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THE PITS: After clocking up her fair share of catwalk miles, Helena Christensen is coming in for a pit stop — at the end of the runway. The model will lend her lens to shoot Eric Wright’s debut catwalk show for Façonnable here on Saturday. Christensen, who does photography for fashion magazines and solo exhibits, will also be shooting Façonnable’s upcoming campaign for the second time.
NOT CLOSING: A spokeswoman for Three on the Bund has denied rampant speculation the Shanghai luxury landmark will close sometime this spring. “We are not closing, definitely not,” she told WWD Thursday. Since late last year, rumors have swirled around the city that the dining and retail destination, the oldest of several such projects on Shanghai’s historic waterfront, will be converted in whole or part into a boutique hotel. Sources characterize the closure as an open secret and claim staffers have told their friends, but tenants are not yet allowed to confirm their departure. “Like elsewhere we are trimming budgets and postponing a few things until next year,” the Three on the Bund spokeswoman said, adding there has been a recent management change at the helm. New chief operating officer Johnny Kiu has recently taken over from managing director Alan Hepburn. The spokeswoman said she had no idea what prompted the closure speculation. “Rumors are rumors: people hear a story and it grows out of proportion. We will not be closing in the foreseeable future,” she countered. “All that I know is that things will stay as they are, and all the restaurants will stay.” Three on the Bund’s biggest luxury tenants include Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss.
CHANGE IN SPAIN: Alberto Puyol Pineda, chief executive officer of Loewe, will leave the Spanish fashion house at the end of the month to pursue other interests, WWD has learned. Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive officer of the fashion division at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, parent of Loewe, will directly supervise the brand in addition to his other responsibilities. Pineda had joined Loewe three years ago from Spain’s Women’s Secret lingerie chain.
HOLLYWOULD’S HIATUS: If you’re looking for Holly Dunlap, you won’t find her in Hollywould. The founder and creative director of the contemporary footwear, accessories and dress brand owned by Kellwood Co., writes on her Web site, hollywould.com, that she has officially gone surfing, dancing and possibly even writing a book. “After nine years of lots of work and loads of fun, Hollywould and I are taking a nice long vacation,” Dunlap said. “In 2009 you may find us surfing off the beaches of Brazil, skiing in the mountains of Switzerland, sailing near the shores of Italy, and sunning on the sands of Palm Beach, and wherever we are, we’ll be thinking of you.”
The statement said the brand could resurface soon, if it finds new backers, as Kellwood said in October that it was hoping to sell the brand. “When will we be back? Maybe very soon, but hopefully not until we’ve had time to master our surf & snowboard skills, write at least one book, learn at least one new language, visit at least three exotic places, and learn how to dance the tango,” Dunlap writes.
It looks like it could be a while.
HOMETOWN BOY: The New York fashion flock isn’t the only community reveling in Jason Wu’s Michelle Obama coup. Newspapers in his native city of Taipei, Taiwan, dedicated plenty of ink to celebrating their hometown hero. Taiwan’s largest circulation newspaper, the Liberty Times, ran a banner head reading “Michelle’s Evening Gown designed by Taiwanese.” The China Times declared in large-print type: “Michelle’s Beauty makes Jason Wu an Overnight Sensation.” Until now, the designer was relatively unknown in Taiwanese fashion circles but clearly that has changed. “Taiwan’s fashion colleges turn out lots of talent every year, and very few have the chance to leave the island,” said Taiwan designer Sophie Hong, who read about Wu for the first time in Thursday’s United Daily News. “This is great news for us. Jason is a natural introduction to Taiwan for the world of fashion.”
SNAP JUDGMENT: Sir Paul Smith taps into his other passion, photography, for a special supplement of the left-wing daily newspaper Liberation. The eight-page edition, out Saturday, features the designer’s recent snaps plus an in-depth interview in which Smith weighs in on the current crisis; opining that the world’s financiers behaved like spoiled children to whom nobody dared to say stop.