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WWD Week in Review: 2/26/10

The top stories for the week ending in February 26, 2010.

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Prada RTW Fall 2010

Davide Maestri

Natalia Vodianova and Stella McCartney

Natalia Vodianova and Stella McCartney

Courtesy Photo

Madden outside his Lower East Side store last August.

Madden outside his Lower East Side store last August.

Courtesy Photo

Items from  First Aid Beauty.

Items from First Aid Beauty.

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In a tough season, women’s and men’s styles from Tommy Hilfiger have been selling well.

In a tough season, women’s and men’s styles from Tommy Hilfiger have been selling well.

Courtesy Photo

Milan Fashion Week: Women’s Fall 2010 Ready to Wear

If there is anything Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana love, aside from a bustier, it’s a theme, particularly for their D&G collection. So when the lights went down and the video of snow-capped peaks went up at their show on Thursday, it was obvious that, just as they did for men’s, the boys were hitting the slopes. Or, more likely, the lodge, as these girls, cozied up in cute, cropped sweaters; teeny knit bloomers, and tube tops accessorized with glittery goggles and knee-high fur boots, were strictly snow bunnies. It was an adorable Alpine escapade, central to which were fresh, Nordic knits done in combinations of maroon and ivory and gray and ivory, some sporting a reindeer or two. Much of fashion is in a sportswear mood, and Fendi’s Karl Lagerfeld served up one of the season’s strongest takes. Lagerfeld started out with a focus on structure and intriguing architectural cuts (e.g., the opening cocoon like fur coat with a sliced-out arch in the front) before moving on to roomier and more relaxed silhouettes. To wit, stylish smock dresses came with wide bishop sleeves, some with cascading drape details, while tailored vests and coatdresses were cut into swingy trapeze shapes. Before her Thursday night show, Miuccia Prada declared her collection “very feminine” and “sexy,” noting a big emphasis on the breasts. Sex appeal — this collection had plenty. But in Prada’s world, it’s not about baring all, but covering it up, a point she made straight out of the gate with a plain black wool dress with long sleeves, high-cut neck and knee-length, A-line skirt ruffled at the hem. See all collections from the ongoing season here>>

London Fashion Week Wraps Up

London fashion week has just wrapped up, and at Burberry, chief creative officer Christopher Bailey showed exactly who’s in command of British fashion with a powerful, military-themed collection built around the aviator jacket, the trench and the frock coat — with softness coming in the form of curvy silk, lace and washed velvet silhouettes. Those whose travel plans didn’t include a trip to London got there remotely thanks to the brand’s 3-D live stream. Meanwhile, at Christopher Kane, Priscilla Presley and juvenile delinquents were among the inspirations the designer cited for this sweetly subversive collection. Kane crafted prim, almost school-girlish silhouettes ­ including high-necked, cap-sleeve shift dresses, collared blouses and kilts – from tough, racy fabrics. At Matthew Williamson, The designer famous for his bohemian aesthetic and ethnic inspirations moved on this season, turning out a strong, sophisticated collection that had his fans, including front-row guest Sienna Miller, swooning. Grecian goddesses clad in delicately draped Lurex dresses or satin gowns with myriad folds rubbed shoulders with urban sophisticates dressed in dramatic tweed coats with a single ruffle rippling down the front. Paul Smith showed a collection fit for naughty ladies from the shires. By day, they don riding jackets — some in bright yellow, others in lamé with red collars. They also favor oversize tweed hunting and shooting jackets paired with tweed corsets and pleated skirts. Come sundown, Smith’s ladies cast off their woolens and slip on prom dresses with blurred digital flower prints. London fashion week also played hosts to parties hosted by Pringle (including guests Lily Collins, Peaches Geldof, Tilda Swinton. Ryan McGinley, David Shrigley, Jacquetta Wheeler and Matthew Williamson, whose star-studded fete was held at The Club at The Ivy. See all collections from London fashion week here>>

J.Crew’s Overseas Push: Retailer Going Global on Net-a-porter

J. Crew is going global with Net-a-porter.com. In its first major push overseas, the retailer’s products will be featured on Net-a-porter’s Web site starting in mid-May. Currently, J. Crew operates stores only in the U.S. and is available in North America and Japan through its catalogues and Web site. However, the brand’s recognition factor and distribution could grow considerably since Net-a-porter ships to more than 170 countries. J. Crew’s growth via Net-a-porter will also depend on the degree the Web site plays up the brand’s merchandise. Another designer pushing the global end of her business is Carolina Herrera, who opened a CH Carolina Herrera store in London. The new shop, at 120 Mount Street, across from the Connaught Hotel, spans 1,845 square feet over two levels — ground floor and basement. The store carries the full CH line, with accessories from wallets to books to costume jewelry on the ground floor and women’s, men’s, and children’s wear downstairs. Additionally, a new Marc Jacobs store opened on Chicago’s Rush Street and Burberry is coming to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which has recently become a magnet for better brands. Sources said the London-based company has signed a lease for 3,000 square feet at 160 Columbus Avenue, which is between 67th and 68th Streets. Burberry will be right next to Ugg, on the west side of Columbus Avenue. The site is under construction. Burberry executives could not be reached for comment.
EBay Inc. moves more apparel online than any other company. Yet that’s simply not enough for the giant Web site. In March, eBay will launch “the fashion vault” for “flash” sales of designer goods in a format not dissimilar from that of Web sites Gilt Groupe and Ideeli. Hugo Boss, DKNY, Max Mara and Cole Haan Outerwear were tested last year and there’s a good chance they’ll be seen on the fashion vault again. Initially, there will be weekly flashes, but the frequency will increase in subsequent months.
EBay also is creating an online outlet mall for the U.S. with some well-known retail and apparel brands. Lord & Taylor’s outlet division is already on board and Brooks Brothers will be added next month.

