PENCIL CASE: Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz loves the pencil crayons he uses to sketch his collections each season — so much so that he has designed a limited edition set. Called “20 years of Supracolor by Alber,” the boxed set shows a Parisian swinging her Lanvin shopping bags behind a red curtain while the lid carries a ringing endorsement from the designer. “My Supracolor pencils are more than a working tool. They are indispensable,” writes Elbaz, who was approached by Supracolor’s maker, Swiss firm Caran d’Ache, after declaring in an interview that they were his pencils of choice. The firm will put 1,988 sets, a nod to the year they were created, containing 120 pencils up for sale, first at Lanvin’s Fauboug Saint Honoré boutique on Thursday. The pencils will form part of the store’s window displays during Paris Fashion Week, before rolling out to other Lanvin doors plus select Caran d’Ache points of sale.
This story first appeared in the September 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WHO’S THAT GIRL?: The one in a white could-be wedding dress posing for a picture with every product on display at Tod’s? Song Yun Ah, South Korea’s number one actress, says Tod’s — catch her in the South Korean drama “On Air” — and apparent handbag and shoe enthusiast. Never heard of her? She’s very big in South Korea and Japan, if she says so herself, at least with the help of her translator. And tonight, she’ll be introduced to a more international audience at the Tod’s dinner.
IP-WHOA: Salvatore Ferragamo chief executive officer Michele Norsa underlined the general lack of confidence in the economic environment Tuesday, suggesting the luxury house would only proceed with its initial public offering when conditions improved. “It will depend on the performance of the markets,” Norsa said on the sidelines the Ferragamo show. Meanwhile, Taiwanese model Chi Ling Lin joined Italian ballet star Roberto Bolle and actresses Vittoria Puccini and Valeria Solarino in the front row. “Ferragamo invited me to Italy to design a one-off pair of shoes,” said Lin, who will make her big screen debut next year in John Woo’s “Red Cliff.” “We did a tour of Tuscany but we’re returning to Asia tomorrow. I can’t wait to come back to Europe,” she said, noting her pumps will feature snakeskin, rhinestones and layers of satin.
NOT THE ONLY ONE…: Speaking of initial public offerings, Fred Gehring, chief executive officer at Tommy Hilfiger, reiterated that his firm isn’t in a hurry for one either now that the stock market is tanking. “We would love for the markets to improve, but I don’t think we should be seen as the first one out,” said Gehring during a tour of the label’s Regent Street store in London. “There is no pressure at all from Apax [Hilfiger’s owner]. We want to see what is happening [in the market] over a prolonged period or cycle.”
While private equity group Apax Partners never officially revealed details of an IPO, last year sources indicated the company was planning to list on Euronext, the pan-European stock exchange. However, in January, the company said it had put plans for a stock market listing on hold in light of what it called “volatile market conditions.”
FENDI SHAKEUP: Could LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton be searching for an executive to head Fendi North America? Gianluca Flore, president of Fendi’s U.S. division, is said to have left the company. Flore joined Fendi in 2004 from La Perla USA, where he had been chief executive officer for four years. During Flore’s rein, Fendi opened a 7,000-square-foot store at 677 Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets. Few details of Flore’s departure, including the reasons and the Italian executive’s next move as well as Fendi’s plans for succession, could be learned. Flore could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
CHANGE OF PLANS: Note to fashion editors in Milan — do not trek to Villa Necchi this Friday morning for an event to unveil expansion plans for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event has been postponed, and a new date is still being determined. “We postponed the presentation in Milan until early next year so that our new director, Thomas Campbell, can participate in the presentations,” a spokeswoman for the Met said.
ONWARD AND UPWARD: Among the most excited guests at the Jil Sander show Tuesday was Takashi Hirouchi, chairman and chief executive officer of Onward Holdings Co. Ltd., the brand’s new owner. “We have a high expectation for the growth of the Jil Sander brand,” he said, praising its “very talented” designer, Raf Simons. Asked if he might be plotting any more acquisitions, Hirouchi flashed a big smile, raised a finger and said, “Case by case.”
CLOTHES HOARSE: It looks like Roisin Murphy never met an outfit she didn’t like — or a show invitation. Up at the crack for Moschino Tuesday morning, the Irish singer, in the front row during much of London Fashion Week, said she planned to take in a range of shows in Milan, too. It’s all good practice for a round of upcoming gigs, including one at Mansion in New York in October. “I change almost every song,” said Murphy, her coat and gloves swinging with fringe. “Strong clothes help to tell a story.” And yes, she travels with big trunks. “It’s a bit Pandora’s dressing box.”
