ROYAL FOOTING: A little known fact about Queen Elizabeth II: she has exquisite taste in shoes. For her 1953 coronation, the monarch tapped French footwear maven Roger Vivier to construct a decadent, embroidered slipper with rubies. On Wednesday night, the Roger Vivier company celebrated the momentous occasion and debuted a collection dubbed A Princess to Be a Queen. The line of bags and shoes have a regal air, with jeweled velvet evening bags and sequined sandals with a swirl motif. “We love tradition, but we hate convention,” said Vivier brand ambassador Ines de la Fressange, who flew in from Paris to attend the cocktail party at Vivier’s Madison Avenue store to fete the collection, which hit the sales floor this week. “This is a famous shoe. It was quite an amazing that the Queen took a French designer to make the shoes for the coronation.” Samantha Boardman, Rita Konig, Caroline Sieber and Amanda Brooks were among those who mingled before heading out for yet another night chock full of fashion parties. De la Fressange will be back in the States in November for the opening of Vivier’s Bal Harbour, Fla., boutique.
This story first appeared in the September 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A PAIR OF SUITORS: The administrator of Christian Lacroix SNC, which filed for protection from its creditors last May, said it received two new takeover proposals. The identities of the suitors were not disclosed but were characterized as having financial means. The commercial court in Paris is due to rule in the coming weeks on offers, which include a bid from Italy’s Borletti Group, the owner of department stores La Rinascente and Printemps, in association with Lacroix. The current owners, Florida’s Falic Group, have proposed a restructuring plan that could see the workforce cut to 12 from 124, reducing the 22-year-old fashion house to a licensing operation.
BLAME IT ON RIO: Ronaldo Stern, chief executive officer of the 64-year old jewelry and watch firm H.Stern, is said to be moving back to Brazil but will retain his role. The company declined to comment on the matter. Stern has championed much of H.Stern’s recent growth and notably gave the green light several years ago to collaborate with Diane von Furstenberg on a fine jewelry and watch line.
OSCAR MOTORS ON: Rather than decompress with friends or celebrate with staffers, Oscar de la Renta marked the close of another runway show Wednesday night by welcoming philanthropist Suzanne Rogers and select guests to his Madison Avenue boutique. The pair was talking up “An Evening With Oscar de la Renta” that will be held April 14 in Toronto and will benefit HealthyKids International. The runway show will be the designer’s first in Canada in more than 10 years.
After Wednesday’s mix-and-mingle, de la Renta planned to beeline it home to spend some quality time with his wife, Annette, who is on the mend from hip surgery. As for all the overtime this week, he does not pay it much mind. “I always say, ‘When you do something which you have a passion for and you love, that energizes you,’” de la Renta said.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Nine fashion insiders clued in students from Parsons The New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology on Thursday about fashion’s precarious yet promising state at MAC & Milk. For starters, emcee John Demsey noted MAC was founded in 1984 at a time when the inflation rate was 14.8 percent and unemployment was 10.8 percent, even worse than today’s figures. Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez, joined by Jack McCollough, advised the crowd to have a definitive point of view. “Those who are more individualistic last the test of time,” he said. The pair told moderator Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune that fashion shows are no longer for the privileged few, and they are well aware of — and motivated by — the fact that anyone can view their runway looks online shortly after their show is over.
Asked about the wallop from celebrity dressing, Alexander Wang said: “Today, more than ever, it definitely makes a difference. But for us, it’s always about finding the right person, whether it’s an A-list celebrity or someone on the Internet who understands our brand and has a lot of influence on people.”
Opening Ceremony’s founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon noted the tried-and-true way of running a store by envisioning what you think is right for consumers is no longer enough. They prefer to run theirs like a mom-and-pop shop, where designers are welcome to drop by to chat. Milk Studios’ Mazdack Rassi also played up the need to have a welcome mat for consumers, noting Milk is exploring new ways to beam its fashion shows to consumers.
SOCIALIZING: Versace is planning to bring some glitz to cyberspace. The Italian fashion house has launched its own Facebook and Twitter accounts with the aim of connecting “beyond the status quo” with a broader customer base. Facebook visitors will be able to view the upcoming Versace runway show, Versus’ debut presentation while getting minute-to-minute updates about Versace events via Twitter. The Facebook page also includes a gallery where fans will be invited to view collections, preview ad campaigns and celebrity red carpet highlights. A revamped Versace Web site will also launch later this month.
JUICY SCAM: When a WWD editor received one of those all-too-obvious money scam e-mails from “the former wife to the president of Liberia” asking to help save “money worth about $20,000,000,000 together with the precious gold,” it usually would have been deleted immediately. However, this particular e-mail came with a familiar name: Gela Nash-Taylor. Nash-Taylor, also the name of one of the founders of Juicy Couture, thought the whole thing was quite a scream. “Oh my God! I’m totally freaking out that my current husband John Taylor will find out about my past marriage to the Liberian president,” she joked. “Although, I will admit, we’ve always been inspired by gold. Choose Liberia!” E-mails sent to the Liberian Nash-Taylor were not returned.
ENVIRONMENTALLY, MY DEAR WATSON: Emma Watson is the latest celebrity to design a clothing line — but she’s decided to give her namesake collection an ethical twist. The actress has collaborated with People Tree, the London-based label that aims to promote sustainable and fair trade fashion, to launch a collection called People Tree Love Emma for February. “It has been the most incredible gap-year project,” said Watson, referring to her time off between high school graduation and her first year at Brown University.
People Tree said in lieu of paying Watson, all royalties from the collection will be donated to the People Tree Foundation, which aims to help farmers and artisans benefit from fair trade by helping with their training, technical support and introducing environmental initiatives. There are 26 pieces for women and 15 for men in the collection, including knitwear, cotton T-shirts and jersey dresses, along with home accessories such as embroidered throws. Wholesale prices for the line range from 7 pounds, or $11.50, for a scarf, to 45 pounds, or $74, for a chunky hand-knit sweater. All the pieces are handmade by fair-trade manufacturers in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The collection will be sold at exclusive stockists in the U.K., Ireland and Japan, and the company is in talks to launch the collection in the U.S., a spokesman for People Tree said. The line will also be sold at peopletree.co.uk.