SAKS CELEBRATES MALLIS: Saks Fifth Avenue is putting Fern Mallis in the spotlight by dedicating 16 of its streetfront windows — including all of the Fifth Avenue ones — to her new book “Fashion Icons.” Drawing from her “Fashion Icons” conversations at 92Y with the likes of Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang and Marc Jacobs, the Rizzoli-published tome will be stacked up in the displays with select mannequins adorned in designer attire from each of her respective subjects.

Expected at Monday’s book signing and party are Klein, von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren, Norma Kamali, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, André Leon Talley, Betsey Johnson, Simon Doonan and Bill Cunningham. The event will be the first one to be hosted by Saks’ new president Marc Metrick.

This story first appeared in the April 17, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As for how she reeled in so many people to the Upper East Side Y, Mallis said, “I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but I did a lot of research. Most people don’t get to know a designer in that way or hear them talk about their lives. There was a warmth and comfort in each of the conversations that made people feel safe in talking to me.”

Knowing audiences lap that kind of thing up, Mallis added, “People walk out of there not understanding the designer’s collection or why they do something one season to the next, but they learn who they are as people. I love hearing about their homes, where they grew up and what their childhood bedrooms were like — all of that. And none of them just started with big businesses — each of them started from nothing, so to speak, and worked their way up. Tom [Ford] talked about picking up [garment] bags for Chloé and I didn’t know Donna Karan got turned down for an illustrator job at WWD.”

Mallis may eventually put her conversational skills to use on-air through a TV show. Nothing is definitive yet, but she said the prospect is being explored.

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