REMEMBERING MARIT: Figures from fashion and cinema crowded into the 20th Century Theatre in London’s Westbourne Grove on Friday to remember the BAFTA-winning costume designer and former Vogue editor Marit Allen. Allen, who died last November at age 66, was best known for her work in “La Vie en Rose,” which won her a BAFTA and an Oscar nomination, as well as her costumes for “Brokeback Mountain,” “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Don’t Look Now.” Guests at the service included Penelope Tree, Nicholas Roeg, Alexandra Shulman, Joan Burstein, Colin McDowell, Andrew Logan, John Bates, Barney Wan and the Rev. Joanna Jepson, the glamorous young chaplain at the London College of Fashion.
STRONG ISLAND: A little extra glamour came to Manhasset, N.Y., last Thursday night courtesy of the cocktail party that Versace threw along with Vogue and Hirshleifer’s to celebrate the first in-store shop for the brand in the retailer at the Americana Mall. Long Island resident Katie Lee Joel hosted, along with “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” co-host Gretta Monahan, while proceeds went to Project A.L.S. Fans and guests crowded into the 800-square-foot shop. Joel had taken a night off from her trademark low-key look, instead donning a sequined, body-hugging Versace sheath. “The form-fitting bodice made me feel so feminine,” she said. The author of “The Comfort Table,” Joel is planning the second installment of her book and busy with her “CBS Morning Show” and “Extra” segments. Meanwhile, two seven-year-old girls had traveled from Boston to meet Monahan. “I always love meeting my fans,” she said. “But that made my night more special.”
PHONEY UP!: Seekers of ultimate luxury will be happy to know that Vertu has added another luxury cell phone to its lineup for a mere $39,000 for the white gold model. To mark its 10-year anniversary, Vertu’s founder Frank Nuovo feted the new gadget at a party Wednesday night at the Plaza Hotel, which also happens to house Vertu’s new retail location. Hosting the event was Eric Mabius of “Ugly Betty,” who is currently an unofficial ambassador to the brand. Mabius, along with other fellow ambassadors Euan Rellie and Bronson Van Wyck, mingled with guests like Marisa Tomei, Alex McCord of “Real Housewives” and, strangely enough, Sylvia Miles. Mabius may well be one of the first customers given the state of his BlackBerry, the screen of which is cracked in several places.
V&R IN NYC: It’s full speed ahead for Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. In town last week to shoot an ad for their Samsonite luggage line, due out next year, the pair also showed off limited edition holiday products due in their fragrance collections, Flowerbomb and Antidote, which are produced under license by L’Oréal. They are also near completion on a new women’s scent, said Snoeren during a Wednesday morning meeting at the pair’s Manhattan showroom. He declined to give details except to say, “It’s a completely different concept and will add a new edge to our business. Beauty is very important in our universe and we love designing it.” Snoeren said he and Horsting are finalizing growth plans with Renzo Rosso, the Italian industrialist who acquired a majority stake of the duo’s firm in July. “We can finally develop more categories, open more stores and grow our ready-to-wear business with proper backing,” he said. “Our aim is to have a number of stores open in the next three years.” Eyewear and jewelry are among the categories Snoeren and Horsting also hope to explore.
A PRINCELY SALE: The 19th-century Château Gabriel, once the Normandy summer home of late couturier Yves Saint Laurent, may soon have a new owner. The Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent confirmed that sale proceedings are under way, but declined comment on speculation a Russian buyer is to acquire the property. The 10,000-square-foot castle set in an estate on the hills overlooking Deauville was the country retreat of the designer and Bergé for more than 25 years.
DUMAS ON FILM: During his long career at Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas snapped thousands of photos on his Leica during his many travels around the world. Around 100 of those black-and-white images will be on display starting Sept. 24 at Paris’ Maison Européenne de la Photographie. It is the first museum exhibit dedicated to Dumas’ work. German editor Steidl is publishing a tome to coincide with the exhibit. Dumas resigned as chairman and artistic director of Hermès in 2006, due to declining health.
GRANDPOP ART: Olivier Picasso, a great grandson of Pablo Picasso and a television producer, is taking on a subject close to home. He plans to coproduce a program for France 2 about the art legend that will coincide with a Picasso exhibition sponsored by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton opening at the Grand Palais in Paris on Oct. 25. “It is a dream exhibition,” Picasso said at a press conference to unveil the show — a collaboration between the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Paris’ Picasso museum. Titled “Picasso and the Masters,” it will showcase some 210 works, charting the influence that masters like El Greco and Rembrandt had on Picasso’s work. This is the third major exhibition devoted to Picasso that LVMH has sponsored.