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NOT TOO SHABBY: There still may be a silver lining for fans of the now-defunct domestic decor label Shabby Chic. The company, helmed by British-born interior designer Rachel Ashwell and known for its elegantly worn home furnishings, filed for Chapter 11 in January and began shuttering its 15 retail locations shortly thereafter. (Liquidation sales are under way at the brand’s eight remaining stores.) But, when reached for comment last Thursday, Ashwell still seemed optimistic about the business she started in 1989. “Shabby Chic is Montana Avenue,” said the entrepreneur, referring to the address of the company’s Santa Monica flagship. “[It] won’t go away.”
Ashwell chalked the company’s present financial woes up to its recent — and perhaps ill-timed — retail expansion, but insisted she would reopen a store soon. “I can’t imagine life without one,” she said. In the meantime, Ashwell reported she will continue to work on her home accessories line for Target, Simply Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell, and is working on her sixth book, due out later this year.
“It was supposed to be a 20th anniversary book,” said the decorator, “but I have to do some rewriting now.”
SING A SONG: The Verve lead singer Richard Ashcroft will perform at a dinner British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman is hosting in honor of Gucci creative director Frida Giannini on April 1, according to sources. The event will be held at London’s Saatchi Gallery to mark the unveiling of Gucci’s revamped Sloane Street boutique, modeled after the brand’s latest generation store concept designed by Giannini. Gucci’s new chief executive officer, Patrizio di Marco’’ will also attend the dinner for 150 people.
STICKING TO HER KNITTING: New York’s French Institute Alliance Française closed the last of its “Fashion Talks” on Monday night with a chat with Diane von Furstenberg. (Previous participants included Donna Karan and Catherine Malandrino.) Interviewed onstage by Pamela Goldin, curator of Paris’ Musée de la Mode et du Textile, von Furstenberg spoke about her career beginnings and trajectory. Of her current stint as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, von Furstenberg noted she intends to get more involved with the fashion week calendar. “One of the things I want to do with fashion week is to make this difference between what is trade and what is consumer,” she said, “and maybe organize some consumer shows.” Meanwhile, asked whether she ever planned to design men’s wear, von Furstenberg answered with a resounding no. “And not for children either,” she continued. “Let them grow up.”
TAKE ME OUT: Franz Ferdinand is upping its style ante. The band tapped budding Danish designer Christian Westphal to costume its worldwide tour “Tonight,” which hits Europe this month before crossing the pond to the U.S. in April. The musicians are also featured on the cover of the current issue of Germany’s Stern Magazine, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld in looks from Westphal’s most recent collection.
‘TWILIGHT’S’ FASHIONABLE HORIZON: If the hordes of squealing girls amassed outside Kitson last weekend were any indication, Awake Inc.’s launch of a special edition “Twilight” clothing line should be quickly embraced by the tween set. Synched with the hit teen vampire film’s DVD release March 21, Awake — JEM Sportswear’s women’s apparel division — released the line of “Twilight”-inspired T-shirts, hoodies and thermals designed exclusively for the trendy Robertson Boulevard chain. The line will be extended to department stores and will be followed by a second line planned to accompany the movie franchise’s next installment, “New Moon,” in November. Other youth-bent retailers like Hot Topic already have fared extremely well with licensed “Twilight” apparel. Eager fans lined up around the block to catch a glimpse of the film’s stars — Ashley Green, Rachelle Lefevre and Kellan Lutz — who obliged the waiting fans and their giddy mothers by posing for photos. The young actors agreed the line of soft knits was in tune with their personal styles of comfy cottons, knit beanies and trendy leggings. But will any of them be caught wearing the sold-out “I heart Edward Cullen” T-shirt? “Absolutely not. I think Rob [Pattinson] gets enough love as it is,” said Lefevre of the actor who portrays Cullen.
FASHION POLICE: Talk about a dress code: While on duty, Berlin’s police officers are now banned from wearing 10 labels deemed to be popular among neo-Nazis. The brands Fred Perry, Ben Sherman, ACAB, Alpha Industries, Consdaple, Lonsdale, Pit Bull, Outlaw, Troublemaker and Thor Steinar have all been put on a black list. According to police authorities, the labels are seen as a sign of right-wing extremist views and it would be damaging for officers to be associated with such ideologies. Disciplinary action will be taken against officers found wearing any of the brands at work. But the move has been controversial. Some of the labels have objected to being lumped into the same category as brands such as Thor Steiner, which has strong links to neo-Nazi groups. Although both Ben Sherman and Fred Perry are sometimes popular among right-wing extremists, both labels have done a lot to distance themselves from such groups, by restricting outlets and publicly objecting to extremist ideology. Germany’s police trade union, meanwhile, has also protested against the new ruling: Officers working undercover at neo-Nazi events put themselves at risk if they don’t wear the same clothes as everyone else, say union representatives.
SHOOT AND DUCK: Jeremy Irons plays a former National Geographic photographer opposite Joan Allen in “Impressionism,” which bows Tuesday on Broadway. Like any dutiful employee in publishing, however fictitious his actual paycheck might be, the actor references his magazine during the performance and theatergoers get a good long look at a gigantic projection of a faux National Geographic cover with a duck. Needless to say, executives at the yellow-bordered publication have asked the show’s producers how its trademarked materials are being represented. But the parties that be aren’t exactly strangers. “We’re fans of Jeremy Irons. He has even done the voice-over for a few National Geographic TV programs,” said MJ Jacobsen, National Geographic’s vice president of communications.
But it’s too soon to tell if Irons’ role will spike readership the way Clint Eastwood did, when he played a roaming National Geographic lensman in the film version of “The Bridges of Madison County.”