PLANTING FERN: After last month’s rousing interview with Calvin Klein at 92Y, Fern Mallis has four more fashion forces ready to hit the hot seat, and a new radio show, too. Donna Karan will join her Jan. 12 for a tête-à-tête, as part of the Upper East Side Y’s “Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis” series. Tommy Hilfiger is teed up for March 8, as are Tom Ford on May 8 and Michael Kors on June 6. Each chat will be open to the public and will be taped to air on “Fashion Insiders With Fern Mallis,” a new show on Sirius XM. (For those who missed Klein’s two-hour tell-all, it will be broadcast Nov. 23 at 11 a.m., Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 27 at 8 a.m.)

“It’s not my intention to be controversial or an investigative reporter. I want to talk to people about their lives and their careers,” she said. “I see this as an extension of what I’ve always done in my job, which is to try to explain the fashion industry, how it works and give it the respect it deserves — and that it is not entirely about silly, frivolous people.”

This story first appeared in the November 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Mallis’ guests on Sirius XM will extend beyond New York’s ateliers to include Mickey Drexler, Jenna Lyons, Ken Downing, Jay Alexander, Hal Rubenstein and Cindy Leive, among others. “There is a lot of interest in fashion right now but many people really don’t understand how it works. They might not know somebody has to teach a model how to walk on a runway. So this will. Manufacturers have to make the clothes. Editors write the reviews. I always thought that my job was about celebrating that.”

As for whether these two gigs are steps toward a TV show, Mallis said, “There is lots of interest in TV and I’m talking to a lot of people trying to figure it out.”

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