PHOTO SHOP: While Akris designer Albert Kriemler was busy last week in New York working with photographer Steven Klein on an ad campaign for the Swiss fashion house, across the country in San Francisco another Akris photo event was under way: an exhibition at Neiman Marcus of Claiborne Swanson Frank’s portraits of American women. “Albert and I share similar sensibilities — his love of contrast, his color and structure,” Frank said at a Tuesday evening party in the Neimans’ Union Square store that drew the likes of Vanessa Getty, Katie Traina and Alexis Swanson Traina.

Frank’s artistic goal is to create photos that personally reflect her subjects and which they will adore. Locations selected mostly have been in her stomping grounds, her hometown of San Francisco, as well as Napa, New York and Southampton. Frank also goes through closets to help select what to wear, resulting in a range of fashion in the photos, including Akris outfits. In the exhibit, Swanson Traina is captured barefoot in a Cavalli kaftan on the stoop of an authentic gypsy caravan, part of her late father-in-law John Traina’s extensive collection in Napa. “I love the idea of having a portrait that represents your very best self,” said Swanson Traina, whose picture is entitled “Gypsy’s Dream.”

This story first appeared in the March 21, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This was the third and last show for Frank’s photos, after bowing at the Akris store in New York for last fall’s Fashion’s Night Out, followed by an exhibition at its Boston store.

ONE WORD: Like many pop stars, Katy Perry has been plagued by plastic surgery rumors, but now the Santa Barbara-born songstress is truly embracing plastic. The 26-year-old is the new cover girl for Plastic Dreams magazine, which is produced by the footwear brand Melissa. Perry, who wears the label’s kicks on the cover and is featured in an Alexo Wandael-shot fashion spread, follows in the footsteps of Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss and Dita Von Teese, who graced recent covers.

FOREVER FRANCE: In her atelier or on the road, designer Catherine Malandrino plays music from her native France as inspiration for her contemporary designs, even at public appearances like Thursday afternoon at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. “I’m really particular about there being something French always around me,” she said, with Jacques Dutronc serenading in the background, followed by tunes that she brought from Michel Legrand, Françoise Hardy, Etienne Daho and Philippe Katerine, among others. “I’m always balancing the effortlessness of the south of France and the energy of New York,” she said, wearing a black floppy hat tilted to the side, large glasses and one of her black ruched jersey dresses.

The designer said she looks to French actresses Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Romy Schneider as muses, as well as designer Loulou de la Falaise, as part of her overarching design influences, which includes the Seventies and late Sixties.

For her trip to San Francisco, her first, Malandrino was channeling other classics from the era: Steve McQueen and Jacqueline Bisset in the 1968 movie “Bullitt,” filmed in the city, and Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate,” filmed in Berkeley across the bay. “There’s something very timeless about that period. Very feminine,” she said.

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