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Fashion News

Current Week

Black, White and Blue at Lagerfeld Gallery

Thanks to Karl Lagerfeld there's never a dull moment in French fashion. According to WWD, the Kaiser has decreed that the raucous lot that constitute professional runway photographers must switch their regular uniform of jeans, sweat stained t-shirts and baseball caps for black trousers, white shirts and suit jackets at his show next month. Why? Hard to say. Probably just because he can.

Louis Vuitton Catches China Syndrome

The race for opening the largest luxury retail unit in the luxury-crazed country of China is on. Currently taking the lead is Louis Vuitton who opened a 9,700-square-foot store in Shanghai last Thursday. Snapping at their heels are Harvey Nichols and Prada who are scheduled to open their own shopping compounds early next year.

Alek's Samples Lost by Airline

Poor Alek Wek had some terribly bad luck last week. The Sudanese supermodel was planning to show her new bag collection during London Fashion Week, but all the samples got lost on her Virgin Air flight and have not been found as of yet. It's funny how these things always seem to happen to people who are actually talented. When was the last time Nicky Hilton's handbags were lost in transit?

Paris Mode Becomes the Elle Word

French television has found a replacement for small screen style diva Marie-Christiane Marek, whose show Paris Mode was cancelled last season. Starting in October, Elle magazine will launch a daily coverage of the Paris fashion shows, hosted by editor-in-chief Veronique Philipponnat. There will also be a guest star to co-anchor the show each season. First out is '80s supermodel turned designer Ines de la Fressange. Let's just hope that they are as committed to costume changes as Marek, who would cram in five-six outfits in each half hour segment.

Fresh Faces at Brit Awards

Burberry designer Christopher Bailey, Chloe's Phoebe Philo and Roland Mouret have been nominated for the British Designer of the Year award. The winner will be announced at an exclusive dinner in the Victoria & Albert Museum on November 2. The VERY refreshing nominations will finally break the repetitive reign of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan, who have been alternating awards since 1994.

Hiltons Scam Beauty Freebie

When Hilton sisters Nicky and Paris and this season's sidekick, Bijou Phillips, appeared from backstage seconds before the Lacoste runway show began, one couldn't help but wonder what they had been doing back there, since there were no celebrities in attendance. Turns out the terrifying trio seized the opportunity to get a makeover by hair and make-up artists who had no idea they weren't about to take to the catwalk.

Menichetti to Design Celine

Celine has finally settled on a new designer. Taking over from Michael Kors is Roberto Menichetti, the talented designer that designed Burberry's first ready-to-wear collections and also heads his own line Menichetti. We look forward to see urban, sleek and modern clothes with a very light touch of avant- garde on the Celine runway.

Raging Campbell Uberalles

Naomi Campbell was working hard during New York fashion week, walking for everyone from Heatherette to Tommy Hilfiger. The buzz around the tents was that the volatile vixen was up to her old tricks, by terrorizing virtually everybody backstage from other models (saying mean things and generally scaring them) designers (refusing to wear designated outfits) and security guards (threatening to get them fired). Isn't it ironic that she just happens to be the model with the longest career ever.

Karl Breaks out En Masse

Kaiser Karl's clothing will soon be accessible for even the skimpiest of budgets. Monsieur Lagerfeld celebrated his collection for H&M in Paris last week with a huge party at Restaurant Georges at the Pompidou center. (Nothing low-budget about that.) Expect the chic jersey skirts, narrow-sleeved jackets and tuxedo shirts to fly out of the 500 designated stores that will carry the collection in November.

NYC Fashion Week: Spring Trends

People who wish to follow the New York fashion week trends will party like it's 1989 next spring. Among the surprising silhouettes that harked back to the days of Amazonian supermodels and power suits were: white linen pants with tapered legs, Bermuda shorts and bicycle shorts. Looks like it's time to dig out the shoulder pads and motorcycle jackets again.

Christensen Acts Out

Helena Christensen continues lead a busy post-supermodeldom life. The Danish beauty has already made a name for herself as a talented fashion and portrait photographer, but now rumor has it that she is getting ready to take that dreaded leap into acting. Supposedly, Christensen will star in a new Scandinavian film about a pianist's return to his native Copenhagen. However, making a debut film in Denmark seems like a smart choice. If the movie bombs it will only be seen by a handful of people.

Runway Bride to Be

The sweetest moment ever of NYC fashion week occurred on the runway of the Alice Roi show. At the presentation's finale, the models turned into messengers of love as Roi's boyfriend sent them out carrying cards that read "Will you marry me?". Judging from Roi's exuberant response, we'll assume the answer is yes.

Terry Stops Traffic

As he has let us know time and time again, Terry Richardson is bigger and better than ever. Gallery openings are usually not a very hot event during the party-packed fashion week, but Richardson's risque show 'Terryworld' at the Deitch gallery last Friday night managed to draw so many people that police had to shut down the block. And you thought the world has seen enough of Terry's T-bone.

Kate Represents Another

Kate Moss may not be the world's most well behaved girlfriend, but she is certainly a great ex- girlfriend. The British bombshell is flying to NYC this week to co-host former lover Jefferson Hack's party for his Another magazine. No word on whether their daughter Lila will attend.

Sari is for Stars

Every fashion week needs a new star, and for spring 2005 Sari Gueron seems to be the leading contender to become rookie of the season. Miss Gueron had a room full of flushed female editors in a tizzy over her gorgeous and simple draped silk and chiffon gowns. You'll be sure to see more of them on every well-dressed starlet from Scarlett Johansson to Maggie Gyllenhaal.

An American in Paris Vogue

Expect to see a lot of Marc Jacobs and Juergen Teller in Paris Vogue in time for Christmas. Sofia Coppola will be guest editing the December/January issue of the magazine, which has a tradition of having celebrities oversee its holiday edition. The Oscar-winning director takes over from Catherine Deneuve who had the honors last year. If we're really lucky, we might get to see a fashion spread with father Francis as Santa Clause and Scarlett Johansson as his little helper.

Imitation of Christ Opens Flagship Store

The biggest pre-fashion week surprise so far this season is the announcement from Imitation of Christ's agent that the design collective is launching its "first American flagship store" on September 8th. The very brief (and somewhat vague) press release also stated that more boutiques are slated to open in Los Angeles, London, and Paris.

Alix Browne Switches Sides?

V magazine co-founder Alix Browne is leaving the giant glossy after five and a half years as its editor in chief. Browne told WWD that she felt her time was up and that the 5-year anniversary seemed like a nice cutting off point. She also hinted that she was ready for gainful employment in another sector of the fashion industry. "I'm keeping an open mind about opportunities," she said, "I definitely like being a part of a magazine, but there are other areas of the business I find interesting." LVMH, Prada and Gucci, are you listening?

We'll Always Have Paris

It's been a busy week (as usual) for Paris Hilton. The hotel heiress launched her first perfume (pink bottle, sweet and floral juice that also contains hormonally charged pheromones), a signature jewelry line on and was elected "hot young star of the year" by US Weekly. The business minded bottle blonde is also talking of visions of a fashion empire, including jeans, sweatsuits, shoes and color cosmetics. Somehow, the days of Gloria Vanderbilt are starting to seem infinitely sophisticated.

LVMH Busts Bootleg Bags

New Yorkers who have planned to incorporate a knock off Fendi or Louis Vuitton bag into their wardrobe should dash down to Canal street immediately. Last week, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton scored a victory against 29 Chinatown retailers selling counterfeit goods as a federal judge ordered each company to pay $16 million in statutory damages. Which means LVMH could see a total award of $464 million. That would surely take care of some of the conglomerate's debt.

Elite Finds Investor

Elite Model Management has found its new home. The ailing agency has been bought by a little-known Florida property developer for close to $8 million. The new owners are Eddie and Jules Trump (unfortunately not related to Donald), proprietors of company Creative World, which Elite will now be a part of. The Trumps outbid both ID Models boss Paolo Zampolli and financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to the New York Post.

Karl Becomes Jade's New Nemesis?

It seems that Karl Lagerfeld has always had it in for rock 'n' roll offspring. (Remember his snippy comments when Stella McCartney took over at Chloe?) Now it seems like the Kaiser could be gearing up to go head-to-head with Jade Jagger. According WWD, London luxury goods firm Asprey has been courting Lagerfeld in the hopes that he will sign on as creative director in an effort to rejuvenate the brand. That would put Asprey (and Lagerfeld) in direct competition with its former partner, Garrard, for which Jagger plays creative director.

Kimora Goes Back to Court?

Kimora Lee Simmons is facing more legal troubles. The Baby Phat designer (and unofficial queen of bling) who was recently arrested on several charges including possession of marijuana, has been accused by a former employee of taking the credit for his designs. (Shocker, huh?) Designer A'Lone Alakazia claims that he was "physically removed" from the Simmons' design headquarters shortly after producing the Baby Phat Pink clothing line that will be unveiled by Lee at New York Fashion Week next month. He insists that he did nothing to prompt his ejection and was furious to see Lee claiming that she had created the collection on TV.

Lima Goes to Lichtenstein?

Could Adriana Lima be the next Grace Kelly? The Victoria's secret model has reportedly found her very own prince of a European miniature country. Lima has been spotted in New York canoodling with Prince Wence of Liechtenstein. We can only hope that Lichtenstein royalty does not suffer from the mysterious curse that is said to plague Monaco's Grimaldis.

LVMH vs Morgan Stanley Round Two

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton's war with investment bank Morgan Stanley continues. The French luxury goods giant, who claims that research by the bank's luxury analyst Claire Kent substantially hurt its business (she reported that they weren't doing so well, if you hadn't guessed). In LVMH's annual report, the company states that it intends to bring forth evidence of "extremely substantial" damages caused by Kent. Morgan Stanley, who already was ordered by a Paris court last January to pay $36.5 million, for "gross misconduct" related to its investment, is appealing the decision, denying any wrongdoing and standing by its woman.

Week of August 23, 2004

Advice From a Bag Lady

Not sure of what you want to be when you grow up? How about a purse psychic? At Marisa Berenson's party for the launch of her friend Donna Karan's fall bag collection last week, the main attraction was psychic Maxine Albert, who offered guests spiritual style guidance. By touching their handbags bags or anything in them, Albert could reveal less than profound predictions such as "you need more color in your wardrobe" or "buying one pair of expensive shoes would be better than getting five cheap ones". Perhaps she should try channeling the spirit of Diana Vreeland instead next time.

Cassini Bites Back at Scaasi

They may not be young lions anymore, but their claws are still way out. The biggest couture catfight of the week occurred between septuagenarian Arnold Scaasi and octogenarian Oleg Cassini. The cause of the spat? The statement Scaasi made in his memoir "Women I Have Dressed (And Undressed)," that Cassini had been a favorite of the Kennedy administration for bringing a couple of beautiful models along to Jackie Kennedy's fittings, "for the benefit of the horny young president waiting upstairs." After reading the quote in WWD Cassini called the paper up the same day and scoffed. "That is patently untrue. This man is absolutely dreaming." He chalked the above mentioned rumors up to professional jealousy. "The reason for them is that it was such a terrific job and everyone else wanted it."

Kate's and Jade's Boy Toy Battle

Kate Moss is back from vacation and ready to pick up her tabloid friendly lifestyle again. During her break, Miss Moss reportedly made up with long lost friend Jade Jagger. (The girls had a falling out a few years ago, when Jade allegedly discovered that her three-ways with Kate and then boy-friend Dan MacMillan had turned into two-ways that did not include her.) But now sources claim that the friendship has hit another rough patch. Supposedly, both women fancy 21-year-old aristocrat Jacobi Anstruther- Gough-Calthorpe. Hopefully, they'll realize that sharing is caring.

House of Portia

It looks like there's yet another new it-model breaking out of London this season. Hot on the heels of Lily Cole and Lily Donaldson comes Portia. After being discovered just a few months ago, the 16-year- old schoolgirl from Weybridge has already packed in a fragrance campaign for Matthew Williamson, Italian Vogue shoots with Ines Van Lamsweerde/Vinoodh Matadin, Steven Klein and Tim Walker, Vogue UK with Mario Testino and the Chanel Couture show.

Liz Launches Lingerie

Good news for everyone who thinks that there are not enough celebrity designed underwear collections in the world: Elizabeth Hurley is launching her own lingerie line. So what makes her label different from those of, say, Elle Macpherson, Pamela Anderson, Kylie Minogue, Kathy Ireland, Caprice and Eva Herzigova? Well, Liz's lingerie will be 'invisible'. Sort of like not wearing any knickers at all then?

Week of August 16, 2004

Naomi's Minions Strike Back

It's been a bad week for Naomi Campbell. Last Saturday, the 34 year-old model was investigated by New York police for allegedly beating her maid, Millicent Burton, and only a few days later she was served an assault suit by her former assistant, Simone Craig. Craig claims she was held hostage by the violent femme fatale in a Los Angeles hotel in 2001 and is seeking millions of dollars after suffering "psychological and emotional damage." (What else would you expect when you're employed as Naomi's 24-hour slave?) The Choleric Campbell has denied all charges.

Conde Nast's Special Delivery

A delivery van returning top designers' clothes and accessory samples from Conde Nast publications was broken into last week when the driver stopped in front of a Seventh Avenue building to make a delivery, police sources said. Ten garment bags and four shopping bags worth over $20,000 were stolen. However, the positive angle to this story is that the designers probably aren't too upset since they most likely were not expecting to get the samples back anyway.

Dior Signs Dueling Diva

Dior will not be scoring points in the originality department this fall. The company confirmed last week that it has signed Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron as the face of J'adore, one of its most successful women's fragrances. The campaign will break in December, just a few weeks after Chanel's much publicized launch of Nicole Kidman as the face of Chanel No 5.

Kit Willow Shines in Sydney

Australia has a new fashion star. During Sydney's recent fashion week, Kit Willow's ready-to-wear show - featuring Linda Evangelista - quickly became the talk of the town. "Although Evangelista was billed as the star of the show, it was Kit Willow's new label that was the biggest hit," said the Sydney Morning Herald. Hopefully Kit will be able to re-energize London's fashion week in September where she is set to show her spring 2005 collection on an impressive round-up of models. Tentatively scheduled so far are Alicia Rountree, Gemma Ward, Elizabeth Jagger, Carmen Maria, Georgina Cooper, Jacquetta Wheeler and Alek Wek.

Sitbon Files for Bankruptcy

The gifted and innovative French designer Martine Sitbon has filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Sitbon, who started her eponymous label in 1988, has until November 20 to reorganize the business and find a new backer. However, her husband Marc Ascoli, told the press last week that he wasn't too worried about the situation, hinting that discussions were already underway with potential investors. Let's hope he's right.

Week of August 09, 2004

Fashion Week from Hell

Of all the New Yorkers that are not looking forward to the Republican National Convention, 7th on Sixth executive director Fern Mallis is probably the least enthusiastic of all. The convention, which runs between August 30 and September 2, will shut down traffic in the midtown area including Bryant Park where a small of city tents are supposed to be built for the start of New York Fashion Week on September 8. We wish her good luck.

Alber Stays at Lanvin

WWD reported last week that Aber Elbaz has re-signed his contract with Lanvin, quashing ubiquitous speculation that he was headed for Givenchy. Elbaz has been a top candidate for the vacant creative director position ever since Givenchy parted ways with Julien MacDonald earlier this year. Elbaz had no specific comment about the Givenchy rumors, saying only "There were a lot of rumors around. I talked to several people, as it was known my contract was up. But at the end of the day, I decided my place is Lanvin. I love the company and I love the house. It's given me luck."

The New Kelly Bag

Believe it or not - but it appears that next season's It-bag will be brought to you by the people at post- Ford Gucci. In her first solo effort as creative director of accessories, Frida Giannini has created a retro chic line of 'Flora' bags, inspired by an exclusive silk scarf pattern made for Grace Kelly by the house in 1966. The collection hits stores in November. Sign up on the waiting list now.

Zac Plays for Both Teams

It seems like Zac Posen is becoming fashion's equivalent to Switzerland. The young designer has Lauren Bush working as his intern and is close friends with Barbara Bush (junior), but that does (thankfully) not mean that he can't put some fierce frocks on the backs of Democratic royalty too. Posen has outfitted Cate Edwrads, the 21-year-old daughter and dead ringer of Democratic VP candidate John Edwards.

