SUMMER REED: Perhaps she is growing up as a First Lady, or maybe it’s simply a result of working with Meredith Koop instead of Ikram Goldman on her wardrobe, but Michelle Obama’s recent fashion choices have been more about big industry names and less about emerging design talents. Last Thursday, Obama wore a long cobalt halter dress from Reed Krakoff to the Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony in Washington, D.C., marking the first time she has worn Krakoff’s ready-to-wear. The choice came a week after she waved the flag for established American designers in London with a Tom Ford gown at Buckingham Palace and a Ralph Lauren design to the State Dinner the following night.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
HONORING YOHJI: Yohji Yamamoto will become a Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, or a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, an honor granted by the French government. The honor, one of four orders granted by the French state, is given to creative individuals who have made a contribution to French and world culture. Frédéric Mitterrand, France’s minister of culture and communication, will give Yamamoto his medal later this year during an official ceremony in Paris.
ALLEGRA UPDATE: While she continues to keep a low profile, Allegra Versace has started collaborating on the family-owned brand’s collections, moving her first steps in the design studio, according to a report in Italian daily La Repubblica on Sunday. Versace is the daughter of Donatella Versace and majority owner of the company, with a 50 percent stake she inherited from her uncle Gianni Versace. Allegra Versace, who sits on the board of the company, also addresses her battle with anorexia (“my period of absence.…I did not want to be recognized,” she said) and her recovery after her cures in the U.S.
K SPOTTED: Tony Hawk has milked megamillions from his skateboarding skills but his 18-year-old son, Riley, seems to be less interested in offering his two cents. In Manhattan over the weekend for the Maloof Money Cup, the teenager declined an interview request through his father’s publicist. Apparently, the junior Hawk, whose real first name is Hudson, is kind of a shy guy. While his father’s name has been stamped on amusement park rides, video games, Kohl’s clothes and myriad other products, his son has not gone that route. He skates for Lakai Limited Footwear and his father’s Birdhouse Skateboards. Tony Hawk, who penned “How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO” last fall, is still branding with abandon. He is also hard at work raising money for his charity, the Tony Hawk Foundation. As far his son’s low-key ways, handlers hope it is just a phase.
RUTH’S CHOICE: “I knew William was a genius right from the beginning. The only problem was not enough other people knew he was genius,” said Ruth Finley, lauding praise on designer William Calvert. His profile did get a lift Thursday night when the National Arts Club Fashion Committee presented Calvert with its 2011 Innovator Award. “He’s reinvented himself,” said Finley, a member of the committee, explaining why Calvert deserved the award and how he’s broadened his scope from serious couture to also creating the whimsical, contemporary Callula Lillibelle line, launched for fall 2010 with partner Melanie Fraser Hart.
What’s next on his horizon? Taking Callula Lillibelle “horizontal,” he said, via product and category extensions. Bridal has been part of his repertoire, too, and a few years ago, Calvert designed the wedding dress for Fashion Committee chair Chrishaunda Lee, but she made it clear that wasn’t the impetus for giving Calvert the award. “Finley made the nomination,” she said.
DONE DEAL: L’Oréal Paris announced Friday that it has signed Liya Kebede on as a new face. The model started her acting career in 2006, when she appeared in “The Good Shepherd.” Kebede is also involved in humanitarian causes and began her Lemlem clothing line in 2007. She joins the likes of Gwen Stefani, Freida Pinto, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez as a L’Oréal Paris spokeswoman.