MILAN — Fear of flying or simply of looking insensitive to tragedy have purged the fashion show front rows of their usual celebrity inhabitants. Neither local socialites nor publicity hogs like Courtney Love have haunted the week's presentations. Then came J. Lo. Newlyweds singer Jennifer Lopez and husband Cris Judd attended the Versace show Tuesday night. Holding hands, stepping in unison and both dressed in white, they practically did the wedding march to their seats, ushered by paparazzi. Best friend Donatella Versace staged an elaborate wedding party celebration after the show at Versace's Lake Como estate, Villa Fontanelle.
Italian newspapers were filled with photos and other details of the celebration that included a 15-course dinner for 150 "friends" (mostly fashion journalists), a transparent dance floor and tent that allowed a clear view of the lake and a yard-wide wedding cake that was to be floated to the ceremony by boat. Versace, quoted in the daily newspaper La Repubblica, called the party "my gift to a true friend." Lopez was married over the weekend in Calabasas wearing a Valentino wedding dress.
Armani's Monuments to His Design Empire
Other designers his age are eyeing fat buyout deals, but Giorgio Armani has been busy building monuments to his empire. Last year at this time, he opened the first all-Armani superstore and named it for its address, Via Manzoni, 31. One of his new housewares concept shops, Casa Armani, is to open on L.A.'s Robertson Boulevard any day now. And with his spring 2002 show on Monday, the international fashion corps inspected Armani/Teatro, a new multifunction complex for fashion and the arts. Designed by architect Tadao Ando, the building will house La Scala's new conservatory, photo and film studios and the designer's new worldwide sales headquarters. The concrete-walled fortress is filled with natural light and bordered by a Modernist reflecting pond--yards of stone covered with an inch of water.
The place also is an art gallery. In a light-filled, spacious room, Armani posted photos and giant blowups of photographer Peter Lindbergh in the process of shooting the 2002 Pirelli calendar. The designer gave him lots of Armani clothes, which are featured exclusively. Lindbergh clicked away at a dozen up-and-coming Hollywood actresses, such as Julia Stiles, Erica Christensen, Monet Mazur and Kiera Chaplin.
A Make-Over for Leather Goods House
Like many 35-year-olds, Bottega Veneta has come through an identity crisis and found happiness in a new relationship. After the Gucci Group acquired the Italian luxury leather goods house in February, it was make-over time. Gucci abandoned the company's short-lived expansion into ready-to-wear, and four months later hired Thomas Maier as creative director. He was given one month to restore the house and chart a new course in luxury handbags, shoes and small leather goods. The results are quite good. Using variations on the company's trademark of woven leather ribbons, Maier fashioned soft, unstructured totes, evening bags and even shoes that project a stealthy sort of richness. Straw bags, coated canvas and leather luggage, and even a few hot pink crocodile pieces hint at the new pulse of fashion now beating in Bottega Veneta's heart.