FORM MEETS FUNCTION: Designers Richard Chai, Simon Spurr, Waris Ahluwalia, Heather Huey and Siki Im will open their first temporary concept shops in New York over the next 10 weeks as part of the “Building Fashion” project, being brought to fruition by the nonprofit organization Boffo and architect Spilios Gianakopoulos.

The initiative pairs each designer with an architect, who is selected via an online design competition on, a social networking site. Spurr, whose installation kicks off the series on Sept. 9, worked with a design firm called Collective while Huey was matched with Urban A&O. The remaining designers are still in the process of selecting an architect. Each shop will be installed in an enclosed, high-gloss construction trailer outside HL23, a new luxury residential tower on far West 23rd Street that cantilevers over the High Line. The retail installations will switch every two weeks to the next designer-architect pairing. An adjacent garden space, sponsored by Supima, will be used for events.

This story first appeared in the September 7, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We strategically reached out to designers that didn’t already have retail space,” said Faris Al-Shathir, co-founder of Boffo. “We wanted to provide a creative platform for emerging designers and innovative architects to collaborate.”

Spurr noted that the project was an ideal format “to test run ideas for when we do open our own store.” Spurr will also live-stream his upcoming runway show in the space and hold an after party there.

MAJOR TOM: Testing: one, two, three. Word has it Tom Ford will give a glimpse of his first signature women’s designs during New York Fashion Week at a cocktail he’s hosting the evening of Sept. 12. It is understood the first full collection — spanning ready-to-wear, shoes, bags and jewelry — will be shown to the trade in January for June delivery. A Ford spokeswoman confirmed “a small cocktail party” but declined to give other details.


IN NAME ONLY: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s appearances in New York are rare enough that the fashion flock was eager to take a glimpse of her later this month, when she was due to serve as a high patron at the special auction of dresses at Phillips de Pury & Co. on Sept. 20. But her role as a high patron does not imply she will attend the event. On Friday, Phillips de Pury & Co. learned from the Elysée Palace that Bruni-Sarkozy will not be attending the event.


HIGH NOTE: Tod’s has partnered with Milan’s Teatro La Scala theater and on Sept. 23 will premiere a conceptual art video directed by German director and artist Matthias Zentner. The video shows the theater’s ballet dancers reinterpreting Tod’s craftsmanship. In return, Tod’s said it will help La Scala cover the costs of production for one artistic season, or one year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Fashion week’s overlap with Rosh Hashanah is causing quite a few headaches this year, with many Jewish fashion executives skipping the first two days of shows, as well as Fashion’s Night Out, in observance of the Jewish New Year. But those who are opting to work should know there is a place for them to go. On Monday, Chabad of the West 60s — at 37 West 65th Street near Lincoln Center — unveiled special High Holidays services that kick off at sundown on Sept. 8. There is a higher purpose, too.

“We are offering free Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur tickets to anyone attending services at our synagogue this year, and asking only that they use what they would have spent to buy fashion to support New York’s economy,” said Rabbi Yehuda Lipsker of Chabad of the West 60s. The services also will feature a special prayer for Jewish designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen to succeed.

BITE-SIZE BAUBLES: Beginning Oct. 15, shoppers can divulge their craving for chocolate, without the calories. Monet Group International Inc. has singed a licensing agreement with Mars Retail Group for jewelry starring their signature, rotund M&M characters. The collection features M&M’s on rings, bracelets, earring and necklaces, and a “melt in your mouth” slogan necklace — which will retail at Macy’s locations priced from $15 to $75. “This partnership brings together two iconic brands to give consumers a line of collectible jewelry items that are both fashionable and fun to wear,” said John Capizzi, general manager of Licensing for Mars Retail Group.

LANDING IN L.A.: Zero + Maria Cornejo’s third store — and first outside of New York — opened last week on Melrose Place in Los Angeles. “The timing felt right for a third store as we continue to grow and expand our business,” said Marysia Woroniecka, Maria Cornejo’s business partner. “We have had a great year to date with retail sales tracking at over 40 percent ahead of last year.”

Designed by Cornejo with Amale Andraos from New York’s Work Architecture, the 2,000-square-foot L.A. store has an ivy-covered charcoal facade, curved plywood dressing rooms and hanging Plexiglas panels that separate women’s and men’s. Clothing and shoes range from $250 to $2,000 at the store, while other accessories run from $400 to $900. The store will be the exclusive home to Zero + Maria Cornejo’s men’s wear collection in Los Angeles.

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