NUDE ON THE BOWERY: For the unveiling of its New York flagship tonight at 25 Bond Street, United Nude has called upon Kirsten Dunst, Kim Cattrall, Kim Kardashian, Susan Sarandon and other notables to help raise the roof. The 1,800-square-foot store’s design has a considerably artistic bent. Its intentionally dark interior is offset by The Wall of Light, a series of light boxes that change different colors while illuminating individual shoes. Another unexpected feature is a sculpture of a Lamborghini near the entrance and jewelry, a new category for United Nude. Architect and United Nude’s creative director Rem Koolhaas, whose second cousin with the same name is well known by the fashion crowd, said the boutique’s address was an easy sell. “This is a chic location. This neighborhood is on the way up with The Bowery Hotel, the New Museum, and new shops and cafes opening.” But the Shanghai-based Koolhaas understands flagships aren’t always moneymakers. The brand’s Amsterdam store generates $850,000 in sales annually, but he was hard-pressed to estimate how the Gotham location will fare. “It’s a flagship and if we lose money, we can write it off as a marketing expense,” he said.

This story first appeared in the May 20, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

HOST NO MORE: The fashion crowd can be notoriously tough. Just ask Tracey Ullman, Fran Lebowitz and Jeremy Piven, who emceed the CFDA Fashion Awards in recent years, and largely failed to get their audiences to crack a smile. This year, the Council of Fashion Designers of America decided against a host at the upcoming awards on June 7. “We want to let the show be carried by the strength of each segment,” CFDA executive director Steven Kolb said. That means the heat will be on for presenters, honorees and nominees who could potentially take home a trophy that night. They better start working on their speeches now.

BANANA’S WRIST ACTION: Banana Republic is launching its first limited collection with jewelry designer Chan Luu, who is known for her wrap bracelets made of leather and string with jeweled nuggets, which have been spotted on the wrists of Lady Gaga, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Lopez, among others. The designer has crafted a limited edition bracelet line for the retailer, Banana Republic’s first such pairing. The 17-piece collection will go on sale today exclusively at Banana Republic’s accessories-only concept store in San Francisco, priced from $95 to $225.

SELLING OR BUYING?: Lubov Azria, creative director of BCBG Max Azria Group and wife of chief executive officer and chairman Max Azria, did her best Tuesday during a summer shopping event at BCBG’s Beverly Hills store to put to rest speculation the company is on the block. “That is a rumor that is around every two years,” she said. “My husband has never sold anything. He has only bought.” The event, hosted by Azria and Vogue contributing editor Lawren Howell, benefitted the organization Step Up Women’s Network. Turning her focus away from business and to fashion trends, Azria predicted consumers would be attracted to textured pieces for the upcoming seasons. “It is not anymore about hiding behind a black dress. I think it is about standing out,” she said.


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