For the paperback writer: Montblanc unveils John Lennon pen
There was a lot more going on during New York Fashion Week this season than just runway shows, and one of the events we popped into (and wished we'd been able to spend more time at) was the launch of the Montblanc John Lennon Special Edition writing instruments (just calling them "pens" doesn't seem right somehow) on Sept. 12.
Held at Jazz at Lincoln Center and hosted by Susan Sarandon, the event capped off with a performance by Christina Aguilera and the U.S. premiere of "Nowhere Boy," (a 2009 movie about Lennon's early years, it opens in select cities on Oct. 8, the day before what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday). It was one of five celebrations taking place simultaneously around the globe -- the other events were in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Berlin (where Lennon's widow Yoko Ono was marking the occasion with a live satellite feed that was beamed back to New York).
While we weren't able to catch the galaxy of stars that was on tap for the evening (including Matt Dillon, Edie Falco and Rosario Dawson), before we had to jet off to catch the debut of Tom Ford's first women's ready-to-wear collection, we did manage to briefly get our hands one of the pens.
The version handed to us by Montblanc's CEO Lutz Bethge had a grooved black resin barrel that looked and felt like a slightly more pronounced version of the grooves on a vinyl record album. A closer look revealed the clip was shaped like a guitar neck, and the pen bore a tiny plaque engraved with Lennon's self-caricature (a doodle of his face and signature eyeglasses), and the nib of the fountain pen was engraved with a peace sign. (There's also an edition -- limited to just 1,940 pieces -- in silver with white lacquer version in a pattern inspired by the mosaic design of the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park).
Bethge told us the Lennon pen, which had been a project three years in the making, was part of Montblanc's ongoing charity series honoring music legends. "It's also the most contemporary artist by far," he said. "I think the most recent person before Lennon was Leonard Bernstein."
The pens are currently available at Montblanc boutiques nationwide (which includes the Beverly Center, Rodeo Drive and South Coast Plaza locations) for $690 (rollerball version) and $920 (fountain pen version) for the black resin, and $2,970 and $3,375, respectively, for the limited-edition version.
Bethge told us proceeds from the sale of the pen are earmarked for the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a mobile recording studio that would be used to introduce music to inner city kids. (The bus is slated to make four L.A. area appearances starting on Sept. 29, check the online bus schedule for full venue details)."Who knows," said Bethge, "Maybe we will find another young John Lennon out there somewhere."
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: At top, one of the two Montblanc John Lennon special-edition pens unveiled during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Montblanc. At bottom, Christina Aguilera (left) and Susan Sarandon were among celebrity attendees at the Sept. 12 event. Credit: Larry Busacca / Getty Images for Montblanc.