ROLLAND AND COUTURE: After three seasons as a solo designer, ex-Jean-Louis Scherrer couturier Stéphane Rolland has been nominated to be an official member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Rolland worked at Scherrer for almost a decade before founding his signature couture label in May 2007, establishing a look based on spangles and flounces.
DISPOSABLE CLOTHES: How about disposable paper frocks during the credit crunch? That’s the subject of an upcoming exhibition at Antwerp’s Musée de la Mode de la Province museum. The show — dubbed Paper Fashion and conceived in collaboration with Atopos Cultural Organization, an Athens-based design and fashion organization — studies the role of paper and similar materials in contemporary fashion, spanning designs by the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Issey Miyake and John Galliano. Running Mar. 6 to Aug. 16, the exhibition will then travel to London’s Design Museum.
TO THE POWER OF TWO: Azzaro, the Paris fashion house, has launched an e-commerce site, azzaro-couture.com. The site features company news and pictures of designer Vanessa Seward with some of her recent collaboration partners, including Jemima Khan and Eugenie Niarchos. To celebrate the site, Azzaro has created a temporary holiday shop on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, next to its existing boutique, to feature shoes and accessories. Seward is continuing her collaborations: In January, she will launch a men’s collection designed by her husband, French musician Bertrand Burgalat, and later this year singer April March will create a collection of knitwear.
WIZARD WEAR: Back off, Batman. Belstaff, which dressed Christian Bale’s caped crusader in “The Dark Knight,” is working some wardrobe wizardry on actor Daniel Radcliffe for the next “Harry Potter” film. The Italian-owned British label also dresses Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” as well as Hilary Swank in the upcoming “Amelia,” and Johnny Depp and Bale in “Public Enemies.”
ASPREY’S WINTER WARMER: Christmas came early at Asprey in London when the jeweler hosted a “Winter Wonderland” party at its sprawling, Norman Foster-designed Bond Street store. “You have to see the sweet room,” said Lillian Von Stauffenberg, nodding to one of the rooms in the warrenlike store, which was filled with Christmas trees made from pink and green Ladurée macaroons, miniature cupcakes and chocolate fountains. But while a sugar rush was enough for some, many of the guests — who included Karen Groos, Laura Comfort and Maria Hatzistefanis — preferred to peruse the glittering diamond jewelry instead. “I love the feather necklace,” said Hatzistefanis, admiring a diamond and platinum feather-shaped pendant modeled by its designer, Amandine Mallen. “I’ve told my husband about it, so maybe I’ll get a surprise for Christmas,” she added, fingers crossed. And despite the specter of a looming recession, it seems the myriad gems on display had put guests in a similar mood for spending — a spokeswoman for Asprey said partygoers splashed out on $51,000 worth of purchases during the evening.
NEW LAND FOR OVERLAND: Elise Overland hosted her first Los Angeles trunk show at Arcade recently.
The upscale Melrose Avenue boutique, owned by Rochelle Gores, carries the line, along with labels like Ungaro, Vivienne Westwood and Alexis Mabille. “I think it works here. It’s got a sensibility that is edgy and feminine,” Overland said. The 60 or so guests, including Nicky Hilton, zeroed in on Overland’s ultrasoft fitted leather jackets, which run from about $1,500 to $2,000, and signature leather stretch pants; some shoppers called after closing to buy smaller sizes while they were still in stock. The Norway-born, New York-based Overland said she might consider opening stand-alone stores in L.A. and New York at some point.
CLASSIC CHIC: After the predictable frenzy of January sales to come, London’s Selfridges is aiming to elevate the shopping experience for spring by giving its windows a classical touch. The Oxford Street department store will unveil a window display made of reproduction Greek and Roman statues, called “Statuesque,” in mid-January, which will act as a backdrop to the Grecian draped dresses in the spring collections of Alexander Wang, Preen and Jil Sander. Most of the statues will be based on originals on display in London’s British Museum and Victoria & Albert, both of which have given Selfridges permission to reproduce some of the marble works in their Greek and Roman galleries. Those works include statues depicting gods and goddesses such as Aphrodite, Neptune and Pan.
IS ANYBODY LISTENING?: The British designer fashion industry is tooting its horn at last — and hoping the state and local government will listen. The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a business development platform that helps emerging designers, and NESTA, Britain’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, this week have released a 60-page report on the state of the 1.6 billion pound, or $2.5 billion, sector. “The U.K. designer fashion industry is neither recognized nor understood by those outside it,” said Wendy Malem, director of the CFE, in “The U.K. Designer Fashion Economy.” “The designer fashion economy is a high-end luxury industry; it is very different from the wider U.K. fashion industry, which embraces retail, clothing and fashion, as well as beauty products.”
The report, based on interviews with labels including Peter Jensen, Shirin Guild, Richard Nicoll, Erdem, Todd Lynn and Orla Kiely, not surprisingly calls British fashion designers “the most influential global players of all,” but adds that smaller businesses are struggling to grow because of lack of funds and inappropriate understanding of the value of these creative businesses.
A spokesman said the report — which has been handed to London Mayor Boris Johnson; Barbara Follet, Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries, and the London Development Agency — is aimed at formally defining the industry and securing government support and funding. Not that it hasn’t been tried before.