LADIES FIRST: Rising men’s wear star Kris Van Assche, considered a possible successor to Hedi Slimane should talks to renew Slimane’s contract at Dior Homme fail, had a surprise up his sleeve on Saturday. At his runway show in Paris during men’s fashion week, the Belgian designer included about a dozen looks for women — and seated only female editors in the front row as a gallant gesture. His prim white shirts, gray slacks and pert trenches were worn by a gaggle of famous models from the Eighties.
SOPHIA’S CHOICE: The owners of the Vionnet trademark will announce this week that Sophia Kokosolaki will pick up the design reins and relaunch the brand for spring 2007, WWD has learned. The London-based designer, no slouch with a bias cut and elegant draping, has been in talks to revive the storied Madeleine Vionnet name since last year.
STARS COME OUT: Cher and Lenny Kravitz, hosts of a Chrome Hearts store opening in Paris on Tuesday night, aren’t the only celebrities in town for couture week. Word has it that the galaxy of stars should include Kylie Minogue, Tilda Swinton, Elizabeth Hurley, Martha Stewart, Liv Tyler, Billy Joel, Justin Chambers, Harvey Weinstein, Claudia Cardinale and up-and-coming Japanese actress Reiko Kikuchi from the forthcoming film “Babel.”
MANGO COUTURE: Now even couture is getting a piece of High Street action. Following H&M’s announcement of its imminent collaboration with the Dutch ready-to-wear duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren of Viktor & Rolf, the Spanish chain Mango has selected Beirut couturier Zuhair Murad — who’ll be showing his collection Friday in Paris during couture week — to design a limited-edition capsule collection for fall. The casual and evening line, dubbed Mango by Zuhair Murad, will be distributed in Mango stores across the Middle East. Mango, which counts 916 doors in 84 countries, opened its first Middle East boutique in Kuwait in 1997, and today has 46 stores in the region.
PART AND PARCEL: Why shouldn’t the postman be chic? UPS thinks he should. That’s why the package delivery company has lent its support to designers in Paris in exchange for their reinterpretation of the company’s brown uniform. Anne Valerie Hash and Michel Klein have been selected to receive UPS sponsorship this season for their shows in Paris during couture week. Last year, UPS sponsored designers including Adam Jones and Felipe Oliveira Baptista.
STEFANEL COURTING CAMPBELL: It looks like Marithe & Francois Girbaud’s creative director Claire Campbell is about to launch her own collection with Italy’s manufacturing company Stefanel SpA. A Stefanel spokeswoman said the company is talking to Campbell but a deal has yet to be signed. “We are negotiating but it’s not yet definitive,” the spokeswoman said. Stefanel’s Interfashion unit has a long-standing relationship with Girbaud. It produces Girbaud’s Spqrcity line for the European and U.S. markets and the jeans collection for Europe and the Middle East. Stefanel once boasted a larger designer profile, including licenses for CK Calvin Klein and G. Gigli but over the years, its portfolio has dwindled down to just the Girbaud business.