CHINESE WHISPERS: Could Pierre Cardin be ready to sell his apparel and accessories licenses in China? Speculation is rife the 86-year-old designer is in talks to sell certain licenses in the populous nation, and is in talks with several potential suitors, including Jiangsheng Trading Company and Cardanro. Some Chinese press reports peg offers at 200 million euros, or $281 million. A spokesman for Cardin declined all comment Monday. Pierre Cardin was one of the first Western fashion houses to enter China in 1978, when the country opened up to the West.
RENAISSANCE MAN: Between his own collection, his designs for Liz Claiborne New York and his duties as co-host of Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” Isaac Mizrahi already wears plenty of hats. That’s still not enough, it seems. Adding another facet to his résumé, Mizrahi is now making his curatorial debut. The designer has curated a summer group show at the Julie Saul Gallery on West 22nd Street. He picked pieces from a group of creatives he has collected or admired over the years, including Maira Kalman, Julia Sherman, Wayne Thiebaud, Donna Chung and Jane Freilicher. The show will run at the gallery from July 9 to Sept.12.
DOUBLE DUTCH: The Netherlands’ Groninger Museum is to stage a Bernhard Willhelm retrospective, “Bernhard Willhelm & Jutta Haus,” dedicated to the 10-year collaboration between Willhelm and his design partner, Jutta Haus. The show, opening Dec. 13 and running through April 11, 2010, will present an extensive selection of pieces from more than 30 collections conceived by the pair.
LOVE AND MARRIAGE: The fashion world’s most anticipated wedding — that of Marc Jacobs and fiancé Lorenzo Martone — has been pushed back to August. Martone attributed the delay to Jacobs’ hectic work schedule, but said it is still planned for Provincetown, Mass., where Jacobs’ business partner, Robert Duffy, has a vacation home. Martone had marriage on the mind at a party at the Standard Hotel on Sunday, which he cohosted, celebrating New York’s gay pride festivities. The event was sponsored by Interview magazine, Belvedere vodka and an initiative called “I do. I Amsterdam” in which the Dutch city, which permits gay marriages, is pushing for similar rights for New Yorkers. Amsterdam deputy mayor Carolien Gehrels was on hand to promote the effort. Designers at the fete included Alexander Wang, Richard Chai, Cynthia Rowley, Christian Siriano and Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais. A silent auction of original artwork from the likes of Steven Klein, Terence Koh, Jack Pierson and Karim Rashid benefited amfAR. Martone, a budding photographer — and strategist at boutique ad agency Chandelier Creative — also contributed a piece, a stylized portrait of President Obama and First Lady Michelle taken from a television screen on election night. “Because of gay pride, I thought a picture about love would be appropriate,” he noted. “The picture is called ‘Election Love’ and is about the intimacy between Barack and Michelle, even in public.”
ART TIME: Swatch is partnering with Billy the Artist on a collection of watches, hitting stores Wednesday. Described as “Urban Primitive,” the timepieces feature vibrant colors and visual designs. “My philosophies are to create your own reality and no plan B. I think my watches with their wide open eyes and playful spirit represent that,” Billy said. The pieces retail from $55 to $65 at Swatch stores nationwide.
HEADING EAST: New York-based designer Ashleigh Verrier has joined the flock of Western labels and retailers opening in Japan. Her new store, located in the Ao retail complex in the Aoyama area, opened through a licensing deal with Itokin. “Japan is great about really capturing the essence of what I want the brand to be,” said Verrier, who explained she hopes to leverage the growth of her business in Japan on her branding efforts in the United States and other markets. Verrier said she finds inspiration in the Japanese attention to detail — right down to the packaging of candy in drugstores. “I like that things are clean. Things are well designed,” she said. To wit, she expressed a certain level of disbelief at how her Japanese business partners took a doodle she drew on one long flight to Japan and turned it into a colorful print for handbags and blouses. “They’ll take the littlest thing and not just take it for granted but make something of it,” she said.
