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LAPO’S FASHION WORLD: Lapo Elkann, who bought an undisclosed stake in Care Label, an Italian fashion house known for its ecological denim, is likely to present his first nature-friendly wares as early as December or January and probably in New York, according to sources. But the stylish entrepreneur has more on his fashion plate. He’s reportedly in talks to buy storied tailor Sartoria Domenico Caraceni, currently owned by Gianna Campagna. The brand’s namesake — who crafted bespoke suits for Elkann’s grandfather, the late Gianni Agnelli — died decades ago, and today Caraceni exists under various offshoots. Campagna, a Caraceni apprentice, acquired the trademark in 1998 and operates out of Palazzo Bernasconi in Milan. Elkann has earned style points by sporting many of his grandfather’s vintage Caraceni suits. A spokesman for Elkann had no comment.
SALE TALK AT AGENT PROVOCATEUR: Could Agent Provocateur be on the block? According to British press reports, companies, including the private equity firm 3i, have been mulling a purchase of the 13-year-old innerwear firm. However, a spokeswoman for Agent Provocateur — which is known for its high-end yet risqué lingerie — dismissed the reports as “speculation.” “The board is considering a variety of different avenues,” she said, who declined to elaborate as to whether the company was looking for a buyer or additional shareholders. A spokeswoman for 3i, whose investments include a 45 percent stake in Selective Beauty, the company that manufactures and distributes Agent Provocateur’s fragrances, could not be reached for comment.
Since the brand’s co-founders, Joe Corre and Serena Rees, were reported to have separated last year, speculation has swirled as to what the future of the business would be. Last year, Garry Hogarth, a supply chain consultant for the firm, was quoted as saying he was looking to take a stake in the brand, but the company’s spokeswoman said he remains at the firm solely as a consultant.
One London-based investor said an overly ambitious price tag on the brand had put investors off the company in the past, “considering there is no proof yet of a [large] U.S. business,” but added that “with the right valuation, this brand could sell.” The investor also said Corre and Rees’ separation could make potential buyers nervous. “Will they continue to present a united front [or] will one eventually want to cash out when the other wants to hang in there?”
This story first appeared in the October 9, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
FLAT OUT: Repetto has put its best feet forward for its 60th birthday, in the form of 30 pairs of ballerina flats designed by an eclectic lineup of fashion personalities. The shoes are on display in its Paris flagship through today. Highlights include red patent leather ballerinas with wings by Andrée Putman, a black platform ballerina by Chloë Sevigny, and a ballerina covered in plastic toy eyes by Julie Gilhart of Barneys New York. Witty takes on the tutu by Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons are also on show, as well as a limited edition ballerina by the dance shoe’s icon, Brigitte Bardot. The exhibition will move to several cities next year with more celebrity designs to be added on, including a ballerina by Jessica Stam.
BLACK PACK: The show isn’t over for everyone now that Paris Fashion Week has come to a close. Today, Raf Simons, Bernard Willhelm, Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester are just a few of the local designers likely to attend the opening of Yohji Yamamoto’s sprawling new Antwerp flagship, situated in the former restaurant of the MoMu museum. Yamamoto’s daughter, Limi, will also attend the bash.
BIG IN UKRAINE: Who was that woman wearing a huge silver star on her head at Sonia Rykiel? No, it wasn’t Borat in disguise. It was Verka Serduchka, aka Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko, the self-described “Ukrainian Cinderella,” who took second place in this year’s Eurovision song contest. “I’m a designer myself,” offered the cross-dressing Serduchka through a translator. “It’s so much fun.”
WORLD MUSIC: Michel Gaubert, who concocted show music for the likes of Balenciaga, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Jeremy Scott during Paris Fashion Week, is taking his own stab at fashion. The music maestro unveiled a line of bags for Longchamp at the Hotel Bristol last week, comprising six styles splashed with musical icons such as headphones and cassettes. The line retails from $90 for an iPod case to $1,580 for a vinyl case on wheels. A travel book is also in the pipeline, due for release in March. “I travel so much with my work that I’ve decided to share all of my favorite places off of the beaten track,” said Gaubert.
FASHIONING ETHICS: While all eyes at PPR last week were fixed on the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney, this week the group will be nurturing some newer names. PPR is once again sponsoring Ethical Fashion Show, which enters its fourth edition in Paris from Thursday through Sunday. PPR’s catalogue retailer La Redoute will award a prize called “Tackling Ethical Fashion With La Redoute.” During the four-day event, the jury, including PPR’s sustainable development officer, Virginia Alvarez Izquierdo, will browse collections by 100 international designers — ranging from couture to ready-to-wear, sportswear to kids’ wear, plus accessories, shoes and jewelry. The winning designer will create an exclusive collection for La Redoute to bow in October next year.
WATCH OUT: Manish Arora looks set to have some time on his hands following his Paris Fashion Week debut. The Indian designer revealed he’s working on a design for Swatch, to be released this spring. Arora also confirmed he’s been approached by bigwig producer Bobby Bedi to design the costumes for an upcoming Bollywood epic.
TAKE A SEAT: Kenzo is the latest European brand to give fashionable folks somewhere to park their designer-clad bottoms. The French house signed a license with Club House Italia for a line of luxury furniture, due to launch in January. Kenzo already has licenses for tableware, linens and home textiles.