RIGHT ROYAL GEMS: The trickle-down effect of the Marie Antoinette revival sparked by Sofia Coppola is still bearing fruit. During couture week, Mellerio dits Meller, the world’s oldest independent jewelry brand, founded in 1613, unveiled five pieces dedicated to the famously indulgent queen. The pieces included a gray gold compact and a gray gold, diamond and sapphire brooch inspired by the flowers on an original cameo bracelet, which was designed by the house for Antoinette.
RUSSIAN FEVER: Irfe, which presented an homage to its roots during couture week, will be following with a ready-to-wear show in Paris in October. The brand was originally founded by exiled aristocrats Prince Felix Yusupov and his wife, Princess Irina Youssoupov, née Romanov, in Paris in 1924. Designer Olga Sorokina is behind the resurrection, with the blessing of the Yusupovs’ granddaughter, Xenia Sfiris. The pair will decorate the brand’s first store on Moscow’s Stoleshnikov Lane, to open in December. “It will have the same spirit as the original [store’s] decor,” said Sorokina of the space, which will feature paintings by Alexander Yakovlev. Openings are also planned for Paris, Milan, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Shanghai.
This story first appeared in the July 7, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WINNING WOOL DESIGNER: “I’m coming to Paris,” declared Qui Hao, winner of the inaugural Australian Merino Woolmark Prize, presented at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris on Thursday night. The 30-year-old Chinese designer’s entries included a white tube dress encircled with knitted orbs of Merino wool, inspired by a series of cave photos by Wang Gang. Hao said he plans to use the award, that represents 100,000 euros, or $158,000 at current exchange, in funding, to transfer to Paris. A limited edition design by Hao will also be carried at Colette as an exclusive.
“I’m looking to move to the next stage,” said the designer, who currently works from a Forties high-ceilinged studio in Shanghai where he coowns four stores.
“It’s the first time that we’ve worked with young designers and it presented many interesting challenges,” said Daniella Sterni, head of collections for Italian knitwear producer Jupiter, which worked on five out of the 10 finalists’ designs, including that of Louise Goldin. Sterni said the firm, which produces knitwear for the likes of Balenciaga, Jil Sander and Givenchy, is now considering producing the next runway collection for co-finalists Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann.
Festivities were hampered by a major power outage. Outside, a small group of animal rights protestors demonstrated against mulesing, a common practice in Australian sheep farming.
Projects in line for Hao, meanwhile, include a line of masks that will be featured in Vogue China for its December holiday issue.
WONDER WALL: The glamour of the Paris runways cropped up in the unlikely setting of a housing project for 278 disadvantaged residents in Boulogne-Billancourt outside Paris last Wednesday. Patrick Blanc’s lush vertical garden featuring 30 plant species, the backdrop for Stella McCartney’s show last October, was inaugurated by the town’s mayor, PPR executives and nonprofit associations while the collection was shown on an adjacent screen. “The intention from the start was for the wall to have a life after the show, because there is something really depressing about a 20-minute fashion show and the decor is all thrown away,” said McCartney, via e-mail. “We wanted to be responsible, and I’m really happy we celebrated that today.” Green-haired Blanc jetted in from Los Angeles, where he’s designing another “living wall” for Frank Gehry’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and next heads to Shanghai for his first installation in China. Blanc has created some 200 vertical gardens, including his first in the U.K., and in Germany this year, where Berlin’s Galeries Lafayette is adorned with his green façade. Mayor Pierre-Christophe Baguet, meanwhile, is keen to grow connections with the Pinault family. As part of the latest plans to rejuvenate the Ile Seguin, where François Pinault abandoned plans to locate an art foundation in favor of Venice, the mayor has solicited Pinault’s input for a sculpture garden.