Chalayan Launches Diffusion Line

The Marc by Marc Jacobs effect seems to have hit Hussein Chalayan, who will launch a lower price line called Chalayan for spring-summer 2005. The collection will be produced and distributed by prestigious Italian manufacturer Gibo who also makes Project Alabama's second line Machine and an eponymous line designed by Julie Verhoeven. The new line will be priced 40 percent lower than his signature collection and includes wild kingdom inspired jersey T-shirts with collages of animals.

Week of August 02, 2004

Dior's Homme is where the Art is

While American designers are on a mission to get fashion folk to visit the voting booth this November, Hedi Slimane seems equally determined to get them into galleries. This fall, the Slim Man will share trendy Paris art gallery Almine Rech with two large-scale works by fashion fave artist James Turrell. Slimane plans to show images from his new photo book, "Stage," in slide and wallpaper formats. The show opens on September 11.

House of Jazz Closing

Another independent British label has bit the dust. Trendy East London-based company House of Jazz announced last week that they are shutting up shop. Designer duo Pablo Flack and Hazel Robinson, said that they will turn their attentions to other projects, like their newly-opened bar and restaurant, Bistroteque. House of Jazz was founded four years ago, and quickly became one of London's most fashionable labels. The clothes were often seen on celebrities like Gisele, Claudia Schiffer, Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss.

Chanel Re-hires Mademoiselle Moss

Kate Moss is still a Coco girl. After rumors that the British Bad Girl was dumped by Parfums Chanel for reasons that ranged between her being too old and too scandalous, the French company now announced that Kate's contract as the face of their Coco Mademoiselle fragrance has been renewed. The new campaign will start in 2005. Moss was reportedly paid almost $2 million when she initially signed the Chanel deal in 2001.

Donatella in Rehab

Donatella Versace has entered rehab to treat her addiction to cocaine. Last week, Versace spokespeople confirmed tabloid reports that claimed that Italy's most bodacious blonde entered a treatment center last month. However, according to industry experts, the news is not likely to have a negative impact on the Versace label, considering rock 'n' roll and glitz has always been an integral part of the company's image.

Not Your Average Celebrity Designer

The world's most glamorous eco-activist, model Angela Lindvall, has great plans for fall. Ms. Lindvall has designed a t-shirt in collaboration with Wildlife Works, an Africa-based organization that works to build communities and preserve the environment. The t-shirts will be sold through her on-line magazine Collage, which will also host be monthly events such as a television series and an Eco- Fashion show.

Week of July 26, 2004

Marc On the Move

The Hillary shirt was just the beginning. Marc Jacobs now seems determined to make political messages the new trend. The window display of the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street in NYC is filled with T-shirts, hoodies and panties that read "Remove Bush" (not to be confused with a Brazilian bikini wax) are available along with voter registration cards. If this doesn't get the fashion kids to vote, nothing will.

Nell's a la Tara

A re-vamped version of the 1980s hot spot Nell's is opening this fall. And - lo and behold - who's responsible for the $1 million re-design if not Imitation of Christ designer, Tara Subkoff. (Wow, Tara is getting paid, congratulations!) Investors in the ambitious re-launch include Sex and the City's Mr. Big, Chris Noth, former Yankee David Wells and socialite Anne Dexter-Jones, mother of designer Charlotte, musician Samantha and DJ Mark Ronson. The club will be private with a membership fee of $1,000/ year. Which probably means that the only people interested in signing up are the annoying, model- hunting stockbrokers that they wanted to avoid in the first place.

Daria Pays Dearly

Emerging top model Daria Werbowy is finding herself in the middle of a bizarre law suit. Susan Burych, the founder of Susan J. Model & Talent Management Group, who credits herself with discovering the Ukraine-born model, is suing agency IMG for 10 per cent of its commissions from Werbowy since June 7 1998. Burych says that she has known Werbowy since childhood and that she groomed and helped her find her way to a successful career. Which means she now thinks that she should get 10% of Daria's gross earnings. That's a lot of money for telling someone that they should be a model.

Elite Chaos Continues

The power struggle over at Elite is getting more twisted than a daytime soap opera. As reported previously, chief Elite shareholder Christian Larpin fired president Gerald Marie a few weeks ago. But now NY Post alleges that Marie apparently has engineered a takeover with Elite partner Alain Kittler, and that Larpin has been bought out. Rumor has it that Marie had the backing of Mohammed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi Fayed and owner of Harrods.

Cindy's Back!

Cindy Crawford is returning to modeling again. The mother-of-two, who has not been signed to an agency for years, recently signed with ex-IMG and Next executive Jan Planit's new Planit M and is apparently looking to work with new designers and photographers. Perhaps it's the early nineties retro- craze that inspired her (because it could hardy be Linda Evangelista's lackluster comeback).

Week of July 19, 2004

Chanel Confidential

A perfume campaign may not seem like hard-hitting, top-secret news, but leave it to Chanel to change that perception. Apparently, journalists who attended the screening for the No.5 fragrance fall commercial were required to sign a secrecy clause prohibiting them to publish anything they'd seen before October. The campaign, starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Baz Luhrman, is scheduled for theatrical release at the end on October and will be launched on TV in November. If you can handle the wait. Chanel apparently thinks that we can't.

Prada's New Emporium

Prada unveiled its latest retail masterpiece last week in Los Angeles with no less than two star studded events (one party and one dinner). The 24,000-square-foot shop is - as usual - designed by Dutch star architect Rem Koolhas and features radical touches like fiber glass floor cylinders instead of window displays. Apparently, Miuccia is so happy with her deluxe space age boutique that she is considering working from there.

Gucci on Caffeine

It seems like Gucci are trying out all kinds of novel ways to give the brand a fresh marketing angle. Hot on the heels of the logo wallpaper and home accessories like $700 dollar pitchers, is an espresso bar at the company's new shop in Milan. We can only hope that they serve Gucci coffee.

Kate Rocks the House

It's starting to look like Kate Moss is turning into Britain's own little Courtney Love. The Daily Mail reports that the owners of a Gloucestershire cottage that Kate Moss apparently hired with Jefferson Hack for the christening party of their daughter Lila are claiming compensation. Supposedly, there was extensive damage to the property including soiled chairs and radiators hanging off the walls. Moss is unwilling to pay up, the tabloid reports.

Leaving J-Lo for Beyonce

Fashion designer Heather Thomson must be a very reassuring woman. Apparently music celebs turned designers can't launch their companies without her. First she helped P Diddy build his Sean John label and then Jennifer Lopez lured her over to start up her J-Lo brand. Now Thomson has defected to yet another fledgling camp. WWD reports that she has turned her attentions to Beyonce Knowles' new fashion collection.

Week of July 12, 2004

Elite Boss Finally Fired

Four years after a BBC documentary portrayed him as a lecherous, drug dealing sleaze bag, Elite models president Gerald Marie was asked to step down from his position by chief Elite shareholder Christian Larpin last week. Some speculate that the canning of Marie is caused by the agency's bankruptcy, and that his hefty salary was too much of a financial burden, while others say Larpin is housecleaning to help the agency recover from its image woes. Seems a little late for that.

Front Row, Front Page and Front Line

Models and journalists unite! It's apparently not enough that celebrities dominate the covers and editorial spreads of fashion magazines, now they have to write the content as well. The latest threat to runway reporters is front-row regular Elizabeth Hurley who will be acting as a guest fashion editor for French fashion mag Citizen K, which plans to publish a diary of her front-row and backstage experiences.

Dior's Cruel Costume Drama

It's a good thing that John Galliano pays his models well. Last week's Christian Dior couture show in Paris worked those girls extra hard. According to the NY Post, Galliano went overboard with his signature everything-but-the-kitchen-sink creations. Supposedly, Alek Wek vomited before the show because her corset was too tight, and Karolina Kurkova fell off the catwalk since she couldn't support the weight of her dress. Apparently, Kurkova's outfit was so heavy it took four men to get her back up and going.

Pilati Charms YSL

Yves Saint Laurent has finally found a designer that he likes. WWD reports that the legendary couturier has given thumbs up to Ford's successor at YSL, Stefano Pilati. "I feel liberated," Saint Laurent -who always manages to put a victimization spin on his statements- declared last week. Saint Laurent said Pilati has already showed him some designs for his upcoming spring collection and that he plans to attend his debut women's show in October.

Couture's New Cheap and Chic

While Karl Lagerfeld is designing for H&M, Jean Paul Gaultier is doing his version of budget fashion. JPG is planning the launch the Haute Couture equivalence to a diffusion line in January. His "semi-couture" collection will feature luxurious dresses that require only one fitting, thus making them less expensive than traditional couture. The gowns will be sold exclusively at his dozen or so boutiques.

Week of July 05, 2004

Kate Knocks Out Knoxville

The irrepressible Kate Moss appears to have switched boyfriends again. British tabloid The Daily Mirror reports that Miss Moss was spotted smooching with Jackass star Johnny Knoxville at a London club last Thursday. Knoxville replaces actor Daniel Craig who replaced publisher Jefferson Hack, the father of her daughter Lila, four months ago. If only all single mothers could have so much fun....

McQueen Shines in Milan

Men's fashion week in Milan is over, and not surprisingly, it was Alexander McQueen who provided the highlight of the week. In his first men's wear show the British designer made a beautiful and moving political statement by merging influences from Western army uniforms and business suits with eclectic ethnic garments like embroidered tops and dhoti pants. "It's President Bush and the boys from West Point versus India," McQueen told the press backstage, "It's about about unification and needing to bring opposites together."

Tara Subkoff Hits the Road

Tara Subkoff may not have been able to raise enough money to attend the Haute Couture shows in Paris (her rep sent out a mass letter asking for sponsors a few months ago) but at least she will be able to take her Imitation of Christ show to Greece. Ms. Subkoff will show her collection at the Greek Isle of Hydra this week in conjunction with the local art exhibition "PREMAculTURE." She will also show a video analyzing the concept of "art as ejaculation" through the work of Vic Muniz, Sooja Kim and Jessica Craig-Martin and Dr. Ruth.

Lingerie a la Aguilera

Christina Aguilera (who's back to blonde now btw) did a catwalk guest appearance at the DSquared's men's spring 2005 show in Milan last Tuesday. She also told the press backstage that she wants to launch her own high-end lingerie line some day. She better hurry before for this exhausting celebrity designer trend has completely fizzled.

Milan's Musical Chairs

Milan Vukmirovic, the former creative director of Jil Sander, could become a spokesperson for flexible fashion career identities of the new millennium. Rumor has it that the former Colette buyer turned designer has been named editor in chief of L'Officiel Homme, a new biannual men's title with a debut issue slated for January.

Week of June 28, 2004

Manly Men in Milan

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana kicked off Milan Men's Fashion Week in style. The duo celebrated 1960s Playboy magazine shutterbug Angelo Frontini with a big exhibition of his sexy bunnies in their store. Apparently the metro-sexual thing hasn't spread to Italy yet. "We really want to celebrate being a man," Dolce told WWD before the bash, "It's going to be molto hard."

Arabian Knights for Versace?

Several months after admitting that they were looking for an investor, the house of Versace has finally found a suitor. According to WWD, the Istithmar fund, a Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based investor group that is sitting on a cash pile of $2 billion, has contacted the house about taking a minority stake. Speculation is expected to heat up next week when Allegra Versace inherits her 50% stake in the business next week.

Cutting Back on Couture

The incredible shrinking Haute Couture schedule is getting even slimmer. With both Versace and Ungaro taking the season off and Givenchy putting all shows on hold until they find a new designer, Valentino is now considering giving up his time slot. Still hanging in there are Dior, Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix. If you ever wanted to get a great seat at the shows, now is the time to apply.

Bush Interns with Posen

Zac Posen certainly knows how to bring a diverse group of people together. The latest celebrity connection over at the Posen business is Presidential niece and sometime Tommy Hilfiger model Lauren Bush. She is spending her summer interning with Zac, and is, according to the Daily news, very talented.

Plum Does it Again

Just in case you haven't had enough of novels about shopping-obsessed fashion types chasing rich husbands, Plum Sykes is writing another one. The as of yet unnamed book is supposedly not a sequel to Bergdorf Blondes, but it is set in the same enthralling milieu.

Week of June 21, 2004

Allegra Inherits Versace

We can only hope for Donatella's sake that she's been nice to her little Allegra lately. At the end of this month, 18-year-old Allegra Beck will inherit full control of the 50 percent stake in Versace that was bequeathed to her by her uncle, Gianni Versace. This means the teenager will hold the single-largest stake in the company; with her mother, Donatella, owning 20 percent and her uncle, Santo, the remaining 30 percent.

Beauty Queens Get Trumped

When we heard that Donald Trump had stated in his contract with proteges Miss Universe, Miss America and Miss Teen America that they had to live in the apartment underneath his own in the Trump tower, we naturally thought it was because he wanted to stay close to the tantalizing trio. As it turns out, it was so he could charge them $7,500 for a tiny three-bedroom apartment. That's how you build a real estate empire.

Strenesse's Stepford Couple

Remember 1980s tennis playing robot Boris Becker? German label Strenesse has dusted him off to star in the label's new advertising campaign. And Boris will have suitable company. Equally inanimate Teuton Claudia Schiffer will co-star in the ads that launch in August.

Maggie Does Miu-Miu

On a much quirkier note we can report that Maggie Gyllenhaal is the new face of Miu Miu. She will star alongside equally cute and corky actor Jamie Bell (who played the ballet-obsessed Billy Elliot). The campaign was shot by Terry Richardson and styled by Katie Grand.

Karl Promotes Fast Fashion

Karl Lagerfeld has discovered cheap and chic. The Kaiser confirmed last week that he will be designing a collection for H&M next season. He has also confirmed rumors that he will star in the forthcoming ad campaign for the brand alongside Erin Wasson. Apparently, Karl is so enamored with H&M that he even claims to wear their clothes: "They sent me a suit: 49 Euros. It's divine," he told Women's Wear Daily. "It's unbelievable - the fit, everything. A lot of suits costing 300 Euros are not as good as this one."

Week of June 14, 2004

Fashion Feud at Perry Ellis

You'd think that when a fusty old label is revived by a talented young designer who gets rave reviews, everybody should be happy and content. But unfortunately, that's rarely the case. The latest corporate fashion feud is Perry Ellis designer Patrick Robinson vs. Public Clothing Co. Apparently, the company is unhappy with the direction of the Perry Ellis women's line, which they don't see as commercial enough. As a result, the spring runway show, which would have been shown in September, has been cancelled. Unfortunately, it probably doesn't help Robinson's cause that he didn't win CFDA's emerging talent award he was nominated for last week, which instead went to Zac Posen.

Ford Gets Fresh at CFDA

Watch out! Tom Ford is on the loose and feeling frisky. The CFDA awards are usually known for being a snooze fest, but Tom livened things up by planting a full-on Adrien Brody on Halle Berry kiss on Fairchild editorial director Patrick McCarthy when accepting his special CFDA tribute. According to WWD, McCarthy was left stunned like a deer in headlights.

Bailey Bags on Tom

Now that it's been a few months since Tom Ford left Gucci, it seems like it's time for the tearful tributes to be exchanged for less exuberant tales. At an auditorium of fashion students in London, Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey spoke about his five-year career at Gucci. "Tom Ford is a very, very difficult person to work for as he's very demanding," he told them. "He'd give you so much responsibility and then at the last minute say he hated the whole collection and give you two days to change it." Sounds like bad management 101.

Phoebe Philo Pregnant

Chloe designer Phoebe Philo is pregnant. Philo and her boyfriend, art curator Max Wigram, are expecting their first baby to be born later this fall. Which seems like good fashion timing: right between the spring and fall shows. And she's planning to get married shortly afterwards. "We are very happy," her boyfriend, told the Evening Standard. "Everybody is very happy."

Hindu Rage Against Cavalli

In a stunning display of religious ignorance, Roberto Cavalli has managed to offend Hindus all over the world by featuring images of their gods Vishnu, Lord Rama and Devi Swaraswati on a collection of underwear. According to UK newspaper The Daily Mail, 600,000 Hindus in Britain were considering demonstrating outside shops that stock the underwear. Cavalli, meanwhile, is said to be shocked by the furor he has caused. Claiming the situation has arisen from an "innocent mistake," his rep said he was "passionate about India." "We obviously didn't realize this would cause offence," he said.

