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DRESSING UP MISS AMERICA: The Miss America pageant is looking to dress girls in more than tiaras and sashes. The 90-year-old organization is readying to launch, for next spring, a children’s line of clothing produced under license by Miss America Brands, the Lewis Center, Ohio-based subsidiary of Air Waves Inc. Set to be unveiled today at the International Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, the deal will cover French terry hoodies, purses, rugby-striped polo dresses, bathrobes, ballet slippers and other styles retailing for less than $25 in sizes 4 to 7. The palette ranges from girl-approved hot pink and purple to patriotic hues of red, white and blue. Currently in discussions with retailers, Miss America Brands said it might expand into the tween and teen market afterward. But the utmost goal is to make girls look and feel good about themselves, said Miss America 2009 Katie Stam, one of the spokesmodels for the new line, with slogans such as “Dream Big.” “It’s not only providing a wardrobe to little girls,” Stam said. “It’s providing inspiration as well.”
ROGER THAT: Since resort remains largely an industry-only phenomenon for now, Desirée Rogers’ presence in the front row at Oscar de la Renta’s show begged the question: Is the former White House social secretary, whose personal interest in fashion is well documented, eyeing professional entrée into the fashion world? “Not really, but never say never,” said Rogers, who was seated among the Vogue editors. Rogers said de la Renta’s was the only show she would have time for during her two-day stay in New York for “several meetings,” and added she’s currently consulting for Johnson Publishing, publisher of Ebony. “The business side [of fashion] is what I like,” said Rogers. “But I’m more interested in overall style. It’s a reflection of personality, and it begins with how one dresses oneself. No matter what people say, that requires some kind of conscious effort.”
ALL AROUND THE MULBERRY LAUNCH: Target is partnering with Mulberry on an Oct. 10 introduction of a limited edition handbag collection, Mulberry for Target. It will be available in most stores and at target.com through Dec. 24. Target did not reveal price points for the Mulberry collaboration.
GALLIANO’S YOUNG GUNS: Kate Moss, Daphne Guinness, Stephen Jones, Erdem Moralioglu and Gareth Pugh turned out to the Ivy Club Friday night to help John Galliano kick-start his tenure as chairman of Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden, the annual U.K.-based talent contest. “Fashion is currently in a strange place, which isn’t particularly creative,” said the British fashion journalist Colin McDowell. “I think designers are being frankly encouraged to be lazy.” Nick Knight rebuked him. “I’ve been working for 25 years in fashion, and I think this is probably the most exciting time I’ve experienced. The whole of the industry is in a state of flux since the advent of the Internet.” Raising his voice, McDowell shot back, “But you are not talking about the designers, which is what I’m talking about. I think in the last five years the creative spirit has moved to photographers, stylists and filmmakers, and what they do with the clothes is more important for us generally than what the designers actually set out to do.” Galliano interjected, “They wouldn’t have those pieces if we hadn’t created them first.”
Galliano also revealed the three finalists of this year’s award: Alice Palmer, Corrie Nielson and Jade Kang. The scheme, which supports emerging British design talent, will see the young designers compete for the award worth 100,000 pounds, or $145,000, during London Fashion Week in September.
LEAVING MCQUEEN: After five months, Samantha Garrett is leaving her post as communications director at Alexander McQueen, a Gucci Group spokeswoman has confirmed. Garrett joined the company on Jan. 6, a little more than a month before the designer committed suicide, and she helped to handle the media frenzy sparked by his death. Before joining McQueen, Garrett managed international press and public relations for Maison Martin Margiela. The Gucci Group spokeswoman said the company was already on the lookout for her successor.
MIYAKE MOVES: There are corporate changes afoot at Issey Miyake in Tokyo. Nobuyuki Ota, who has been president of the house for about 10 years, is stepping down at the end of June. A successor will be named at a press conference. “I believe that it is the time to give my seat to the next generation in order to keep the company more active,” Ota said. “I don’t want to keep the top position of any organization more than 10 years.” Ota said he will stay on at Miyake as a special adviser for at least a few months and will keep working for Japan Fashion Week as a board member.
ROSSELLINI’S NEW JOB: Thanks to Bulgari, Isabella Rossellini is dipping into the accessories world by designing a bag for the storied Roman jeweler with the support of its in-house design team. The “Rossellini” handbag is clean-cut and essential and takes its cue from the styles worn by golden screen divas. Available in four variations of color and materials to better mirror Rossellini’s personality, it features handmade enameled clasps adorned with semiprecious stones. The lining is printed with a snail motif, a tribute to Rossellini’s most recent short movies in support of ecological causes and of animal reproduction that were recently presented at the Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals. The bag will be unveiled in Paris on July 7 during haute couture week in Bulgari’s flagship and will go on sale at the end of July.