FRENCH LESSONS: When Simone Veil was inducted into the L’Académie française last week she did so wearing Chanel couture. Karl Lagerfeld created a haute version of the academician uniform just for her: a black tailcoat embroidered with green and gold leaves by Lesage, and a long skirt in black crepe. Veil, a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp who would go on to become one of France’s most popular politicians, is one of only six women to be invited to join the elite institution, which has governed the French language since 1635.
PRATT NEWEST ICON: Catherine Malandrino will pick up the 2010 Pratt Institute Fashion Icon Award May 13 at the school’s annual fashion show at the Altman building. As the fifth designer to receive this prize, she follows in the footsteps of Ralph Rucci, Carmen Marc Valvo, Narciso Rodriguez and Diane von Furstenberg.
IN AN INSTANT: Fans of Polaroid instant film will soon have a substitute — new analog instant film for traditional Polaroid cameras has been made through The Impossible Project. The 17-month research and development initiative started last fall when the last remaining Polaroid factory, a location in The Netherlands, was spared the wrecking ball by Austrian entrepreneur Florian Kaps. Fashion photographer Jeremy Kost will be among the supporters on hand when the PX 100 and PX600 Silver Shade instant film is unveiled in New York. It will be available at the-impossible-project.com starting Thursday and at select stores down-the-road. The film is meant to be compatible with the analog instant camera Polaroid plans to unveil with Lady Gaga’s help. An Impossible Project store and gallery will bow at 425 Broadway April 30, and champions of the cause are also in the midst of buying the International Polaroid Collection.
KYLIE’S INSPIRATION: AmfAR will kick off a new series of men’s fashion fund-raising events this year, dubbed “Inspiration” galas, with the first set for June 3 at the New York Public Library and hosted by Kylie Minogue. Designers including Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Rick Owens, Thom Browne, John Bartlett, Michael Bastian, Tim Hamilton and Band of Outsiders, among others, will donate pieces inspired by this year’s “Black Tie/Black Leather” theme. The designs will be featured in a runway show at the event and then auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting the AIDS research and education organization. Similar events will be held in Paris on June 25 and Los Angeles in October. The initiative, produced by Josh Wood Productions, was revealed at an event at the Norwood club on Thursday evening, attended by amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole, Alan Cumming, Lorenzo Martone, Browne and Bartlett. Last year, amfAR raised $22.3 million for its programs and has invested $307 million to combat the disease since 1985.
JASON’S HOUSE: “I call this the christening of the house,” said Jason Wu at the official unveiling of his new design studio at the old Mary McFadden building on 35th Street in Manhattan. “We moved here in January and went straight to working on the fall collection and runway. We’re only getting to celebrate now.” Guests at the opening party Thursday night, which also showcased his new candy-colored camera collection with GE, included Alina Cho, Poppy de Villeneuve, Ferebee Bishop Taube and models Karlie Kloss, Siri Tollerød and Sara Blomqvist. Also in the house: jewelry designer Eddie Borgo, who was named a CFDA awards nominee, along with Wu, the previous night. “It’s nice that we’re all friends,” said Borgo. “I feel the support, but it’s also so encouraging.”