A LIBERTY LANDMARK: Could Liberty be Target’s next target? According to sources, the central London store known for its fashion, vintage textiles and furniture, is in advanced talks with Target about a collaboration, which would bow for spring, and see an array of Liberty prints worked into clothing and accessories. Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye, Liberty’s chief executive, declined to comment Thursday. A collaboration with Target would be the latest in a string of international partnerships Liberty has forged with brands and celebrities including Hermès, Luella Bartley, Grayson Perry and Ronnie Wood.

This story first appeared in the August 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

PARIS POP: It appears last year’s Gap + Colette New York pop-up shop was more than a one-off for the American retail giant. WWD hears Gap will reprise its mass-meets-Parisian-concept shop again, this time with Merci, the French concept shop opened earlier this year by former Bonpoint owners Marie-France and Bernard Cohen. Merci, which sells a curated selection of home wares, fragrances and children’s and women’s wear, is known as much for its fashion as its charitable angle: All proceeds are donated — after taxes, rent and employees are paid, however. Gap is said to be importing Merci’s philanthropic style for a monthlong stint at the Fifth Avenue and 54th Street store beginning Sept. 10.

MORE GRAFF ARRESTS: Three men have been arrested this week in connection with the $65 million armed robbery at Graff’s New Bond Street boutique earlier this month, London’s Metropolitan Police said Thursday. One man was arrested Thursday while two were arrested Wednesday, the police said. The move follows the arrest last week of a 50-year-old man at an address in East London in connection with the raid, during which 43 items of jewelry were taken from Graff’s Mayfair store. That man has since been released on bail. Police said Thursday they would not release further details of the arrests “for operational reasons,” and added they are still appealing for information in relation to the robbery.

DOWN SOUTH: Uche Ude, Lancaster West, Mary Porter
and Drea James will be among the 20 designers trekking to New York City Wednesday for Southern Design Collections’ Fashion Secrets of the South trunk show. The six-hour event will be held at the Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel and offer a glimpse of “slow fashion” as well as ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear.

THE BIG 4-0: Browns, the London retailer that launched many a designer’s career, is gearing up for a big 40th anniversary celebration in the spring. The store, founded by Joan and Sydney Burstein and now run by their children, Simon Burstein and Caroline Collis, has asked designers including Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani to take part in an exhibition that charts the past four decades in fashion — and Browns’ impact on the London retail scene. The store, which brought labels such as Missoni, Donna Karan and Comme des Garçons to the U.K. and talent-spotted fashion students including John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan, also boasts a star-studded list of former employees, including Manolo Blahnik, Paul Smith, Richard James, Tamara Mellon and Sir Philip Green.

IN THE HOUSE: Like grads gearing up for a reunion, a group of former Vogue staffers-turned-designers have decided to band together for Fashion’s Night Out on Sept. 10. The lines Hester, Mauricio Quezada, Duskin, Doucette Duvall, Thread Social, Prova, Gryphon and Wren will take over the Bellhaus Bond Street pop-up store for their own temporary pop-up space, part of a miniblock party with the adjacent Billy Reid and Rogan boutiques. Dubbed the Vogue Alumni House (they boast two former André Leon Talley assistants, two fashion writers and a jewelry and watch editor among their ranks), the evening will include DJ sets by Sebastian Kim, Johnny Misheff and Skaught and customized Fashion Night Out T-shirts for sale. “Hello” name tags and drink tickets not included.

ART PARTY: New York Fashion Week typically has its share of parties to celebrate designers and their collections; this season, however, the scene will get artier thanks to Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld and Andy Valmorbida. They are teaming up with Giorgio Armani to present “Richard Hambleton — New York,” an exhibit featuring the works of the reclusive New York artist who is a contemporary of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring and the last living member of the East Village Art Movement. The show at the gallery at 560 Washington Street will kick off during fashion week with a party on Sept. 15, and run through Oct. 2.

EXCHANGE PROGRAM: Two shopping streets — one in London, the other in New York — will take part in a Freaky Friday-style experiment starting later this month. A group of retailers based on London’s Newburgh Street, off Carnaby Street, and others in New York’s Lower East Side will get a taste of the retail scene in each other’s cities as part of a temporary location swap. From Thursday through Sept. 13, 15 London labels, including Twenty8Twelve, Fred Perry and jeweler The Great Frog, will set up in a space on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Meanwhile, from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, 15 Lower East Side-based boutiques including Earnest Sewn, Wendy Mink Jewelry and By Robert James will take up residence in pop-up spaces on Newburgh Street, London and in nearby Lowndes Court. The stores will remain open in their respective cities during the swap. “The Newburgh Quarter and Lower East Side swap is a great story about the strength of the independents in both of these areas, most of whom will never have retailed outside of their own country before,” said Simon Quayle, director of Shaftesbury Plc, which owns and manages the stores in the Carnaby Street area, and whose company conceived the idea. “We are always on the lookout for exciting and innovative retail concepts from overseas, and hopefully this swap could lead to some of the New York brands looking for a permanent shop in our area.”


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