CRITIC’S CHOICE: Daniel Lalonde, fashion critic? The president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America took a spin outside his regular job description on Thursday night by judging young fashion design students at Parsons The New School for Design at a competition called Reconstruction. Vuitton donated older ready-to-wear samples designed by its creative director and Parsons alum, Marc Jacobs. Ten teams of two students created conceptual looks based on historic silhouettes, using the samples with only a day to get it done. “I came to do the easy job,” said Lalonde of his judging. “The creativity, originality and execution are wonderful.” On the panel with Lalonde were Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Esquire fashion director Nick Sullivan; stylist Robert Verdi, and Sugar Vendil, founder and artistic director of the Nouveau Classical Project. Min Sun Kim and Lydia (Yeo Chung) Kim’s dramatic evening gown with men’s wear elements and a hand-painted hemline was judged the best. The winning students each won $2,500 and an invitation to visit the Vuitton Paris headquarters. All entries will be on view until Sept. 25 at the school’s Fifth Avenue location and will be worn by the Nouveau Classical Project for an Oct. 2 performance at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium.
MADE MY DAY: Tehama, the 13-year-old apparel line cofounded by movie star Clint Eastwood and Nancy Haley, has been acquired by Nacabi Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
Headed up by Steven Banks and Gordon Peters, Nacabi plans to take Tehama’s distribution international to specialty retailers. Tehama will be headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with operating offices in Denver and Toronto. Susan Shade will continue as president of the golf division, Anne Ingham will oversee design and Jamie Meyer will continue as director of operations. The sales force will remain as is, and deliveries for fall 2009 and spring 2010 are said to be on track.
H2O PLUS: De Beers group managing director Gareth Penny takes center stage at the United Nations today to discuss the diamond-mining giant’s corporate role in climate control. Penny is one of a series on executives from around the world speaking about different aspects of what their corporations do for climate change. “It’s important for the diamond business that consumers know how we mine diamonds,” Penny told WWD. “We are making sure that we do not waste any water and that we have stepped up our programs.” De Beers, which mines diamonds in arid parts of Botswana, South Africa, reuses and recycles water, which is used to help unearth rough diamonds from deep in the ground.
GREEN WITH ENVY: Yasmin Le Bon has become the latest model to hop on the designer bandwagon — and into Sir Philip Green’s fashion stable — with a collection that’s just bowed at Wallis, part of Green’s Arcadia clothing empire. Le Bon rounded up family members, including husband Simon and daughters Amber, Saffron and Alice, and pals Kelly Hoppen, Lisa Bilton and Tim and Malin Jefferies to celebrate the launch at the Sanderson Hotel last week. “I think I might have a Diana Ross moment later on,” said Le Bon, mulling changing from a petrol-blue silk blouse and leather trousers into another look she designed. Green, who cast an approving eye over the collection — which includes a navy military coat, floor-length evening dresses and a velvet tuxedo suit — said, “Yasmin is elegant, classy and gets it.” Le Bon already has some competition for the key looks. “There are so many pieces I want to steal,” said Le Bon’s model daughter Amber. “I’ve already got my excuses planned: I’m going to say the pug ate them.”
LONG WAIT FOR FAST FASHION: Brooklyn shoppers will have to wait two years for the mega H&M store, which is coming to the Fulton Street Mall in Brooklyn. The 30,000-square-foot, bilevel store is being built from the ground up by developer Albert Laboz of United American Land and was originally slated to open in 2010, but construction delays due to its proximity to a busy subway station is pushing the opening back to fall 2011, said Laboz at a preview for the new Esquire Signature Space in the Soho Mews residential building, another Laboz project. Once it opens in the new glass-sheathed building, H&M will provide a second major anchor, after Macy’s, to the outdoor pedestrian mall, which draws 100,000 people a day to its 225 stores. H&M will be attached to an historic Beaux Arts building at 505 Fulton Street that Laboz is now marketing to other trendy retailers, with the anticipated exit of the dowdy Conway discount store from the space. “Taken by itself, Brooklyn is the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and it is very underserved by retailers, and fashion companies are realizing that,” said Laboz.
CROCODILE ROCK: Christopher Kane fans crowded outside Topshop’s Oxford Circus flagship in the early hours of Friday to get their hands on the designer’s latest collection, Christopher Kane for Topshop. The 39-piece clothing and accessories collection is Topshop’s largest designer collaboration to date, and features sleeveless dresses printed with a giant photo of an open-mouthed crocodile, and embellished knitwear. “I want a crocodile dress,” said Janis McNie, 20, who works at Browns in London. “I prefer the cut of the armholes of the Topshop dress to his mainline version.” Prices range from 30 pounds, or $49, for a black scarf embellished with crystals, to 150 pounds, or $245, for a black eyelet baby-doll dress. A spokesman for Topshop did not provide first-day sales figures, but said 75 percent of Topshop’s online sales on Friday came from the new Kane collection.