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DONNA’S NEXT MOVE? Players in the department store better areas may soon be getting more competition. Word is that Donna Karan International executives are quietly sculpting plans for a better-priced collection that would be sold alongside other designer labels like Michael Michael Kors, Lauren Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein’s white label. The line is said to still be in its early planning stages. Few details could be learned, but it is unlikely to launch before fall 2008. DKI, which declined comment, has not decided on a name for the venture.

The better move could be one of the major initiatives for Mark Weber, DKI’s chairman and chief executive officer, who joined the company last October. Phillips-Van Heusen, Weber’s former stomping ground, has exponentially grown its Calvin Klein business with a three-tiered structure of the designer-level Calvin Klein Collection, the bridge-tier ck Calvin Klein and the better Calvin Klein white label.

Such a move would not affect the company’s Donna Karan Collection or DKNY bridge businesses, but it wouldn’t be the first foray into better. DKNY Jeans is already in the better price zone. It also had the better-priced City DKNY label in a license with Liz Claiborne Inc. for spring 2001, but the agreement ended in 2005.

FASHION FIREWORKS: Cécilia Sarkozy, who raised eyebrows in May for wearing Prada to the presidential inauguration of her husband, Nicolas, was in a French state of mind for Bastille Day. France’s first lady was decked out in a silk dress from Dior’s fall-winter collection.

TOMMY TWICE: Tommy Hilfiger will start New York’s fashion week with a bang, and plans to end it with one, too. On Sept. 5 — the first day of shows — Hilfiger will host a pre-launch bash for “Iconic America, A Roller-Coaster Ride through the Eye-Popping Panorama of American Pop Culture,” the book he cowrote with George Lois. The tome will be published by Universe, an imprint of Rizzoli New York, in November. The location of the party is still being determined, but it is expected to be a late-night shindig replete with a surprise musical appearance.

This story first appeared in the July 16, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Hilfiger shouldn’t party too hard though, since he has a busy week ahead of him. The designer is scheduled to show his men’s and women’s spring 2008 show at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sept. 12, the last day of shows.

IN THE BAG: Té casan, the women’s specialty footwear brand that opened its 7,500-square-foot New York flagship last November, is expanding its offerings to include handbags. In the spirit of supporting emerging designers, té casan is showcasing three up-and-coming accessories talents who design bags as well as shoes. Japanese footwear designer Megumi Ochi, shoe and handbag designer Jacques Choï of the French brand Louison and French handbag designer Stéphane Verdino will feature their collections with té casan for the fall season. Té casan, which is Gaelic for “a woman’s path,” will continue to offer its signature designer collections.

SUITS HER: Edward Sexton, the Savile Row bespoke tailor who has dressed the likes of Twiggy, Bianca Jagger and Marie Helvin, has revealed he’s working on a women’s ready-to-wear line that he plans to unveil during London Fashion Week in September. “It will involve female versions of men’s tailoring,” said Sexton, who recently attended an event held by the Savile Row Bespoke Association at the British ambassador’s residence in Paris. Also in attendance, Patrick Grant, director of Norton & Sons, said his establishment was working on a Savile Row T-shirt for fashion prankster Henry Holland. “It won’t be rude,” he joked.

RUSSIAN AROUND: Louis Vuitton is taking the art-fashion link one step further. For its next exhibition in the gallery atop its Champs-Elysées flagship in Paris — devoted to Moscow — the luxury firm is inviting seven of the 11 artists involved to create their works on the spot, transforming the gallery into a studio. Titled “Moscopolis,” the showcase is slated to open Sept. 21 for a three-month run, featuring artists such as Alexander Brodsky, Olga Chernysheva and Kirill Chelushkin.

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