FOOTLOOSE: Look who’s back in the fashion melee: Josephus Thimister. WWD has learned that Charles Jourdan will today announce that Thimister is its new creative director. He will succeed Patrick Cox, who left the French luxury footwear and accessories firm in December after a two-year stint. The Dutchman’s first full collection for the house will be for summer 2006. The former Balenciaga and Genny designer had laid low in recent seasons as he traveled and collaborated with various interior design magazines. He also was known for his own Thimister brand, which he founded in 1997 to favorable reviews, but closed a few years later as the environment soured for smaller, independent designers.
FASHION-WARD?: Melanie Ward, Harper’s Bazaar’s senior fashion editor and longtime Helmut Lang consultant, may launch her own fashion collection. Rumors are ripe that Ward is toying with the idea of becoming a designer now that Helmut Lang has left his namesake house. Ward was brought to Bazaar by the late Liz Tilberis in the early Nineties and has been a stylist there since. She has also been an instrumental figure at Helmut Lang, where she styled the shows and even starred in the designer’s advertising campaigns. Through her assistant, Ward would only say that she is is exploring all options and nothing is definite yet — including her future at Helmut Lang.
POWER OF 10: How time flies: Two European designers strongly associated with all things young and edgy are already celebrating their 10-year anniversaries with career retrospectives. Hussein Chalayan’s conceptual works — including dresses that can be trimmed like hedges or convert into a coffee table — will be showcased at the Groningen Museum in northern Holland from April 17 to Sept. 4. Meanwhile, Raf Simons was selected for a retrospective that will bow in June during the Pitti Uomo men’s wear fair.
SARAH JESSICA’S SPRING?: Sarah Jessica Parker may have given a hint of what she’ll be donning come warmer weather with her purchases last week at Olive & Bette’s on Bleecker Street — cashmere sweaters. The former “Sex and the City” star bought up a slew of henleys by Maya along with V-neck sweaters in the luxe knit that had just hit the floor.
TO THE LOO: Fashion editors are known to be extra-finicky about the smallest design detail, so the prospect of using the restrooms during fashion week must be particularly painful to them. Typically, the cubicles are so tight even a waif would have to suck it in, the locks don’t always work, and the faucets for washing hands merely trickle. But relief is in sight this Olympus Fashion Week. Kohler, the kitchen and bath design firm, is a first-time fashion week sponsor, and it is marking the occasion by presenting its newest product in the tents. The minimally designed, tankless and electric Purist Hatbox toilet will be showcased in the main lobby of the tents, and in addition, Kohler also updated the restroom facilities. Now worthy of a VIP, they come with a temperature controller, full-length mirrors, music and art work. Kohler is also teaming up with entrepreneur Amy Sacco and will be displaying the new toilet at her restaurant Bette, to be opened this month at 461 West 23rd Street in New York.
BLUE HAND GROUP: Well, at least it’s not another blog. Bart Sights of Sights Denim, art director Daniele Kim and the owners of Nabe press, Julia Kim and Wilfried Dickhoff, are gearing up for the launch of their new denim lifestyle Web site. Handsblue.com, a fashion news, streaming video and denim auction destination, goes live on Feb. 7 and will feature the sort of rotating talent roster that hasn’t been seen online since the late Nineties Internet boom. In mid-February, videos by fashion photographers Carter Smith and Craig McDean will be posted on Handsblue. For his part, Smith will create a live-action yearbook at a high school in the Midwest, while McDean will film Alexander McQueen designing a couture denim dress on a model. (The model will then perform a striptease of the dress on camera.)
Handsblue has also partnered with eBay.com on auctions ranging from new designer jeans to denim pieces raided from celebrity closets. Reporters stationed in New York, London and L.A. will tackle the news portion of the site, including reviews of the upcoming 7th on Sixth shows. Susan Kirschbaum also serves as senior news director in New York.
PRETTY KNITTY: Finally, something fun to do while you’re waiting for the start of a show. At Friday’s Pierrot presentation, the goody bag will have balls of yarn, needles and a Pierrot knitting pattern to keep all those fashionistas busy. The bag comes courtesy of Lion Brands, a yarn manufacturer that is sponsoring the presentation. A favorite hobby among models backstage for years, knitting is also said to reduce stress. Just the thing everyone needs this week.
SILVER BELLE: Industrial design diva Andre Putman ran rings — or, more precisely, silver rings — around French silversmith Christofle during couture week, unveiling her new jewelry line. “I liked the idea of the imperfect circle,” said Putman, whose collection features slightly wonky sterling silver bangles, chokers and earrings as well as a vase-shaped brooch that you can pop a flower into — or perhaps a nip of rum.