officer of Palazzo Feroni Finanziaria SpA, a holding company for Salvatore Ferragamo of Florence. In addition to being a driving force in organizing and supporting fashion trade in Florence, Ferragamo was selected for his leadership in preserving Florentine culture and arts in the Italian city, where Kent State has a program. His major support to Kent State’s Florence campus, Palazzo dei Cerchi, affords enriching, internationally based opportunities for both fashion and communication majors studying abroad in Florence, according to the school.
BACK AT IT: Fueled in part by the plethora of fur on designer runways around the globe, Fur Market Week will be making a comeback June 13 to 17 in Manhattan. The Greater Fur New York Association (Fur New York) is spearheading the week of special events and seminars. Following in the footsteps of Dennis Basso and Neiman Marcus’ Terry Thornton, among others, Hal Dittrich, of Dittrich Furs in Detroit, will be honored June 14 at Fur New York’s Person of the Year dinner. The Fur Information Council of America will hold its annual board of directors meeting during market week.
TWINKLE, TWINKLE: Drag queens tend to sparkle a bit, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Swarovski Elements play a key supporting role in the Broadway musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” Costume designer Tim Chappel turned to the Austrian company to supply crystals to cover 62 shimmering costumes for the show’s flamboyant, bewigged leads. Each outfit is affixed with 200 to 300 crystals, while a show-stopping giant shoe is encrusted with 2,500 of the glimmering pieces. “The range of colors and textures allows you to create a wide variety of moods, from the heights of giddy ecstasy to dark and delicious poison,” said Chappel of the crystal adornments.
JOLLY ROGERS: Jack Rogers has Nicole Miller sporting a new look. “I don’t wear flats — ever. They make me shorter and they’re ugly. But I just bought my very first pair, a gold wedge. I’m going to St. Barth’s next week,” said Miller at the Jack Rogers store opening party on Madison Avenue near 87th Street Tuesday night, where about 150 people filed through the 1,240-square-foot space. The event drew a slew of socials long known for sporting Jack Rogers and friends of creative director Lauren DuPont, including Celerie Kemble, Jennifer Creel, Bettina Zilkha, Jamee Gregory, Jamie Tisch and Renee Rockefeller.