NEW YORK — Jennifer Lopez lured her away from Sean John and now it looks like Beyoncé has swiped her from JLo.

In what’s shaping up to be a pop star designer dance-off, Heather Thomson is reportedly switching camps to join Beyoncé’s fashion project-in-development. A spokeswoman for the company putting together Beyoncé’s collection declined to comment, but officials at Lopez’s Sweetface Fashion Co. said Thomson was no longer at the company as of Tuesday.

This story first appeared in the July 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Thomson was the head designer behind Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ collection and was widely credited with helping the rapper make a convincing entrance onto the fashion charts. That is until Lopez — his ex — hired Thomson in 2002 as her personal style consultant to help put some bling into the JLo by Jennifer Lopez collection for juniors, which hadn’t been performing well at retail, despite the fever pitch of its launch. Thomson’s contract was up recently, according to Andy Hilfiger, co-founder and director of Sweetface Fashion, noting their split was amicable.

Now Beyoncé, who’s given Lopez a run for her money on the radio and has ambitions to become a serious player on Seventh Avenue, too, has reportedly offered Thomson a job.

“Heather went somewhere else to work,” Hilfiger said.

Hilfiger said the firm is not in a rush to name a replacement for Thomson and that the existing design team working with Lopez would carry on without her.

“Heather’s contract was up with Sweetface,” he said. “Jennifer is the creative director. We have a great design team here and we also have a fashion [manager] that works closely with Jennifer in Los Angeles,” he said, referring to Gina Rizzo, who works directly with Lopez, Hilfiger and the design team on all JLo branded products. “I wish Heather the best.”

Beyoncé is developing her collection, as yet unnamed, with Kids Headquarters, the $700 million producer of children’s wear for such brands as Kenneth Cole, Timberland, Rocawear and Ecko Unlimited. The singer’s mother, Tina Knowles, who has styled or designed much of Beyoncé’s personal wardrobe, is working on the new collection, which is expected to debut with jeans-driven apparel for the junior customer.

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