THE THIN MAN: The fascination with Karl Lagerfeld’s diet just won’t quit. Lagerfeld said last week that he has been contacted by Pepsi-Cola about appearing in a campaign for Pepsi Light, known in the States as Diet Pepsi. The designer had a couture collection to get out and had little time to ponder the offer, but he is considering it. “It would be for print and TV,” he said, noting his preference for Pepsi over its chief rival. “I’m a Pepsi drinker for a very specific reason: the fake sugar they use in France for Pepsi Cola gives a better taste than they put in Coca-Cola. In America, it’s different but here I prefer the French Pepsi.”
So will he be a promoter? “I like the idea that I could do it. It’s fun, no? The idea is fun. It’s Pop, it’s very modern to do that. That a man of my age could do it…But I’m very popular with the young ones.”
Why? “Because I’m not at all established as a bourgeois person in their eyes. I’m something that has nothing to do with anything. I’m a kind of invention.”
FOR DIVERSITY’S SAKE?: Kasper ASL appears to have come up with a way to court discounters with the panache of its Anne Klein label without alienating its department and specialty store customers. A spokeswoman for Kasper confirmed that John Idol, its chief executive officer, has held recent discussions with J.C. Penney, Sears and Kohl’s, but she cautioned that the company has no programs or commitments in place with the chains and that all products bearing the name Anne Klein — basically Anne Klein New York and AK Anne Klein — would continue to be sold exclusively through department and specialty stores. Idol has reportedly come up with a strategy to tap into the lucrative discounter channel by reviving the house’s old A-Line offshoot that was discontinued several years back, sources said. And the move appears to have whetted the appetite of several of Kasper’s major competitors in possibly buying the whole company, which is being shopped by Peter J. Solomon. Virtually all of the biggies are said to be interested, including Liz Claiborne Inc., Jones Apparel Group, VF Corp. and Kellwood Co. — not to mention Idol himself.
PER USUAL, SHE WROTE: It could have been an extremely juicy read. But luxury analyst Claire Kent’s research report on 2002 sales of LVMH — which is suing her employer Morgan Stanley for $100 million for allegedly biased research and conflict of interest — was as no-nonsense as usual. Her comments, released Friday, did have the boilerplate statement about the lawsuit prominently in italics above all her comments. That was new. Otherwise, they read much like her report on LVMH 2001 sales a year ago. Then, she was “skeptical” of the French group’s forecast of a “vigorous rebound” in earnings. But this year, Kent was cautious, too. “All [LVMH] divisions beat our sales forecasts slightly, with the exception of wines and spirits,” she wrote.
LUELLA, PLUS ONE: New York-based British designer Luella Bartley may need to hire some help at work and home. The designer and her boyfriend, photographer David Sims, are expecting a baby later this year. A spokeswoman for the designer confirmed that Bartley was three months’ pregnant, but declined further comment.