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Dior's London Jaunt...Miuccia Honored in Milan...Art Basel's Under Way

Christian Dior opened its new 2,690-square-foot London boutique on Bond Street last week and celebrated Thursday night.

DIOR’S LONDON JAUNT: Christian Dior opened its new 2,690-square-foot London boutique on Bond Street last week and celebrated Thursday night with a buzzy party in the space followed by a dinner at Claridge’s hotel.

Stella Tennant, Lily Donaldson, Eddie Redmayne, Matthew Goode, Kelly Brook and Chloe and Cara Delevigne were among the guests who sipped Champagne at the store, which has been done in soft grays and white to evoke a French apartment. Actress Jaime Winstone spun a mix of Blondie and Beyoncé as a soundtrack to the revelry.

At Claridge’s, the underwater-themed John Galliano for Dior tree was on display in the lobby. “I think it’s the most avant-garde and surreal Christmas tree there is,” said Michael Howells, who designs sets for Galliano and helped with the magical tree, which is designed to look like glittering coral and is decked with silver fish and pink sea horses. “John said he wanted something from another world, and under water is another world,” noted Howells.

Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture, said the U.K. has been an important region to Dior “for many years,” noting that the house had dressed Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Windsor and Princess Margaret. “London has always had a lot of clients appreciating couture,” said Toledano, adding that the boutique will appeal to London’s international residents, who are attracted to the “energy and success of the city,” alongside tourists and local clients.


MILAN’S FAVORITE DAUGHTER: Miuccia Prada
was all smiles last week as she arrived at Milan’s Manzoni theater to receive the prestigious Carlo Porta award for her contributions to the city. “I’ve been Milanese for two generations — I work for my city,” she said, adding that she felt “honored” for being the first designer to get the Porta statuette.

The theater, which was one of the only open show venues in the city because of a general strike of the entertainment industry, was filled with locals who could truly appreciate the song (in Milanese dialect) and dance numbers that peppered the evening. Indeed, Prada was summoned onstage with a tune from the Thirties called “Signorina Grandi Firme,” which translates roughly to “Miss à la Mode,” sung by an a cappella quartet. Accompanied by husband Patrizio Bertelli, Prada wore a navy blue double-breasted coat, silver patent-leather platform sandals and a pair of elegant purple crystal chandelier earrings.

MIAMI DESIGN: With Art Basel Miami Beach under way this week, ’tis the season to drum up buzz for forthcoming local projects. One such new development is NE40th, a mixed-use retail space described by Asi Cymbal, of Cymbal Development, as “a curated collection of about 40 shops, bookstores, cafes, and restaurants that will also incorporate art.”

The 140,000-square-foot project (41,000 square feet of leasable space) will be designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten. The site is located along NE 40th Street in Miami’s Design District, which has become a hotbed of fashionable real estate since high-end furniture firms and restaurants claimed the neighborhood and luxury retailers followed. In the last three years, Marni, Tomas Maier, Christian Louboutin and Maison Martin Margiela have signed leases there. Miami’s OhWow Gallery was the only tenant Cymbal could confirm, but he emphasized bringing an edgier design focus to the project.

Ground will break early next year, with completion expected in 2012. Meanwhile, Cymbal and his partners are bringing an artistic element to the space. During Art Basel, OhWow will host its group exhibition on the site.

CLOSET CASE: Want that obscure object of desire before everyone else has it? Closetista.com is an HSN for emerging designers that makes its debut Monday.

Since the site caters to those who like to be ahead of the trends, limited quantities of select items will be available before the season, so customers can wear spring 2011 while it’s still fall 2010. Prices will range from $15 for earrings to $650 for coats, but most items run about $200, said founder and president Michael LaRocque, who also created accessories photo-sharing service TweetMyStyle. Married to fashion editor Jenny Feldman, he became interested in fashion while creating interactive video for start-ups such as music site Jango.com.

Ten percent of the revenue from the first week’s sales will go to charities The Smile Train, MS Society and Dress for Success. Hosts include co-star of MTV’s “Laguna Beach” Morgan Olsen, former Loeffler Randall staffer Brooke Sirianni and actress-journalist Eboni Booth.