MODEL MUSINGS: Marc Jacobs and Harold Koda stood against the backdrop of the iconic 1990 British Vogue cover by Peter Lindbergh featuring Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Tatiana Patitz and Cindy Crawford, on Wednesday morning to disclose details of the Costume Institute’s upcoming spring exhibit “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.” The exhibit will span from Dior’s New Look to the late Nineties, and Koda and co-curator Kohle Yohannan based selections mainly on editorial models arranged by decade, from Dovima and Veruschka to Patti Hansen and Lisa Taylor, and the women best known as supermodels today. Koda recalled one of his first conversations with Jacobs, recalling how Kate Moss walked in his seminal grunge collection for Perry Ellis. “Kate is a muse to many designers,” Jacobs said, citing Yves Saint Laurent’s famous quote “A good model can advance fashion by 10 years.”
One thing that wasn’t discussed, though, was the musical performance that’s become quite a tradition at the Costume Institute benefit. How about tapping George Michael to belt out “Freedom ’90” that night?

This story first appeared in the February 19, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

MAKE THAT THREE: This week, Donna Karan didn’t just have her usual two presentations for Collection and DKNY labels. On Wednesday, she also managed to find time to host an event at her Urban Zen store, to present her concept with a presentation titled “Philanthropy and Commerce: A New Paradigm of Retail.” The afternoon at the Stephen Weiss Gallery offered a calm within the chaos of fashion week — to borrow some of Karan’s own words — and editors got to see the newest Urban Zen offerings for spring — “in season,” Karan said, pointing to one of her pet peeves in fashion — and hear her make her humanitarian case. “This is a place where the like-minded can come together, those who want to make a difference in the world,” she said.
“My dream, my passion is to see Urban Zen centers in every city,” she added.

FINISH LINE: There may have been fewer parties than usual this fashion week, but the New York season is coming to an end with a welcome addition. L’Wren Scott and Mick Jagger are said to be planning a party to fete Scott’s fall collection and the end of fashion week. A spokesman for Scott confirmed the plans for the party, but declined to disclose more details.

CFDA COOKBOOK: More than 100 designers volunteered their favorite recipes to be a part of an upcoming Council of Fashion Designers of America cookbook, scheduled to be released in September as the fourth book published by Assouline to benefit the CFDA. Martha Stewart is writing the forward, and Lisa Marsh is the book’s author, giving context to the designers’ choices “to bring these recipes to life for the reader,” Marsh said. For example, Marsh highlights that Zac Posen’s butterscotch cookie recipe was passed through his family for years, and that Carolina Herrera started eating pommes toupinel when she met her husband’s family. The designers’ choices range from comfort food (Cynthia Rowley turned in a recipe for mac & cheese, albeit with truffles) to cuisines reflecting their ethnic roots (Yigal Azrouël selected chicken tagine) to plain old overachieving (Francisco Costa turned in an entire menu, though only one recipe could be included). The designers also sketched illustrations of their food, creating a “hybrid artbook-cookbook,” said CFDA executive director Steven Kolb. He said the idea came from a one-of-a-kind clipbook of recipes donated by designers that CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg had bought at the original Seventh On Sale.

LINCOLN MEMORIAL: To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, Brooks Brothers has installed a display on the fifth floor of its Madison Avenue flagship. The centerpiece is a replica of the embroidered Great Coat, which Brooks made for his second inauguration, as well as a special mirror that it used to fit the 6-foot, 4-inch Lincoln when he visited the company’s Broadway and Grand Street store. The store is also displaying a series of letters from the 16th president that mention the coat.

POOL SHOT: It may not be the best time for retail ventures, but Hermès expects to make a splash with a future opening planned for Paris. Though it’s too early to disclose details, a brand spokeswoman confirmed the house will open a store in La Piscine, a shopping mall based in the disused former swimming pool of the Lutetia hotel on Rue de Sèvres. “It won’t be for this year,” she said.

Stan Herman, designer and former president of the CFDA, has probably heard the photographer’s battle cry, “Uncross Your Legs,” more times that he cares to remember. Nevertheless, that’s the provocative title he chose for his memoirs reflecting his 50 years in the fashion business. Herman, whose design career has spanned ready-to-wear, loungewear, uniforms and a lucrative gig on QVC, spent four years writing the book (in long-hand, with sketches). He’s currently doing rewrites and talking to publishers. The book deals with his relationships with such designers as Geoffrey Beene, Pauline Trigere and Norman Norell, as well the “youngsters today who have become my children,” as well as his 16 years heading the CFDA. “It’s been a very diversified career, and I’m still here. I’m a survivor,” he said.

UPSIDE OF A DOWNTURN: Carmen Marc Valvo’s decision to pull up stakes at Bryant Park turned out to be media boon. “To be perfectly honest, I’ve gotten more publicity for not doing a show than I ever did for having a show,” he said, during his presentation Wednesday at Citrine.

CYNTHIA ROWLEY EMBRACES TECHNOLOGY: Cynthia Rowley went high-tech this fashion week with two projects. The designer teamed up with Nintendo to create a limited edition carrying case for the portable Nintendo DS, which she featured in her Monday runway show. Created to match the shoes in her fall collection, the small clutchlike bags come in three metallic leather colors — blue, peachy gold and cranberry pink — and 500 of them will be available later this spring through Club Nintendo and for 600 points, which players can earn on the Web site. “We designed this chic little clutch expressly for the DS that will also hold your money, keys, lipstick….” Rowley said. “What else do you need, really?” Maybe a short film running in 5,500 New York taxis during fashion week. The film, featuring models wearing looks from Rowley’s fall collection playing musical chairs, has an expected viewership of 1,176,000, according to the company, which declined to disclose the cost of the project. “We’ve been getting positive feedback via e-mails and texts sent from the backs of cabs,” said Peter Arnold, president of Cynthia Rowley.

BROTHERLY LOVE: Richard Chai and Rag & Bone’s David Neville and Marcus Wainwright were in the house when Phillip Lim showed his collection. Asked if he was there to lend some moral support, Chai said, “Absolutely. We’ve been best friends for years.”

HOT TYPE: A Jean Paul Gaultier biography is in the works by French journalist Elisabeth Gouslan. “Gaultier is a fundamental personality in fashion,” said Gouslan, who writes for Madame Figaro magazine. Gouslan said she plans to interview luminaries from cinema and fashion for her book. So far, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Pierre Cardin and Martin Margiela have been approached, along with actresses Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Adjani. The yet-untitled tome, to be published by Grasset, is slated for release this fall.


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