KARL GOES MAINSTREAM: Shoppers at H&M can currently find $49.90 pink tweed jackets vaguely reminiscent of the $4,000 Chanel originals, but come November, they’ll be able to buy authentic merchandise designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Speculation has stirred for some time that the Swedish fast-fashion retailer might tap into the talents of famous designers for its collections, à la Target or Top Shop, and now Lagerfeld is the first to admit he has mainstream ambitions up his sleeves.
“I did a small group for November,” the designer said, when asked about his project for H&M at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala on Monday night. Then he added, “They’re even putting me in their ads.”
Details of the launch could not be learned at press time, and H&M officials in Paris said they couldn’t comment on Lagerfeld’s project, or the possibility that other designers might be tapped to create collections for the store.
While the prospect of Lagerfeld, who designs the Chanel and Fendi collections in addition to his signature Lagerfeld Gallery, appearing in H&M ads would cast a whole new light on the retailer, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s been asked. Following his successful diet, Lagerfeld was approached by Pepsi last year about appearing in a European campaign for Pepsi Light. In his typical fashion, the designer made light of the prospect of appearing on an H&M billboard, as he’s lately been appearing in the pages of numerous magazine editorials.
Walking out of the Met with Stephen Gan, who featured the designer modeling a Yohji Yamamoto skirt in a recent issue of V Man, he quipped, “After Stephen put me in V Man, they’ll put me in anything.”
WHERE THE CLOTHES HAVE NO NAME: Apparently the urge to make the jump from musician to designer isn’t limited to the hip-hop crowd. U2 frontman Bono is said to be in talks with designer Rogan Gregory about a new apparel line. Gregory, the designer behind the high-end Rogan jeans line, confirmed Tuesday through a spokeswoman that talks were ongoing, but said most of the details were still being worked out.
“Indeed, Rogan and Bono are collaborating on a new project, but it is not specifically denim-centric. It’s a new line, not meant just to be a denim line,” the spokeswoman said. Bono’s representatives could not be reached for comment.
According to sources, the pair has already started to hire a staff. The line is intended to have an ecological bent, using environmentally sustainable materials and processes.
Since rising to the level of rock royalty in the mid-Eighties, Bono has used the bully pulpit of his celebrity to speak out on a wide range of social issues, from violence in Northern Ireland to the AIDS epidemic in Africa to the difficulties that many developing nations face in paying their debts to international financial institutions.
NO MORE BLACK: Ferruccio Ferragamo, chief executive at Salvatore Ferragamo, said Tuesday that the Florentine fashion house and women’s ready-to-wear designer Graeme Black have officially parted ways, confirming a WWD report on March 12. Black’s two-year contract expired April 15. Ferragamo said the company is searching for a replacement. He also said the designer will report to the brand’s newly tapped creative director, Nathalie Gervais, formerly at Nina Ricci. Sources close to Black have said recent Ferragamo appointments, both of Gervais and product manager Hervé Martin, had marginalized Black’s role at the company.
PILLSBURY’S NEW DOUGHBOY: Leave it to Isaac Mizrahi to spruce up the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Impressed with the designer’s work with Target, Pillsbury persuaded him to create a blue-and-white apron for the 100 contestants who will face off in June, a Pillsbury spokeswoman said. Mizrahi will unveil the apron today at a private event at Hudson Studios. This marks the first time the company has worked with a designer. Pillsbury fans will be able to buy Mizrahi’s latest creation next month at pillsbury.com.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Zac Posen is going back to school, at least for a day. Posen, a native New Yorker, will give the commencement address for this year’s graduation ceremony for the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising on May 26. The event will take place in the Puck Building in Manhattan, where Posen will receive LIM’s Distinguished Achievement Award for the impact he has made on the fashion industry in his brief three-year career. LIM, a training ground for retailing and merchandising careers, recently began an expansion of its Midtown campus and educational programs.
CRIME BY DESIGN: Some people will stop at nothing to wear their favorite designer. Last Friday, thieves with a penchant for fluttery dresses smashed into designer Elspeth Gibson’s Knightsbridge store in the early hours of the morning. They stole about 80 samples — some from the designer’s archive, and some from the spring 2004 collection — worth about $1.8 million. “It’s been a real drama,” Gibson said. “The police seem to think it was professionals, as they used tools to get in, and they didn’t leave fingerprints. They were in and out within about 20 seconds. I am in shock, but glad that my autumn-winter pieces were at the offices of our p.r.” Gibson said that if the stolen pieces aren’t shipped abroad but remain in the U.K., “they will be very conspicuous, as they are all intricate, handcrafted pieces.”
CAVALLI’S COUP: Roberto Cavalli is ready to roar into London. On May 13, he’ll open his first London unit: a 3,000-square-foot space at 182 Sloane Street, which was formerly home to Malo. A gold staircase will connect the store’s ground floor and lower level, and the entire space will bear the Cavalli imprint: fur seats, gold picture frames and python-effect columns. On June 16, the designer will be back to host the Serpentine’s annual summer party. This year, the party will take place in between exhibitions, so it’s up to Cavalli to decorate the South Kensington gallery with his own works of art.