NO DEAL: So will Alexander Wang Just Do It — or not? Rumors began floating on Monday that Wang was collaborating with Nike (à la Stella McCartney and Adidas) after a tweet by Mediabistro’s UnBeige went viral. “A reliable source,” it read, “tells us that Nike is cooking up a major collaboration with fashion designer Alexander Wang.” Both sides confirmed exclusively to WWD that nothing is in the works. But there was a hint of a spark to the smoke — the two had planned to partner up for spring 2011, but the project fell through. Nothing made it to market or will.
CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR BLOOMIE’S: Prada and Miu Miu handbags, which have never been carried by Bloomingdale’s, are getting their own homes at the 59th Street flagship. Two in-store shops are currently under construction in Bloomingdale’s designer handbag department on the Lexington Avenue side, and while Prada and Miu Miu executives are mum about details, both major shops are expected to be fully operational in time for the Christmas rush. Bloomingdale’s entire handbag department is undergoing a makeover, and Prada and Miu Miu bags will join such mainstays as Chanel, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton on the designer floor. Francine Klein, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Bloomingdale’s, was unavailable for comment Tuesday about the additions.
JOINING IN: Hennes & Mauritz AB has appointed Donald Schneider as artistic director, effective in spring 2011, a spokeswoman for the company said. Schneider, whose previous positions include creative director of French Vogue and creative director of Vogue Hommes International, will be responsible for visual communications and marketing. He will work closely with H&M’s marketing director, Anna Tillberg Pantzar.
SPLASH OF COLOR: A 1,700-square-foot Marimekko Shop will open Thursday at Crate & Barrel in New York’s SoHo, featuring wildly colorful textiles, accessories, bags, bed and bath, kitchen, dining and apparel products. “It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Mika Ihamuotila, president and chief executive officer of Marimekko, on a visit to Manhattan Tuesday. Known for its playful and distinctive prints, Marimekko has launched a slew of new products including glassware, wallpaper, shoes and jewelry. “We are relaunching the brand in the U.S. We’ve been strong in Japan, and haven’t been active in the U.S,” he said. In addition to the Crate & Barrel liaison, which the firm hopes to eventually roll out to more Crate & Barrel units if it’s successful, he said he plans to open Marimekko flagships around the U.S., launch an e-commerce Web site next spring and wholesale the apparel to department and specialty stores. Marimekko and Crate & Barrel will celebrate the new partnership — and the retailer’s first ever in-store boutique — with a party tonight at the SoHo shop.
CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: When Kristin Franzese, head of retail at the Plaza, was given the go-ahead to reinvent the 1,400-square-foot Plaza Boutique, she knew what she didn’t want: a typical tourist-oriented boutique with the hotel’s logo slapped on everything from aprons to ashtrays. She decided to give 400 square feet of the shop over to emerging designers, turning to Frederick Anderson, president of the Douglas Hannant Collection, with a shop next door, for advice. “Emerging” seems to be a relative word in the case of the Plaza. Nicole Hanley and Matthew Mellon of Hanley Mellon aren’t exactly newbies. Hanley was a stylist at Ralph Lauren, and Mellon owns the Degrees of Freedom label and created Jimmy Choo with his ex-wife, Tamara Mellon. Another featured designer, Christian Cota, in January received a Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International and was a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist this year. Perhaps more obscure is Kristin Klonoski, who designs Astrophel + Stella and began her career at Tibi and Emanuel Ungaro. William Calvert did stints at Balenciaga, Balmain and Rochas. Then there’s Alexandra Lind Rose, who teamed up with Alfred Fiandaca to introduce her new collection. Everything is priced under $1,000. Franzese admitted that the boutique will still sell logo merchandise — sheets, towels and bathrobes with the Plaza crest — and its private label programs will continue for Italian cashmere for women and men’s golf shirts with Under Armour.
EXPANDING HORIZONS: Lizzie Fortunato Jewels — known for its funky and textile-laden jewelry — is launching handbags and belts for spring 2011. Both the handbags and belts are intricately woven, on suede or lambskin, and appliquéd with embroidery created in a small fair trade production center outside of Delhi, India. The bags, dubbed “pirate’s delight,” are lined with a silk blend and have long chain straps for a cross-body effect.
Kathryn Fortunato, co-owner and co-founder of the brand, said, “We use so many mixed mediums and materials that, when we saw how beautifully the hand embroidery that we designed turned out, we knew we had to use the textiles in more than just necklaces. The belts and bags were obvious next steps and perfect templates for which to display the fabric.”
The handbags and belt will be available at Looc in Boston and lizziefortunatojewels.com, priced to retail from $375 to $450.
TEXAS TWO-STEP: Leave it to the Lone Star State to do things big. Fashion Houston 2010, presented by Audi, held its inaugural event Friday with four days of trunk and runway shows at downtown’s Wortham Center, including presentations by Lyn Devon, Christian Siriano, Lauren Bush, Lela Rose, Chloe Dao and Marc Bouwer. Closing day featured a tribute to Eileen Ford and a runway show in which Houston grande dame Lynn Wyatt presented 12 favorite pieces from her own couture collection, which Neiman Marcus will later showcase in its windows.