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Mind The Gap

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She’s got the gap-toothed simper, blond tresses, and sexy curves to be the next Lara Stone, but Ashley Smith needs no comparisons to boost her super-in-the-making status. The 19-year-old Texan parlayed some potent pre-season buzz—she caught the eye of André Saraiva back in June—into key castings at Balenciaga and Chanel during fashion month. Now she’s shooting with Miles Aldridge for Vogue Italia and set to be the new face of Alexander Wang’s T line. Not too shabby. Did Smith sell her soul to the devil for the privilege? Maybe not, but she models as if she did in photographer Kathy Lo’s new book, Kiss, loosely based on the German deal-with-the-devil legend of Faust. Lo, a rising photographer who’s shot for The Journal (where she was also photo director), spends her days in the studio of Douglas Perrett, the casting director behind COACD. (He cast Kiss, which stars, besides Smith, male models Aris Sayd and Erik Johnson.) The book launches tomorrow at Salon Shizen, which co-published it in addition to doing the models’ hair and makeup. And for the party, the salonistes will also be offering hair styling and makeup to attendees in preparation for Halloween.

Kiss launches tomorrow from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Salon Shizen, 627 E. 6th St., NYC. To RSVP, e-mail kiss.rsvp@gmail.com.

Photo: Kathy Lo

A Bit Of Versailles On The Bowery

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Candle lovers no longer have to make the pilgrimage to Cire Trudon’s century-old Left Bank shop. The company’s owner, Ramdane Touhami, has opened its first U.S. outpost below the Rogan store on the corner of Bond Street and Bowery. Stepping into the ground-floor space, though, you’d swear you were in France. Complete with handmade mirrors, stucco moldings, and antiques that are for sale, the store has been modeled after Versailles’ Galerie des Glaces, which is fitting considering it was Cire Trudon tapers that lit Marie Antoinette’s last hours. In addition to the familiar candles, there are new room sprays and perfumed stink bombs—just the thing for scenting a garden party or, maybe, a particularly smelly 6 train platform. A second Paris boutique is in the works in the precise location of the original Cire Trudon shop dating to 1643 on rue de l’Arbre Sec. A London store will likely follow.

Cire Trudon is open now at 54 Bond St., NYC.

Photo: Courtesy of Cire Trudon

So In Love

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“The best design,” Cartier’s director of image, style, and heritage, Pierre Rainero, said last night at dinner at the Lion in New York, “requires no explanation.” That’s the beauty of the brand’s Love collection, which was founded in the seventies by designer Aldo Cipullo’s now-iconic Love Bracelet. Its closure system is legendary: A tiny screw affixes it semi-permanently onto the wrist, only to be removed by the included screwdriver. According to Rainero, around the time of its debut, salespeople encouraged couples to buy them in pairs and toss away the key, as it were, making a commitment to love for life. (They were also instructed to avoid selling them to singletons, at least those who weren’t buying them as gifts for significant others.)

For the latest edition of the Love collection (in Cartier stores and online today), however, not all of the pieces are so permanent. Pendant earrings in white gold and diamonds, drop necklaces, and sapphire-and-amethyst-crusted rings round out the offerings. But Love will always be known for its bracelets, and its newest is a stylish update, not to mention a fine concession to a more contemporary view of “forever.” Love everlasting? It’s a beautiful goal. But just in case it doesn’t work out, the pink gold chain comes with an easy-to-open lobster-claw clasp.

Photo: Vincent Wulveryck &#copy; Cartier 2010

Dead Can Dance

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The evening might have been a tribute to the dead, but El Museo del Barrio’s annual Día de los Muertos party Thursday night was very much alive. The scene was like a high school reunion: Melissa George and her date, Bibhu Mohapatra (left), exchanged hugs with guests like model Liliana Dominguez, artist Gabriel Orozco, and makeup artist Alexa Rodulfo. It was the kickoff to what’s looking like a three-day Halloween weekend—and Mohapatra, for one, was excited. “My friend has a glass house that is very James Bond and there are a bunch of us going there,” he said. But for his costume, he’s channeling a slightly less suave film hero. “I am going to be Freddy Krueger going Bollywood.” (And George? She hadn’t planned on much—”I might go to Abracadabra tomorrow,” she conceded.)

The evening may have been Mexico-centric—Día de los Muertos is a Mexican tradition, after all—but there were two ambassadors from the wider world: Miss USA, Rima Fakih, and Miss Universe, Ximena Navarrete, representing their respective constituencies. They danced amid traditional day of the dead decor: skulls, candles, and framed photos of the dead, including one of our most-mourned recently departed—Michael Jackson.

Photo: Matthew Carasella

In A Pickle, A New Report On Retail’s Heavy Hitters, Kate To The Stage, And More…

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Because—sigh—we’re still interested in such things despite our better judgment, we must dutifully report that Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is dressing up as a sexy pickle for Halloween. (She has an avowed appetite for the things.) Our suggestion for next year: turnip. [WWD]

A new feature on the financial-management site Mint.com allows users to see the average amount spent at various stores nationwide, based, it says, “on data aggregated anonymously from over 4 million Mint.com users.” The top shop for clothes/accessories/jewelry in New York? Prada, with an average per-visit spend of $639.87. [Data.Mint.com via Fashionista]

Kate Moss, who is no stranger to a microphone—she’s been guesting on albums and warbling for as long as she’s been dating rockers—took to the stage in Qatar, where she belted out Gershwin’s “Summertime” to an appreciative crowd. [Page Six]

And he may be a fictional character, but that’s not stopping him from releasing a book of his wit and wisdom. Sterling’s Gold by Mad Men‘s Roger Sterling—a.k.a. silver fox John Slattery—comes out mid-November. In recent episodes of the show, Sterling’s been shown struggling to complete it; looks like he’s just about wrapped it up. [Arts Beat]