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HOUSE RULES: How do you stick a round peg in a square hole? Fashion editors surely will try as they plan their fall-winter shoots and incorporate full-on Balenciaga retro regalia into their themes. Turns out the French fashion house is requesting that all designs “be shot as complete looks to portray what was represented on the runway,” what designer Nicolas Ghesquière described as a “reference collection” based on the Cristobal Balenciaga archives. Goodness knows how riding hats and barrel-shaped plaid suits might fit into a Goth, grunge or Eighties shoot, but that’s what creative license is for — and don’t forget the handbag while you’re at it. The house also is asking that no accessories be shot without a total look — unless it is a still life or close-up shot.

WATCH THIS PAGE: Marc Jacobs continues to populate his quirky ad campaigns with surprising personalities. To wit: His forthcoming fall campaign for Marc Jacobs, just shot by photographer Juergen Teller, will star actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and makeup artist Dick Page. For the Marc by Marc Jacobs ads, it’s all about the versatile model Malgosia, who will model both the women’s and men’s looks. But it looks like Jacobs is moving on to plan B chez Louis Vuitton. Word has it talks to have Lindsay Lohan star in the next Vuitton campaign hit a snag and a replacement is still undecided.

APPLE OF HIS EYE: Karl Lagerfeld is still very much in a New York state of mind. The designer plans to return to Manhattan this spring — May 17 to be precise — to present his latest Chanel cruise collection, which is usually unveiled in Paris (last year on a fleet of double-decker buses). Details, including the location, are forthcoming, but Lagerfeld is known for making a splash whenever he comes to town. Last December, he shuttered the Chanel flagship to present his pre-fall “satellite” collection, made with help from the house’s couture ateliers. And he showed his signature collections at the crescendo of New York Fashion Week, complete with a Podcast.

This story first appeared in the March 22, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

STATEMENT PIECE: She may design them, but Kate Spade is no fan of the “It” bag — so she’s designed a handbag to criticize it. The accessories designer, in collaboration with artist Hugo Guinness, has created a limited-edition canvas bag accented at the corner with the word “It.” Each bag in the run of 150 will be hand-printed by Guinness and will retail exclusively in either Kate Spade boutiques or Colette in Paris for $250 beginning this spring. “The ‘It’ bag concept is a comment on the insanity that is going on in the handbag industry today,” said Andy Spade, chief executive officer. “Everyone is trying to come up with the ultimate ‘It’ bag. Hugo is a friend and we decided to collaborate because he has an odd and irreverent sense of humor perfect for the project.”

Spade and Guinness also will be working on a collection of five tote bags featuring prints that will be available next spring.

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