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Talk Around Town

Originally Posted: November 14, 2007

Jennifer Tuesday

Great, great news for Rachel Roy! Girlfriend is ready to rev up for the big time! Not that there's anything remotely small about her biz but word is out that TSM Capital has acquired a significant stake in Rachel's label. The plan is to further grow the Rachel Roy brand globally with new lines and freestanding Rachel Roy stores in key U.S markets - hopefully the Hamptons where she and hubby Damon Dash play.

Damon Dash and Rachel Roy. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

TSM - which stands for the triumvirate of retail king Marvin Traub, Aslaug Magnusdottir and Mortimer Singer - will be investing in about ten designers in the next few years whom they believe have what it takes to become a major international brand. Her feminine, romantic clothes designed for women like herself have made her a much sought after designer after only three years since launching her own label!

Book buyers seem to be experiencing Donald fatigue. Donald Trump's "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life" dropped off The New York Times best-seller list on Sunday, just two weeks after its debut. It never rose higher than No. 7. Even worse, Think Big sold only 28,000 copies between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4, according to Nielsen Book Scan, which tracks about 70 percent of the market.

The Donald sneers at the numbers telling folks "My brand is hotter than ever!" His boosters agree. Co-author Bill Zanker, who is also president of The Learning Annex, predicts that the book will get back on the list as fans buy copies at Trump's Learning Annex expos for which The Donald gets a seven figure check just for showing up! But a publishing executive at a rival house says of Trump, "He's overexposed."

Now for the ladies. Meryl Streep as Julia Child? Well, if Nora Ephron has her way you'll be seeing Meryl tippling the wine and dropping the roast. Nora is adapting the Julie Powell book "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen." The wickedly funny Ephron will also direct and - hooray! - the movie will be made in NYC in March. Amy Adams is set to play the young Julie.

I don't think I have to remind you that Nora brought us such classic romantic comedies as "Sleepless in Seattle", "When Harry Met Sally", and "Heartburn" as well as such powerful films as "Silkwood". On top of all that, she's had a lot of interesting writer types in her life. The thrice married Ephron whose first husband was writer Dan Greenburg, second to the plate was Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, and now the writer is happily married to writer Nick Pileggi for over 20 years who keeps on keeping on with the most wonderful scripts and scribbles.

Be Kind founder Frances Hayward and Wayne Pacelle, President of The Humane Society of the United States teamed up with producer Russell Simmons to create a series of Public Service Ads to throw the spotlight on the vicious sport called dog-fighting which has landed pro-baller Michael Vick in the hot seat. The trio launched the ads this week in an effort to raise public awareness on this awful situation which is hardly sport.

There was a private screening for the PSA in LA with celebs like Alicia Silverstone, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, Wolfgang Puck, and Nicky Hilton in attendance. You can catch it on their sites www.youtube.com, www.hsus.org, www.bekind.org, and then on television the week before the Michael Vick sentencing on Dec. 10. Their goal is to draw attention to the cruelty of what is now a multi-million dollar business.

Some bad - and sad - news on the local retail scene. Sculptor, potter, and all round handy creative guy, Jonathan Adler has closed his long running East Hampton operation for what appears to be for good. Signs on the door thank friends for their patronage and invite them to visit his new store in Greenwich Village. I haven't been able to get to Jonathan or his main man the irrepressible Simon Doonan to learn why but local buzz is that rents have gone so astronomically high that only the big luxury vendors like Hermes and Gucci can afford to pay big $$$ just to have a Hamptons foothold.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has finally popped the question to his girlfriend of two years, gorgeous British fashion designer Georgina Chapman of Marchesa fame, and she said yes. The Oscar winning producer will exchange vows with his soon to be Mrs. W on Dec. 15 in Westport, CT. Friends say Georgina is responsible for the emergence of a kinder, gentler Weinstein, and for his growing interest in fashion, which led him to acquire the Halston fashion line last year. Insiders remember what a terror he could be in the pre-Georgina era and are thrilled.

Shelter Island hot spot Sunset Beach's Andre Balazs, whose swanky hotels and romantic escapades make for tasty dish, is courting investors to buy half of his hotel portfolio. The hotelier retained brokerage firm Eastdil Secured to sell Hotel QT of New York, and the three Standard Hotels in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Miami. Andre claims to be close to concluding a deal with a buyer, but he wouldn't say whom. As a condition of the sale, Andre Balazs Properties would continue to manage and operate the hotels which command an average nightly room rate of $300 and an 80% occupancy rate.

Balazs is not selling The Mercer in New York, Chateau Marmont (lots of good stories from there!) of Hollywood, The Raleigh in Miami, and Sunset Beach on Shelter Island. In recent years, many major hotel companies, including Starwood Hotel & Resorts and Hilton Hotels, have been selling their real estate while negotiating lucrative property management contracts to continue operating the hotels. More money in running them then owning them these days

The 50-year-old mogul owns ten residential properties and boutique hotels in several cities and is currently developing another Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. That property is not part of the sale, says Balazs, because it has separate investors from the other Standard Hotels.

My Go-to-Guy, whose own latest accessory is dyed blue hair, Marc Jacobs, took home the "Designer of the Year" award at the 11th Annual ACE Awards in New York, one of many people honored by the Accessories Council this year for their achievements in the world of accessories.

Marc, whose shoes and handbags for both his signature collection and his younger Marc by Marc Jacobs brand, are highly sought after items; also designs accessories for one of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world, Louis Vuitton, which he reinvents season after season. His latest collection, shown on the runways in Paris in Oct., featured collaboration with artist Richard Prince.

The 18th Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards, a celebration of women who have changed the world, brought together an impressive array of living legends from author Toni Morrison, who won the award for lifetime achievement, to 11-year-old actress Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Glamour's first-ever "Girl of the Year."

Also for the first time, Glamour named the recipients for their newly established "Women of the Year Fund" initiative, Empowering Hands, a group of Ugandan women, former child soldiers, who joined forces to help rehabilitate those forced to fight in the rebel militia, who kidnapped tens of thousands of children in Uganda over the course of two decades.

Mariah Carey, with the African Children's Choir, opened the ceremony with a rousing, emotional number and was met with huge cheers from the audience, particularly from the sections where several school groups were seated, special guest of Glamour, Jennifer Garner, who received the "Icon Next Door" award, brought husband Ben Affleck with her, who set off a flurry of flashbulbs and camera phones when he arrived at the pre-show reception.

Glamour also honored Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards; Drew Faust, President of Harvard University; Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania; Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University; Shirley Tilghman, President of Princeton University; CBS war correspondent Lara Logan; world champion golfer Lorena Ochoa; "Grey's Anatomy" television producer Shonda Rhimes; chef Alice Waters; Dr. Victoria Hale, journalist Mariane Pearl, and our neighbor Donna Karan.

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