HAUTE COUTURE 101: Whoever says young people aren’t interested in the couture hasn’t been to the Fashion Institute of Technology lately. The school is in the process of creating a haute couture certificate program.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We recently piloted three courses, including beading, sewing and couture construction,” said Francesca Sterlacci, chairwoman of FIT’s fashion design department. “The classes have been overbooked.”

Nobody is more amazed than Sterlacci. “People laughed when I came up with this idea,” she conceded.

Geoffrey Beene has been a staunch supporter of the program, and the late Bill Blass was a supporter while he was alive. While students might secretly dream of being the next John Galliano, they’re realistic about their career options after completing the program. “Their goal is to do private clients,” Sterlacci said. “There are enough people out there who don’t want to wear Donna, Ralph or Calvin.”

BIN LADEN’S BACK: After an unsuccessful attempt at a singing career (once London’s music executives discovered who her uncle was), and keeping a low profile after Sept. 11, Waifa bin Laden is back on London’s social circuit. Bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden’s nieces and a lawyer, was arm candy on Wednesday night for man-about-town Robert Hanson. The pair were spotted outside Nobu, which was hosting Garrard’s dinner and cocktail party for the Save the Children charity.

Meanwhile, Nobu’s White Room, where 40 guests paid $1,600 a plate, was the place to be. “The food was just incredible, but it was even better knowing that 600 hoi polloi were standing outside not eating anything. Ha!” said David Tang in his booming stage voice. “It was worth the money just to know that.”

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