ON THE CASE: Nanette Lepore is really getting political. The designer, who has been at the forefront of the fight to save the New York Garment Center, has teamed with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who not only wants to work at saving the Garment Center, but has also commissioned Lepore to design her campaign T-shirt.

“She came to me to hear about the Garment Center cause and has been actively on it ever since,” Lepore said. “Since our meeting, she has had her economic development director on the case in order to stay on it. I was really impressed with her — she’s a go-getter and extremely sincere.”

This story first appeared in the January 11, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Jan. 20, Lepore will meet with the senator again when she visits Washington for a screening of the HBO documentary “Schmatta” for legislators. There, she also will participate in a panel discussion with Stan Herman and Yeohlee Teng about the importance of saving the Garment Center.

Gillibrand’s limited edition campaign T-shirt is available now on her Web site, kirstengillibrand.com. They are $25 each and available in adult and children’s sizes. “The fashion community is so important to the culture and economy of our city, and I look forward to advocating on behalf of New York’s industry in the months and years to come,” said Gillibrand.




PRESS PLANS: Versace SpA’s extensive reorganization plan is making itself felt at the company’s North American arm. Versace is said to be in the process of closing its U.S. press office, and an announcement could come as soon as this week. Word is the U.S. press efforts will be outsourced, though it could not be learned which agency the company would tap. Historically, Versace has had close ties with fashion powerhouse KCD, which handled its U.S. press efforts for 15 years until 2005 when the brand decided to open an in-house U.S. press office. Marketing and events are expected to continue to be handled in-house. Versace declined to comment on the rumors.

The move would come at a time of larger restructuring efforts at the house, which were initiated by chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris’ last fall with the aim of returning the company to profitability in 2011. The move resulted in a 25 percent cut in the company’s workforce.

VILLA MODA: Another piece of the lavish lifestyle legacy of Pierre Bergé and the late Yves Saint Laurent is up for grabs. Their modernist house perched on a cliff just minutes from downtown Tangier, Morocco, boasts an interior design by Jacques Grange, a lobby with white arcades, and extensive gardens and terraces spread over two acres. Christie’s Great Estates lists the property on its Web site with “price upon request” — believed to be in the range of 12 million euros, or $17.3 million at current exchange.

MOCA CHIEF: New York art dealer and Deitch Projects owner Jeffrey Deitch — known for heralding hip young artists, musicians and filmmakers and for his gallery’s cutting-edge installation-type exhibits — will be named the new director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in an announcement expected this morning, according to art world sources. Deitch’s appointment, which some insiders believe was orchestrated by MOCA patron Eli Broad (who donated $30 million to the museum in 2008), is a controversial one, given Deitch’s outre leanings and lack of experience in all things related to running a large arts institution.

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