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ITALIAN STALLIONS: Some of Italy’s most famous fashion brands are marking the 150th anniversary of the country’s unification with an exhibition at London’s Somerset House. “Masters of Italian Style: Celebrating the Stories Behind Italian Fashion,” kicks off today and features a selection of the brands’ favorite ad campaigns from the archives. Curated by Colin McDowell and sponsored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro, the show includes the Mario Testino images of Amber Valletta working her low-slung Gucci trousers; images of Isabella Rossellini and Madonna doing their glamorous Italian Mamma shticks for Dolce & Gabbana, and a virtually ancient image from Prada — 1988 — with a Sophia Loren-ish looking woman ready to have lunch.
“A fashion show is only one part of a designer’s vision for the season. The ad campaign often offers a clearer vision of what they’re thinking,” McDowell said during a walk-through. The show runs until Aug. 14, and features images from Giorgio Armani, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci.
SCENT OF A WOMAN: Bulgari has signed Rachel Weisz as the face of its new Jasmin Noir fragrance campaign due out in August. The Oscar and Golden Globe winner was captured by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, who opted for a seductive and sophisticated boudoir-style aura.
COTTON PICKIN’ MAD: Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Eileen Fisher, Nautica, Gear for Sports, The Jones Group, Liz Claiborne and Nike are among the first companies to sign a pledge boycotting the use of Uzbekistan-sourced cotton until the International Labor Organization determines that forced child labor is no longer an issue in the country. The nonprofit Responsible Sourcing Network expects to have lined up 70 companies representing hundreds of brands by New York Fashion Week in September.
The Uzbekistan government forces up to two million children — some as young as seven years old — to leave school to work in the cotton fields for up to two months, organizers said. During the harvest, children are exposed to harmful pesticides. They also allegedly face physical harm or expulsion from school if they fail to reach a daily quota of 50 pounds of raw cotton.
Supporters are considering taking their plea to fashion designer Gulnara Karimova, whose father, Islam Karimov, is the president of Uzbekistan. Last fall she showed her Guli line during the New York shows and is expected back this year.
EYE ON THE PRIZE: Anthony Vaccarello, a graduate of La Cambre in Brussels, has scooped up the 2011 ANDAM Fashion Award, enabling him to put on a catwalk show in Paris in October and open a studio in the French capital. The endowment totals 200,000 euros, or $287,800 at current exchange rates. Vaccarello, who won the Grand Prix at the 2006 International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, will be mentored for two seasons by consultant and former Chloé chief executive officer Ralph Toledano. He also wins Swarovski Elements worth 10,000 euros, or $13,250, to be used towards his spring-summer 2012 collection, and the use of Galeries Lafayette’s La Suite space for his next showroom.
Vaccarello beat fellow nominees Adam Kimmel, Commuun’s Kaito Hori and Iku Furudate, Jeremy Laing, Matthew Harding and runner-up Yiqing Yin. Yin, who plans to stage her first runway show on July 7 during couture week in Paris, won a second prize worth 60,000 euros, or $86,300.
Having a Parisian project in view is a prerequisite to be eligible for the ANDAM prize, which is sponsored by the likes of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and Longchamp, as well as France’s Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Culture.