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JULIA AND GIORGIO: Julia Roberts has joined forces once again with Giorgio Armani and (Product) Red in the fight against AIDS. Following the launch in December of the Emporio Armani (Product) Red bracelet, which bore Roberts’ tree of life design, on Thursday the Emporio Armani online store introduced matching men’s and women’s T-shirts featuring Roberts’ design in three colors: red, black and gray. “Julia has helped to create beautiful and unique designs for both women and men, which will be a visible reminder of the part that we can all play in fighting AIDS in Africa,” Armani said. This latest (Product) Red offering from Emporio Armani, set to hit stores in September, costs $125 for both men’s and women’s models, with 40 percent of the gross profit margin going to The Global Fund, which finances AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs in Africa. In a further gesture of solidarity, the actress requested the Ts be made exclusively in Africa.
GREEN RUNWAY: The Be EcoChic campaign, which raises awareness of environmental issues, is raising its fashion profile on Sept. 4, when it kicks off its global launch with a group runway show at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Designers including Donna Karan, Ralph Rucci, Carmen Marc Valvo, Christian Cota and Vena Cava have contributed looks that feature sustainable, low-impact or recycled fabrics, while women with environmentalist cred — including Mary Richardson, the wife of Riverkeeper’s Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Laura Turner Seydel, daughter of Ted Turner — will walk in the show. Other models include host Angela Lindvall, Alek Wek, Lauren Hutton, Alexandra Richards and her mother Patti Hansen, as well as a smattering of TV stars from “Lipstick Jungle,” “Law & Order,” “Gossip Girl” and “Ugly Betty.” “Eco-fashion is going high-tech,” explained Lindvall, who co-stars on Discovery’s “Planet Green” show “AlterEco.” “The fashion industry is beginning to realize that eco-fashion can be well-designed, glamorous and, well, fashionable.”
BACK AT IT: Through an exclusive deal with Saks Fifth Avenue, Michael Vollbracht’s new made-to-measure and made-to-order clothing will be unveiled Sept. 16 at the Fifth Avenue flagship. The line marks the designer’s return to the fashion scene since leaving Bill Blass last year. Vollbracht will later make a series of in-store appearances, trunk shows and one-on-one consultations with shoppers in 15 Saks stores across the country. Vollbracht said he is following through on advice Blass gave him years ago. “Bill told me early in my career, ‘Kid, go out and meet your customer’ and I have always followed his advice. In my four years at Bill Blass I met some of the most interesting and powerful women in America. I want to focus my talents on them,” he said. The clothes will only be sold in The Fifth Avenue Club at Saks.
FASHION’S EXHIBITIONISM: It seems London’s high-brow museums have acquired quite a taste for fashion. At the British Museum — best known for its collection of ancient treasures — a life-size sculpture of Kate Moss crafted from 18-carat gold by the artist Marc Quinn will be unveiled Oct. 4. The sculpture, called “Siren,” is valued at 1.5 million pounds, or $2.7 million — distinctly less than the model’s own estimated $73 million fortune. The piece will be shown as part of the museum’s “Statuephilia” exhibition, which will include works by Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst and which runs through Jan. 25. Moss’ statue will be exhibited in the museum’s Nereid Gallery, alongside images of ancient Greek beauty.
And early next year the Victoria and Albert Museum will launch “Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones,” which opens Feb. 24. Stephen Jones, together with the V&A’s researchers, has selected 300 hats to be displayed in a Baroque garden set in the museum designed by Michael Howells. “Since my college days the V&A has been a treasure trove of inspiration,” said Jones. “This exhibition draws on millenary collections worldwide, and is an eclectic and exciting anthology of hats from B.C. to the present day.”
TOO SKINNY FOR MY CATALOGUE: Simons department store has pulled its back-to-school catalogue from seven stores in Quebec after complaints the models in the book were too thin. The family owned company, which dates back to the 1840s, received more than 200 complaints from consumers denouncing the rail-thin models wearing the Simons Twik brand. The 36-page catalogue with a print run of over 450,000 copies produced in-house, was also inserted in English and French newspapers last week. Company president Peter Simons, speaking in front of his flagship store in Quebec City, explained he was on vacation and didn’t see the catalogue until complaints began to roll in. He said the images were “unsuitable” and don’t match his company’s values.
SHAPE SHIFTER: Celebrating a lifetime of design, a limited edition coffee table tome about André Courrèges, billed as the most comprehensive book ever to have been published about the designer, is to be released Oct. 23, under Editions Xavier Barral. Written by French academic Erik Orsenna, the 244-page work, available in 3,000 numbered copies — of which 1,000 will be in English — covers Courrèges essentials, such as the influence of sportswear on his designs, and his relationship with color, in particular white. The book also will include interviews, over 100 photos, and coverage of other lesser-known facets of Courrèges’ creative output, such as architecture. Titled simply “Courrèges,” the book will be available in a selection of major bookstores internationally, priced at 200 euros, or around $290 at current exchange.
PICTURE THIS: Cerruti designer Jean-Paul Knott is keeping it in the family. Next month, he’s hosting an exhibition of photographs by Julian Cerruti, founder Nino’s son, at his gallery in Brussels. Knott said he has become friends with Cerruti junior, and a fan of his nature-based work. “There’s no fashion: that’s what I like about it,” Knott joked.