TALE OF TWO CITIES: When Celine secured Phoebe Philo to be its new creative director, it agreed to let the British designer base the French brand’s design studios in London. Now it looks like the brand also is open to new frontiers in terms of realizing her collections. Sources said Celine, owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has been in talks with Milan-based Aeffe SpA about a production agreement. The likelihood of a deal could not be learned, but it is understood that talks have been recent. Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer at Celine, declined to comment on the firm’s production plans. However, it is understood that Celine is exploring using several producers, and Aeffe could be among them. An Aeffe spokeswoman denied that the two firms are in discussions. Aeffe operates the Moschino, Alberta Ferretti and Pollini brands, and produces collections for Jean Paul Gaultier. Gobbetti confirmed that Philo will present her first collection for spring 2010 on the runway in Paris this fall, with the Celine studio turning out collections in the interim. “This is not about a trend or a runway, but building the foundation of the wardrobe of Phoebe for Celine,” he said.
KILGOUR CANCELS SHOW: Savile Row tailor Kilgour has canceled its Paris men’s wear show, and will hold appointments in London instead. “We will show the collection in our private London showroom from Jan. 21,” said Carlo Brandelli, Kilgour’s creative director. “We thought about a visual presentation in Paris on the schedule, but with the current instability and climate at the moment, we wanted to have a rethink on how the brand progresses and shows for the next seasons.” The show had been on the provisional calendar for Jan. 22 at 11:30 a.m. Last season, Kilgour staged a show in Paris that was sponsored by Aston Martin.
Speaking of the Paris men’s shows, don’t expect all the models at Jean Paul Gaultier’s show, scheduled for Jan. 22, to conform to the industry’s typical stature standards. Word has it a group of knee-high models will hit the catwalk for the launch of the brand’s first kids’ wear collection, licensed by France’s Zannier Group.
AND THE MENTORS ARE…: Diane von Furstenberg now can add mentor to her résumé. As part of the 2008 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which grants a year’s worth of mentoring from an industry executive to the winner and two runners-up, von Furstenberg was named the mentor to fund winner Alexander Wang. For one year, Wang will work with the designer and her team, including DVF president Paula Sutter. Andy and Kate Spade, meanwhile, were named mentors to runner-up Albertus Swanepoel, while Patrick Robinson and Andrew Rosen will mentor Vena Cava designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock.
BEACH PARTY: Spring breakers won’t be the only ones descending on South Florida this March. Michael Kors also will be in the Sunshine State to present his fall collection at Destination Fashion 2009, a gala to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. The fete, which will take place March 7 at Miami’s Bal Harbour Shops, also will feature a silent auction as well as live performances by Seal and The Pointer Sisters.
SUM OF US: Pierre Bergé has been drawn into a corruption investigation involving Julien Dray, the Socialist deputy for France’s Essonne region, according to a spokeswoman for Paris’ law courts. She confirmed that France’s fraud squad is investigating the possibility of a suspicious movement of funds between the accounts of Parrains de SOS-Racisme (Patrons of SOS Racism), the antiracism organization that is presided over by Bergé; FIDL, the Democratic Federation of High School Students, and Dray’s personal account. According to French daily Le Monde, the sum in question totals some 351,027 euros, or about $474,000 at current exchange. Bergé, who was traveling Monday, was unavailable for comment.
GOODY TWO SHOES: Longchamp, the French leather goods brand known for its nylon Pliage bag, has introduced two boot styles for next fall: a black leather boot and a suede style with a patent leather toe, both available in long and short versions. The footwear was unveiled to a group of retailers from Europe and the Mideast during the house’s first-ever runway show Monday, held at Paris’ Espace Richelieu. There’s no sign of the brand joining the city’s official fashion week circuit, however. “It’s a way of showing our bags in a more enticing way than on shelves,” said Longchamp’s managing director, Jean Cassegrain. The event also showcased the house’s growing ready-to-wear line, distributed in Longchamp stores only.