Week of June 07, 2004

Tracey Emin's New Bag

The latest fashion label to inject their product with some art hipness is Paris accessories firm Longchamp. The company confirmed last week that it will collaborate with British artist Tracey Emin (best known for displaying her rumpled sheets and underwear in the installation "My Bed"). The Emin- designed bag will be sold exclusively at Colette, Paris' hip style emporium, in July and August, before a worldwide rollout in September.

This Season's "New Kate"

The latest model to be marketed with the optimistic tagline "The New Kate Moss" is the 15-year-old Londoner Ester Keate. The beautiful Brit was spotted during an anti war protest by IMG agent Tory Edwards (let's hope she was there for other reasons than picking up potential cash cows) and has already starred in a major campaign and a Vogue photo shoot. So far, however, her modeling career has taken a back seat to her school schedule (she's a stellar student). The real Kate Moss would never have bothered with such boring stuff.

Balmain Goes Bust?

In six months, we will know whether this year will be the last for legendary fashion house Balmain. The company, which filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 protection last month, has been granted six months to pull itself out of the red. The house is looking for new investors that will pump up the label's figures, which dropped from sales declined by more than half last year to 11.5 million euros from 30.2 million a year ago.

McQueen of the Party

Alexander McQueen proved that he is all grown up when he hosted the super-elegant Black party last week in London. The event was a celebration of five years of the American Express Centurion Card and featured such exciting entertainment as a fashion show parade of McQueen's greatest hits, a bizarre performance art dance by Kate Moss and the first public display of her new boyfriend, actor Daniel Craig.

Run of the Jil?

Just a year after her happy comeback, the latest rumor in Milan has it that Jil Sander is about to call it quits again. This seems to contradict statements from sources close to the designer who said that Sander is working well with Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli. She also reaffirmed her position in the company by hiring her friend the former Gucci executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris as her label's chief executive officer last week.

Week of May 31, 2004

Chloe Acts Again

One the alternative fashion press' favorite muses, Chloe Sevigny, has finally torn herself the editorial spreads to take up her day job - acting. Sevigny will star in "Mrs. Harris," a film about the former headmistress of a girls' school, Jean Harris, who killed Scarsdale diet creator Dr. Herman Tarnower. Other cast members include such heavyweights as Ben Kingsley, Annette Bening and Ellen Burstyn.

Donna's Days Numbered?

What's going on over at Donna Karan? WWD reported last week that Melissa Parker-Lilly resigned as president of the Donna Karan New York to pursue a job at another company. One of the worst kept secrets of the business is the rumor about Karan's imminent retirement. And recent financial reports are not likely to slow down the speculations. The company's revenues were down about 30 percent in its last quarter and was considered "barely" profitable in 2003. Perhaps it's time to start placing your bets on a successor?

Tokyo Style Takes Stockholm

One of the most exciting places to be this summer will be - lo and behold - Stockholm. The formerly ultra-boring city has been transformed into a dynamic fashion and alternative culture mekka in the past couple of years. The place will positively explode with creativity and hipness August 5 - 10 when some of Japan's most creative designers and artists invade the Swedish capital during an event called Tokyostyle. For more information see

The Year of Retail Therapy

The old saying "When the going gets tough the tough go shopping" rang particularly true during Spring 2004. American retailers experienced an unexpected shopping boom - in spite of a rather lackluster economy. "Shopping can help relieve the angst associated with what's going on in the Middle East," J.C. Penney CEO Allen Questrom philosophized. Is that what they mean when they say that war boosts the economy?

The Origin of Shabby Chic

If you're in the mood for some antiques and have a few extra thousand euros burning a whole in your pocket, you could do worse than attend the auction of French design icon Madeleine Castaing's personal artifacts in the Paris branch of Sotheby's this September. Madame Castaing, who collaborated the auction with the likes of Jean Cocteau pioneered the concept of shabby chic and flea market shopping. Stuff like delicate 19th-century chairs and Moorish lamp are reportedly up for grabs. Or - you could just get some eclectic furniture from Ebay, give them a dodgy paint job, and claim you bought them at an exclusive pre-sale.

Week of May 24, 2004

Berge Keeps Bashing

Grumpy old business man Pierre Berge (ex-YSL partner) found another occasion to air his snarky opinions last week as he visited New York to read from his latest book (he's written four already) "Les Jours s'en Vont Je Demeure" [The Days Pass But I Remain]. After his usual complaints to WWD about the poor quality of contemporary fashion and the lack of style in the women who buy it, Berge also added his two cents about the future of YSL and designer Stefano Pilati, the company he sold to Gucci in a very lucrative deal, but acts as if somebody stole from him. "Sure, I hate what has happened to Yves Saint Laurent in the past," he said, "but maybe Monsieur Pilati was forced to do this. Voila! I'll be waiting." No doubt.

McQueen Hosts Amex Event

Alexander McQueen and American Express will host a large fund raising event for AIDS charity Lighthouse on June 3rd. Celebrities and artists like Madonna, Marc Jacobs, Kate Moss, Sam Taylor- Wood, Jade Jagger, Nick Knight and Philip Treacy will create one-off, black-inspired pieces of art to be auctioned off during the evening. McQueen will stage a runway show featuring specially created designs and a selection of archival pieces. Perhaps he's trying to make up for that no-show at the Met.

Ruffo Research Relaunches

Fashion forward Italian leather line Ruffo Research is relaunching. The label, which is a division under luxury leather house Ruffo, started in 1998 and was suspended in January 2003 because of difficult market conditions. Italian designer Riccardo Tisci (formerly of Antonio Berardi, Missoni and Coccapani) has signed a three-year contract with Ruffo. This departs from the company's former practice of signing on a new up-and-coming guest designer each year. Which made for an excellent line-up of names names like Raf Simons, Veronique Branqhinho, AF Vandevorst, Alexandre Mathieu and Sophia Kokosolaki.

Donatella's New Doll

Move over Britney and JLo - Donatella has found her dream customer. Italy's fiercest fake blonde will create a limited collection of two Versace clad Barbie dolls this summer. Versace Barbie wears a sleeveless blush gown with cascading chiffon ruffles while her younger sister, Versus Barbie, is dressed in a colorful bodysuit and short faux fur-lined jacket. The dolls will launch in U.S. Versace stores in July, with a worldwide rollout scheduled for early fall.

34 Years of Naomi

Another year, another Naomi Campbell birthday bash on the Riviera. The super model celebrated her 34th birthday in Cannes in true lavish Naomi style, with 800 guests and Cirque De Soleil performance. Attendees including Adrien Brody, Eva Herzigova and Flavio Briatore with new girlfriend on his arm. The guests were asked to wear white and red while Naomi sported an Alexander McQueen gown designed especially for the occasion.

Week of May 17, 2004

The Two Faces of Marc

Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy may have signed a ten-year-contract with Louis Vuitton last week, but Marc is still holding on to his slightly subversive side by mixing in a somber dose of politics with his candy colored spring fashion line. In February, he started selling t-shirts in support of Hillary Clinton and by now, the Marc by Marc Jacobs shop on Bleecker Street in NYC is starting to look like a shrine to the Democratic party. The window displays skateboards with anti-Bush stickers and propped next to the Hillary shirts is a box "Bush cards" - decks of play cards which features key players in the Bush administrations and their questionable political history.

Cannes Cans Couture

The Cannes festival kicked off last week, and so far the fashion stats are all over the place. Last year, there was an overwhelming dominance of French labels on red carpet, but this year looks more like a UN convention. Italy made a strong showing with Jennifer Aniston donning Versace, French starlet Emmanuelle Devios in Prada, Belgian actress Natacha Reignier in Armani and L'Oreal ladies Aishwarya Rai and Laetitia Casta in Armani and Lois Azzaro, respectively. However, French couture did get some Hollywoood support: Chanel couture nabbed Troy star Diane Kruger and Sofia Coppola traded her MJ's for Chloe.

IOC is Hot for Haute Couture

With the exit of Versace, Ungaro and Givenchy, the upcoming Haute Couture shows in Paris have dwindled down to next to nothing. However, that means more potential publicity to forever hopeful Tara Subkoff who is looking for someone to pay her way to Paris. WWD reported last week that Tara's rep sent out a mass email, asking for sponsorship. The message read "If you are interest [sic] we would love to set up a meeting for you to meet with Tara Subkoff to further discuss how we can collaborate." Good luck!

More is More at Versace

Donatella may be downscaling her couture business but she is definitely pumping up her advertising budget. The recently finished fall campaigns, featuring no less than sixteen models (now known in insider circles as the Versace 16), must have been a costly affair, not to mention casting nightmare. Some of the supposed players include Michelle Busewell/Marilyn, Elise Crombez/DNA, Caroline Trentini/Marilyn, Raquel Zimmerman/DNA, Fernanda Taveres/Marilyn, Maria Carla/DNA, Lisa Cant/ Trump, Caroline Winberg/ Women and Hana S/DNA. Apparently, Donatella is eyeing the Russian market, which seems like a wise choice. They have always had an appreciation for fierce females in tight clothing in stilettos over there.

Yohji Gets Honored

Japanese fashion master Yohji Yamamoto will be honored with the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor in Tokyo in a ceremony on May 17. Yamamoto, who, besides his signature line, also does the Y-3 range for Germany's Adidas, is being recognized for his contribution to artistic excellence in his native Japan. Congratulations!

Week of May 10, 2004

Naomi Wins Round Three

Naomi Campbell walked out the winner last Thursday in the final installment of the ongoing court battle between her and UK tabloid Daily Mirror. The House of Lords ruled that the paper invaded Campbell's privacy by publishing photos of her attending Narcotics Anonymous in February 2001. Campbell initially won the case in 2002, then lost it in 2003, before finding closure in England's highest court. Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan acted the part of a very sore loser when he released the following statement: "This is a very good day for lying, drug abusing prima donnas, who want to have their cake with the media, and then the right to guzzle it shamelessly with their Cristal champagne."

Donna of a New Era?

What's going on with Donna Karan? WWD reported last week that LVMH raised its stake in Karan's business to 98% last January. In light of the company's recent losses, that makes you wonder if the French conglomerate is plotting a replacement for Donna? It also makes you think of Calvin Klein's recent exit. Perhaps it's time for all of those 80s super power icons to retire?

Paris in a Bottle

Here's the moment we all have been waiting for: Paris Hilton is releasing a signature fragrance. The unstoppable Ms. Hilton has signed a letter of intent with Parlux Fragrances to launch a Paris Hilton perfume by the end of the year. The company cited Hilton's widespread international appeal as a reason for the deal. Well, at least she provides distraction from the Bush administration.

Iman and De Beers Part Ways

The two-year contract between diamond dealer De Beers LV and Iman has expired and will not be renewed. According to Survival International, an activist organization that has long protested De Beers' mining practices in Botswana, Iman did no longer want to work with the diamond company after learning that its business practices threatens the survival of Botswana's Bushmen. De Beers, however, insist that these rumors are false, that diamonds and Bushmen have nothing to do with one another and that they did not renew Iman's contract because they wanted to be represented by a non-celebrity. Now that sounds likely.

Week of May 03, 2004

Iverson Takes Over Nylon?

Rumor has it that former YM and Seventeen editor in chief Annemarie Iverson is plotting to buy herself a new job. According to WWD, anonymous sources say that Iverson has her eye on Nylon magazine and is attempting to line up backing that would allow her to buy a stake in the downtown fashion title. Any such deal would also involve her becoming editor in chief, with Nylon founder Marvin Scott Jarrett stepping aside.

Karl Lagerfeld Joins H&M

Karl Lagerfeld seems to have realized that if you can't beat them, you'd better join them. The Kaiser's latest project is a capsule fall collection for budget retailer H&M. The fast fashion chain is famous for knocking off and turning out catwalk styles with the speed of lighting. Currently, H&M features $49.90 pink tweed jackets that look somewhat familiar to the $4,000 Chanel originals. But as Ivana so famously put it: Don't get mad – get everything. Supposedly, Karl is considering appearing in the chain store's super lucrative ad campaign.

Celine Appoints Roberto Menichetti?

It seems like Celine is finally close to naming a successor to Michael Kors. According to sources in Europe, the French luxury group is finalizing a contract to name Roberto Menichetti as their new designer. Roberto Menichetti rose to fashion fame in 1998, when he was made creative director of Burberry. After three successful years of reinventing the formerly fuddy duddy line, Menichetti left when his contract expired. If the Celine deal goes through, Menichetti will present his first collection for Celine in October during Paris Fashion Week.

Raging Wintour Swears Off McQueen

Ooops, he did it again. After several years of impeccable manners, Alexander McQueen relapsed into bad boy behavior last Monday, when he failed to attend the Met Museum's Costume Institute Gala. According to the New York Post, Anna Wintour was so furious about the McQueen no-show that she threatened to retaliate by boycotting his future fashion shows. Supposedly, Wintour had meticulously planned the whole evening for McQueen, making him (former Vogue editor) Plum Sykes's date and seating him next to prospective investors. However, a Vogue rep smoothed over the incident by insisting that Ms. Wintour, albeit being disappointed by the designers' absence, was not feeling vengeful and looking forward to McQueen's next show.

Carmen Kass - The New Maggie Thatcher?

What's scarier than a model turned actress? A model turned right wing politician. Unfortunately, it seems like Carmen Kass is really making a serious attempt to get her political career off the ground. Last week, the self-described "richest girl in Estonia" attended a reception hosted by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to celebrate the EU membership of her homeland (and nine other middle European countries). Kass is standing in the European elections for her country's ultra conservative Res Publica party, and was wearing -you guessed it- glasses for the occasion. Come on Carmen, what's wrong with B movie roles and designing lingerie collections?

Week of April 26, 2004

Paging Dr. Donna

Donna Karan is about to receive an honorary doctorate from Parsons School of Design on May 21. Donna's story should serve as an inspiration for every college dropout: she was famously kicked out of her draping course and left school before graduating to work for Anne Klein in 1969. Once her own business got off the ground however, she returned to the school to complete the projects which allowed her to graduate with a bachelor's degree in 1986.

Knott Closes Business

One of the fashion world's most accomplished independent designers, Jean Paul Knott said he is shuttering his four-year-old signature business, citing difficult market conditions. "I believe it's almost impossible for an independent to survive these days," he told the press last week. Knott's clothes were sold in prestigious retail doors like Galeries Lafayette and Maria Luisa in Paris. He received his considerable tailoring skills and taste for classic elegance while working as an assistant to Yves Saint Laurent for many years, and has also been the creative director of Feraud and Krizia.

Vman Gets Richardson Treatment

The development at Vman, the biannual men's fashion and style magazine, is continuing to look promising. Stylist Andrew Richardson has joined the magazine as fashion director. Richardson is a frequent collaborator of Vman contributors such as David Sims, Mario Sorrenti and Mario Testino, but is perhaps best known for editing Richardson, a racy magazine that either explores the relationship between sex, art and style or indulges in soft core porn, depending on who you ask. Richardson's touch will be seen in VMan's third issue, which hits newsstands in September.

Elite on the Block

Elite model agency is for sale. The once unstoppable super agency that represented Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell during their hey day filed for Chapter 11 protection in February this year. According to the New York Post, Elite never recovered financially after having to pay $4.7 million in damages to a former employee who was exposed to second-hand smoke and a further class-action lawsuit brought against it by some of its former models.

The Zac and Puffy Show

It's a move that is sure to surprise many, delight some and annoy others: Sean P.Diddy Combs and Zac Posen have confirmed that they have signed a contract to work together, with Combs making an undisclosed investment in Posen's three-year-old business, Outspoke LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, the music and fashion moguls take an equal stake in the running of the company, enabling 23-year-old Posen to expand his business while maintaining creative control. Hopefully, this investment will allow the talented designer to take his creations to the next level and really develop into a first class couturier. Or as Diddy puts it: "You ain't got shit if you ain't got Zac Posen in your closet."

