Marc Jacobs may have given a Cartier engagement ring to his on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jason Preston. Tyra Banks dropped her manager, either because he was a prima donna or because her investment-banker boyfriend told her to. Britney Spears backed out of recording a Timbaland-produced duet with Justin Timberlake. It's unclear why. No cameras or cars are allowed at the fund-raiser Oprah is throwing for Barack Obama at her California ranch, which is expected to draw George Clooney, Halle Berry, and Jamie Foxx. Harvey Weinstein is offering $100,000 to anyone who can identify the Upper East Side mom who inspired The Nanny Diaries. (Some speculate it's Preppy Handbook author Lisa Birnbach.) Marc Ecko's CEO threw $500 in cash around during a company-sponsored booze cruise. Norman Reedus, Helena Christensen's baby daddy, is making a movie in which Richard Nixon sleeps with a hooker and then kills her. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon dined at Le Cirque with two tables' worth of security guards.
So last night we stopped by Centro Vinoteca, the buzzing new restaurant from chef Anne Burrell. Tyra Banks was there on a double date with friends and her new beau, banker John Utendahl. The staff immediately popped a bottle of Champagne for her as she and her orange wig sat down in the coveted corner booth upstairs. Also there, among a gaggle of pretty girls, was adorable 'mocialite and former Queer Eye design guru Thom Felicia, who was celebrating a new big life decision. He and his boyfriend are going to make a gaybie! One of their friends will provide her own egg and uterus, and if it's a girl, they're going to name it "Lake." If it's a boy, they'll name it "Lago." Awesome.
Related:Batali Protégé Goes For Her Share of the Limelight [Grub Street]
Bobby Brown beefed up security in Australia because he still thinks Osama bin Laden is after him. Former party girl Taylor Stein, who just had a baby with William Lauder, has dated a lot of very, very wealthy older men. A documentary producer claims Bobby Kennedy got into a shouting match with Marilyn Monroe the night she died, and not in the bedroom where her body was found. Mom of the Year Dina Lohan is being sued for allegedly failing to pay back a $400,000 loan she used to jump-start Lindsay's music career. ABC misspelled Whoopi Goldberg's name in a press release announcing her as the new host of The View. Rudy Giuliani made up for the fact that the Yankees lost Eric Gange to the Red Sox by raising $350,000 at a Greenwich fund-raiser. Chelsea Clinton tried, and failed, to quietly read Harry Potter on the 6 train. CBS News execs are not pleased with the performance of some of the company's interns. Tyra Banks attended a party for her Air Force cadet brother, who is going to Iraq.
Paris Hilton has landed a starring role in a movie set in the year 2056, "when a plague nearly destroys the human race and survival is dependent upon being able to finance a pricey organ transplant." Anne Hathaway got into a fight with her boyfriend (who is being sued by Ron Burkle) during a screening of her movie in East Hampton, but she stayed with him at the after-party until the cops shut it down at 1 a.m. Madonna strolled into the Reebok Sports Club on Columbus Avenue without checking in. Tyra Banks and her family ate at Serendipity 3. The two assistants from Jane who were cast in SoapNet's Fashionista Diaries have been moved to CosmoGirl. Usher's pregnant girlfriend, whom he was slated to marry on Saturday until a last-minute cancellation, checked into a hospital for "pregnancy complications," though it may just be a ploy to get him back. Ivana Trump is set to get married for a third time, to Rossano Rubicondi.
There were two great life lessons to be gleaned from last night's installment of America's Next Top Model. One is that the best employees are the ones who have job, and the other is, as contestant Natasha helpfully pointed out, that some people have war in their countries. What's it all mean? Vulture explains — and recaps the whole episode — in this week's installment of Tyrade!
Tyrade!: ‘America's Next Top Model’ Gets Phototastic! [Vulture]
Will LEDs and info displays seem as quaint in the 2050s as the white-walled, elevated Lincoln Center seems now? Not if architect Liz Diller has the touch her clients say she does. At a construction update today, Diller detailed how Diller Scofidio & Renfro, with FXFowle and other design specialists, plans to festoon every border of the twelve-institution center with a constant stream of showtimes and words as part of the $900 million effort to refresh the fifties-era complex. After recounting already-established plans at the press conference — a new lawn, outdoor restaurants, a sexed-up fountain — Diller told us more about the electronic displays, which, she said, will really grab passersby at key spots on 65th Street and on Broadway.
