UPS AND GOWNS: “It will be a modest exhibition, but it will include the most magical gowns ever made, like the historical wedding dress Balenciaga made for Queen Fabiola of Belgium,” enthused Hubert de Givenchy, curator of an upcoming fashion exhibit at the Château de Haroué, an 18th-century castle built and still owned by the Beauvau-Craon family in France’s Lorraine region, near Nancy. Titled “Cristóbal Balenciaga, Venet, Givenchy at Château de Haroué,” the showcase will open May 6 for three months. De Givenchy said he did not run into problems to get the 45 dresses that will be presented. The Givenchy archives and a Madrid museum lent him dresses he made for Audrey Hepburn; Philippe Venet got some from his clients, and Bunny Mellon lent a lot of her Balenciagas. Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery will publish a 144-page book at Flammarion especially for the occasion.
YANKEES’ BLING: The New York Yankees have an affinity for diamonds — especially when they’re of the World Series variety. The Bronx Bombers, who received their Series rings during opening-day ceremonies Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, tapped jewelry firm Balfour to create their championship jewelry, including rings and pendants. The 2009 win was the franchise’s 27th championship. The white gold rings feature diamonds with the team’s logo. Along the sides there are words “Tradition” and “Unity,” a rendering of the new stadium and the name “Steinbrenner” in honor of the team’s owner. The Austin, Tex.-based jewelry firm also is creating replicas of Yankees’ championship jewelry from 1923 to 2009, which will be unveiled on opening day next year.
CLEARING THE AIR: Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s chairman and chief executive officer, didn’t exactly have his wings clipped, but a recent change in his employment agreement could be said to bring him down to earth just a bit. Jeffries has given up the provision allowing him unlimited personal use of the company aircraft and will instead limit himself to personal use valued at $200,000, or else reimburse the company for the difference. In exchange, Jeffries will receive a onetime lump-sum payment of $4 million. The deal, disclosed in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, might not be as expensive as it sounds — A&F reported that the ceo’s personal use in fiscal 2008 exceeded $1.1 million. Jeffries’ current contract runs through January 2014 and, at least in the four fiscal years still to go before that, stockholders could be spared some of their fear of flying expenses.
NEXT GENERATION: New York design star — and Parsons graduate — Prabal Gurung sat with Valerie Steele on Monday evening before a sold-out crowd of students at the Fashion Institute of Technology, taking part in a lecture series the school is hosting this spring. Gurung was unequivocal when asked if he would like to design for a major label at some point. “Yes!” he said. “There’s always that dream, to go to a big fashion house.” Gurung, who worked for Cynthia Rowley and the Bill Blass company prior to launching his own line for fall 2009, admitted that, growing up in Nepal, he did not have much knowledge of American pop culture. Indeed, he didn’t even know who Oprah Winfrey was until he saw her television show in his late teens. The episode he watched was (unsurprisingly) based on following one’s dreams, and it motivated Gurung to apply to Parsons and move to New York. “I was really fascinated by the way women dress,” Gurung explained, adding he never dreamed Winfrey would end up wearing one of his designs on the cover of her magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, years later (she wore a red Gurung gown on the December 2009 issue). “Quoting Oprah, it was my defining, full-circle moment,” Gurung laughed. He told the audience that he had always planned to start his own collection, even pursuing a production position at Rowley’s company after graduation, rather than just a design gig. “In school you learn to design and sketch, but I knew this time in my life was going to happen, and I needed to know the business of fashion,” he said. Of the tools he has gleaned for his own business, which now employs six people and “lots of interns,” Gurung said working at Blass honed his sense of fabrics. “It was about what is the best, and is it relevant?” Gurung said of the often wildly expensive materials he used. He was also straightforward about the logic behind launching in tough times: “Just in case it went wrong, I could blame it on the recession.”
GRADUATING CLASS: Parsons The New School for Design will honor William K. Fung, group managing director of Li & Fung Ltd., and designer Vera Wang at its 2010 Fashion Benefit on April 26 at Pier Sixty in Manhattan. “William Fung and Vera Wang have both positioned themselves at the vanguard of the fashion industry,” said Joel Towers, dean of Parsons. “Dr. Fung has played an instrumental role in supporting global economic development, supply chain innovation, trade promotion and educational advancement.…Ms. Wang’s career is living proof that designers can successfully cross boundaries from fashion to interior and product design, creating a lifestyle aesthetic.” Previous honorees include Francisco Costa and Tom Murry of Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Howard Socol and Marc Jacobs. The event will include a fashion show featuring notable collections from graduating students.
WISH YOU WERE HERE: The Brazilian contingent turned out in force to support photographer Almir Reis for his debut exhibition in Paris. Former Valentino muses Charlene Shorto and Georgina Brandolini d’Adda — accompanied by daughters Bianca and Coco — joined actress Mila Moreira to admire Reis’ landscapes of Rio de Janeiro at the Espace Pierre Cardin last week. Reis trained his lens on tourist magnets such as the Sugarloaf mountain and Christ the Redemptor statue, then digitally added and subtracted color from the resulting images. “It’s to make them different, so they don’t look like postcards,” he explained. The exhibition heads to Moscow and Beirut next.