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Neiman’s Tansky to Retire

The reins are being passed at Neiman Marcus. Burton M. Tansky, president and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, The Neiman Marcus Group, and a leading figure in luxury retailing for three decades, will retire on Oct. 6. Karen W. Katz, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Stores and executive vice president of the group, will succeed Tansky as president and ceo, in a transition that has been long expected but remained a mystery as to exactly when. In another high-profile fashion departure, Fern Mallis is leaving IMG, where she had served for nine years as global ambassador and the official face of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Mallis is stepping down to start her own consulting and advisory firm, Fern Mallis LLC.

Armani Unveils Hotel in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa

“The idea is that you should feel as if you are coming to my home,” said Giorgio Armani of his first hotel in the world, which occupies eight floors of the soaring Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The 160-room hotel, for which almost no expense has been spared, boasts eight restaurants, a spa and three retail outlets. Speaking exclusively to WWD at the opening, Armani said, “Yesterday when I arrived and saw the hotel, I felt really emotional. After five years of working on this project on paper and sketches, I finally saw how it all came to life.” The project, a joint venture between Giorgio Armani SpA and Emaar Properties, is the first in a planned collection of hotels, resorts and residences to be unveiled in key cities around the world by the partnership. Click here to see more images of the Armani hotel >>

Mary J. Blige on Her New Fragrance, My Life

Over the decades, much has been made of what is in a fragrance bottle — hope or science? For Mary J. Blige, it’s transformation. “I wanted my fragrance to be something special for my female fans,” said Blige of her new fragrance with Carol’s Daughter, My Life, named for her landmark 1994 recording of the same name. Blige and Carol’s Daughter are breaking the bonds of traditional prestige fragrance retailing by choosing to launch My Life solely on HSN on July 31. The singer is an investor in Carol’s Daughter, which also is a break with industry practice. Click here to see WWD’s video interview with Mary J. Blige >>

Models Edge Out Celebs in Fashion Ads

When it comes to fashion modeling, it’s a job better left to professionals. That seems to be the prevailing logic as European designers shoot their fall-winter campaigns: Models continue to trump celebrities by a wide margin, suggesting the industry’s dalliance with Hollywood during the luxury boom is losing its cachet. Raquel Zimmerman is starring in Gucci’s fall ads, while the Louis Vuitton campaign is said to feature Christy Turlington, Karen Elson and Natalia Vodianova. Balenciaga and Chanel have also recruited a gaggle of models for their latest spots. Another mannequin in the spotlight: Naomi Campbell, who just taped an upcoming episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” But while designers may be favoring models in their ads, they seem to prefer celebrities as arm candy, at least judging by some of the pairings expected at this year’s Costume Institute Ball, which include Ralph Lauren and Taylor Swift, Stefano Pilati and January Jones, and Tommy Hilfiger and Christina Hendricks. See more on models in our Model Mania package page>>

Jil Sander Extends Uniqlo Deal

It’s clear to just about anyone in fashion that Jil Sander, known for her meticulous attention to detail, isn’t an easy person to please. But it seems she has finally found her ideal business partner in Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. Sander was so pleased with the first two collections in her +J collaboration with the retailer that she has decided to continue in her role indefinitely. In other Uniqlo news this week, the brand opened a new shop inside the Takashimaya department store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. The store is Uniqlo’s largest location within a shopping center or department store in Japan, with floor space totaling 17,814 square feet.

David Yurman’s Madison Avenue Leap

David Yurman is making a statement on Madison Avenue. The fine jewelry firm is marking three decades in business with the opening Monday of a multimillion-dollar flagship in a converted town house on Madison Avenue at 63rd Street here that represents the brand’s biggest single retail investment. Nearby, on 5th Avenue and 49th Street, Sunglass Hut celebrated its opening with newly hired style ambassador Rachel Bilson.

The American Woman: Then and Now

Who embodies the American woman and her style today? Is it Michelle Obama, whose mix of high and low gives a whole new meaning to the idea of fashion democracy? Or Sandra Bullock, America’s sweetheart, who everyone seems to be rooting for these days given her husband Jesse James’ much-publicized travails? Some may consider Scarlett Johansson, whom many deem the modern incarnation of the Screen Siren, while others would name reality television “starlet” Heidi Montag, with her penchant for surgical enhancements, as the new American ideal. As the Costume Institute prepares to unveil its spring exhibit next week, the female face of America will almost certainly become a key topic of conversation, particularly among fashion types looking to pinpoint just what American style is and how it has evolved since the 1890s Gibson Girl, who serves as the starting point for the exhibit. Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Michael Kors were among those who shared their picks for the quintessential American style icon of today.

Loewe’s New York Story

With two years under his belt as creative director of the Spanish label Loewe, Stuart Vevers is bringing his elegant, architectural designs to an eager market: New York. The Madrid-based company, which was founded in 1846 and is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, initially launched a collection at Bergdorf Goodman in November with a limited number of pieces; this spring, the lineup will be expanded at the store, as well as sold at select U.S. boutiques including Jeffrey and Hirshleifer’s. The major element of Loewe’s U.S. launch is the Amazona bag, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. Twenty models of the bag will be sold exclusively at Bergdorf’s. The brand celebrated its new moves with a dinner at The Magic Room.

Good Taste: Celebrity Chefs on Fashion and Cooking

With the ever-growing popularity of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and its Food Network counterparts — “Chopped,” “Iron Chef” and dozens of marquee-name cooking shows, à la Bobby Flay and Ina Garten — it’s no surprise that what celebrity chefs wear when they hit the soundstage has become far more chic. But for a number of well-known kitchen masters, including Laurent Gras of L20 and David Myers of Comme Ça, fashion’s influence is evident in the threads they don around a stove or in their dining room. In another fashion-foodie crossover, the clothing and catering mogul Richard Caring teamed with fellow Brit Keith McNally to open Pulino’s in New York. It now looks as if the bar and pizzeria on the Bowery is just the beginning of the duo’s culinary collaborations.

Back in Time: Poiret’s Time Machine

While Paul Poiret is known for popularizing trends like the hobble skirt and the kimono coat, he also contributed to a little-known theatrical production in 1917. On October 13 of that year, WWD ran a review of the designer’s fabulous costumes and sets for the Theatre Michel’s Revue by Rip, in which the main character visits an alchemist who gives him a time machine. The script’s temporal shifts allowed Poiret to evoke eras from ancient Greece to Versailles under the Louis XIV regime, and even the year 2017. Click here to see Poiret’s sketches for the production >>
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