LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:
My husband and I returned from London on Sept. 9 after attending the funeral of the Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey. My association with the Princess of Wales started as a designer and client relationship more than two years ago and soon blossomed into a very close friendship over the last year.
I read your articles in WWD of Sept. 2 and Sept. 5 regarding the Princess of Wales, and which American designers were to attend the funeral, and comments and mention by U.S. designers who had designed for her and had an association with her in the industry, etc. In both articles, my name, as an American designer, was conspicuously omitted.
I feel that the omission has created the wrong impression to the readership of WWD and members of the fashion industry in the U.S. As soon as I was informed by Kensington Palace on the Saturday evening that the Princess of Wales had passed away tragically, I immediately made plans to fly to London to attend her funeral, days before being invited by telephone by Lord Chamberlain’s office of Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I thereafter received my formal invitation delivered in London. As a close personal friend of the Princess, I attended all of the galas graced by the Princess over the last year in the United States, at her request, and I know that she would have wanted me present in London, and I would never have let her down in this regard. WWD’s implication by omission is that I did not attend. There are members of the fashion industry in the United States who were aware of my close bond with the Princess, though I kept our friendship private. Our friendship included private lunches at Kensington Palace and other venues in London, exchanging many handwritten letters by DHL and FedEx and extensive telephone calls, etc.
About two years ago, I was approached to design a special handbag for the Princess of Wales. Once the silhouette I designed was approved by the Princess, the handbag, with her approval, became known as the Princess Diana Handbag. More recently, I designed for the Princess a collection of 1 1/2-inch belts in alligator and ostrich with contoured covered buckles, at her request, for her trips to Angola and Bosnia Herzegovenia for the Red Cross. Each and every casual set of trousers and shirts worn daily were accessorized by my identifiable belts exclusively, in many neutral shades of ostrich and alligator. Tens of thousands of pictures of the Princess wearing my belts were featured extensively in the U.S. and throughout the world. Recently, during her vacations in France and Italy throughout the summer, she again was featured in tens of thousands of pictures in the U.S. and worldwide wearing the Lana Marks Princess Diana belts exclusively with each and every casual outfit she wore every day. Over the last 10 days, these pictures have been shown extensively in the media without our belts. The Princess had written to me by hand on her personalized Kensington Palace stationery to inform me that she had worn the belts in Angola, and “they were much remarked upon.” She wrote to me regarding the Princess Diana Handbag, referring to the handbag as “the most beautiful handbag imaginable.”
The Princess recently had been observed by the overseas fashion media wearing the Princess Diana Handbag. We had been approached by this media at the Princess’ request to feature it in a story.
Having accessorized so many of the Princess’ outfits, and as an American designer, my comments on the Princess were not solicited by WWD. (Both as a close personal friend and as a favored designer of the Princess.)
I would be most appreciative if this oversight by WWD could be remedied, so as to correct the impression created to your readers.
Lana J. Marks
CEO, designer
Lana Marks
Palm Beach, Fla.

To the editor:
A somewhat belated response to WWD’s June 10 story “How to Turn Away Shoppers.”
Your “Why Women Buy” feature claimed that “while music might have charms to soothe a savage breast, it doesn’t do much to sell women’s apparel.” This statement was based on shoppers’ research pointing to negative environments.
Although I would clearly agree, music can and does have, in many cases, a negative impact in a shopping environment, that fact has more to do with the selection or appropriateness of the music being played than the use of music itself.
This fact is substantiated by research from the Gallup Organization that states “91 percent of the shoppers responded that music affected their behavior while shopping.”
The key is: “affected their behavior” — whether that’s positive or negative has to do with the selections or the programming of the music.
The continued success of the Gap, J. Crew, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie, Banana Republic, Henri Bendel, etc., etc., and their highly effective music programs support the concept that music adds to a successful merchandising environment.
The American public spent over $13 billion on their music last year. It’s certainly important in their homes and cars; it should be important, and managed, in a successful retail environment.
AEI is proud to say that we provide the music programming for most of the leading retailers in the U.S.
Michael J. Malone
Chairman, ceo
AEI Music Network Inc.

WWD welcomes your letters. They should be sent to WWD, 7 West 34th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001. To be considered for publication, letters should have the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number.

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