Week of April 19, 2004

Bruno's Boutiques Go Bust

Luxury Italian shoe manufacturer Bruno Magli SpA filed for bankruptcy for its US retail operations last week, citing liquidity problems and sales losses as the cause of the financial turmoil. The company was founded by three Magli siblings in 1936, and the shoes reached their fashion hey day in the 1960s and '70s. The label also experienced a peak of publicity in the early 1990s when a pair of Bruno Magli shoes became prime evidence in the O.J. Simpson case.

Emap Saves Face?

Although The Face officially ceased publication a few weeks ago, all may not be lost for 24-year old alternative fashion and culture magazine. WWD reported last Friday that the magazine's publisher Emap is currently discussing a sales deal with potential bidders. Possible future publishers include a group of London City financial types (yikes!), Peter Howarth, managing director of the publishing company Show Media, and Ashley Heath, editorial director of Arena Homme Plus.

Naomi Is Tommy's New Knock-Out

If you thought David Gest and Liza Minnelli were scary and violent, wait until things go sour between former Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and Naomi Campbell. The terrifying twosome, who have been dating for a few weeks, were reportedly introduced by Hollywood’s own little match maker Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, who was also responsible for the coupling of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. According to Lee, the relationship is still at a casual stage. Let's hope it stays that way.

Starlets Replace Supermodels

It seems like Louis Vuitton is talking a break from the supermodel line up of last season's campaign and replacing Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Amber Valletta, Angela Lindvall, Liya Kebede and Karen Elson with Hollywood starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Chloe Sevigny and Julia Stiles. This multi media model thing sure seems like it's here to stay.

LVMH Puts The Money Where The Marc is?

In light of the recent Gucci turmoil, it only makes sense that LVMH boss Bernard Arnault would come to his senses and try to resolve his friction with Louis Vuitton cash cow and editorial golden boy Marc Jacobs. Supposedly the two parties are in the midst of renegotiating a new contract, which will be much more favorable to Jacobs' own US based business. Over the past few years, Jacobs and his business partner Robert Duffy have been said to be increasingly frustrated with what they view as LVMH's lack of investment in the Marc Jacobs label. But, with the signing of a revised contract that would change. Keep those Theda bags coming, Marc!

Week of April 12, 2004

Viktor & Rolf Revisit Haute Couture

If there would ever be a fashion-centric remake of Revenge of the Nerds, it would have to star Viktor & Rolf. The bespectacled Dutch duo has not made one false move in their career, going from attention getting, avant-garde shock tactics to profitable luxury in just a few years. This July, the twosome will be back on the haute couture schedule (where they started out in the late 90s) to promote their new fragrance from L'Oreal.

New Man for Miss Moss

The Kate Moss tribute issue of Another magazine may still be on the newsstands, but in real life the alliance between her and Another publisher Jefferson Hack is over. Kate has instead moved on to British actor Daniel Craig. The couple is currently staying at the Chelsea Hotel in New York together.

Rookie Agency the New Model

As a number of New York-based model managements are facing complicated lawsuits and all kinds of other public relations trouble, there's a new power player in town. Former IMG and Next agent Jan Planit is launching her new multi-media modeling agency planit m this month. Since fashion is all about crossing over to and from other entertainment industries these days, the "multi-media" part seems like a smart move. Whether planit m's take on the term stands for models as actors or actors as models remains to be seen.

LVMH Shows Unexpected Sales Growth

You know that the luxury market is on its way up when even the deeply troubled LVMH shows positive numbers. Last week, the French luxury giant a reported a sales growth of 10 percent in the first quarter of 2004. This is the best showing of LVMH's past five quarters.

CFDA Sponsors New Talent

Emerging US designers take note: the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund is launching a new award to support emerging talent. The initiative is sponsored by Barneys New York and Kellwood, and the winner will receive up to $200,000. So if you have a business that is based in the US, is at least two years old, has a professional staff and demonstrable talent through editorial coverage and retail orders, you should run to the CFDA headquarters to pick up applications. Deadline is April 16.

Week of April 05, 2004

Tom Starts Own Label?

Seems that Tom Ford has come to his senses and decided that maybe he should stick with the fashion thing after all. In an interview with WWD last week, Ford said that he might consider launching his own label sometime next year or so. However, he's not ruling out the possibility of directing a movie and keeps looking for the perfect script.

Wintour Books Still in Vogue

The life and times of Anna Wintour continues attract writers out for an easy buck. Fresh on the heels of the horrifically written, thinly veiled Anna bashing book "The Devil Wears Prada," a new, unauthorized biography of Ms. Wintour is in the works. The author is Jerry Oppenheimer, who's written less-than- flattering bios of Jerry Seinfeld and Martha Stewart.

Heavy Head Count for Fall Campaigns

The fashion campaigns for fall are continuing the multi model trend from last season. Versace's recently shot ads feature no less than twelve models, while Prada is going strong with ten and D&G is positively modest with a line-up of six. It appears that the labels figure that they might as well showcase as many looks from their new collection as possible while they're at it paying big bucks for the publicity. What's next? Catalogues?

AF Vandevorst Signs with Allegri

One of fashion's most dynamic duos, the husband and wife team Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst of AF Vandevorst, have signed a deal with Allegri, the Italian outerwear company. The couple will start the collaboration for fall and their collection will include Allegri's staple coats but also a small collection of shirts and trousers for men and women. Looks like the next cult label is in the making.

Lanvin Loses Perfume Licenses

Perhaps it's a testimony to the brilliance of Alber Elbaz that Lanvin is dealing with their financial crisis in reverse. While the norm is to unload ready-to-wear divisions but hold on to the perfume and accessory licenses, Lanvin has decided to exit the perfume and watch businesses in an effort to stem its heavy losses. The label will now concentrate on its men's and women's rtw. Women's rtw sales, while representing only 16 percent of the brand's total, have increased tenfold since the arrival two years ago of Elbaz.

Week of March 29, 2004

Diane Dress in Book Form

Celebrating one of the greatest hits of 20th century fashion, Diane von Furstenberg is looking back at 30 years of her ever-popular wrap dress in a new book to be published by Assouline. "Diane von Furstenberg: The Wrap" examines the success of her dresses, which sold more than 5 million units by 1976. Andre Leon Talley wrote the foreword and Bergdorf Goodman will unveil a collection of the designer's vintage print wrap dresses next week.

Tilda Swinton Ford's New Model

It seems that the new beauty ideal emerging for 2004 is the Anglo-Saxon schoolgirl. Fair, blue-eyed and round-faced girls like 16-year-old Lily Cole, Gemma Ward (appearing together on the cover of British Vogue's April issue) and Lily Donaldson (recently shot by Steven Meisel, Satoshi Saikusa and Corrine Day for Italian Vogue) are leading the pack of emerging London-based models.

Limnander's V Man Sees The Light

After a somewhat lackluster start, new V Man editor in chief Armand Limnander seems to have come in and turned tings around with the second issue. The new spring issue features beautiful editorials by Nathaniel Goldberg and Solve Sundsbo, and as well as a style tutorial with and by the irrepressible Karl Lagerfeld called "7 Days A Week."

MacDonald Meets Barbie

After all his trials and tribulations at Givenchy it's nice to hear that Julien MacDonald is having a good time. The designer partied down with a gaggle of fashion-crazed teen- and tween-girls in London last week when he unveiled his new kids collection for Mattel's Barbie label. The glittering catwalk show featuring pint-sized models decked out shimmering mini dresses, oversized cowboy hats and rhinestone-studded jackets under a stream of colorful paper butterflies that floated down from the ceiling. Sure, beats the hell out of board meetings and Gallic abuse.

Hermes Shows Unexpected Sales Growth

In the kind of good news that seems rare these days, Hermes International appear to have surprised both themselves and the market by unveiling unexpectedly positive numbers for 2003. While the French luxury group had predicted flat earnings for 2003, it reported last week that operating profits rose 3.9 percent to $406.3 million, versus $391 million a year ago. Suppose all those Jelly Kellys weren't so bad for business after all.

Week of March 22, 2004

Cinema in Vogue

As fashion seems to be infiltrating everything these days, it comes as no surprise that the American Film Institute has asked top American designers Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs to present some of their favorite films together with their favorite Vogue editors. (The films will be screened at the suitably glamorous Soho House.) The event starts next week on with Hamish Bowles and Michael Kors presenting the lighthearted 1975 Warren Beatty and Julie Christie classic Shampoo, while Marc Jacobs and Sally Singer are planning to go slightly more high-brow with Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant in May. Apparently, Andre Leon Talley is still looking for a designer partner and a selection.

Tilda Swinton Ford's New Model

Forget Model-Actress, these days it's all about Actress-Model. Hot on the heels of Cate Blanchett's Donna Karan campaign, Charlotte Rampling's Marc Jacobs ads and Nicole Kidman's Chanel engagement, comes the news that Ford Models has signed British actress Tilda Swinton. Hopefully, this trend will usher in a more diverse beauty ideal for women. While these ladies are still tall, white and skinny, they are at least over age 21 and exude intelligence and emotional maturity.

Model Court Case Becomes Catfight

The trials of two particularly scandalous lawsuits are about to kick off in New York next month. A legion of top models - including Heidi Klum, Claudia Schiffer and Gisele Bundchen - are accusing agencies such as Elite, Ford and Wilhelmina of a commission-fixing conspiracy that rip models off their fees. The agencies, meanwhile, have fired back by claiming that the money has gone to expenses like plastic surgery, drug rehabilitation and bail money.

Klum's Ex Wants Paternity Test

Italian playboy and supermodel serial dater Flavio Briatore may be rich, but one must wonder about his knowledge about genetics. One of the funniest paternity squabbles ever to emerge involves model Heidi Klum's unborn child. The baby was conceived while Klum was in a relationship with Briatore, and at the time, the two happily announced that they were looking forward to parenthood and a life together. However, a few months later, Klum left Briatore for the singer Seal. Now the latest rumors have the Formula 1 boss insisting that the baby undergoes a paternity test. Apparently it hasn't occurred to him that he himself is white while Seal is black.

From Burger King to Gucci

It seems that The Gucci Group is steadily heading down the low-budget route. After basically appointing a team of assistants to take over after Tom Ford, rumor has it that Domenico De Sole will be replaced by a fast food executive. WWD reported last week that a possible contender for the position as Gucci's next chief executive might be Ginmario Tondato Mondadori, the CEO of the Benetton Family's restaurant conglomerate Autogrill, a company that, among other things, runs eateries like Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Burger King in airport terminals.

Week of March 15, 2004

Britney Signs with Arden

Britney Spears' days as a multi-million record selling artist may be over, but Elizabeth Arden is clearly of the opinion that her career as a celebrity is still going strong. Brit recently signed a deal with Elizabeth Arden to develop her own Britney Spears fragrance, color cosmetics and skin care. The perfume is scheduled for a spring 2005 launch will be out the following year. Seems like a very risky move, indeed.

Slimane Shows Slim Men at PS 1

Multi-talented Hedi Slimane is currently in New York for the opening at PS 1 of his photography installation "Hedi Slimane: Berlin," a collection of photographs from his book published by D.A.P. in January. The images are his usual variety of angular, empty spaces and skinny young men with bare chests. Which means you don't have to trek to the museum to feel cultural, looking at the Dior Homme ads at the bus stop is basically the same thing.

Proenza Schouler to Celine?

As far as we know, Celine hasn't yet decided who's going take over design duties from Michael Kors. But the presence of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the design team behind Proenza Schouler in Paris last week set tongues wagging. The appointment would seem like logical transition indeed. However, the duo claimed that they were only in town to expand their sales territory.

Carrie Hand-Me-Downs For Sale

Single New York women are grabbing on to their very last opportunity to get a piece of Carrie Bradshaw. The vast and highly coveted Sex And The City wardrobe has been bought by designer second-hand store Ina in New York. If you want to get your hands on those pink marabou Manolos, you better hurry. Hordes of frantic shoppers have been practically camping outside the door all of last week.

Gucci Stock Sliding Fast?

Tom Ford hasn't even left yet, but things are already looking dour over at Gucci. Financial analysts predict that shares in Gucci's parent company PPR could sink by approximately a third this spring. The appointment of Stefano Pilati at YSL and the trio of Alessandra Facchinetti, Frida Giannini and John Rayat Gucci didn't impress Morgan Stanley's Equity research team who called it PPR's "Plan B" and warned that there could be dramatic events ahead.

Week of March 08, 2004

Ford's Heir Finally Here

After wild speculations involving every star designer from Alexander McQueen to Narciso Rodriguez, they chose an anonymous in-house team in the end. Last week, Tom Ford's successors at Gucci and YSL were finally announced. The team that will take over Gucci are Alessandra Facchinetti (women's), Alfreda Giannini (men's) and John Ray (accessories) while Stefano Pilati will be the creative director of YSL. It kind of looks like PPR is setting themselves up for a disaster a la Jil Sander. Maybe Serge Weinberg should give Patrizio Bertelli a call?

Tom Speaks Out

Just in time for his final YSL collection, Tom Ford decided to let the world know his side of the Gucci story last week in an exclusive interview with WWD. And, as many insiders suspected, Ford claimed the dividing issue wasn't money, but creative control. He asserted that Serge Weinberg, chief executive officer of parent company PPR, wanted total control of the company that he bought in 1999, (after Ford and De Sole masterminded its spectacular comeback). Ford also said that he is hoping to direct movies and that he's not nearly as rich as people think he is.

Michael Kors Exits Celine

Park Avenue princesses rejoice! Your favorite designer will now be able to devote himself full time to his own collection. After six years of bringing his uptown sportswear across the Atlantic, Kors will pass over Celine to an as of yet unnamed successor. After a goodbye ovation, Kors said that he felt like "a parent who's raised my kid right - and now it's time for it to go out on its own."

Blasts From the Past

Phoebe Philo's collection for Chloe was a successful venture into a 1980s territory many designers would be afraid to tread: extremely grown-up knits, wool trousers, cashmere ponchos and sweaters that could have been inspired by Camilla Parker Bowles. It may sound frumpy, but wasn't, since Philo always keep her collections infused with just the right amount of sexy cool-girl touches. Dries Van Noten showed a beautiful collection inspired by adventurous women in the 1920s, which meant a line- up of Amelia Earhart aviator jackets and loose leather knickers as well as precious art deco patterns and Chinese peignoirs.

Paris' Enfant Terribles Grow Up

In the past, going to a Viktor & Rolf or Hussein Chalayan show meant that you would have to put your thinking cap on. But no more. These former fiercely avant-garde designers have turned towards fashion that is both easy on the eye and the brain. Chalayan used his intelligence and craftsmanship to create beautiful coats and neat 50s-inspired dresses, while V&R sent out classically elegant tuxedos, bolero jackets, wide pants and belted coats with double collars. Relax boys, the YSL job is already taken.

Week of March 01, 2004

Amy Spindler Dies at 40

One of New York's friendliest and best-liked fashion profiles passed away last Friday from a brain tumor. The former New York Times Magazine style editor was especially known and admired for her honesty, sense of humor and eye for new talent. Spindler joined the Times as its fashion news columnist in 1993 and was made style editor in 1998. She is survived by husband Roberto Benabib.

Dsquared Gets Celine?

Michael Kors' swan song at Celine is coming up on Wednesday March 4th, but there still hasn't been an announcement as to who his successor(s) will be. However, LVMH-owned brand, Jean Marc Loubier sort of made it clear that it will be Dsquared after all when he attended the front row at duo's show in Milan last week. Perhaps his recent negotiations with Paris-based designer Martin Grant turned sour.

Asprey Ditches Hussein for Michael?

Meanwhile, Michael Kors is expected to replace Hussein Chalayan at Asprey. (That's a style U-turn if we ever saw one). Supposedly, Kors will take the reins at Asprey in addition to designing for his own company. If this does not make any sense at all to you, we'd like to point out that Asprey co-owners Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou are also investors in Kors' fashion house.

Ford's Grand Finale

As expected, Tom Ford's final show for Gucci was a huge, emotional and extravagant Hollywood ending starring Ford as the heroic designer who pulls out all the stops and creates the collection of a lifetime and exits under a shower of rose petals. The sleek and slick skirt suits, stilettos and jackets perfectly summed up the Gucci woman of the past ten years: hard-edged, high maintenance and hot hot hot. These clothes are collector's items in the making.

