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CHIRAC ATTACK: If the devil wears Prada, does the French president wear Chanel? Perhaps. A new novel generating chatter in Paris recounts what happens when a fashion designer runs for president under the slogan “Elegance and Freedom” — and wins. The fictional character, named Steven Marteen, jets around on Air Fashion 1, carries a fan and sports a ponytail. If it sounds a bit like Karl Lagerfeld, it’s meant to be. The authors, journalists Philippe Trétiack and Pierre Antilogus, modeled the title character of “Serious Fashion” on Lagerfeld, with a dash of John Galliano and Tom Ford. Lagerfeld, who read the book “in three seconds,” pronounced it “good fun, but it’s not good.” Certainly the storyline gets ever more outrageous, when the president installs a fashion dictatorship where even the size of pant cuffs is strictly regulated. If you haven’t already guessed the ending, a revolution of nudists, led by a top model, overthrows the government. Yes, the old emperor’s new clothes routine.
LINDA’S NEW DIGS: Ex-Warnaco chairman and chief executive Linda Wachner, who left the giant maker on Nov. 16, 2001, has set up a midtown Manhattan office at 919 Third Avenue, in the same building as law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, the firm that represented Wachner during a $25 million severance claim — in which Wachner received 1.8 percent, or $452,000.
Wachner could not be reached Tuesday.
It is unclear if Wachner is subject to a noncompete agreement since she left Warnaco without a payout. At the time, she said, “As it stands now, I do not have to worry about noncompete or whether or not I want to offer anyone a job.” But chances are she won’t sit still. She had acknowledged she had specific ventures in mind and, while she declined to elaborate whether or not they’re in apparel, her personal fortune is estimated at $150 million —which puts her in a very strong negotiating position.
STAR SEARCH: Are you an attractive, single, female fashion executive who wants to be famous? We’re talking really famous. Amy Raymond at Warner Bros. is seeking fashion industry women who are attractive, late 20s-early 30s, and never married to be the newest cast member of ABC TV’s “The Bachelorette.” Believing the fashion industry would be a good place to find her, Raymond has been calling around and asking fashion people if they might know someone who 25 men — and America — can fall in love with.
This story first appeared in the May 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’m looking for someone who has it all,” said Raymond, “except Mr. Right.”
FOR THE BOYS: Mattel is set to prove that boys can do anything girls can. The toymaker, which launched Fashion Editor Barbie last year, will introduce Fashion Editor Ken, ready for retail in June. As a fashion insider, the Ken doll comes with a black-and-white woven single-breasted blazer and pants, white cotton jacquard shirt, pale blue satin tie and black square-toed shoes. His style is accented with a belt and silver-rimmed glasses, and accessories include a press pass, briefcase and the most recent fashion magazine. Priced at $99.95, Fashion Editor Ken is part of the limited edition Barbie Fashion Model Collection.