SCHOOL TIES: “It was a different world back then,” Tara Maurice said about the period following her graduation from Otis College of Art and Design in 1988. “It wasn’t an e-mail world. You moved to New York, and you felt like you were all by yourself. And I probably didn’t understand the power of social networking.” Maurice, whose design career includes stints at Coach, Isaac Mizrahi and J. Crew, took advantage of the Otis alumni reception at John Varvatos’ showroom in New York on Thursday night to reconnect with other New York-based alumni. Although Otis is in Los Angeles, the college boasts a strong syndicate of New York-based alumni. Steve McSween, vice president of design for Sean John, graduated from Otis in 1994 and said he is always willing to be a guiding hand for freshly graduated students. Kirk Von Heifner and Marcus LeBlanc, associate designers at John Varvatos and 2006 graduates of Otis, said they got to know Varvatos when they participated in his Design Mentorship project at Otis during their senior year. As she greeted her former students, Rosemary Brantley, founding Fashion Design Chair at Otis, said, “I never had children. This room is full of my New York babies, and they all take care of each other.”

This story first appeared in the November 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN: Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga have been named the latest faces of the MAC AIDS Fund. The newest campaign, dubbed “From Our Lips,” will break on Feb. 25. MAC Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick and Viva Glam Cyndi Lipstick, $14 each, will launch in North America on March 18 and globally throughout the month, with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to the MAC AIDS Fund. The MAC AIDS Fund has invested more than $150 million to organizations in more than 67 countries since its founding in 1994.


BY THE BOOK: The ever-prolific artist, photographer and performer Patti Smith has just put the finishing touches on a book about her early days with Robert Mapplethorpe. The pair lived together while he was at Pratt, later called The Chelsea Hotel home and remained friends after their relationship dissolved. Due out in December under a HarperCollins imprint, “Just Kids” covers their “youthful rebellion” from 1967 to 1975, a tale Smith promised Mapplethorpe she would write before he died in 1989. Smith, who received a Pratt Legends award Thursday night from Edward Mapplethorpe, Robert’s brother, said she still has an ongoing conversation, so to speak, with the late artist, as she does with all of the people she loves and has lost.

Pratt, meanwhile, raised $400,000 for student scholarships at last week’s Legends dinner.

SCENESTEALERS: Photos of Jacqueline Kennedy splashing around in an overcrowded rowboat in Italy, Ingrid Bergman and Yul Brynner perched in a London theater box and Oleg Cassini hamming it up at the Kennedy White House were among those displayed Wednesday night at Cassini’s Upper East Side townhouse to celebrate the work of Benno Graziani. The Paris Match lensman chalked up his storied career to “chance and good humor.” He explained, “If you are in good humor, people like you.”

A 1962 shot of Kennedy with her back to a pack of paparazzi on the Amalfi coast is a personal favorite. “I asked Jackie to look at me, and everybody laughed when I asked her to turn because she had been posing,” he said. Lee Radziwill and her daughter Anna Christina, Peter Duchin and Judy Taubman were some of Graziani’s well-wishers.

SHOP GIRLS: FrostFrench, the ready-to-wear label designed by Sadie Frost and Jemima French, is moving ahead with its next chapter. Next week, the label will unveil a boutique on Noel Street in London’s Soho. The store, designed to have a boudoir feel with wooden floors, pink walls and pictures of the designers on display, will carry the duo’s entire line. The space comes in addition to FrostFrench’s existing store in Islington, North London. Last year the label took a change in direction after Frost and French regained creative control of the business. Frost and French said they had restructured the business and opened the Soho store “with the help of new private investment.” The Soho store will launch with a party November 10, while the label’s online store,, will relaunch later this year.


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