Milan Sails Smoothly

With the exception of Tom Ford's dramatic Gucci finale, Milan's fashion week ran along smoothly without any major ups or downs. Miuiccia Prada continued on her supremely successful 50s librarian meets 60s flower child from last season while Donatella stuck to what she knows and loves best: sex and rock 'n' roll. Her collection harked back to the early days of punk, a time that was also a favorite of her late brother Gianni's. And Jil Sander treated us to a clean and serene affair of luxe basics that were more feminine and less constructed than her usual fare.

Week of February 23, 2004

Marc Runs for the Hillary

Forget Donna Karan. Hillary Clinton's newest fashion ally is Marc Jacobs, who designed a T-shirt in her likeness to raise money and publicity for Friends of Hillary. Apparently it's working: 350 shirts sold out in just one week and 700 more are on their way. Now, if they could only get people to vote.

London Calling

London's fashion week wrapped up last week. And although the British fashion industry's infamous lack of funding continually drives the strongest talent abroad, the once who stay made a brave effort. The exciting thing about London is the fearless creativity and disregard for salability that is missing among American creators. Some of the most interesting shows included print master Jonathan Saunders, Julie Verhoeven's whimsical and androgynous Gibo, and the fierce and anarchic Boudicca.

Elite Goes Bankrupt?

The one time unstoppable super mammoth agency Elite has declared bankruptcy, according to press reports of last week. Not only has the company lost the money-making superstars it once launched - like Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum - it hasn't really broken any new ones either in recent years. In addition, Elite faces two large lawsuits, one from a former employee and another from a group of models who allege their agencies conspired to fix commissions at 20 per cent - twice the level allowed by state law. Elite said its operations would continue as normal while operating under bankruptcy.

No YSL-Out for McQueen

Last week, Alexander McQueen allegedly turned down the top job at Yves Saint Laurent. Apparently, McQueen is still traumatized by his tenure at Givenchy, and has no desire to repeat the experience of designing for another label than his own. Which seems like a wise choice, unless you take into the account that Alexander McQueen Inc is owned by the Gucci Group. How willing will they be now to continue to pour money into the less than profitable label? Perhaps McQueen was serious when he claimed that he wanted to quit fashion earlier this year.

The Scarlett's Letters: CK

Calvin Klein hasn't had an actress as a spokesmodel since Brooke Shields purred that nothing came between her and her CK jeans, but that's about to change. 19-year-old Lost in Translation star Scarlett Johansson will star as the face of his new fragrance, which will be launched next fall. Which unfortunately means that Johansson have to ditch the lovely Boudicca and Stella McCartney getups that she's been sporting on the red carpet in favor of endless, minimal silk slips.

Week of February 16, 2004

Anna Sui Maxes Out

It hardly seems like a coincidence that Anna Sui was sitting in the front row at Marc Jacobs' Monday night runway show. Like Mr. Jacobs, Ms. Sui was feeling a WWII meets 1970s look for fall. But the similarities stop there. Because while Mr. Jacobs tends to work with a light hand, Ms. Sui loves to pile on layers of colors and patterns in an irrepressibly maximalist fashion. Ms. Sui sent out an eclectic mix of borderline dowdy tweed suits, velvet trimmed blouses, satin slips, ruffled dresses and patterned leggings. She paired delicate chiffon gowns with chunky knits and stuck leopard print accessories on top of it all. Somehow it seemed like we've seen this collection before. But then again, the sweet and cheerful looks radiated such exuberance that we had to wonder if there isn't something to be said for sticking to a style you love.

Derek Lam Nails His Sophomore Collection

The rookie sensation of last September's NY fashion week was Derek Lam, whose pretty and polished spring collection was right in sync with the trends of that season, and promptly landed him on the pages of Vogue and the racks at Barneys. This season, Mr. Lam had gathered an impressive crowd of sponsors, editors and buyers who were holding their breath to see if he could do it again. And yes indeed - he did! It's a joy to see a new designer who has really taken the time to hone his craft before launching his own label. The 37-year old Mr. Lam has an intelligence and elegance that takes years to acquire. His program notes may have cited turn of the century Vienna as an inspiration, but the light and sophisticated collection was anything but a costume party. Exquisitely fitted jacquard coats, softly cut panne velvet peasant dresses and frothy, ruffled tea gowns were achingly beautiful. Restrained silhouettes, (empire dresses, knee-length skirts and straight-cut trousers) rich fabrics (cashmere, georgette, tweed) and deftly tailored details (darted satin trim, neckline pleats) kept the look from being too girly and sweet. The Klimt-inspired color palette in gold, red, turquoise and mauve was warm and glowing. Which will be exactly how we'll want to look next winter.

Narciso Loosens Up

With New York fashion week reaching its third quarter, it appears that we can officially declare the end of the mini skirts. However, that doesn't mean that you can take a break from Pilates classes and low carb diets. The fitted and narrow looks that Narciso Rodriguez favors require a teeny-tiny frame, as demonstrated by front row guest Sarah Jessica Parker, who was sporting a skinny golden column from last season. Mr. Rodriguez has proved time and again that he masters classic elegance and understated luxury. But last night, much to our delight, he let loose and started experimenting with his silhouettes and tailoring. Building on the theme of curved seams and contrasting piping from his spring season, Mr. Rodriguez sent out beautifully sculptured jackets and coats that were made of skillfully assembled pattern pieces in soft and fluid wool, cashmere and satin. But there was also a refreshing play with movement and volume in striking spaghetti strap dresses with dropped waists and full, layered skirts with uneven hemlines. Fall just might have to be fat free after all.

Marc Jacobs Grows Up

Part of the excitement in going to a Marc Jacobs show is wondering which decade he is going to revive. This time around, Mr. Jacobs did a 1930s via 1970s remix with a little early 1980s power dressing thrown in. Tweed pencil skirts, delicate crepe de chine blouses and neat tweed coats were reminiscent of Marisa Berenson as Natalia Landauer in Cabaret, while tweed pant suits, worn wit silk blouses and cashmere sweaters, channeled Faye Dunaway in Network. Sensually draped cashmere jersey wrap dresses are sure to be a smash hit next winter as are pretty pleated skirts with tight cashmere sweaters. Expect to see the gorgeous, draped silk goddess gowns and princessy lace dresses all over the Oscars.

Sleepy Time At Calvin

The woman that Calvin Klein envisions for fall 2004 looks like she's borrowed one part of her wardrobe from her husband's closet and the other from her own boudoir. Softly cut blouses with matching pants had more than a passing resemblance to pajamas, while cozy, belted mohair coats wrapped around the models like bathrobes. Masculine influences showed up in the straight cut wool suit pants, slim jackets and wool felt coats with oversized shoulders and collars. The colors were classic Calvin fare: starting with shades of taupe, designer Francisco Costa worked his way into cream, black and dark blue. The finale was the strongest part of the collection: long and wispy silk charmeuse slips - sparsely adorned with vertical pin tuck seams and inserts solid fabric - floated around the models like curtains in a summer breeze.

Week of February 09, 2004

W Goes White

There's a new power player in town. W magazine has named Alexandra White its new fashion director. She replaces Joe Zee, who has become editor in chief of Fairchild publications' new men's shopping magazine Vitals. White has been a contributing fashion editor at W since 1994. She's worked with many of the magazine's frequent photographers, among them Craig McDean, Bruce Weber, Paolo Roversi and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. She also has worked for other magazines, including Italian Vogue.

Prada Slashes Debt in Half?

Once again, Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli is proudly declaring to the press that that he intends to cut Prada's debt by more than half this year so he can finally follow through with a public offering of the company. Bertelli hopes to reduce the company's net debt by selling real estate. (Haven't we heard this one before? How many buildings can they possibly own?) No word on whether Prada intends to sell Jil Sander, Azzedine Alaia and Helmut Lang.

Morrow Splits From Krizia

Another young-talent-old-label relationship has gone bust. South African born designer Hamish Morrow has left Krizia after designing just two collections for the Milan-based fashion house. Morrow told Women's Wear Daily that while he respects Krizia founder Mariuccia Mandelli, he found it impossible to fulfill his vision for the label. "It was too stressful and too exhausting," he said. "It was a very difficult experience." Krizia will now go for a less exciting but more controllable creative model: Mandelli will oversee the label's artistic direction with the help of a team of young designers.

Proenza Schouler Do It Ebay

Get your credit card ready and park yourself in front of the computer first thing in the morning February 26. New York's popular young design team Proenza Schouler is planning to auction off some of the clothes that they are showing on the catwalk this Wednesday afternoon. Please note that the clothes come in model sample size, which means enormous shoes and teeny-tiny everything else.

This Week in Luxury Land

As Louis Vuitton celebrates its 150th anniversary with lavish parties in New York and Paris, rumors regarding the possible defection of the label's highly successful creative director Marc Jacobs keep swirling. According to an article in the International Herald Tribune last week, sources at Printemps Pinault Redoute, LVMH's rival luxury group, suggest that Louis Vuitton boss and Jacobs have both been approached to fill the shoes of the departing Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole from Gucci Group. Meanwhile friends of Jacobs's say he is restless, frustrated that his own New York-based label, owned by LVMH, is growing slowly. Stay tuned till second week of March.

Week of February 02, 2004

Tyler Trades Wallpaper for Textiles

The magazine world equivalent of the celebrity-fashion-designer phenomena is the magazine- editor-turned-interior-designer trend. Wallpaper magazine founder and former editor in chief Tyler Brule has gone the way of Fabien Baron (ex-Harper's Bazaar and Arena Homme + creative director who now designs furniture) by co-creating a new Swiss textile line called Winkraft. No, the fabrics don't have big bold swirls in pop art colors a la Marimekko, but instead seem to hark back to an earlier design era. The somber stripes and zig-zag patterns and earthy tones are sort of reminiscent of Bauhaus textile star Annie Albers.

Better R.E.D. than Dead

Valentino has clearly decided that subversive sells. After planting the new clothing line R.E.D. on indie rock band Elefant, the company has hired delinquent graffiti artists IRAK - a collaborative known for shoplifting designer goods and then reselling them on the Lower East Side - to customize its invitations. We look forward to seeing lots of customized Valentino goods on Orchard street next month.

Safe Exit for Domenico

Domenico De Sole is wisely cashing in on the money that he helped generate for the Gucci Group by cashing in stock options worth more than $25 million according to the Dutch AFM Financial Markets Watchdog. His timing seems to be impeccable, Gucci's third quarter soared and expectations are high for the fourth quarter results. But after April, who knows?

Skirting and Flirting at the Men's Collections

The men's collections were going strong in Paris last week, and the season marked the end of Tom Ford at YSL Homme, the beginning of John Galliano's menswear line, and the continuing reign of Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme. While Tom Ford was a little bit country club (silk tuxedos and Hollywood glamour) and Hedi Slimane a little bit rock 'n' roll (slouchy tweed suits and ragged kilts), Galliano was all about skirts and sex. His bare-chested, greased down models were bumping and grinding their way down the catwalk and practically giving fashion critic supreme Suzy Menkes a lap dance. And, yes, she resisted looking up their minis.

Gucci Picks Pilati?

As the guessing game of naming possible successors for Tom Ford at Gucci and YSL continues, this week's top contenders seem like the most obvious choices. While Alexander McQueen is still favorite for the top job at YSL, Stefano Pilati is emerging as the main Gucci guy. Which would make sense, since he practically designed the collection between 2000 and 2002, when Ford was busy getting his bearings at YSL. Ford then moved Pilati to become his right hand man at YSL. No wonder some people complained that the two collections looked the same.

Week of January 26, 2004

Helmut Newton Dies in Car Crash

One of the world's absolutely greatest fashion photographers, Helmut Newton, died in a car crash in Los Angeles last Friday. He was 83 years old. The eccentric photographer had a checkered past. During his teens he studied under the famous photographer Yfa in Berlin, but fled Nazi Germany in 1938 escape the persecution of jews. He claimed to have worked as a gigolo in Singapore in his twenties and then moved to Australia where he met his wife June, also a photographer. The Newtons moved to Monte Carlo in the 60s, and Helmut's career started to take off when he published creative and playful fashion editorials for British magazines like Vogue. But it wasn't until after a heart attack in the early '70s that Helmut Newton would find the aesthetic that made him so famous. His erotically charged and provocative portraits of women explored themes of sado-masochism, power play and gender blurring. Helmut Newton loved photographing tall and broad shouldered women with long legs that he transformed into gorgeous but intimidating giantesses.

MacDonald Quits Givenchy

Just as we thought that things were starting to get better for Julien MacDonald at Givenchy, he decides to throw in the towel. The Welsh designer announced last week that he will leave the house when his contract expires in April. McDonald has described his time at Givenchy as "a nightmare that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy" and has said that the first few months he spent at the Parisian house will "haunt" him for the rest of his life. His predecessor Alexander McQueen has expressed similar emotions about his Givenchy tenure. Now, who will be the next victim?

YSL Approves of McQueen

Yves Saint Laurent has freely expressed his displeasure with Tom Ford in a number of catty press comments during the three and a half years that Ford has been designing for the YSL label. Burt apparently there is someone that the old man likes. Last week, he told the French press that he was in favor of Alexander McQueen taking over the ready-to-wear label he launched more than forty years ago. "He's someone who is very accomplished, technically, someone who could do a good job," he said.

Boy George MC's Heatherette

One of the highlights of the upcoming New York fashion week will (as usual) be the Heatherette show on February 12. This time around, Boy George has signed up to commentate the event. This might be a happy ending to Mr George's New York visit, since his ill-fated musical Taboo recently closed.

Not So Hot Couture

The Haute Couture shows last week in Paris were pretty subdued, in spite of Donatella's comeback and Christina Aguilera's front row omni presence. Most couturiers scaled down their collections (from the usual 50-something to around 30) and showed the clothes in a small, low-key setting. Exceptions were John Galliano at Dior, who showed extravagant golden gowns inspired by Cleopatra (and the pyramids, by the looks of it) and Donatella Versace who put on a glam-slam wham bam show of crystal studded satin suits, chiffon and lace mini dresses and revealing bondage gowns. Jean Paul Gaultier showed samurai-meets-corset-maker frocks and Karl Lagerfeld played with contrasts of severity and frivolity in a subtle and largely black and white collection at Chanel.

Week of January 19, 2004

30 Years of Kate

Kate Moss turned 30 last Saturday, and, as expected, her party was a super decadent star studded bash. The festivities took place at the home of Leah Wood, daughter of Rolling Stone Ronnie, and the theme was based around the 1920s novel The Beautiful and the Damned by Kate's fave author F Scott Fitzgerald. Which gave guests like Stella McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sadie Frost the opportunity to get glammed up in fashionable flapper frocks. Kate herself sported a blue sequined dress with a matching scarf and tight, Marlene Dietrich style curls.

Suits Make a Comeback in Milan

After a few years of soft and casual looks for men, suits made a strong comeback at last week's men's wear shows in Milan. Some of the sharpest ensembles included Jil Sander's restrained and subtly tailored suits, Dolce & Gabbana's elegant tweed, jacquard and velvet jackets paired with low-slung baggy pants and Gucci's sexy, fitted suits and sleek leather jackets. And as usual, Tom Ford channeled the new mood perfectly when he traded his usual denims and blazer for glossy, wasp-waisted tuxedo for final bow for Gucci Homme. No wonder he got a standing ovation.

Media Banned From Catwalk?

If you think that runway shows have become a ridiculous media circus in the past decade, you're not alone. Didier Grumbach, president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (French union for couturiers) is suggesting a radical new fashion week overhaul in order to stop counterfeit fashion from flooding the market before the real thing even makes it to the factory. "It is collective suicide," he told the press last week, "We are the only industry to send out global innovations on the Internet for free." Grumbach proposes that private shows should be presented to buyers at the usual time, while separate displays for the media could be organized later in the season, shortly before the new collections appear in the shops. Not likely to ever happen, but at least his heart is in the right place.

Fashion Takes The Orient Express

Istanbul is slowly emerging as the new fashion hot spot, so it comes as no surprise that the city will have its own, high-brow lifestyle magazine soon. The publication is called 34, in English, aimed at an international jet set crowd and headed by staff from the early days of Wallpaper. The first issue will be launched this March.

