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LULU HAS LEFT THE BUILDING: Despite telling WWD last August that she was ready to take the reins over from Mom, Lulu Johnson, 27, is said to have “retired” from her position at Betsey Johnson. A source close to the family says that Lulu is looking into getting her MBA and possibly opening her own store. No word, so far, on what caused her departure.
CELEBS COME HOME: Still wondering where all the A-listers went? Cosmopolitan, of all magazines, managed to corral a few yesterday at a luncheon just blocks from tents for its Fun, Fearless Female awards. Sandra Bullock was suddenly in town to receive her reward, as were Laura Linney, Eve, Mandy Moore and Jon Bon Jovi (the token male). Asked where she was when we needed her, a Prada-clad Linney stuck up for herself with her appearance at Anne Klein Tuesday and murmured something about trying to catch Calvin Klein. Eve said, “I actually just got back. We’re going to [Carlos] Miele tonight,” and Balenciaga and Baby Phat on Thursday. OK, great, but where’s the rest of them? Is New York over? “I don’t think it’s over,” Eve said. “Maybe all the celebrities are just away?”
AT LAST: Finally, A-list celebrity sightings: Hilary Swank and Sarah-Jessica Parker, in her red Manolos, at Narciso Rodriguez Tuesday night.
WHAT ABOUT SEPTEMBER?: A rumor floating around the photographer’s pit on Tuesday was that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week might be scouting out new locations away from Bryant Park for its September edition. But Fern Mallis, executive director of the event, insisted that’s “not true” and that IMG plans to keep 7th on Sixth in the park.
But the park isn’t quite as happy.
Ethan Lercher, director of events for Bryant Park Restoration Corp., said management has been encouraging 7th on Sixth to move the shows at Bryant Park even later in the year — so much for Milan or Paris.
“We would encourage them to move the event to late October or early November,” he said. “Anything to improve access to our park patrons, which is the public. We would love it if it did get moved later.”
STAR TRACK: Musings from celebs around the shows.
Claire Danes was ready to find the Oscar dress of her dreams on Monday night at the Marc Jacobs show, though maybe Narciso Rodriguez will get the call. “I’ve only been to the Oscars once and I wore Narciso,” said Danes. “It was great because I was only 17 and he didn’t push me to appear more womanly than I was comfortable with.”
Like Cameron Diaz’s Emanuel Ungaro Oscar gown and Renée Zellweger’s lemon yellow vintage number, Danes hoped to find something “glamorous, playful, sophisticated and unique.”
The Strokes, New York’s homegrown rockers, have the good-boy rep. But band member Albert Hammond, who sat in the Marc Jacobs front row with bassist Nickolai Fraiture and his girlfriend Amanda de Cadenet, proved he can talk trash just like Ozzy Osbourne. So just why did the boys come to the show? “To look at all the [rhymes with wussy]!”
De Cadenet felt otherwise. “You’re not really going to write that down, are you?” she asked.
MR. MOM: It was old-home week at the Anne Klein fashion show Tuesday, with former owners Tomio Taki and Frank Mori seated in the audience.
“John [Idol] invited me, and I thought it was very well done. The clothes will do immensely well in the stores,” said Mori, who, along with Taki, sold Anne Klein to Kasper ASL in 1999. The following year, Taki and Mori sold their stake in Donna Karan to LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy.
Taki has remained active in the apparel business, but Mori said he’s “semi-retired.”
“I’m a very happy man,” said Mori, who, in addition to serving on the board of Stride Rite Corp., has been managing his savings, seeing friends, building a new home in the Hamptons and, above all, raising his five-year-old daughter as a single parent. In fact, he’s currently going through the agonizing process of every New York parent: Trying to get her into a top kindergarten.
DONNA’S MEGA-DAY: Before throwing herself into her two fashion shows this week, Donna Karan did her thing at Bergdorf Goodman. The designer visited the store last Thursday and drummed up sales of $700,000 in one day.
“They were all different ages and all different sizes, ranging from the late 20s to well into the 60s, in size two to size 14,” said Melissa Parker-Lilly, president of Donna Karan. “We sold things that were flirty, feminine and luxurious, and that made a woman feel good.”
Among the bestsellers: a black wrap jersey dress with polkadots at $2,495 (10 units sold); an eyelet poppy and ivory strapless dress at $2,395 (12 units sold) and a black V-neck sequin short dress at $6,595 (nine units sold ).
AT LIBERTY: Where will apparel heavyweight Andrew Grossman turn up next? Almost two years ago, Grossman started a low-profile consulting gig at Liz Claiborne, to help invigorate the merchandise and probably provide some intelligence on Jones New York, where he was once a senior executive. Sources say the arrangement with Claiborne was recently severed. Claiborne isn’t commenting, still keeping everything hush-hush. Besides Jones, Grossman’s held top jobs at Giorgio Armani Corp. and Chaus.
GLITZ OVERLOAD: Who isn’t doing a jewelry line these days? The latest personality to get into the jewelry biz is Leon Hall, a host of Style Network’s “Fashion Emergency.” Hall, who has been making the rounds at fashion shows this week, has designed a collection of 12 pieces of 14-karat gold that includes earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets, to be sold on QVC starting Thursday. The pieces, selling for between $36 to $200, are produced by Luxe, a New York manufacturer.
TIME BOMB: Staffers at Time Inc., which publishes magazines like In Style and People, remain on edge. Despite the company’s insistence that there is no unilateral plan for a reduction in force on the staff, firings and attrition seem to be happening all over the place. The most recent string of departures comes at Fortune, where in the last few weeks, five senior-level staffers have gone. Among them are Julianne Slovak, the chief of reporters, Brian O’Reilly, who was on the board of editors, and senior writer Eryn Brown. That follows senior-level exits at Teen People and People Magazine over the last few weeks, at least two of whom had been with the company for more than 15 years. Spokespeople for Fortune and Time, Inc. declined comment.