MARK THE CALENDAR: The Fashion Calendar will post online and ship its first look at the September shows Friday, but a few changes are already underfoot. Tory Burch will hold her presentation in Bryant Park for the first time on Sept. 16. For the second consecutive season, Betsey Johnson, Marchesa, Monique Lhuillier and Carmen Marc Valvo will be staging presentations off-site. The Fashion Calendar’s Ruth Finley said Tuesday, “There will be a lot more shows than last year. There are a lot of new people you have never heard of. Bryant Park is not completely booked yet.”
SELLING BEYONCE: Beyoncé isn’t missing any merchandising opportunity during her four-night concert stop in Las Vegas from July 30 to Aug. 2. Beyond Productions, which produces House of Deréon and Deréon, is distributing select products at stores in the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore hotels while Mathew Knowles and his music label, Music World Entertainment, will offer a selection of “I AM…” world tour merchandise as well as products cobranded exclusively with Wynn based on Beyoncé’s tour stop at the resort. The MWE and the cobranded merchandise include T-shirts, hats and posters, and related items are available at these locations. The merchandise is for sale in the stores and will be there until Aug. 4.
The partnership will crescendo with an appearance by Beyond Productions creative director and designer, Tina Knowles, who will host a cocktail reception for the House of Deréon dresses at the boutique Ensemble on Aug. 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. House of Deréon dresses are available at boutiques including Mojitos and Ensemble, while the Deréon lyric T-shirts as well as select Deréon sunglasses, outerwear, handbags and jewelry are available at Nite Life Shop, Sundries, The Drugstore and Signature. As part of the initiative, Beyoncé’s custom bodysuit from the music video of her song “Put a Ring On It,” the House of Deréon feather-print fishtail gown Beyoncé wore to the Academy Awards and the duchess satin gown she wore as she serenaded President Obama and First Lady at the Inaugural Ball are on display in a series of windows at Wynn Las Vegas.
PRIZE FIGHT: Blame it on the Michelle Obama effect. American designers represent half of the six candidates chosen to compete for the 10th edition of the Stella Contemporary Fashion Award, including Thakoon Panichgul, Alexander Wang and Ohne Titel. The event is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Zurich.
Europe’s Alexis Mabille, Peter Pilotto and Erdem will also be up for the prestigious prize that represents 100,000 euros, or around $140,000 at current exchange. Following Swiss Textiles Federation stipulations, the money can only be used for buying Swiss fabrics and for show and press expenses. Lisa Feldman, editor in chief of Switzerland’s Annabelle magazine, will preside over this year’s jury.
Last year’s winner, Rodarte, will present its spring collection that night, as will Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo, one of the First Lady’s pet designers. Laureates of the award from over the past decade are also expected to attend, including Raf Simons, Bruno Pieters and Marios Schwab. Also at the event, Zurich-based couturier Rosmarie Amacher will exhibit a collection of vintage dresses by the likes of Chanel, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent that were made using Swiss textiles.
COOL AS A CAT: After lending an air of intrigue to muse Marion Cotillard in its mini film noir “Lady Noire Affaire,” Dior’s Diorette shades have garnered a slew of celebrity fans. The house issued a release Tuesday showing the cat eye-shaped shades on everyone from Dior ambassadors Charlize Theron and Sharon Stone to Katie Holmes and Madonna. The latter image would be familiar to millions, taken when the singer visited victims and their families following the collapse of her stage in the South of France last week, which left two workers dead and eight injured. “The photo of Madonna was taken in Marseille on Sunday,” confirmed a Dior spokeswoman, suggesting there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
THE ASPREY ANGLE: Bruce Hoeksema, the former president of Valentino USA and founder and designer of the VBH accessories label, is teaming with Asprey, WWD has learned. Hoeksema is designing a small collection of handbags for fall, an Asprey spokeswoman confirmed, although she declined to give further details. Hoeksema left Valentino at the start of 2001, and set up VBH, which stands for V. Bruce Hoeksema, in 1999. His high-end handbags, which are produced in Italy in limited runs, have a fan list including First Lady Michelle Obama.
STELLA’S BERLIN FUN: The bulging eyeball trick glasses arrived in the mail, as did a winky-blinky plastic ring: unusual invites that promised a fun evening in Berlin “in honour of Ms. Stella McCartney.” And to what did Berlin owe the honor of McCartney’s visit? “We just asked her,” was the matter-of-fact answer from retailer Josef Voelk, who, with his partner, Emmanuel de Bayser, hosted the first part of Thursday night’s festivities in their designer-studded specialty store The Corner. “And she’s very loyal.”
Indeed, The Corner was McCartney’s first door in Germany, and has carried her collection since opening on Gendarmenmarkt in February 2006. The store’s never-ending windows facing the historic square were put to good use for the occasion, “Stella” spelled out in huge initials made up of expertly tied, primary colored balloons.
The balloons were the designer’s idea. “I wanted to get bright and happy and lift spirits. And the sun’s helped, too,” she remarked as the rays beat in. And just in case more assistance was needed, there were cigarette girls outfitted with cigs, candy and no-water-needed aspirin.
SPINNING A WEB: British retailer New Look is launching an e-commerce site in France later this month in a move to complement its network of 20 stores in the country. The international site will be available in English and will initially accept payments in sterling only. Payments in euros will become available by the end of 2009, with the launch of a redesigned Web site. New Look hopes to build on the success of its U.K. site, which has more than one million visitors a week.
VARRO’S VIEW: Los Angeles designer Eva Varro, whose vivid print and stretch designs are sold at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and boutiques across the country, will open her first store in Macerich’s Santa Monica Place next year. The Hungarian-born designer started her career with swimwear and now resides in Santa Monica, making the soon-to-open shopping center a close-to-home fit for Varro, who also has celebrity clientele including Eva Longoria, Jane Seymour and “Twilight” actress Ashley Green.