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Europe Watch: Fashion Diplomacy … Heading East … Galeries Going …

<B>FASHION DIPLOMACY:</B> Last year China sent six up-and-coming designers to show on the runway in Paris. Now the City of Light is reciprocating by dispatching its talent to China. Anne Valérie Hash, Lutz, Gaspard Yurkievich, Felipe Oliveira...

FASHION DIPLOMACY: Last year China sent six up-and-coming designers to show on the runway in Paris. Now the City of Light is reciprocating by dispatching its talent to China. Anne Valérie Hash, Lutz, Gaspard Yurkievich, Felipe Oliveira Baptista and Richard Rene are among the eight designers selected to present their clothes Nov. 20 in Beijing. The festivities coincide with the “Year of France in China” — a cross-cultural exchange between the two nations — and are sponsored in part by the French fashion federation. — Courtney Sutton

HEADING EAST: Jean Paul Gaultier and Onward Kashiyama Co. have formed a 50-50 joint venture in Japan, which, as its first project, has launched a Jean Paul Gaultier shop in Tokyo’s business center of Marunouchi. The joint venture company, which has been named Fusion, will handle the import and sale of the brand’s full line of merchandise, including men’s and women’s wear, accessories and fragrances, Onward said. The new company is capitalized initially at 10 million yen, or $91,000 at current exchange rates. The new, 3,000-square-foot shop was designed by Philippe Starck, who has designed 11 other Gaultier stores around the world in such places as Paris, London, Singapore and Hong Kong since producing the first one on Madison Avenue in New York in 2002, Onward explained. The Tokyo unit, located on Marunouchi’s main shopping street of Naka-Dori, features unique walls with depressions in which clothes are hung, huge folding screen-style mirrors, white walls characterized by a texture of unevenness that were derived from traditional motifs from India and Morocco, and huge chandeliers. Sales in the first year of operation are forecast to be 300 million yen, or $2.7 million, at retail, according to the Japanese partner. — Tsukasa Furukawa

GALERIES GOING: French retailer Galeries Lafayette last week reported that first-half net profit climbed 25.5 percent to 27.6 million euros, or $33.9 million at current exchange rates, boosted by its Laser financial services arm and Monoprix supermarket chain. Sales in the half rose 3.1 percent to 2.71 billion euros, or $3.33 billion. Co-chairman Philippe Lemoine and Philippe Houze said losses narrowed at the Galeries Lafayette and BHV department store chains, which have invested heavily in new store concepts and renovations. — Robert Murphy

HIDE SLIDE: French leather goods manufacturer Le Tanneur reported that profits in the first half declined 95 percent to 20,000 euros, or $24,600 at current exchange rates, from 400,000 euros, or $492,000, a year ago. The company attributed the dropoff to investments in store openings. Meanwhile, sales in the period increased 0.8 percent to 21.8 million euros, or $26.8 million. Le Tanneur operates 16 wholly owned shops, including four factory outlet stores. — Emilie Marsh

BON JOURDAN: Charles Jourdan, the French footwear company, last week shuffled its management, appointing Michel de Tapol president of the board of directors. Tapol is also president of Charles Jourdan International. Meanwhile, Christophe Beranger was named president of Charles Jourdan France and Rene Renda joined the board of directors and Helene Chauchart du Mottay, formerly at Cartier, has joined Jourdan as marketing and retail director. — R.M.