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COLOR ME BEAUTIFUL: Sonia Rykiel is adding an extra line to her résumé. The designer and author, who will turn 80 this month, is scheduled to show her drawings for the first time in her Paris neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The Galerie Catherine Houard will put on sale more than 200 sketches and notebooks reflecting the flame-haired designer’s love of femininity and bold sense of color. The exhibition runs from June 4 to July 24.
PARADIS FOUND: She sings, models and acts. And next up, Vanessa Paradis is due to don another cap — that of editor. The French star is to be editor in chief of a special edition Cannes International Film Festival issue of weekly French magazine Madame Figaro. Paradis appears on the cover with Karl Lagerfeld, who lensed the cover story. The edition’s launch will be feted at a Cannes dinner honoring the pair on May 18 at the Canal Plus Patio. Also headed to the festival, disco diva Grace Jones is said to be booked to perform at Le Baron Cannes.
AT THE TABLE: Stuart Weitzman might be ready to stand under the Jones Apparel Group umbrella, but he still plans to run his own business. Talks between Jones, Stuart Weitzman and Irving Place Capital, which snapped up a stake in the shoe business in 2005, are proceeding and could wrap up within a couple of weeks, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Under the deal being contemplated, Jones would acquire a majority interest in the business. “It would be managed as a separate company [led by Weitzman],” said the source. Weitzman also would be able to use Jones’ resources to develop the business.
STILL TOGETHER: Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone arrived together at the ninth annual Spring Fling party at Hiro on Saturday night — putting the kibosh on press reports that the couple had split. The affectionate duo mingled with a bevy of stars and supermodels in town for Monday’s Costume Institute gala, including Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z, Kate Hudson, Ashley Olsen and boyfriend Justin Bartha, Kate Bosworth, Josh Hartnett, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Helena Christensen, Rachel Zoe, Pat McGrath, Jennifer Lopez’s manager Benny Medina and Sienna Miller, who brought along her parents. Also there was Gisele Bündchen and husband Tom Brady, who flew in directly from the Kentucky Derby earlier that day. The glamorous group was hosted by hairstylist Harry Josh, who tends to the tresses of Bündchen and Hartnett, among others, and nightlife impresario Nur Khan, both of whom have turned their Spring Fling into an unofficial pre-party for the Costume Institute fete.
MUST BE BIASED: Charles Kleibacker’s New York friends gathered Thursday night to reminisce about the fashion designer and curator who died in January at the age of 88. Better known as the “Master of the Bias,” he was celebrated for being a stickler for detail who was determined to get just the effect he envisioned. Wearing a four-ply black crepe dress with lace insets and a demarcated hem designed by Kleibacker, Scott Lane recalled meeting him for the first time when he taught her design class at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “He walked in with a brown paper shopping bag and said, ‘I’ve come straight from the airport. Time’s a wasting. I hope you don’t mind if I put my luggage here,’” Lane said. “He was the most agile, energetic, mobile human, and incredibly articulate and precise. The surprise of his luggage was just an example of the swiftness with which he would move.”
Koko Hashim mentioned how another guest, Jean Rosenberg, was the first to buy the designer’s collection in the early Sixties. “They sold like hotcakes. They were $150 to $200 dresses that were cut on the bias, lined in silk shantung and were hand-overcast,” Hashim said. “He was making couture clothes that were sold at ready-to-wear prices. That’s the reason he didn’t make any money.”
Fashion illustrator Steven Stipelman, Patricia Mears and Yeohlee Teng were among the other guests.
PORTS 1961’S VOYAGE TO LONDON: Ports 1961 designer Tia Cibani headed to London to officially unveil the label’s in-store boutique in Harvey Nichols. In a nod to the influences from the natural world that Cibani weaves through her collections, the space — designed by Winka Dubbeldam of New York’s Archi-Tectonics — has been crafted with walnut floors, textured gold stretch-organdy fabric on the walls and vases of pink hydrangeas dotted about the boutique. “I wanted it to be warm and inviting, feminine but not fussy,” said Cibani, who asked Dubbeldam to add customer-friendly touches, such as warm, indirect lighting in the changing rooms, and mirrors that move so customers can see a look from different angles. And Cibani said her London customers are keen to experiment with her statement items. “The customer here loves glamour and embraces it — they’re not fearful of the more sculpted pieces,” she said. And it seems the project has given Cibani a taste for Europe — she said Ports 1961 is now looking at opening stand-alone stores in Milan, Paris and London over the next two years. Her latest project, meanwhile, is a Ports 1961 pavilion at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, designed by Dubbeldam’s practice.
BEHIND THE QUILT: For more than half a century, Chanel’s quilted bag has been an object of desire for many women and for quite a few fashion houses who look to its success as a model. Now Chanel is lifting the veil on the bag’s certain je ne sais quoi, so to speak. From Saturday to May 16, Chanel’s 57th Street flagship in New York will play host to “The Secrets of the Chanel Handbag,” an exhibit that takes visitors on the Chanel bag journey, from its construction to its evolution over the years. Bags from the house’s Paris archives will be on display, as well as more recent versions by Karl Lagerfeld.
STRAIGHT TO HAITI: Nearly four months after a massive earthquake rocked Haiti, the nonprofit Fashion Delivers is ready to deliver apparel and home products. During what will be a 12-month initiative, the group will hand out $24 million worth of product donations, as well as additional items that are still being turned in. Fashion Delivers chairman Allan Ellinger will fly to the impoverished country to help dole out the initial delivery on May 11. Fifty 40-foot shipping containers — each of which is about the size of a large mobile home and holds about 38,000 pounds of goods — will be sent there in the next year.
E-TAIL FEET FIRST: French swimwear brand Vilebrequin is looking to boost online sales with a revamped Web site that went live last week. The previous site, which focused on branding, had a limited e-tail offering. The new site is conceived as an online boutique and will offer Vilebrequin’s iconic trunks in 70 patterns and colors, as well as men’s sportswear and accessories, including beach and travel bags, towels and scarves. The updated site joins the brand’s 14 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. The company said the online store should evolve to be among Vilebrequin’s top five volume-producing doors in the U.S. The brand’s online home also will tap its popular father-and-son collection, with an area called “Family Album,” which asks fans to submit holiday and family photos of themselves in their Vilebrequins.