GOLDEN OLDIES: “She was fashion’s antidote; she worked with the biggest artists of her day and dared to use colors that weren’t worn by the bourgeoisie at the time,” said Dominique Sirop of Elsa Schiaparelli, whose vintage designs drew hundreds of admirers to Azzedine Alaïa’s headquarters on Thursday. Alaia curated a selection of Schiaparelli pieces, hailing from one anonymous owner, that he wanted guests to be able to enjoy as a group before their sale at the Drouot Richlieu auction house on July 3. Alaïa even bathed all of the looks in shocking pink lights, including a rare 1937 Lesage-embroidered Schiaparelli jacket designed by Jean Cocteau. Sirop disclosed he owns a few Schiaparelli pieces himself that were given to him by his former mentor, Hubert de Givenchy, for whom he worked for 11 years. “Two of the pieces were worn by Schiaparelli herself, including a comet jacket with embroidery by Lesage that was said to have been inspired by a constellation of moles she had on her face,” said Sirop, who also revealed he has completed a biography on another 20th century fashion legend: Madame Grès. “It’s all done, it’s just a question of finding a publisher during the crisis,” he said.
MOVIE NIGHTS: The Costume Institute will next month host a film series featuring iconic movies that in some way explore the world of models — all a tie-in to its latest exhibit, “Models as Muse.” Each screening will be accompanied by a conversation between a special guest and the Costume Institute’s curator in charge Harold Koda and the exhibit’s guest co-curator Kohle Yohannan.
On July 10, the museum will screen “Funny Face” and model Carmen Dell’Orefice as the evening’s special guest. July 17’s “Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?” screening will have former model Dorothy McGowan, who starred in the movie, on hand, while July 22’s showing of “Unzipped” will feature the documentary’s central character, Isaac Mizrahi.
VERY VERTU: A gold and silversmith by trade, luxury veteran Perry Oosting has been appointed president of luxury mobile phone maker Vertu after just four months as chief operating officer. Formerly an executive at such companies as Bulgari, Burberry, Prada and Gucci, the Dutch national plans to continue product development and growth in a variety of channels and markets. “The world has changed, the involvement of users of a mobile phone or communications device has changed quite dramatically in the last 10 years,” he said. He succeeds Alberto Torres, now senior vice president at Nokia, Vertu’s parent.
GLAMOUR GIRL: Blake Lively stepped out Thursday night to celebrate the new Swarovski Crystallized concept store in downtown New York. Clad in a jaw-dropping white Roberto Cavalli dress, Lively admitted that while she has made her fashion rounds as of late, deciding what to wear doesn’t get any easier. “It would probably help if I had a stylist, but I don’t. I enjoy the process,” she said. “I enjoy scrolling through the shows or fashion magazines and picking looks straight from the runway. I also like to think of things I haven’t done yet. For example, I’ve never worn Cavalli but I saw this dress in a magazine and thought, I think I need to get in on this.”
Lively unveiled a special edition Swarovski Crystallized necklace whose proceeds will go to charity: water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The “Gossip Girl” star was later joined by Evan Rachel Wood, Chloë Sevigny and Lucy Liu.
ALLEY WAY: Fenton/Fallon is moving into its own digs. The costume jewelry brand is opening its doors next month in Freeman Alley on New York’s Lower East Side. According to designer Dana Lorenz, the 1,500-square-foot space is similar in design to a well-appointed Park Avenue town house but is disrupted by hints of overt elements such as neon pawn-shop windows and pop details reminiscent of the Eighties. Both the Fenton and Fallon collections will be carried as well as Lorenz’s fine jewelry line launching in conjunction with the store’s opening. Additionally, the shop will feature a private salon of curated vintage pieces by the likes of Chanel, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin and Stephen Sprouse.
GOLDWYN’S BON MARCHE: Paris emporium Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche has tapped Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Liz Goldwyn to curate its next cultural exhibition focusing on the City of Angels. From Aug. 27 to Oct. 12, Goldwyn’s exhibit will consist of two components. The outer one, displayed in 10 store windows along Rue de Sèvres, will feature images of rows of palm trees, superimposed with musical notes. “Every time I drive past the rows of palm trees I imagine a sound track,” said Goldwyn, who is working with musician Money Mark to create a score that will play in a beat synchronized with passersby. The inside installment, titled “L.A. at Night,” will feature filmed images of Goldwyn’s “Underwater Ballet” billboards placed around the city’s landmarks, along with abstract shots of traffic and cars, projected onto various surfaces in Le Bon Marché’s third-floor, glass-topped exhibition space. Goldwyn’s portrait will appear on a billboard campaign around Paris. In conjunction with the cultural installation, a retail component will feature various Los Angeles-based designers including Current/Elliott, Joie, L’Agence, James Perse, William Rast and Splendid. Citizens of Humanity and J Brand will produce exclusive jeans for the store.