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SPACE TRAVELER: Helena Christensen’s fame isn’t just global — it’s galactic. “I got a call from outer space today,” said Christensen at the Tommy Hilfiger flagship in Milan. “I couldn’t believe it. I was at the hairdresser’s and my phone rang. It was my friend Charles [Simonyi] calling from a space station.” While software billionaire-cum-space tourist Simonyi continues to tour the stratosphere, Christensen is focusing on more down-to-earth matters. The model and photographer dropped into town to help promote Hilfiger’s limited edition bag, profits of which will go to nonprofit organization Breast Health International. The bag will retail for 349 euros, or $452, half of which will be donated to the organization, along with proceeds from an auction of some of Christensen’s photography and works from Tommy Hilfiger’s private art collection. Fresh from snapping the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Dubai, for the Burj Dubai Opus book due out in the fall, Christensen said she had been commissioned by the publisher for another book on Ferrari. “When we got to the top, the sheik said, ‘I did this for my mom,’ and I thought, What have I done lately for my mom?” To wit, she is heading to India this month with Elle U.K. for the White Ribbon Alliance, which combats maternal mortality.

Speculation was swirling late Wednesday that Vera Wang had rethought her contemporary Lavender Label and decided to pull the plug. Not so fast, said the designer. Wang downplayed the rumors and reiterated she was still in the process of figuring out Lavender’s future. She is evaluating fall orders of the line, which could well morph into something new, whether it is licensed, repositioned with a new pricing strategy or transformed into a dress line. She called it a “work in progress.” “We will decide, but based on what the orders are coming in,” Wang said, assuring she is going forward with Lavender shoe licensee Brown Shoe Co. Plans for a handbag collection in a license with Accessory Network Group were put on hold last fall. “I didn’t want to launch a bag line in this economy,” Wang said. And whatever happens going forward, Wang took full responsibility for its hiccups. “The truth is that there is really only one designer, and that is me,” she said.

This story first appeared in the April 2, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WEDDING BELLES: Mexico got a bump in tourism last Saturday when Los Angeles public relations maven Ashlee Margolis tied the knot with Dan Fishman at The Tides hotel in Zihuatanejo. The Kelly Wearstler-designed property (husband Brad Korzen also owns The Viceroy hotels in Santa Monica and Palm Springs) was booked for 240 guests including Aimee Osbourne, Paula Patton, Robin Thicke, Sanaa Lathan, Bijou Phillips, Danny Masterson, Monet Mazur, Shoshanna Gruss, Charlotte Ronson, Sasha Alexander, Jessica Capshaw, Regina Hall and Shiri Appleby. Cherokee owner Robert Margolis spared no expense for his eldest daughter’s wedding, flying out a 12-piece band, DJ Tendaji Lathan, two florists and a lighting designer, plus event producer Tony Schubert. The bride wore a gown by Carolina Herrera and shoes by Jimmy Choo for the beachside ceremony.

COS, H&M’s classy cousin, on Thursday night feted the opening of its highly anticipated first Parisian store, located in a sprawling former hammam in the lively Marais district. Young French synth-pop band The Teenagers, fresh from a U.S. tour, played DJ for the evening, while guests included Zoé Felix, Ara Starck, acting sisters Clotilde and Annelise Hesme and French actor Andy Gillet. His movie “Antique” came out in Japan last week. “It’s a comedy,” he said, adding it is set for release in South Korea this summer. As well as building a presence in Asia, Gillet appears in the upcoming play “Les Justes” (“The Just Assassins”), which opens this fall in Paris. With minimalist white walls and railings, the new Paris unit, the 15th COS store, is intended to appear like a “blank canvas” to showcase the clothes rather than the space, according to creative director Rebekka Bay. So when is COS going to hit the American market? “No plans yet,” explained COS brand director Pernilla Wohlfahrt. “But we plan to introduce COS in the same markets as H&M.”

LEGALLY BLONDE: Barbie’s 50th birthday celebrations continue with a Paris exhibition of new pint-size designer looks for the plastic diva set to be unveiled at Galeries Lafayette on Monday. Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Sonia Rykiel count among around 50 designers to have downsized signature looks for the “Barbie Fashion Show 2009” event. Meanwhile, Maison Martin Margiela offered an incognito Barbie who comes dressed in a flesh-tone face mask and bodysuit, a pair of black fishnet tights and a shaggy coat crafted from glossy blonde wigs. Ending April 25, the show will travel, according to a Mattel spokeswoman.

Cedric Charbit, one of Paris’s more outspoken retail figures, has joined Emilio Pucci. Charbit said he signed on as deputy general manager, and will be based between Florence and Paris, reporting to Pucci’s general manager Didier Drouet. Charbit had a brief stint as a general merchandise manager at Harrods in London but is best known as the longtime vice president of the buying office and general merchandise manager of women’s fashion for Printemps.


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