GLAMMING IT UP: National figure skating champion and U.S. Olympian Johnny Weir is gliding into the fashion fray. He’s launching a Little Black Dress collection for spring exclusively on eDressMe.com. The dresses, which will be available April 30, are being unveiled in conjunction with the second annual “Ice Dreams” skating show in Bensenville, Ill., which offers young skaters a chance to perform alongside their Olympic heroes. Each dress from the capsule collection will be modeled during the skating extravaganza. Prices of the dresses range from $198 to $298, and in true Weir style, boast ostrich feathers, netting and sequin accents. Materials include antique matte satin, silk, crepe stretch jersey, tulle and silk taffeta.
“The level of design is complemented by my understanding of a woman’s body, and my knack to refine the classic Little Black Dress with fanciful embellishments like feathers and sparkles,” said Weir.
MORE ON THAT WEDDING: Kate Middleton’s parents, Carole and Michael, have finally met Queen Elizabeth — quashing widespread speculation that they would only be introduced at the royal wedding. The Middletons had lunch at Windsor Castle on Wednesday with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, according to a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman. Although she would not confirm the details of the lunch, the conversation undoubtedly ranged from wedding details to four-legged creatures: The queen owns and breeds thoroughbred horses, and the Middletons are part owners of a racehorse. The couple has already met Prince Charles, and last fall stayed at Birkhall, his private residence on the queen’s Balmoral estate.
SUI SCHOLAR: Anna Sui is putting on her academic hat Friday when she heads to Cambridge, Mass., to accept Harvard University’s Leadership in the Arts award. After the evening ceremony, the designer will share some words of wisdom with the Ivy Leaguers, who will also be treated to a fashion show of some of Sui’s key fall looks. It’s part of Harvard’s “Identities” student-run fashion show initiative. “I hope that this event inspires [Harvard’s] students who are interested in pursuing a career in fashion,” Sui said.
NEW KIDS AT RESORT: Resort has long been a major buzzword for the industry and this upcoming season is no different, especially for the young designer set. Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung and Ohne Titel’s Alexa Adams and Flora Gill will all be launching resort collections. “As a financial decision, it’s the right time for us,” explained Altuzarra. “Retailers allocate bigger budgets to pre-collections. This will stabilize our cash flow and keep on growing the company in an organic way instead of trying to triple our show collections or something.”
Bensoni’s Benjamin Channing Clyburn and Sonia Yoon, meanwhile, are launching a capsule collection of cocktail dresses exclusive to Barneys New York for the resort season — though they’re not calling it a resort debut. “We wanted to create a niche for what is needed in their stores,” explains Yoon, “and Barneys told us our party dresses do really well.” The collection, with retail prices capping at $500, includes both takes on classic Bensoni styles (a ruffle-sleeve sheath) as well as new silhouettes.
MORE FOR JAPAN: Gucci is introducing a limited-edition bracelet to support the relief efforts in Japan, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross Society. The bracelet, which will be available starting Saturday in Gucci stores throughout Japan and then worldwide, features a red and white web motif and a charm with the message “Gucci loves you” engraved on it.
Parent group PPR donated 2 million euros, or $2.9 million at current exchange, to the cause last month.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Lanvin is the latest European fashion firm to postpone a big event in Beijing. The French house, which had been scheduled to fete its new Sanlitun boutique with a fashion show and party next week, has now decided to throw its big Chinese coming-out party in spring 2012 to coincide with Alber Elbaz’s 10th anniversary at the creative helm. As reported, Giorgio Armani recently nixed an event in Beijing planned for May owing to the natural disaster in Japan. Other companies, such as Burberry, have gone ahead with Beijing blowouts.
TRYING IT OUT: Pucci is testing the prairie with a pop-up boutique in Dallas that may birth a permanent store after nine-and-a-half months. “It depends on if we make our goal — $1 million-plus” said Jason Flesher, manager of Pucci’s two New York stores and the pop-up at Highland Park Village. “We’re on track and doing well. It’s a great market. The Dallas client isn’t afraid of color.” That was clear at the launch party Thursday evening when about half the women turned out in Pucci swirl prints, and most donned the current spring collection. Except Capera Ryan and Tina Craig. “Everyone thinks this is vintage, but it’s only a year or two old,” said Ryan, in a slinky orange, black and white Pucci tunic and pants. Meanwhile, Craig chose contrast. “I knew everyone would be in color,” she said. “That’s why I’m wearing black Givenchy.”
GIEVES & HAWKES NAMES DESIGN DIRECTOR: Gieves & Hawkes, the Savile Row tailor, has named Barry Tulip as design director, a new position at the company. Tulip, a graduate of London’s Central Saint Martin’s, was most recently senior designer for formal wear at Dunhill, and before that designed men’s wear for Ermenegildo Zegna’s Z Zegna line. He also designed a ready to wear collection under his own name in 2003. Tulip will report to John Durnin, chief executive officer of Gieves & Hawkes.