Love Ball Charity Event Spotlights Fashion’s Finest

The charity event was hosted by Natalia Vodianova, British Harper’s Bazaar, and De Beers in aid of the Russian model’s Naked Heart Foundation. Guests at the Roundhouse in north London included Kate Moss, Elizabeth Hurley, Stella McCartney, Donna Karan, Jade Jagger, Diane von Furstenberg, Mario Testino, Donna Karan, Joely Richardson, Evgeny Lebedev, Charlotte Casiraghi, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Alice Dellal, Matthew Williamson and Carolina Herrera. And on a rain-soaked Tuesday night, the Museum of the City of New York drew a large contingent to its annual Winter Ball, this year sponsored by Asprey, 1stdibs, J. Mendel and The Plaza. Whatever the reasons for their arrivals, the likes of Nina Griscom and Leonel Piraino, Christine and Steve Schwarzman, Marjorie Gubelmann, Jennifer Creel, Coralie Charriol Paul, Lisa Airan, Elise Overland and Melissa George were party ready, meandering through the ground floor galleries during cocktails.

Wal-Mart Apparel Disappoints

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. remains very much the king of the retail hill, but the discount giant’s continuing struggles with apparel last year have convinced analysts the company has yet to figure out exactly who it’s trying to dress. The questions are also being asked in the Bentonville, Ark., headquarters of the world’s largest retailer. At Liz Claiborne, the company’s losses narrowed in the fourth quarter and the Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Kate Spade businesses collectively managed an operating profit, but the company still faces an uphill climb this year. Net losses attributable to the company narrowed to $41.7 million, or 45 cents a share, from $828.9 million, or $8.85, a year earlier, when charges to write down the value of acquired trademarks hurt the bottom line. Adjusted losses from continuing operations tallied 18 cents a share, on target with Wall Street expectations. The stock fell 3 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $6.37. Revenues for the quarter ended Jan. 2 fell 14.5 percent to $778.8 million from $911.2 million.

Milestone: Q&A With Steven Madden

It’s been five years since Steve Madden walked out of a Florida penitentiary. He’s no longer as buff as when he was released. Nor does he describe prison life as colorfully — and as frequently — as he did soon after being freed. Much has changed. The hard-charging founder of Steven Madden Ltd., by his own account, is very content. And that’s with good reason. The company Madden began bankrolling 20 years ago with just $1,100 in personal savings is thriving, hitting $500 million in sales last year, and his personal life is on equally sound footing.

Skin Care Brand First Aid Beauty Eyes Growth

Fledgling skin care brand First Aid Beauty, which initially launched at sephora.com in October — then rolled out to 125 of the retailer’s stores in early January — is eyeing growth this year via new products and expanded distribution. For starters, the Newton, Mass.-based brand is scheduled to appear on QVC today at 10 a.m., then again at 4 p.m. Also beginning this month, First Aid Beauty will launch Daily Face Cream (2 oz. for $18), the first of four new products planned for this year. The initiatives could yield annual retail sales of $3.5 million for the brand this year, according to industry sources. And for Tessa Violet, vlogging, or video blogging — like blogging in the traditional sense — can pay off. The quirky New York fashion model, whose chatty “Meekakitty” alter ego has gained a respectable following on YouTube, won $100,000 in a recent video contest sponsored by Lash Allure M.D.

Retailers’ Profits Rise, Yet Shoppers Still Wary

Retailers are feeling the benefits of a slowly improving economy, but the effects aren’t yet filtering down to their customers. Consumers’ misgivings about jobs and the overall economic environment sent The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index down sharply this month even as three major retailers Tuesday reported results that were substantially better than those registered during the dismal final quarter of 2008. And for buyers, fall could be the watershed season, who believe that the trends seen during New York Fashion Week bode well for fall selling and the season could mark a turning point in consumers’ willingness to spend. High-waisted full pants, vests, legwarmers, military coats, ponchos or capes, shearling coats, fur-trimmed jackets, handbags decorated with fur, leather dresses and chunky knits are some of the key fall items, said store executives.

Michael Kors Taps Marketing Execs

Michael Kors has named Anne Waterman senior vice president of global image and Jill Fishman senior vice president of global marketing and licensing, reflecting the company’s increased focus on global expansion and online presence.  Since joining the company 14 years ago, Waterman has occupied various roles, most recently senior vice president, fashion director. In her new post, she will continue to head creative service with the added responsibility of public relations and special events. Billy Daley, vice president of global communications, is leaving the company. At DKNY, Debbie Elmore has been named president of Liz Claiborne Inc.’s DKNY Jeans and DKNY Men division. Elmore replaces Kevin Monogue, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities, according to Claiborne. Monogue had served as president since June 2007. Elmore is a 30-year industry veteran who spent more than half of her career with Macy’s. She was most recently president of sales and design for the Ecko Red label at Paul Davril. At Gucci, a new institutional ad campaign focuses on two words aimed at capturing both the brand’s heritage and the future as the fashion house gets set to celebrate its 90th anniversary next year: Forever Now. The worldwide campaign, which breaks in international newspapers on Saturday, the day of the fall Gucci show here, is composed of two black-and-white images from the Fifties taken inside the house’s Florentine factory on Via delle Caldaie.

 

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