A CHALLENGING DISCUSSION: The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Gen Art are teaming up to host their first panel discussion on March 25, called “The Future of Fashion: A Panel Discussion on the Challenges Facing Young Designers Today.” The panel, which includes designers Narciso Rodriguez and Rebecca Taylor, attorney Elizabeth Pearce, Julie Gilhart from Barneys New York and Vogue’s Sally Singer, will be moderated by Bridget Foley, vice president and executive editor of W and WWD. The event will take place at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York at 365 Fifth Avenue at 7 p.m.
LIZ TEAMS WITH LIFETIME: In partnership with Lifetime TV’s annual campaign to stop violence against women, being held this week, Liz Claiborne Inc. has created a specially designed scarf and tie being delivered to political leaders and advocates, including all members of Congress, through Friday. During this week, Liz Claiborne is encouraging these influentials to wear the scarf or tie as a symbol of unity of men and women working together to stop violence against women. Paul Charron, chairman and chief executive officer of Claiborne, is set to attend a White House roundtable session Wednesday to discuss the issue of violence against women.
HARTMARX DATE SET: Hartmarx Corp. expects to file its annual report within two weeks, as required by federal regulatory security rules. The company said last month it would delay filing its report for the year ended Nov. 30 because of accounting irregularities in its women’s wholesale operating unit, International Women’s Apparel. IWA, which represents 4 percent of the company’s consolidated sales, accounts for 50 percent of the firm’s women’s apparel group. Its women’s business includes Austin Reed and Barrie Pace. The company still expects positive pretax earnings for 2002 before a $4.2 million pretax charge associated with the refinancing of high-cost debt.
POLO’S DONE DEAL: Polo Ralph Lauren on Friday completed a series of transactions that increases its direct management of its Japanese business. For $70 million, funded through Polo’s available cash, Polo now holds a 50 percent interest in its Japanese master licenses and an 18 percent equity interest in the company that holds the sublicenses for Polo’s men’s, women’s and Polo Jeans businesses in Japan. The transactions are expected to be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2004.