Aguilera Gets Dressed Up

Christina Aguilera is no regular on best dressed lists, and it seems that she's taken some cues from arch rival Britney Spears in her latest fashion make-over. Like Britney, (who has been sporting Zaldy lately and wore Gary Graham for her 'Britney' album cover) Christina has turned to some of New York's finest indie designers to spiff up her style. For her appearance on David Letterman last week, Ms. Aguilera showed up wearing Gary Graham and Michael & Hushi.

Week of January 12, 2004

Francesco Scavullo Dies At 82

The legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo died Tuesday January 6 from heart failure at age 82. He was one of the world's most well-known fashion photographers for more than 50 years. His images were renowned for making women look sexy, glamorous and beautiful. Between 1965 and 1997, Scavullo was the head photographer for Cosmopolitan, and his sexually charged pictures helped establish the image of the "Cosmo Girl." He also shot covers for Vogue, Carmel Snow's Harper's Bazaar, Time, Life, and Seventeen. He was the first photographer to shoot a black model for the cover of Vogue (Beverly Johnson, in 1974), and his iconic shot of a nude Burt Reynolds sprawled out on a bearskin carpet became the first male centerfold.

Phat Fashions' World Take-Over

Just when you thought hip-hop fashion couldn't get more mass marketed, giant apparel company Kellwood decides to buy Phat Fashions for $140 million. While Phat Fashions will become a subsidiary of Kellwood, the company's founder Russell Simmons will remain in charge as chief executive, while his wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, will continue to head the popular junior and women's wear line Baby Phat. Perhaps it's now time for hip-hop fashion to return to the place where it first originated: the streets.

Top Dollar Babes of 2003

The list you've been waiting for all year is finally here! May we present to you the top model earners of 2003: Number one is the new Victoria's Secret poster girl Karolina Kurkova with earnings of almost $7 million. Hot on her heels comes Germany's pride and joy Heidi Klum with $6.8 million, and at number three is Natalia Vodianova who made a total of $6.6 million. After those familiar faces follow some even more familiar faces: Kate Moss makes it to number four with $ 6.4 million, and Carolyn Murphy clocks in at number five with $6.2 million. Meanwhile, Carmen Kass is still going strong and arrives at number six with $5.7 million while Kansas City beauty queen Angela Lindvall finishes up as number seven with $5.5 million.

Banks' New Booty Call

Apparently, bringing us "America's Next Top Model" (the US reality show that makes Zoolander seem like subdued documentary) wasn't enough for Tyra Banks. Now she is ready to unleash her musical talents. Next month, the Victoria's Secret model will the release the aptly titled debut single, Shake Ya Booty. As long as she stays away from a clothing line, we're not complaining.

Tom Takes on Oscar

Secret agents, drug dealers and mafia bosses all know that sharing private information in a restaurant is not a good idea. However, celebrities never seem to grasp that concept. A report from British features some most interesting eaves dropping. Supposedly, Tom Ford, his partner (or not?) Richard Buckley, and other friends were recently overheard discussing the designers' future career moves in a St Moritz dining room. Apparently, Tom plans to produce his first Hollywood movie within the next two years and believes he will win his first Best Picture Oscar within four.

Week of January 05, 2004

Balmain Back Again

After taking a year-long time out, the house of Balmain will take another stab at producing an haute couture collection. The house will return to the runway in July under the creative direction of 40-year-old Christophe Lebourg, who joined Balmain six months ago. In the past five years, the turbulent house has had a string of unlucky ready to wear designers that include Laurent Mercier, Gilles Dufour and Andrew Gn. The couture division was previously successfully designed by Oscar De La Renta for many years.

Rising Sari

Our bet for break out designer of 2004 is It-girl favorite Sari Gueron. The French-Israeli-American designer creates dresses that are so gorgeous and yet so nonchalantly cool that budding style icons like Maggie Gyllenhaal are swooning. Miss Gueron's designs are uniquely soft and structured at the same time, with an eye for luxurious fabrics and architectural details. Don't miss the debut of her line at Henri Bendels and Kirna Zabete this spring.

Drew Apologizes to Anna

US Weekly has unearthed a two-year-old apology letter from Drew Barrymore to Anna Wintour, after Barrymore's refusal to wear clothes by any designer that works with leather and fur led to a cancelled September Vogue cover in 2000. But, according to US Weekly, the actress later wrote Wintour a letter of apology. "She told Anna she was sorry for causing her so much trouble," a Barrymore friend tells the mag about the actress' campaign to return to Wintour's good graces. "Drew still won't wear fur. However, she will now wear designers who use fur and leather in their lines."

Marky Mark Single Again

One of Hollywood's most glamorous model-movie star couplings has called it quits. Mark Wahlberg is rumored to have broken his engagement to Rhea Durham who is the mother of his four-month old baby. Reportedly, the ex-couple spent Christmas with Rhea's family in Florida, but where apart again for New Year's Eve, when the man formerly known as Marky Mark was seen with Jessica Alba and allegedly got into a spat over his former girlfriend with Lenny Kravitz.

Kravitz and Kidman - Case Closed

The mysterious relationship between Lenny Kravitz and Nicole Kidman appears to be over. (If it ever really was at all.) Lenny has been linked with all kinds of women lately, including Rhea Durham and Michelle Rodriguez with whom he spent his New Year's Eve. However, according to eye witnesses' reports in the New York Post, Rodriguez didn't feel like going Ladies' man Lenny's way, and ended up kissing a blond girl in the pool instead.

Week of December 29, 2003

Rodriguez And McQueen Tom's Heir?

As Tom Ford gets ready to design his farewell collections for YSL and Gucci, rumors about potential successors seriously starting to swirl. WWD reported last week that top candidates of the moment are Narciso Rodriguez for Gucci and Alexander McQueen for Yves Saint Laurent. Reportedly, numerous sources said that Rodriguez is the lead candidate to take over the Gucci label, while McQueen might have already signed an agreement to design YSL. However, there's no official word yet on the matter, so we can expect this soap opera to last until at least March.

Home Is Where The Marc Is

As if there was any doubt that Marc Jacobs is on his way to become America's most powerful fashion force, here's another milestone on the road towards multinational mass appeal. The designer launched the Marc Jacobs home collection in his flagship New York and San Francisco stores last week. The products reportedly flew out the store as soon as they hit the floor.

Louis Vuitton Gets Facelift

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton is gearing up towards a spectacular relaunch next year for the company's 150th anniversary. The Champs Elysees flagship store in Paris is currently under construction. When it re-opens a year from now, it will be the largest Louis Vuitton store in the world. Last year, rumor had it that the store would relocate to the (huge) LVMH owned department store Le Samaritaine, and include a giant art gallery department, but apparently those plans have been downscaled. But there's still some bells and whistles attached to the project. The boards that went up to cover the scaffolds were designed like an oversize monogram suitcase and vanity case with three-dimensional handles, locks and corners. But that's not all: The boards also will feature a hotel label dangling off the luggage. The label will change every day until midnight, Dec. 31 when the doors open.

Barbie Becomes Pop Star

Watch out, Britney, the real Barbie is hot on your heels! A Swedish record company is currently plotting the eternal toy and style icon's music industry take over. The curvy doll is going to become a virtual pop star next year, with an album written by ex-Britney hit maker Max Martin and animated music videos. Our question is: who's going to design her stage costumes?

Week of December 22, 2003

Posh's Low Budget Christmas

TAccording to a new study at Stanford University, compulsive shopping disorder may be genetically predisposed. If so, we fear for the offspring of Britain's most famous consumers Mr and Mrs Beckham (AKA Posh 'n' Becks). During a radio interview earlier in the week, Posh claimed that she and her husband had grown out of their extravagant spending habits and planned to give each other mundane stuff like slippers and pajamas for Christmas. Nevertheless, she was spotted spending over $40 000 in two hours at Dolce & Gabbana last Friday before meeting up for lunch with Becks who had hit Fendi with a similar consumption blast. Apparently, she meant chinchilla slippers and shatoosh pajamas.

McQueen Comes Clean

Everything you always wanted to know about Alexander McQueen but would be afraid to ask even if you got the chance, is now available on Nick Knight's phenomenal fashion web site During a live web-cast that took place last week, Alexander The Great answered questions from friends such as Bjork, Tracey Emin, Alain de Botton, Jose Carreras, Azzedine Alaia and Daphne Guinness. While being characteristically openhearted about subjects such as his Alma Mater, St. Martin's and Luciano Pavarotti in a jock strap, McQueen declined to elaborate on the departure of his Gucci bosses Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole, besides saying that he was sad that they were leaving.

Donatella's Back!

Haute Couture is hot again! Donatella is returning to the runway! Bring on P Diddy, Pamela Anderson, fake nails, Paris Hilton, lots of champagne and at least two after parties. The Versace Atelier will show its first haute couture catwalk show in two seasons on January 19th at the poolroom of the Hotel Ritz. We don't know why Donatella all of a sudden decided to give up her catwalk cost cutting measures, but we're all for it! Perhaps she just thought it was time to party like it was 1999.

Heidi Klum Announces Pregnancy

Heidi Klum is pregnant with her first child. According to European tabloids, the 30-year-old German supermodel is expecting a baby with her 53-year-old boyfriend Flavio Briatore some time next spring (which means that she's been pretty secretive about her condition for a while now). Mr. Briatore - who's previously dated Heidi's fellow model-cum-entrepreneur Naomi Campbell - told the press that he's never been so happy and that Heidi is the love of his life.

Tom & Dom End With Bang

Just as Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole are getting ready to leave the empire they built, comes a third-quarter report that will knock Francois Pinault's socks off. The Gucci Group revenues surged 12.8%, and for the first time ever, there was a profit for the YSL label. Alexander McQueen's sales also grew with 20.8%. But the big winner was Stella McCartney, whose sales were up 65.5% in the period that ended in October. And the trend continues. During the first two weeks of December, Gucci-brand sales rose 21.6% while YSL ready-to-wear and Bottega Veneta shoes and handbags jumped 39%. Perhaps Tom's fans are stocking up on his designs before he disappears to Hollywood.

Week of December 15, 2003

Givenchy Appoints Ozwald Boateng

The house of Givenchy has appointed Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng as creative director at Givenchy Homme. It appears that Givenchy is sticking to strategy they used when hiring Julien McDonald for the women's division: a relatively low-profile guy that could turn out saleable clothes. Although Mr. Boateng is not a household name, his suits have waltzed down many red carpets, thanks to celebrity clients like Will Smith, Laurence Fishburne, Joseph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins and Samuel L. Jackson. Ozwald Boteng's first runway collection for Givenchy Homme will take place in July 2004.

Joe Zee Heads New Men's Mag

Hot on the heels of the launch of V Man and the upcoming debut of Cargo, the male version of shopping mag Lucky, comes the birth of yet another style bible for boys. Fairchild publications announced last week that they will launch the quarterly shopping magazine Vitals in September 2004. Joe Zee, the fashion director of W Magazine and WWD, has been named editor in chief. It appears that Vitals' master plan for dealing with the Cargo competition is to offer a more "upscale" profile. Our question is: do upscale male shoppers really need a magazine that tells them what to buy? They seem to be doing very well on their own.

Let Them Sniff Cake

It appears that Karl Lagerfeld is not letting up on image as the poster child of decadent dieting disorders anytime soon. In the Visionaire issue #42, Scent, each contributor's page is scented with a custom fragrance. Lagerfeld's oeuvre is entitled "Hunger" depicts a naked man covering his crotch with a loaf of bread and is infused with a special scent that replicates the smell of freshly baked bread. Apparently, Karl has taken to spraying himself with the perfume when he's feeling hungry, which supposedly kills his carb cravings.

Paltrow Punks The Paparazzi?

Gwyneth Paltrow - who once referred to tabloid publishing queen Bonnie Fuller as "the devil" - may have orchestrated her own little revenge on the glossies. Rumor has it that the pictures of Paltrow and her freshly minted husband Chris Martin leaving her gynecologist's office last week, were not candid paparazzi shots, but in fact taken by the fetching fashion photographer Taryn Simon, who is dating Gwyneth's brother Jake Paltrow. The photo are believed to have fetched around $150,000 in total.

Week of December 8, 2003

Armani's Charitable Christmas

It seems that having a social conscience may become in fashion after all. Giorgio Armani has as elected not to send out expensive Christmas presents to fashion editors this year, but donate over $300,000 to charity instead. Instead of shoes and clothes, top editors will receive a card in support of a new campaign to raise awareness for Down's syndrome charities. The card will carry a photograph of Armani with his arm around Antonella, a six-year-old girl from Rome who has Down's syndrome, whom the designer met during a photo shoot for an Italian newspaper. We hope those grubby fashionistas will be as gracious as Giorgio himself.

The Devil Wears Fendi

Peta supporters will be happy to note that famous fur and leather house Fendi is under investigation. However, the accusations have nothing to do with animal rights. Big sister Paola Fendi (there's four of them) was indicted last week on charges of corruption. According to British press she was trying to bribe her way into the Campo di Verano cemetery, an exclusive site outside Rome where some of Italy's most celebrated names are buried. Prosecutors allege that Ms Fendi, supplied or offered a wedding dress to the deputy head of the graveyards department in exchange for the right to build a family mausoleum. A judge is expected to announce whether she is to stand trail on January 9.

Famous Ladies By Knight

The talented photographer Nick Knight has put a woman friendly spin on this year's Pirelli calendar. Instead of filling the pages with greased up bathing suit beauties with blank stares, Mr. Knight has themed the calendar around female erotica. He persuaded an impressive line up of women like Bjork, Catherine Deneuve, Tracey Emin, Marianne Faithful, Heidi Fleiss, Courtney Love, Stella McCartney, Isabella Rossellini, Emmanuelle Seigner, Liv Tyler and Elizabeth Wurtzel to share their most intimate sexual fantasies with him. From those conversations he fashioned a narrative for each month of 2004. And of course the project will be the subject of a monthly interactive experience on Knight's wonderful website,

Chloe's Knock-Out Holiday

Chloe Sevigny had a rough thanksgiving. No, she didn't eat too much, she smashed four of her teeth out while "playing" with ex-Imitation Of Christ designer Matt Damhave at a party. According to Chloe's rep, the tempestuous twosome where "play fighting", when "she fell off her Balenciaga boots." Sevigny has received a couple of rounds of surgery and is hoping to have her new front teeth safely in place by Christmas. Those Balenciaga boots should be banned.

Week of December 1, 2003

A Fashion Legend Passes Away

The 70 year old Tunisian-born designer Loris Azzaro died last week in Paris. Mr. Azzaro was famous for creating sexy, glamorous and body-skimming gowns that reached their height of popularity in the 70s and 80s. Some of the stars that favored Mr. Azzaro's draped bustiers, sheer layers and use of sparkling beads and rhinestones were stars like Marisa Berenson, Raquel Welch, Claudia Cardinale, Sophia Loren and Isabelle Adjani. His clothes have had a small revival this year, as red carpet divas like Nicole Kidman and Liz Hurley have been sporting his vintage styles. But the most definite sign of a comeback occurred when French Vogue Editor in Chief Carine Roitfeld wore an Azzaro dress to the Vogue party during Paris fashion week last October. We advise that you hop onto Ebay now, before prices shoot through the roof.

The Secret Fashion Of Milla

According to, Milla Jovovich was in Paris last week to show samples of her new clothing line Jov-H, which she designs with her friend Carmen Hawk, to a selection of fashion editors. It must have been a top secret event, because the editors that reported about what they saw were quoted anonymously. Anyway, the line is supposedly very feminine and sophisticated with lots of handcrafted details and elements of vintage fabric.

Calling A Spade A Fake

Handbag designer and high priestess of prep Kate Spade is being sued by design company Platform for breach of contract. According to the suit, Platform entered an agreement with Kate Spade in July 2001 to provide design work for the Spade's new homeware line. After Platform developed the designs and found licenses, the suit alleges that Kate Spade terminated the agreement and began "improperly" using some of Platform's designs. We knew those stripes looked familiar....

Week of November 24, 2003

Prada Finds Cash Cow

Just in case you were worried about the state of Prada's finances, you can now draw a sigh of relief. CEO Patrizio Bertelli told the press last week that Prada has reached a preliminary agreement with a pool of Italian banks to provide "long-term financial support" for its development strategy. According to Italian newspapers the cash injection amounts to around $500 million.

