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HOLIDAY TREATS: Being a fashion entrepreneur herself, it’s only natural that Tory Burch has a few things going on this week, which is Global Entrepreneurship Week. American Express just donated $100,000 to the Tory Burch Foundation, which helps women start their own businesses. The donation came from the total proceeds of the exclusive cardmember-only presentation Burch held during New York Fashion Week.
On Friday, Burch will also unveil her holiday windows in 46 stores with an installation she collaborated on with artist Timothy Paul Myers. Inspired by a photo of a reindeer, the 46 pieces use a total of over 2 million Hasbro Lite Brite colored pegs. The company is partnering with Dress for Success to plug in the installation on Friday afternoon, and each representative can pick a work-appropriate Tory piece at the store. The company will also donate clothes to the organization.
CAVALLI LETS IT RIP: Roberto Cavalli showed his romantic and poetic side on Wednesday during the unveiling of his photo exhibition in Milan, titled “Black Is Never Absolute,” but trust the outspoken designer to also add a dose of controversy to the walk-through. “I like to catch the image of a cloud when it goes by. I have looked at a black sky and waited patiently, for hours, for the sun to shine through,” said Cavalli. “You see, black is never absolute. There is always light behind it.”
The images, taken over the past 10 years by the designer during his trips around the world, range from views of the sky and marine landscapes to the desert in Namibia and the only existing baobab that is made of two intertwined trees. “This is the baobab innamorato [in love],” said Cavalli. Yet, with his usual spirit, in the room dedicated to animal prints, Cavalli was quick to point out: “I actually photograph the animals so that I can reproduce the pattern on my dresses, while other designers merely copy my prints.”
Another stab at his peers, and at himself, too, came with Cavalli’s aversion for today’s fashion ad campaigns, which, he believes, have no connection with reality. “Photos in fashion ads are not spontaneous, even mine. Why would Madonna be draining pasta in those Dolce & Gabbana ads? Models wearing dresses in the desert? Kate Moss on a tree?” he said referring to one of his own previous ads. “There’s no sincerity, no spontaneity. I prefer photos of real life.”
The exhibition, which is held in Milan’s Palazzo Morando and runs until Dec. 12, is expected to travel to New York and Miami, among other cities, but dates are not set yet.
HSN’S NEW CELEBRITY PROJECT: HSN is putting another celebrity in front of the camera. Irina Shabayeva, last year’s winner of “Project Runway,” is offering knit headbands with fake fur muffs, shawl collar sweaters and belted fake shearling jackets as part of a collection launching on HSN on Nov. 24. Retailing for between $29.90 and $269.90, Shabayeva’s line for HSN is her first attempt to reach a budget-conscious customer; her namesake label, which launched last spring, sells for between $495 and $3,495. Shabayeva, who’s also prepping to introduce a bridal collection for Kleinfeld Bridal next spring, is already brainstorming her sophomore collection, including tops and sportswear, with HSN for fall 2011.
SOMETHING BLUE?: “For the royals, apparently the royal blood is not in demand any longer,” said Karl Lagerfeld, reacting to news of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton. Not that it’s a bad thing. “Better for the generation to come,” Lagerfeld reasoned. “She is very different from Princess Diana, and seems very well balanced and a happy person. She is chic in a way the position needs. Let’s wait and see.” Lagerfeld, calling Middleton “beautiful and elegant,” also detected a resemblance to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, “like a younger sister,” he noted.
Meanwhile, because the Brits love a good gamble, why wouldn’t they put their money on Middleton’s choice of wedding dress? The online betting agency Paddy Power has 9-2 odds on both Daniella Helayel, the designer behind Issa, and Amanda Wakeley, who once made dresses for Princess Diana. Others at the top of Paddy Power’s list include Elizabeth Emanuel (5-1), who made Princess Diana’s dress with her now ex-husband David Emanuel; Vivienne Westwood (6-1); Bruce Oldfield (7-1); Marchesa (8-1), and Jenny Packham (10-1). And if that were not enough, the site has also placed odds on the color of the queen’s hat on the big day — with pink at the top of the table; the maid of honor, with Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton the front-runner, and the date of the marriage, with odds on days in July.
HONORING MIUCCIA: On Monday evening in Milan, Miuccia Prada will be presented with the Carlo Porta Award — an annual recognition of “those whose cultural works and personalities honor Milan and its most important traditions,” according to a statement from the organizing body. Though fashion is certainly one of the city’s cornerstones, Prada will be the first designer to receive the accolade in its 46-year history. Prada was selected for her success in the industry as well as her forays into the contemporary art world with Fondazione Prada, which most recently inaugurated an exhibit called “The Giacometti Variations” by John Baldessari in Milan.
WHO’S ON NEXT?: Guessing who might be the most appropriate designer to one day succeed Karl Lagerfeld at the helm of Chanel is a fascinating pursuit for bloggers — and one rarely based in the factual world. In print, the incumbent designer doesn’t flinch at the question. In an interview in Numero’s November issue, Lagerfeld replied: “I have a contract for life so it all depends on who I would like to hand it to. At the moment I’d say Haider Ackermann.” Lagerfeld has recently been enamored of Ackermann’s fashions, and had invited him to attend the most recent Chanel show. Ackermann reacted by saying, “What can one possibly say to such a phrase?! Such a compliment! Honored I feel, how can one not be?! In all honesty tremendously, immensely touched especially coming from Monsieur Lagerfeld.”
SEND A NOTE: In an age of e-mail, J. Crew believes people should scribe letters by hand. “The art of letter writing has been long lost,” said Tom Mora, J. Crew’s head of wedding design. To reverse the trend, J. Crew just inked a deal with Connor Fine Engraver and Stationer to sell an exclusive holiday collection of engraved stationery at the J. Crew bridal boutique on Madison Avenue, 10 other J. Crew stores and on jcrew.com. The boxed sets of all-cotton stationery are priced at $75 for 12 cards and come in a choice of five engravings custom-made for J. Crew. Bespoke wedding invitations are also offered. Aside from J.Crew, the Connor line is sold at The Plaza hotel by appointment.
Fine stationery, observed Henri Richter-Werner, Connor’s creative director and an alumni of John L. Strong stationery, “is a category in the luxury retail world on the verge of disappearing, though there is a segment, especially a high-end customer, that still writes every single day. It’s more of a self-branding and representation of who you are.”