FRENCH CLASS: Anyone who wandered into the lobby of 7 World Trade on Friday night might be forgiven for wondering if they had mistakenly landed in the Left Bank. Inside, a gaggle of exquisitely dressed women and their dapper dates kept up a steady stream of French as they arrived for the 10th annual Lycée Français de New York, cochaired by Beatrice Del Favero, Ginevra Caltagirone Guarducci and Charlotte and Olivier Sarkozy. The latter graciously gave up any credit for the swank bash, which harkened back to a pre-crash era. “I didn’t do anything other than show up,” said Sarkozy, the younger half-brother of the French president who works in New York as a managing director for the Carlyle Group.
This year’s gala, attended by French tennis star Yannick Noah and Lycée parents such as Catherine Malandrino and Eric Ripert, honored Dior president and chief executive officer Sidney Toledano with the Charles de Ferry de Fontnouvelle award for his contributions to French-American culture. “I think my company has done great things,” demurred Toledano, pointing out how many French nationals have come to New York on behalf of Dior and LVMH, including M. Christian Dior himself in 1947.
This story first appeared in the February 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
NINA SAILS ON: The Chambre Syndicale has released a temporary version of the schedule for Paris Fashion Week, with few surprises. However, it does underscore that the show will go on for Nina Ricci and its designer, Olivier Theyskens, who are on the calendar for a 7 p.m. show on March 5 at Halles Freyssinet, a warehouse in the 13th arrondissement. Theyskens’ contract at the Paris-based house is in effect until the end of October. However, as reported, Peter Copping, a seasoned designer at Louis Vuitton under Marc Jacobs, is in line to succeed Theyskens as the next designer at Nina Ricci, according to sources. Meanwhile, one striking change not yet detailing on the temporary calendar is a change in venue for Nicolas Ghesquière, who has shown his collections for Balenciaga at the firm’s Rue Cassette showrooms for the past seven years. This season, he’s moving his show to the Crillon hotel — or make that shows. There’s one at 10 a.m. for press, and another at noon for buyers.
BALLY’S NEW HIGHS: Bally will celebrate the work of its fellow Swiss native Le Corbusier this spring, when the brand sponsors “Le Corbusier — The Art of Architecture,” which opens at London’s Barbican gallery on Feb. 19.
And beyond supporting the exhibition, which illustrates how the architect’s work evolved over his 60-year career, Bally also is taking design cues from Le Corbusier’s oeuvre. To mark the launch, the label will unveil the Ilya shoe, a snakeskin and suede platform sandal, and the Argus, a men’s deerskin leather bag, which Bally says are both designed to be “an embodiment of Le Corbusier’s modernist style.” The label’s Bond Street store will mount a window display from Feb. 17 to show off the designs, which retail for 350 pounds, or $522 at current exchange, for the Ilya shoe, while the Argus bag retails for 695 pounds, or $1,040. And Brian Atwood, creative director of Bally, noted there are plenty of similarities between the worlds of architecture and shoe design. “The disciplines are close in many ways,” said Atwood. “You work to combine line, structure and material into something both breathtaking and functional.”
CLIMB EVERY MOUNT: London’s Mount Street continues to be a magnet for designer brands. Word has it that Carolina Herrera is zeroing in on an address on the hot retail strip, which is already home to boutiques for Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin. Carolina Herrera is on a retail expansion kick, having recently opened a boutique in Bal Harbor, Fla., with a Las Vegas location in view for this year.
ONE TO WATCH: Following on from the likes of Zac Posen and Alexis Mabille, designs by the burgeoning London-based designer Osman Yousefzada will occupy the windows of Didier Ludot’s Palais Royal store during Paris Fashion Week, with a cocktail scheduled for the opening night on March 4.