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AN INSPIRING AFFAIR: Cole Haan planted down at haute New York eatery 10 Downing Monday night to fete its spring advertising campaign, “The Inspired Life,” shot by Todd Selby. A street-style photographer, Selby centered the campaign around everyday people in their natural environments, such as at home or en route to work. “I’ve never been a high-fashion photographer, I love shooting people who love fashion but like to make it their own,” Selby said. Fashion “It” girl Harley Viera-Newton was working overtime at the event — first, appearing in the campaign and, second, as party DJ. “I like to wear whatever makes me feel comfortable, natural and confident,” Viera-Newton said. “Whenever something is natural, it’s going to look great.”

LUNCH BUNCH: A crowd of Ladies Who Lunch, including Nathalie Kaplan, Samantha Rosen and Lizzie Tisch, gathered recently at the Dior boutique on 57th Street for a midday repast and fashion show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the New York-Presbyterian Lying-In Hospital. After dining on an entrée of chilled lobster, guests viewed a presentation of the house’s summer offerings. For co-host Tisch, whose children were born at the hospital, the afternoon was especially meaningful. “The doctors and the service were excellent,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘Anything I can do to help.’”

This story first appeared in the March 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

BALLY BUSINESS: After much interviewing and reinterviewing of countless candidates, Bally’s new chief executive officer Berndt Hauptkorn plans to reveal this week that Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler, who earlier this month resigned their posts at Aquascutum, will become Bally’s new creative directors. According to industry sources, they will succeed Brian Atwood, whose departure was mooted in October — although Bally has never confirmed the news. Until recently, Bally was denying Atwood was on his way out — even as the firm conducted interviews with new talent. One person familiar with the situation said multitudes of designers were “met with and discarded” by Bally while another source said “all of London” was interviewed for the job.

Industry sources familiar with Bally are still wondering why Atwood — a talented accessories designer who had consistently received strong reviews — was made to leave after only six seasons. Many industry observers agree that what Bally needs most right now is a consistency of vision, and not the taint of being a perpetual work in progress.

The choice of Herz and Fidler is raising some eyebrows even before they show their first collection for Bally. Herz and Fidler are known as ready-to-wear designers who turned out well-tailored collections in their years as Aquascutum’s head of women’s and men’s wear design, respectively. But Bally’s heritage is mainly in footwear and accessories with a small rtw component. To drive home the heritage point, Bally has been collaborating with master’s degree students at London’s Central Saint Martins College on a capsule collection of footwear that’s being produced at the brand’s factories in Switzerland and Italy.

Considering the roller-coaster ride it’s taken to find a successor for Atwood, industry observers said they’re interested to see what becomes of the brand under Hauptkorn, a former management consultant who until recently served as ceo of Bally’s parent, Labelux Group. According to one source close to Bally, there’s even talk of keeping Atwood in some capacity, which would only further muddy the waters. Hauptkorn did not return phone calls seeking comment.

LIVE FROM L.A.: Donna Karan has been a vocal critic of the recent trend for live-streaming runway shows, because, to her, it represents yet another way to confuse consumers by exposing them to clothes months before they actually hit retail. On Friday, however, she will give in to the technology, but this being Donna, she will do it in a way that corresponds to her fashion philosophy. Karan will be making a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. The event’s conversation and Q&A with Neiman’s senior vice president and fashion director Ken Downing and fashion show will be live-streamed on — but the looks are from the spring collection. “Talking to the customer in season is what live-streaming should be all about,” Karan said.

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