Missoni Gets Perfume Deal

Meanwhile, fellow Italian label Missoni is jumping on the beauty bandwagon. The luxury knitwear firm is said to be in final negotiations to sign a worldwide beauty deal with Estee Lauder. According to industry reports, the two companies are talking about launching a fragrance at the beginning of 2005. The 50-year-old family run Missoni had previously had a perfume licensing deal with Max Factor in the 80s.

Houses of Un-American Activities

Is the there a trend among European fashion conglomerates to rid themselves of all their American designers? After Tom Ford's split with Gucci and LVMH's off-loading of Michael Kors and Donna Karan, one begins to see a pattern. Especially since Brit knit wit Julien McDonald told the British press last week that before taking over Givenchy, he was initially offered Marc Jacobs' job at Louis Vuitton. "They offered me the Louis Vuitton job at first and I thought they were joking," he said. Perhaps they weren't after all?

Schenk Shoots for Bazaar

One of the most persistent rumors among New York fashionistas is that Harper's Bazaar's Glenda Bailey is about to get the ax. The buzz is so convincing that some people are reluctant to accept job offers at Harper's Bazaar under the current regime. However, someone who seems to not be afraid of the Glenda association, is fashion snapper Thomas Schenk, who recently ditched his contract with Vogue to start shooting covers for Harper's Bazaar.

Week of November 17, 2003

Versace Rumors Persist

Italian newspapers just won't let up on the speculation that Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole are going to snatch the house of Versace right out of Donatella's well-manicured hands. Italy's Il Sole reported Wednesday that Tom and Dom have invested $287.5 million to buy a controlling interest in Versace SpA. A Versace spokesman vehemently denied the rumor -- yet again.

Time For Timeless Beauty

It's not only in Hollywood that older women are in style. Marc Jacobs has cast accomplished actress and enduring beauty icon Charlotte Rampling as the face for for his Spring 2004 campaign. And casting agents for Prada are currently scouring the streets of NYC to find "people of all ages" to be featured in their spring campaign, which will be shot by Steven Meisel. They're also trying to talk Jim Jarmusch into participating. Meisel is also shooting the new Bill Blass campaign, which most definitely will feature some vintage babes, if the "out with the new -- in with the old" image that they have established for the house so far is anything go by.

Hermes Back In The Saddle

The luxury business seems to be slowly bouncing back from a couple of years of retail hell. Hermes International reported a sales growth of 9 percent in the third quarter, which seems to follow the general rebound in the sector. (The company's third quarter sales were down 2.6% last year). The strongest numbers belonged to the Asia-Pacific region, where sales were up 17.8 percent, possibly due to an improving tourist climate after the SARS scare earlier in the year. But then again, we wonder, who would be crazy enough to go to Hong Kong to buy a Kelly bag where they are three times as expensive as anywhere else? It must simply be the local fashionistas' shopping spirit coming back with gusto.

Week of November 10, 2003

What's Next For Tom And Dom?

You are no doubt aware of last week's fashion shocker: Tom Ford's and Domenico De Sole's announcement that they will leave the Gucci Group at the end of March 2004. But as the industry reeled from these news, the big question is of course: to do what? Popular speculations range from starting their own brand to taking over the financially troubled Versace. So far, both guesses have been denied. When De Sole was asked about his and Ford's future at a press conference last Thursday he said they were "both professionals who negotiated their contracts in good faith and did not have plans yet." However, our favorite rumor is that Ford is looking to leave fashion behind to take up a career in show business instead. We think he would be a wonderful addition to Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.

Berge's Bark Still Bites

As expected, Tom Ford's Gucci departure has inspired endless praise of his talent from industry insiders who waxed poetic about the phenomenally successful Gucci makeover (and the luxury apparel market at large) that he masterminded with De Sole in the mid-90s. However, someone who's keeping it real and not budging from his grumpy point of view is Yves Saint Laurent's old business partner Pierre Berge, who seems to have been holding a grudge against Ford ever since the day after he sold his company to him. "If you ask me, Ford should have gone sooner," Berge told the International Herald Tribune, "Ford is a strong designer, but you can't plant vegetables and produce flowers." In keeping with his TV evangelist-like fondness for analogies, he also told the press that "You can be a good DJ, but that doesn't make you Elvis."

Who's Next? - The Short List

It is widely believed that Gucci will promote designers that are already in their stable to replace Tom Ford's design duties at Gucci and YSL. Most popular contender for Gucci seems to be Alexander McQueen, while Balenciaga's Nicolas Ghesquiere appears to be the hot tip for YSL. Another possibility is that Gucci promotes in house designer Stefano Pilati, which would be a fairly seamless transition since he designs most of the collection already. Another rumor is that Dutch duo Viktor & Rolf will take over the creative direction at YSL. The most obvious choice would have been Stella McCartney, since she shares Ford's star power as well as his ability to sell sexy clothes, but that scenario wouldn't be likely unless Gucci is ready to start making handbags in pleather.

LVMH drops Marc and Donna?

The Gucci Group is not the only luxury conglomerate currently experiencing turmoil. WWD reported last week that LVMH has put up Donna Karan International for sale. But the really juicy rumor is that the group could also be looking to be unloading Marc Jacobs, which would also mean the exit of Mr. Jacobs at Louis Vuitton. Jeez, imagine a world without Tom at Gucci and no Marc at LV. What in the world would bootleg handbag vendors do?

Paris Does A Pamela

Well, Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole can perhaps take solace in the fact that they were not the only ones having a bad week. Paris Hilton is currently experiencing some very pesky publicity, even by her standards. Apparently, a three-minute videotape of Ms. Hilton and former boyfriend Rick Solomon having sex has somehow surfaced at the office of celeb gossip bible US Weekly. Rumor has it that the tape is going to be sold over the Internet. And as if that doesn't make one feel bad enough for Paris, the fact that she seems to have been barely conscious during the act (according to sources who have seen the tape) certainly does. At least Pammy and Tommy had a good time during filming.

Week of November 03, 2003

McQueen Of Manners

It appears that Alexander McQueen has left his bad boy behavior behind for good. The designer was honored by Queen Elizabeth with the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE for short) last Thursday. And the man who never used to wear anything but t-shirt and ripped, baggy jeans, no matter what the occasion, looked super spiffy in a full McQueen tartan. He even reprimanded celeb chef and fellow honoree Jamie Oliver for not wearing a tie under his Paul Smith suit. "I think Jamie should at least have worn a tie today," he told reporters. "Whether ties are in or out, it just looks better."

PETA vs. Wintour - Again

It seems that the media-savvy animal rights organization PETA has decided to move on from hoodlum behavior like crashing runways and throwing eggs on fashion editors. Their newest action is a little more sophisticated. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk has sent her longtime enemy Vogue editor Anna Wintour a $3,600 gift certificate for a brain scan as a birthday present. Apparently, new scientific studies have concluded that people that lack empathy have an underdeveloped brain. Perhaps it doesn't seem like much a present for Anna, but there's potentially something in it for her too. If she would indeed go through with the procedure and abnormal brain development is discovered, PETA has promised to leave her alone.

Diddy Takes Heat For Sweatshop

Just as P. Diddy was in the midst of preparing for his massive charity stunt Diddy Runs The City (Puffy will run the NYC marathon next Sunday to raise $1 million for inner city schools), he found another reason to break a sweat. The management at the Honduras sweatshop that produces his clothing line Sean John has been accused of imposing horrific conditions on their workers by a 19- year-old employee named Lydda Gonzalez. Ms. Gonzalez traveled to New York to hold a press conference where she spoke about the abuse, and encouraged P. Diddy to fight for better human rights for the workers. She was supported in her mission by the US-based National Labor Committee.

Front Row Fighters At As Four

Trust the L.A. shows to have the best catwalk catfights. WWD reports that a particularly entertaining eyescratcher took place at the As Four show there last week. LA Times editor Heather John got into an intense tiff with celeb stylist Philip Bloch when she gave up her front row seat to Bjork's boyfriend Matthew Barney and ended up in Bloch's seat instead. Bloch himself was MIA backstage until the show was about to start, but was nonetheless furious when he discovered that his seat was taken. "This is my seat. This is my seat. I'll physically remove you, and don't think I won't," he screeched. In good fashionista style, John refused to move and added an expletive to the exchange, which prompted Bloch to run to the PR company and complain: "She called me an asshole."

Valentino Rocks On

The latest fashion label to attempt to heat up its image by bribing indie rock bands with clothes is none other than the ostentatiously bourgeois Valentino. Underground stars Elefant donned duds from the new Valentino line Red for the underground music fest CMJ (College Music Journal) in New York last week. What's next? Oscar De La Renta dressing Peaches? It's probably happening as we speak.

Week of October 27, 2003

Concorde Lands For Good

Last Friday marked the last day ever of the supersonic Concorde airplane. Which means that, from now on, Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Gisele et al will have to add three more hours to their transatlantic travel schedule. Hopefully, it will also mean that the intense class system and power hierarchy of fashion folks levels out a little bit.

Naomi's Latest Slap Shot

Naomi Campbell is starting to resemble a real life action hero with her inventive and deadly use of everyday objects as weapons. The catwalk queen of mean - who previously injured ex-assistant Vanessa Frisbee by hitting her with a mobile phone - hurled a set of hair tongs at an aide last week in Istanbul. UK tabloid The Daily Mirror reports that the incident took place during a photo shoot for swimwear company Sunset Mayo. Apparently, Naomi was upset over a missing belt that she had left behind on the airplane. We suggest that all her assistants wear protective hockey gear from now on.

Kate Cuts Out On Bill

Meanwhile, British tabloid The Sun reports that Naomi's pal Kate Moss forgot to pay the bill after a brief stay at the luxurious Cowley Manor spa in Gloucestershire, UK, three weeks ago. However, it appears that the incident was an honest mistake, which probably would have been settled a lot sooner if the spa had brought the matter to Ms. Moss' attention instead of the press'. Forgetfulness might happen to anyone, especially if they guzzled down over $100 worth of booze like Kate did, according to her bill.

Jose Levy To Thomas Pink?

It appears that French designer (and former Hedi Slimane employer) Jose Levy, whose namesake label filed for bankruptcy last summer, has a new gig. Rumor has it that Levy has been tapped as the new designer for luxury shirtmaker Thomas Pink, which is owned by luxury giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Nicole Kidman Faces Chanel

Just in case you haven't seen enough of Nicole Kidman lately, we can report that there will be even more Nicole near you next season. After months of negotiations, the actress has finally signed on as the new face of Chanel No 5. Ms. Kidman has signed a three-year agreement with the French house and will shoot a commercial for the fragrance in late December with "Moulin Rouge" director Baz Luhrmann. There have also been unconfirmed reports that she is engaged to be married to Lenny Kravitz. Seems like she really has a thing for short men.

Week of October 20, 2003

Editor Switch At V Man

V Man may just have launched its first issue, but rumor has it that the book is already changing its editor in chief. During the Paris fashion shows we heard that current V Man editor Philip Utz is being replaced by former Vogue writer Armand Limnander. Apparently, there's no scandal behind Utz's very brief tenure, he's simply moving to another magazine.

Angela's Great Expectations

Kansas-born model Angela Lindvall is back in action after taking time off to have her baby. But we hear that Ms. Lindvall is planning bigger and better things than strutting down a catwalk. She is currently working on the launch of her own magazine and is up for a role in the next Woody Allen film. Since Lindvall is the rare model-turned-actress that has actually exhibited evidence of natural thespian talent, we wish her luck.

Killing For Kelly

Some go into life-long debt to get it and others risk their lives to keep it. What is it about Hermes' Kelly handbags that make women crazy? The latest exhibition of Kelly madness was displayed by model Stephanie Seymour last week, when she was mugged in NYC. According to Page Six, she started negotiating with her armed muggers, pleading with them to take only her wallet and let her keep her tomato red purse. Lucky for her, she's still alive.

Gisele And Leo Engaged?

Fashion's favorite on-again off-again couple may have gotten serious at last. British and American tabloids report that Leonardo Di Caprio and Gisele Bundchen might head to the altar soon. Supposedly, Leo proposed to Gisele for the third time last Thursday night, and, supposedly, she finally said yes. If so, that would be proof that perseverance works, at least sometimes.

Stella Joins Kabbalah Klan?

It seems that Stella McCartney's and Madonna's friendship is not just fun and games. It also includes philosophical exchange. Apparently, these ladies are hard at work with converting each other. While Stella is trying to get Madonna to stop wearing fur, Madonna is persuading Stella to share her own kabbalah obsession. And Mads' efforts seem to be working. Ms. McCartney has been spotted wearing the red string bracelet that followers of the Jewish mystical tradition believe offers protection from evil spirits. Hopefully, Stella's anti-fur crusade will have the same effect on Mrs Ritchie.

Week of October 13, 2003

Jungle Fever At Celine

During the five years that Michael Kors has been at the helm of Celine, his brazenly luxurious collections have channeled a carefree, jet setting lifestyle that is all about having a good time and looking good while having it. Mr. Kors tends to reference upscale vacation spots as inspirations for his clothes. Celine ladies usually frequent Aspen in the winter and St. Tropez in the summer. But for Spring 2004, they will take a detour to Haiti before ending up in Monte Carlo. Hence, Mr. Kors sent out slinky shirtdresses and tight pants covered in exuberant jungle prints. He also unearthed a gold chain print from Celine's archives and splashed it over tunics, silk blouses and miniskirts. The streamlined and monochromatic outfits came in vibrant colors like grass green, fuchsia and turquoise, with some helpings of neutral white and beige. As usual, there was very little mystery about this Celine collection. It will end up exactly where it's meant to go: aboard Mediterranean yachts, by Las Vegas casino tables and in first class airport lounges. Next season will mark the end of Michael Kors' tenure at Celine. Perhaps it's just time for him and his ladies to move on.

Hussein Chalayan Lightens Up

The fiercely intellectual Hussein Chalayan may have had a longstanding reputation as a supremely talented designer among fashion aficionados, but he has never been a household name. That might change after last week's catwalk show, where Mr. Chalayan showed a side that was significantly softer and more joyous than his previous efforts. This time around, Mr. Chalayan used his highly conceptual vision and technical skill to create clothes that were original, fresh, and wearable. The collection was an ode to Mr. Chalayan's native Cyprus, and the clothes were inspired by the island's past and present cultural influences. Simply elegant dungaree dresses represented a strong proletarian element, while softly draped backless gowns had a whiff of 1950s couture. Some of the most beautiful pieces were sweetly nostalgic sundresses with patchwork applications of Hawaiian prints. Backstage, Mr. Chalayan's friends remarked that the designer looked happier and better than ever. So did his clothes.

Dior Gets Hot And Heavy

For the past four or five years, John Galliano has infused his collections for Dior with an irrepressible mix of sex, youth and cross-cultural references. This new image has turned the label into a massive commercial success and a symbol of modern luxury and glamour. At their best, Mr. Galliano's collections are awe-inspiring cavalcades of intricately crafted clothes that each represent a slice of the designer's melting pot imagination. The majority of the looks exuded the in-your-face sexuality of a Christina Aguilera video, with lingerie-inspired looks like garterbelts dangling at the hems of skin-tight pencil skirts and emphasis on tiny bikinis worn with fluffy fur stoles. There were signs of Mr. Galliano's masterful eveningwear touch in delicate print chiffon gowns and beautifully tailored gold lame dresses.

Chanel Has Homespun Charm

Trends may come and go, but chez Chanel, some things never change. Each of Karl Lagerfeld's collections will always be built around a core of classics, like slim and graceful tweed coats, sharp black and white combinations, and pretty and feminine party dresses. However, this time around, some of the clothes featured a surprisingly homespun touch. Artsy-crafty details like pink, braided tweed piping over beige and black trenchcoats, flower applications on flouncy chiffon skirts and crochet mini dresses based on late 19th century bedspreads, added a new sense of warmth to the collection. Mr. Lagerfeld also seemed smittened with the same bright-eyed optimism that we've seen on so many catwalks this season. Vivacious florals and cheerful princess gowns in tiered velvet, expressed a youthful sense of joie de vivre.

