NOT SPONGEWORTHY: Sponges might have a squeaky clean image —even SpongeBob — but they can hide dirty little secrets, as designer Cynthia Rowley unwittingly exposed last week.
As part of a scholarship program sponsored by 3M’s O-Cel-O Sponge Scrubbers with Fun Designs, Rowley had mentored a group of 12 New York City high school juniors and seniors during a summer design course at Parsons School of Design. On Thursday, Rowley was reunited with the students to judge their final projects — a design for a kitchen sponge — and to select a winning image that will be embossed on an O-Cel-O product and sold commercially later this year.
One sponge in particular caught Rowley’s eye, and those of her fellow judges, Charles Nix, chair of the communications design department at Parsons, and Robert Rabinowitz, a professor of product design. It was the stylized image of Tupak Shakur, the rapper who was murdered in 1996, now memorialized in a household cleaning product designed by student Christopher Austin.
“This is really original,” Rowley said. “It’s cool and artistic.”
But apparently not cool enough for O-Cel-O, which markets its sponges to middle America. A publicist for the brand from DeVries Public Relations at first gently reminded the judges to consider a criteria of the contest: that the design should be true to the image of the brand.
“Isn’t that part of the brand, to say that it is creative?” Rowley asked, but the publicist insisted that the company would not be making a sponge in Shakur’s image. After a rousing debate, the panel selected a more cheerful design of colorful pies and cakes by Filana Turner, while Tupac was relegated to “runner-up.” Cockroaches, featured in a witty design by Leddy Rosario, were also acknowledged by the judges, given their prevalence in unclean kitchens.
THE SILVANOS: Not a regular at Da Silvano? Now you can fake it. Silvano Marchetto’s loyal customers have been snapping up the new T-shirts and tanks designed by preferred regular — and Marchetto’s girlfriend — cartoonist Marisa Acocella. “It shows the whole la dolce vita-ocity of Da Silvano,” says Acocella, whose illustration features a woman with Cyd Charisse’s legs dancing on a table dressed in a Zac Posen dress and Cesare Paciotti heels. “Where else, on any given night, can you find Ralph Fiennes dancing to ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ with some lucky blonde?” she asks. The men’s and women’s limited-edition shirts are available at Da Silvano and the C. Ronson boutique. Other recognizable faces in the illustration enjoying the restaurant’s outdoor patio along Sixth Avenue include Marchetto, Acocella, and waiter Enrico. And no, regular Graydon Carter is not featured.MARK THE DATE: Donna Hanover’s newly minted husband, Edwin Oster, has one more reason not to forget his wedding anniversary — it’s spelled out on the soles of Hanover’s Stuart Weitzman shoes. In Swarovski crystals, no less. Weitzman designed the shoes for their wedding Sunday, and customized them with several hundred hand-applied crystals and pearls. Putting a new spin on the old adage, he borrowed the lace pattern from her gown for the design and studded the soles in blue stones with the pair’s initials and the date. How did she express her thanks to the New York shoe designer? Says Weitzman, “She promised she would kick up her heels all night.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion