C'EST SI BON: If there's one woman who can jump-start the heart of an old institution, it's Eartha Kitt. The former Catwoman performed a short cabaret act Tuesday evening to inaugurate the newly renovated Café Carlyle in Manhattan, purring her audience, which included Elaine Stritch, Regis and Joy Philbin and Joan Rivers, into submission. She kicked off her steamy set by staring down and seducing a man in the front row and it just got hotter from there. Wearing a red velvet gown with a dangerously high slit on the leg, Kitt bumped, ground and gently thrusted her way through hits like "C'est Si Bon," "I Wanna Be Evil," and "Where Is My Man?" The 80-year-old then tested some guests' Spanish-language skills and even offered unsolicited beauty advice to female guests feasting on their crème brûlée. "No more sugar," she snapped, following it with a raspy laugh.
CALIFORNIA COOL: South Coast Plaza, in Costa Mesa, Calif., offered two starkly different models of cool on Tuesday night when Justin Timberlake and Gucci hosted separate soirées. At Nordstrom, Timberlake and his design partner, Trace Ayala, greeted fans of their premium denim brand, William Rast. Jennifer Schroeder, a 29-year-old account executive from Irvine, Calif., acknowledged that celebrity trumped fashion when it came to her interest in the Los Angeles-based label. Still, she bought two pairs of jeans because "they sit pretty low, they have a good form on the leg and they fit a bigger butt girl," she said. Ayala and Timberlake said the focus on the backside was deliberate. "Most other brands will have one fit model," Ayala said. Timberlake added: "We actually did the opposite. We tried the jean on 10 different asses — all female."