the Insiders


The passed mac 'n' cheese with sides.

When it comes to the party scene, perhaps no player has quite as insider a vantage point as the caterer. From the absurd requests (vegan guests, anyone?) to budget cuts (wondering where all the caviar went?), the culinary spread can be a barometer for a host of social phenomena. Mary Giuliani has been feeding fashion folks and charity-goers since 2005 with her namesake catering business. This summer alone, she has overseen 30 events including
Jessica Seinfeld's Baby Buggy dinner in Amagansett and Alyssa Milano's wedding this past Saturday. With more than 15 gigs lined up for New York Fashion Week (including nine on Fashion's Night Out), Giuliani quite literally has a full plate. She chatted with WWD about Pilgrim costumes, magical dining and foregoing the fois gras.

WWD: Have you seen a direct economic impact on the events you cater?
Mary Giuliani: Yes, I think we were popular this summer because our food has always been fun and approachable. People wanted food that reflected low key, comfortable entertaining --food and drinks that made people want to take off their shoes and stay awhile.

WWD: Pigs in a blanket, mini burgers and mini grilled cheese have become ubiquitous at parties this year. Do you think that's a product of the economy?
M.G.: I think everyone loves these items and used the economy as a great excuse to not have to serve or eat caviar, foie gras or smoked salmon.

You may not be able to buy word of mouth, but YouTube is more and more becoming a place to capitalize on it.
photo by Thomas Iannaccone
Despite having "just signed the paperwork" for her spring jewelry collaboration with Rachel Roy, Estelle Swaray was happy to wax extemporaneous about her design ideas when she sat down for this WWD interview on July 22.

"I'm all kinds of excited," the singer said. "I definitely think it's going to be Estelle-like, so you're gonna get a little bit hood, a little bit breezy."

She added she wanted her jewelry to reflect "all the influences of how I grew up. Like my bamboo earrings and things like that.
August 17, 2009 6:02 PM


Make Some Noise

Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes
Photo by Bruno J. Navarro
You'd have a tough time trying to find a more aptly named band than The Noisettes. The London-based trio deftly -- and loudly -- fuses the classic sounds of Motown girl groups with elements of alt-rock, pop and blues to create its signature style.

What the band's name doesn't quite convey, however, is singer-bassist Shingai Shoniwa's no-holds-barred approach to her onstage attire.
Debi Mazar
photo by Steve Eichner
As part of WWD's special coverage of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, we polled a slew of boldfacers about what Woodstock means to them. One of the most interesting contributions -- from "Entourage" actress Debi Mazar -- came in after our deadline, so we've included it here.
Henry Diltz
photo by Stephane Feugere
Woodstock now as then is shaping up as one big media trip for Henry Diltz.

Diltz, rock photographer supreme and owner of the fine-art photography Morrison Hotel galleries, has been on the phone more times than he can remember in the past two months, bombarded with calls from Japanese magazines, German documentary filmmakers, and eight book authors. "Now, the newspapers are calling me," said Diltz, 70, who was the Woodstock Music and Art Fair's official photographer by way of his friend, lighting director Chip Monck, whom he knew from his days playing banjo on the college circuit around three years earlier.
A Conversation Piece
Plenty of artists -- Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst among them -- have rock-star reputations. But now the British artist Charming Baker is having his career shaped by a bona fide veteran of the music world, manager Pat Magnarella.

Last month, Magnarella colleague Roger Klein took in Baker's solo show at East London's Redchurch gallery, and talked about why he and Magnarella -- who manages bands including Green Day and The Goo Goo Dolls - decided to start nurturing the visual arts.
No good diversification strategy goes unpunished.

Finlay Enterprises Inc. put up a good fight, but that fight ended on Aug. 5 when it filed for bankruptcy and headed for liquidation -- even though it did what most of its competitors would have done under the same circumstances.
Nina Dobrev
photo by Thomas Iannaccone
When I interviewed Nina Dobrev, star of the upcoming CW show "The Vampire Diaries," over coffee at Double Crown, I couldn't get over how much she looked like "Entourage" actress Emmanuelle Chriqui.
Casting call hopeful, Ruth.
photo by Talaya Centeno
At Tuesday's open casting call for extras for "Sex and the City 2," a cross section of New Yorkers vied for the chance to share the big screen -- albeit a very small part of it -- with Carrie Bradshaw and the gang.

Knowing the four fashionable ladies wouldn't mingle with anyone less than the best-dressed, hopefuls pulled out their most notable outfits in their efforts to woo casting directors. An assortment of tight spandex dresses, oversize designer handbags, and various Italian labels paraded around a full Manhattan block toward the Metropolitan Pavillion.

As they marched along, WWD asked a few about their look for the big audition, and what role they'd be best suited for.

Those hoping to score a discounted T-shirt from The Row at this weekend's Super Saturday sale had better have been early early birds. The label, whose creators Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were inducted into the CFDA just last week, completely sold out of its merchandise-save for a lone black dress-an hour and a half into the day-long event. (Most other vendors, meanwhile, still had goods in stock when the event wound down at 5:30.)

So what was all the fuss about? Well, the brand's signature t-shirts were marked down to $75 (from $250); cardigans were discounted to $100 (from $690); and pants slashed to $150 (from $750).

My back was literally up against the wall.

It was Friday, and the grand opening of the J.C. Penney flagship in the Manhattan Mall. If things seemed a little cramped it was because the ceremony was supposed to be across the street, at Greeley Square Park, but early morning rains put a damper on those arrangements. Only a soggy stage and Kimora Lee Simmons' luxury trailer parked along the curb gave any hint of the original plans. The festivities were quickly moved to the lobby of the mall, where male and female and child models walked down a red runway, stopping long enough to pose for the photographers standing cheek-by-jowl on risers. It was hard to see what was going on, but I knew the "oohs" and "aahs" were for the children. "Woo hoo, woo whoo," some women in front of me hollered when a hunky guy in a beige pin-striped suit sauntered out, as if this were Chippendales.


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