MAN’S WORLD: Cacharel, the Paris fashion house, has hired Belgian-based men’s wear designers Herve Yvrenogeau and Thierry Rondenet — the duo behind the Own label — to create a new men’s line to be called Cacharel “Le.” The first “mini” collection will debut for summer 2005, with a full collection slated for fall-winter 2005. Cacharel said its artistic directors, Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro, would supervise the men’s effort. — Robert Murphy

SHOP TALK: Italian designers continue their international expansion drive. Last week, Versus opened its first boutique in Sofia, Bulgaria — a 2,160-square-foot store with four windows on Kaloydan Street. Versace also is planning a series of Versus openings in China this fall with boutiques in cities such as Shenzhen, Wenzhou, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu and Xi’an. Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani christened a 1,300-square-foot Emporio outlet at the Zurich airport which is modeled after recently opened Emporio stores in Stockholm, Munich and Florence. — Luisa Zargani

HARRODS HEADS SOUTH: “This is not a parmesan and balsamic vinegar event,” said Anne-Marie Verdin, marketing and communications director at Harrods, which has just kicked off a major in-store Made in Italy event that runs until Oct. 30. “We’re really trying to get into the depth of Italian culture, and appeal to our broad customer base.” Harrods’ halls feature hard-to-find Neapolitan coffee, mozzarella-making demonstrations and old soundtracks of David Bowie and Mick Jagger singing their own songs in Italian — a ploy to sell records in Italy — a lineup of film screenings including “The Leopard,” and an exhibition of Fabrizio Ferri photos of a pregnant Monica Bellucci. On Oct. 8, Donatella Versace is scheduled to roar into the Knightsbridge store for the U.K. launch of her latest fragrance, Crystal Noir. The store also will be organizing events ranging from pizza-tossing lessons to displays of vintage dresses by Missoni, Marni and Moschino. “We’re not trying to be leading-edge here,” said Verdin. “A lot of this is embellishing what we already have in the store.” — Samantha Conti

KUDOS FOR LOPEZ: Spanish designer Rafael Lopez has scooped a 40,000 pound, or $72,000 at current exchange, prize after winning a design competition set by the British department store group John Lewis. Lopez is the recipient of the first John Lewis Partnership Fashion Development Award, launched to celebrate the partnership’s 75th anniversary, and the reopening of its newly refurbished 107 million pound, or $191.3 million, Peter Jones store in Sloane Square. The prize money will go toward Lopez’s spring 2005 runway show, which will take place during London Fashion Week. The designer will receive additional funds for the production of his collection. “Rafael Lopez is at a very exciting stage of his career and this is where the award will be able to help his business grow to the next level,” said Amanda Scott, director of women’s wear buying at John Lewis, in a statement. — Ellen Burney

This story first appeared in the September 13, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.