OSCAR PARTY: Oscar de la Renta touched down in Los Angeles Tuesday to receive the Colleagues Champion of Children Award at the charity organization’s annual spring luncheon, where he was seated between honorary chairman Nancy Reagan and presenter Diane Lane, who called him “a true one of a kind.” “I’m seeing a new confidence among customers,” he said, noting that during a trunk show in Toronto last week, he tallied sales of over $1 million in 48 hours. “For me, luxury never left. Although business was not as strong last year, we were not struggling.” De la Renta faulted stores for early promotions, adding he has forbidden his stores from marking down items. His focus is on rebuilding the brand after taking many of its licenses back in house, and on new designs, including Oprah Winfrey’s gown for the Met Costume Gala. “People always ask me how much longer I am going to do this, and I say the day I learn everything is when I should stop. I am a curious person, so every day is a learning process. There has never been a time as challenging as now to create clothes. Back in the Sixties, my customers only got their clothes from one place. Today, that loyalty doesn’t exist as women want to project their own individuality through fashion. It’s about understanding the needs and aspirations of professional women that makes it so exciting.”
MODEL MOMENT: Kate Moss and Mario Testino are collaborating for a photographic tome. Published by Taschen, “Kate Moss by Mario Testino” is set for release this summer. The 128-page boxed hardcover book will be limited to 1,500 signed copies. It will retail for 350 euros, or $472 at current exchange.
HELPING HAITI: Mick Jagger, L’Wren Scott, Rachel Weisz, Catherine Zeta-Jones and a bevy of other notables will host next month’s Rx Haiti benefit and auction to help provide prosthetics for earthquake victims. Michelle Williams, Sienna Miller, Jude Law, Helmut Lang, Zac Posen and Edie Falco are some of the others rounding up friends for the May 6 event at The Greenhouse, the rooftop garden at Scholastic’s SoHo offices. After seeing firsthand the lack of adequate medical care while pitching in with the relief effort earlier this year, David Colbert, a Manhattan-based internist and dermatologist, decided to try to do something about it. Items up for bid will include pieces from Thakoon, Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein, Fred Leighton and Diana Broussard; photography from Annie Leibovitz, EJ Camp, Sante D’Orazio and Jim Marshall, and art from Elizabeth Peyton, Shawn Dulaney, Rachel Harrison and Chris Martin, among others. Colbert will be offering relief of another kind Saturday at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills when he launches his skin care line.
CROSS CHANNEL RETAILING: To celebrate its 40th birthday, Browns London invited 40 of its favorite designers to reissue limited editions of iconic pieces dating from the store’s earliest days up to now. But international fans of Brown’s designer mix don’t have to travel to London to snap up one of 20 Norma Kamali studded bathing suits, for example, or designs by Christopher Kane, Ashish, Rick Owens, Alexander Wang, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Louboutin or Nicholas Kirkwood. Besides Internet availability on the store’s Web site, non-London based consumers will find selections from the Browns Future Collectables 1970-2010 collection at Departmentstore Quartier 206 in Berlin, Grieder in Zurich, Bongénie in Geneva and Ounass in Dubai for the next six weeks. In addition to the Future Collectables action, Browns is celebrating its 40th with a special exhibition, “40 Years of Fashion Innovation,” which will inaugurate the new gallery space at the Regent Penthouses and Lofts on London’s Marshall Street May 12. Paolo Roversi just finished shooting 40 living “ambassadors and icons of Browns,” including designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaïa. Wearing their own creations? No, Browns’ women’s and Focus buying director Erin Mullaney said, nor necessarily clothes for their own gender. Marc Jacobs, for one, was shot in a Halston dress.
FIRST STEP: Sequoia, the French contemporary leather goods brand, is branching out into footwear and introducing a ballet flat for fall by Pierre Hardy, the firm’s creative director. The flats, in a variety of colors and leathers, will be sold at Sequoia stores and are to retail for around 140 euros, or $188 at current exchange. Today, the brand counts six stores in France and 250 doors internationally. In 2009, company sales were 19 million euros, or $26.4 million at average exchange rates.
ROYAL REWARD: Isabella Oliver, the London-based ready-to-wear and maternity clothing line and online retailer, has today been named one of the winners of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for 2010, in the International Trade category. The retailer, which was founded in 2003 by Vanessa Knox-Brien and Baukjen de Swaan Arons, now ships to 77 countries and 50 percent of its stock is sold outside the U.K. The U.S. is the label’s main market outside the U.K. and the company recorded about $3 million in overseas sales in the 2008 fiscal year. While the company began as a maternity wear retailer, it added a rtw line, Isabella Oliver 365, in 2009. De Swaan Arons described the award as “a fantastic recognition of the hard work everyone at Isabella Oliver puts in.”