DEVI-TO-WEAR: Devi Kroell, who is opening a store at 717 Madison Avenue this fall, already is working on her next endeavor — fashion. The accessories designer will launch a full ready-to-wear collection for the spring 2009 season. “I feel my accessories need a little bit of a backdrop, something very unique that fits them and complements them,” Kroell told WWD. “I think it’s a really natural continuation of what I have been doing so far. I started with bags, and then my clients asked for shoes, so I started making shoes.” Kroell has been mulling the expansion for several seasons and said planning the boutique gave her the courage to make “this leap of faith.”
For the launch collection, Kroell researched fabrics at mills in Italy and France, and developed some special looks in heavy or frayed silks, for instance. “The inspiration is definitely exotics but it’s not that obvious,” she said. The launch collection will run the gamut from dresses to separates, suits, outerwear and evening. Retail prices will range from $790 for pants to $1,600 for dresses and $2,000 for suits. It will be available in late January at Kroell’s boutique. The designer hopes the distribution will mimic that of her handbags, which are sold at stores such as Barneys New York, Jeffrey New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols. Kroell plans to unveil the clothing collection with a small presentation during New York Fashion Week in September. “I am planning to do a tableau vivant,” she said.
LEIBOVITZ IN THE CITY OF LIGHT: Annie Leibovitz and Louis Vuitton cohosted a private inauguration of her retrospective, “A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005,” Monday night at Paris’ Maison Européenne de la Photographie (European House of Photography). The show moves between portraits of public figures from the entertainment and political arenas and poignant snaps from Leibovitz’s private photo album. Sofia Coppola, Kanye West and Audrey Marnay mingled among the event’s arty crowd, joined by Mischa Barton and Giambattista Valli. “I live just around the corner, which is pretty handy,” said Barton, skipping off to inspect a black-and-white shot of Demi Moore’s expectant belly, encircled by Bruce Willis’ hairy hands.
Already in holiday mode, Valli said he’s looking forward to his yearly vacation in Positano, Italy. “I’m neighbors with Francesco Clemente so it’s always nice to catch up,” he said.
Gearing up for a round of summer festivals, Patti Smith, the subject of a couple of the show’s portraits, did the rounds with her son, Jackson, sporting gigantic sideburns. “I can recall Annie came down to Detroit to photograph us, just using natural light. It was three months after my husband [Fred] had died and the first real time that we were really alone so when I look at the photo, all I can think is that he is missing from it,” said Smith, who’s busy working on a number of projects including a book on her years spent with Robert Mapplethorpe. “I’ll also be working on a new album in the fall,” she said.