GRAD ADVICE: “Do the work in front of you — you don’t want to be the one focused on sample sales and parties.” That was Atoosa Rubenstein’s commencement advice to 75 graduates from the fashion business college Laboratory Institute of Merchandising last week. The CosmoGIRL! magazine editor in chief said avoiding the cliched “you-can-do-it” speech was a priority while addressing the students, who earned either a bachelor’s degree in business administration or professional studies or an associate’s degree in applied science. The ceremony was held at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“A lot of commencement speakers come out with quotes that make them sound profound,” Rubenstein said. “But for me, it was, `Listen, I was in your shoes only nine years ago,’ though I should have said `Manolo Blahniks’ for that crowd.”

CHAMBERS MADE: As a way to court the fashion crowd, the Chambers Hotel footed the bill for all those blood orange cosmopolitans and new potato and caviar hors d’oeuvres at Wednesday night’s party for the RJM Group, a troupe of 10 designers. About 150 people poured into RJM’s suite and onto the patio, and by Thursday morning, “the phones were ringing off the wall” with prospective clients, said Suzanne Corbo, director of sales and marketing for the Chambers. Founded in February, RJM is using the West 56th Street boutique hotel as its base camp this month and will be back in August.

FANCY FEET: How comfortable are France’s Arche ergonomic shoes? Apparently, so much so that the brand has drawn a sizable following for its nubuck and hevea rubber-soled styles among the ballet set. So to unveil its spring collection on Sunday at City Center Studios, the company has replaced pedestrian feet with professional models — those of New York City Ballet stars Damian Woetzel, Jock Soto and Jenifer Ringer.

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