Former Sex and the City partners Candace Bushnell and Darren Star are no longer speaking after Star sold a show similar to the one Bushnell was working on to a different network. Matt Lauer once had an awkward bathroom experience with Tom Brokaw. Kate Moss will launch her clothing line at Barneys on May 8. Alt Coffee on Avenue A is being turned into a stroller shop. Britney Spears may give Allure a tell-all regarding her family infighting. Lesley Stahl denies being the source of anti-Katie Couric rumors. On her way back to New York City, real-estate queen Barbara Corcoran boarded the wrong flight and ended up in Syracuse. Tyra Banks ate with Clay Aiken at Jean Georges. Andy Dick accosted two employees at a Chelsea club.
Anderson Cooper showers in his underwear at the gym to ward off camera-phone-wielding fans. Tyra Banks and Russell Simmons dined-and-dashed at the Brooklyn Diner. Robert De Niro may be mad at David Bowie because the rock star is kicking off his High Line Festival three days after Tribeca ends. (As New York's Vulture reported yesterday.) LL Cool J may star in a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Taki Theodoroacpulos won the U.S. National Judo Championship in 70-to-75 age bracket. In his upcoming tell-all, Michael Strahan compares playing pro football to being stabbed repeatedly. Former O.C. stars Adam Brody and Benjamin McKenzie witnessed a fight at Gold Bar. Susan Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amuri, is pleased with her two sex scenes in Fred Durst's directorial debut, The Education of Charlie Banks.
• Following the ultrasuccessful debut of Uniqlo, Japanese store Muji to open two stores in NYC. [WWD]
• Libertine settled its copyright-infringement suit against knockoff king Allen Schwartz. [Downtown Darling]
• Tyra Banks gains weight, laments fashion's unreasonable expectations. [People]
• Merrill's top brass gave themselves a big ($172 million) pat on the back for a job well done in 2006. [WSJ ]
• Venture capitalists invested $2 billion in 249 companies in the New York area last year, up 18 percent from 2005. It was the highest level of funding since 2001, when the Internet broke. [Crain's]
• If increasing the size of the biggest leverage buyout bid in history doesn't make Stephen Schwarzman sweat, the Blackstone Group should be just fine. [DealBook]
We're loath to get between any female and her fridge, but the strong black woman in us is a little concerned by this week's headlines. First there was restaurateur B. Smith on NPR defending her job as the new, potentially Aunt Jemima–ish, face of Betty Crocker's corn bread. Then — more NPR! — came a piece on the mysterious disappearance of fried-chicken- loving Beyoncé's backside in Dreamgirls. Finally, today we came across a video clip on Vanity Fair's Website of Tyra Banks's photo shoot for the February issue — in which the former supermodel manages to keep her appetite under control for three whole minutes before informing the camera she's off to eat some wings, her booty be damned.
And just in time for Martin Luther King Day!
B. Smith Becomes the Face of Betty Crocker Cornbread [NPR]
What's Missing in 'Dreamgirls' [NPR]
America's Next Top Mogul [VF]
Breaking: Tinsley Mortimer shops for her own groceries! Kevin Federline is broke, steals food and booze from a restaurant. Emily Pataki failed the bar exam. How Kennedyesque. Former Tom Cruise sparring partner Brooke Shields is going to his wedding, perhaps as a publicity stunt. Nicole Kidman probably isn't pregnant, Ivanka Trump maybe had a boob job, but Tom DeLay definitely nominated about-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Time's Person of the Year. Dave Chappelle bowed out of a gig for HBO, and HBO isn't happy. Axl Rose brought some strippers to Soho House. Borat's cultural learnings may soon be available in a Barnes & Noble near you. (Meantime, he'd do well to avoid getting into a fight with fellow Kazakh Wladimir Klitschko.) Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at a London concert; the crowd liked him. George Gershwin and Ed Bradley were honored at Lincoln Center, where it is discovered that Mr. Gershwin used to be quite the ladies' man. Liza Minnelli played a $1 million bat mitzvah pro bono. A former America's Next Top Model winner ditched Tyra Banks as her manager, changed her last name. Angelina Jolie was going to adopt an Indian kid, but Madonna scared her off.