Balenciaga Finds New Forms

Under the creative direction of Nicolas Ghesquiere, Balenciaga has become the kind of label that is treated with an almost religious sense of respect in the fashion community. His aesthetic has defined turn-of-the-century fashion in the same way that Mugler and Montana defined the 80s. This is not always a desirable place to be for a designer, since fashion's It-boy of today can easily turn into tomorrow's has-been. But Mr. Ghesquiere has the kind of courage and integrity that keeps his work soaring high above trends and fads. For the Spring 2004 collection, he dropped the slim pants and edgy jackets that his customers know and love so much, to concentrate on sculptural and architectural skirts and dresses. Going from body-hugging leather suits with contoured seams and buttoned-up jackets, to futuristic ballerina mini-gowns that sported vivacious prints and fluorescent neoprene bras, to loosely constructed shirt dresses, Mr. Ghesquiere played with concepts of strictness and volume, rigidity and fluidity. Perhaps these slightly experimental creations will sell a little less than past season's motorcycle jackets and cargo pants, but they are definitely taking the label forward.

Week of October 06, 2003

Lalique The New Goyard?

It seems like the latest old-world luxury brand to enjoy a red-hot come back is French glassware and accessory house Lalique. Style icons like Chloe Sevigny and Cate Blanchett have recently stopped by Lalique's NYC office to pick up loads of gold and crystal jewelry for special occasions, and we hear that design duo Proenza Schouler may be in negotiations with the brand for future collaborations.

Heartbreak Hotties

Lipstick lesbians, rejoice! One of fashion's most attractive girl couples has called it quits. According to our sources, Vogue stylist Kate Young has moved out of the West Village apartment she shared with model Amanda Moore. We predict that both ladies will have no problem finding lots of well-dressed shoulders to cry on.

Memorable Milan Moments

Bigger was better in Milan, where the ready-to-wear giants Gucci and Prada produced the greatest hit shows. Miuccia Prada's acclaimed collection mixed demure 50s looks with whimsical hippie touches and South Western bohemia, while Tom Ford sent out sharply tailored "eye candy" like sleek track pants, fitted jackets and loose, plumed chiffon gowns over bathing suits. Another success was Jil Sander's eagerly anticipated comeback. She showed light clothes that emphasized delicacy and femininity, while being balanced with experimental color patterns and strict silhouettes.

DSquared To Celine?

Who knows what the story behind Michael Kors' exit from Celine really is (some say he's getting axed, others that he wants to concentrate on his own label), but now it seems that the company has chosen his replacement. WWD reported last week that brothers Dan and Dean Caten of label Dsquared are in negotiations with LVMH, and claim that they would be thrilled to take over Kors' duties. Time will tell.

Kate Walks Again

If there's any truth to the rumors about Kate Moss' substance abuse, that would unfortunately mean that cocaine and booze function as youth preservers. Hot on the heels of her W star turn (the magazine dedicated its September issue to Miss Moss with 12 different Kate covers and a gazillion page story shot by different photographers) is the runway comeback. Kate walked the runway for Burberry in Milan last week, and looked just as good as she did when she was 19. That was her only catwalk appearance of the season, although she may turn up in Paris to throw a party with Stella McCartney.

Week of September 29, 2003

The T & A Awards

Forget the CFDA awards, it's all about the British Style awards. The Lycra sponsored ceremony certainly knew how to properly celebrate the women who make the most of tight and clingy textiles. Pamela Anderson (yes, Pamela Anderson) hosted the event, and while she looked almost unrecognizable in a sleek hairdo and Stella McCartney outfits, some mean spirited snitches claimed that Pammy had to write the name of co-host Richard Bacon on her hand so she wouldn't forget who he was. Meanwhile, Victoria Beckham took home the award for Most Stylish Female Artist, and Kim Cattrall won Most Stylish Female on Television. Obviously, the days of cashmere twin sets and a single strand of pearls are long gone in the UK.

Christina Parties Till She Drops

If you had a rough weekend, don't feel bad. We guarantee that Christina Aguilera feels a lot worse. The singing sensation visited Stockholm last weekend, where she proved that she respects the old "When In Rome" courtesy. At her late Friday luncheon at upscale restaurant Riche, Ms. Aguilera guzzled vodka like a 12th Century Viking (or a Swedish construction worker on a Saturday night). Unfortunately, she didn't have the physical stamina of a Viking, and subsequently had to be carried out of the restaurant and into her hotel room at 6.30 pm. We hear that the rest of her plans were cancelled that evening.

Egging On The Fashion Folks

What's more irritating -- frantic fashion crowds at runway shows, or smug fashion icons making fun frantic fashion crowds at runway shows? You decide. Dan Macmillan (Aristocratic 90s It-boy and Kate Moss ex) and Anita Pallenberg (Swinging Sixties It-girl and Keith Richards ex) decided to shake up London fashion week by throwing a mean spirited little prank. The duo, along with a posse of friends, hired a truck and gathered dozens of eggs which they unleashed on the crowd of hardworking buyers and editors exiting the Frost French show. Didn't anyone ever tell them not play with food?

Zeta-Jones Sues Again

She's at it again. The woman who famously claimed that "A million dollars may be a lot of money to some people...but it is not a lot to us," has filed another big bucks law suit. Last Thursday, Catherine Zeta-Jones sued French cosmetics firm Caudalie for $15 million, for claiming that the actress "was spotted buying the complete Caudalie range of skincare" in an ad on their web site. Ms. Jones' lawsuit states that she has never used Caudalie products and that the company had no right to use her name. Should she win the trial, the small, family run firm is sure to go bankrupt.

Gisele On Film

If you've enjoyed Gisele Bundchen's high hormone performance in the Victoria Secret ads, you'll be pleased to know that there's more to come. The reigning Brazilian bombshell is currently filming an American version of Luc Besson's hit film Taxi. But, before you start snickering, we'd like to point out that Besson also cast Model Turned Real Actress Milla Jovovich for her first role, in The Fifth Element.

Week of September 22, 2003

Zac Posen

He is undisputably the most important young designer in New York today. Mr. Posen whipped up a gorgeous and polished collection of flirty cocktail dresses that will go down like candy with the socialite circuit. Inspirations like sea shells and water were reflected in the beautifully constructed corset jackets and floating silk dresses. Colors echoed beachy elements like ice cream, sun, sand and ocean. This is the prettiest and most commercial collection Mr. Posen has done to date. While he never seems to compromise on quality and technical integrity, it seemed like Mr. Posen's most imaginative and innovative side had been toned down as to not turn off conservative customers. In a perfect world he would be able to express himself freely.

Marc Jacobs

After an unbearably long wait (one hour and 15 minutes) in a room blasted with hot spotlights, we were all extremely relieved and happy to see Gisele stomp down the runway with the opening look. But it wasn't just the fact that we could go home soon that perked up the audience. For Spring 2004, Mr. Jacobs revisited the tailored elegance of the 1930s, but ladylike classics like pleated linen pants, tweed jackets and floral sun dresses looked soft, loose and sensual. There was an undone quality to the slightly slouchy silhouettes that made the clothes look booth hip and soothing. The color scheme was gentle and pretty with emphasis on faded blue, pink and greenish hues. Glamorous evening looks, like layered chiffon wrap gowns and beaded flapper dresses in velvet lame, had a relaxed elegance that seemed very well suited for today's from-the-office-to- the-cocktail-party lifestyles. Perhaps it was this sense of reality that made Mr. Jacobs' collection so appealing. In a season when most designers are showing frocks suited for Shirley Temple, Mr. Jacobs sent out clothes that would make real women feel beautiful.

Anna Sui

After hearing Beyonce croon "Crazy In Love" 158 times in the past four days, it was lovely to hear the spunky punk rock covers of The Beach Boys that Anna Sui used for her show. And the Beach Party collection exuded all the freshness, energy and optimism of its soundtrack. Working with vintage styles, Ms. Sui created a new look by mixing traditional surf gear, like scuba mesh t-shirts and surf shorts, with pretty sundresses that could have been worn by Anette Funicello. Cute and colorful bikinis peeked out under tiny, floral apron frocks or daisy print jackets. Sweet and sassy looks like psychedelic chiffon caftans; floral, babydoll halter dresses; and weightless organza tunics could easily walk off the beach and onto the streets with a little help of leggings and undershirts. The considerable fewer men's looks that were shown mirrored the girls' wear and included scuba shorts matched with embroidered shirts and military jackets.

Daryl K

After her two-year hiatus, it appears that Daryl Kerrigan's has not lost her fine tuned instinct for creating achingly hip streetwear. Her cool and confident collection had the vaguely reckless attitude and slightly experimental edge that keeps her two steps ahead of mainstream trends. Working with soft cotton jersey fabrics in shades that ranged from misty gray to pewter, Ms. Kerrigan turned out a casual, yet intricately cut and tailored, line of garments that could be classified as "Gym Couture." Oversized t-shirts were sliced open with raw hems and knotted around the hips. Extra large tank tops were worn in layers and adorned with a smattering of tiny holes. Bottoms included rolled up gym shorts or wispy A-line skirts with dropped waists. Overall, waistlines were placed firmly on the hips, and there was not a glimpse of mid riff to be seen. Straight and knee-length t-shirt dresses were given dramatic drapes through buttoned, knotted or twisted details. Daryl K is back, and by the looks of it, here to stay.

Liz Collins

Avant-Garde is a term that is rather frivolously used in fashion circles (usually to describe clothes one thinks look strange), but in Liz Collins' case, the expression is justified. Ms. Collins is a truly ahead of her peers, both in her ideas and her executions. Being the rare designer that is fascinated with the creative process rather than the result, Ms. Collins has developed her very own aesthetic and techniques. In the past, this primarily knitwear-based designer has reinvented her genre by creating inventions like sexy spider web dresses and irresistible sock monkey sweaters. For Spring 2004, she continued to mix her very serious approach to craftsmanship with her playful attitude towards trends and clothes, and showed a beautifully well-made and wearable ode to Wonderwoman. Concentrating on a color scheme of red, white blue and gold (what else?) Ms. Collins sent out sleek and slender knee-length knit frocks with bare shoulders and decorative loopholes along the sides; gorgeous "Marilyn dresses" (halter top, cinched waist and pleated A-line skirt) in chiffon with knitted ribbed elastic waists; and extravagant, star spangled knit capes. There were also frothy, ruched chiffon gowns, loose and easy smocks with knit inserts, and pencil skirts and Capri pants with dotted Lynda Carter illustrations. The overall light and lovely collection was very well received by the audience, and hopefully it will pull Liz Collins out of her current cult status and into the fashion spotlight.

Week of September 15, 2003

Berlin Uber Alles

It looks like the trendiest magazine in the world right now is Achtung, the Berlin-based bi-annual that was launched this week. The idea for Achtung was picked up by ex-Details fashion director and Versace rep Markus Ebner after the founder and former editor of Dutch magazine, Sandor Lubbe's launch of German-centric fashion magazine Berlin went up in flames. The debut issue features contributions from several famous Germans fashion celebs. While designers Dirk Schonberger, Stephan Schneider, Bernhard Willhelm and Lutz Huelle posed for a group portrait, Juergen Teller wrote about his favorite recipe, and DJ Hell penned a travel column.

Becks Loses Calvin To Freddie

It looks like football fashionista David Beckham is facing competition on the style scene. 26-year- old Swedish Arsenal striker Freddie Ljungberg beat out Becks as the new face of the current Calvin Klein underwear campaign that debuted this week in the U.K. But, with his reported fee of £250,000, Ljungberg has still a lot to catch up on Becks' multi million dollar ad contracts.

Eva Becomes "Cultural Icon"

Last week we reported that model Eva Herzigova was designing ballet slippers. Now it turns out that she has even more facets to her personality. Eva made her political debut last week, when she was the chosen by British Europe minister Denis MacShane to present a government-sponsored season of films from EU applicant countries in the U.K. MacShane called Eva a "European Icon" who had "experienced the rich European cultural heritage first hand." Wow, and we thought it was just called posing in a Wonderbra.

Gwen Had A Little Lamb

Gwen Stefani was the number one New York party girl of last week. Celebrities and fashionistas turned up in droves for the launch of the LAMB bag line that she designed for LeSportsac. (And, by the looks of all the spottings in Bryant park over the weekend, the collection is already a huge success.) Stefani also gave the press a preview of her upcoming LAMB clothing line that will debut next season. However, the news that we're really excited about is that the fall collection will be co- designed by Zaldy.

Kimora Stacks Her Cards

Perhaps it's not all that surprising that a woman whose wedding vows were "for richer or richer," should come up with the ultimate capitalist marketing tool. Last Saturday, Kimora Lee Simmons launched a pink Baby Phat Prepaid Rush Visa card at the Baby Phat runway show in Bryant Park. The card will offer Baby Phat customers up to 10% discounts and special offers when they shop on Apparently, Kimora is anxious to help her young customers establish credit. Or bad credit...

Week of September 08, 2003

Conde Nast Becomes Pet Cemetery

You'd think that the employees at the Conde Nast NYC headquarters would have a high tolerance for unpleasant situations, but apparently, tension levels reached an all time high last Thursday afternoon, when "organic, animal-like matter" was discovered in a janitorial area of the building. Naturally, speculation ran rampant over what the "organic, animal-like matter" actually was. Popular rumors included dead animal, animal part, fetus, and human umbilical cord. Police quickly reported to the scene, but so far, no arrests have been made and no motives for the incident unearthed. Animal rights activists (and long time Anna Wintour enemies) PETA are main suspects, but have denied any involvement.

Mary Alice In TV Land

Former Harper's Bazaar fashion director Mary Alice Stephenson is launching her new televised career this week. Ms. Stephenson will step into her new role as fashion correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" by reporting straight from New York spring 2004 collections. She will also do special segments on various designers. We just hope that the wicked wisecracks that circulate about this blonde beauty's brainpower (or lack thereof) are just the wagging of jealous tongues.

From Bra Model To Business Mogul

With Heidi Klum peddling everything from Birkenstock to jewelry, it's only fair that fellow Victoria's Secret model Eva Herzigova should want a slice of the licensing pie. WWD reports that the model is set to launch a swimsuit collection in spring 2004. The line will include 12 pieces that will retail around $100. But that's not all. Not one to be outdone by Heidi in the footwear department, Eva is also busy designing her own ballet slipper. Now, all we're waiting for is Gisele stilettos and Adriana Lima hosiery.

Fernanda Says No To Fur

It was a triumphant moment for animal protestors everywhere, when Brazilian model Fernanda Tavares announced last week that she had signed up as the latest postergirl for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Tavares became the fashion world's answer to Patty Hearst last year, when she joined the organization after it stormed the runway she was walking on. PETA famously disrupted a fashion show for Victoria Secret to protest against Gisele Bundchen's ad campaign for fur company Blackglama. We're happy to note that political activism can actually yield results. We also assume there's not a whole lot of love lost between these two Brazilian babes.

Naomi Seeks Personal Punching Bag

We hear that Naomi Campbell is looking for a new personal assistant. But, before you even think about it, let us remind you of Vanessa Frisbee, the aptly named ex-assistant who accused La Campbell of throwing her against a door, and Georgina Golanis, another ex-assistant who sued her employer for beating her with a telephone, punching her and slamming her against a wall. However, should you decide to go for it anyway, potential bruises, broken bones and/or psychological damage, will at least be well compensated. Supposedly, the position pays $7000/ month.

Week of September 01, 2003

Stella Weds In Mom's Dress

When Stella McCartney got married to Alasdhair Willis last weekend, the question on every fashion addict's mind was of course: What was she wearing? And if you know your Stella, the answer should be fairly obvious: a copy of her mum's wedding dress of course! The borderline obsessively devoted daughter paid tribute to her mother Linda (who died of breast cancer five years ago) by creating an updated version of the outfit (bright yellow coat over a beige dress) that Linda sported for her 1969 wedding to papa Paul.

Figus Curates Fashion Exhibit

If you're wondering what the world's largest fashion museum, Antwerp's MoMu, is doing to further the cultural exchange and style education of the fashion world, we have the answer. The museum is getting ready to launch an exhibition about the exchange of commerce and ideas in textile design and art between Antwerp and Genoa in the 17th and 18th centuries. The show has been curated by Angelo Figus, and, besides period textiles and art work, it also features contemporary fabrics by the likes of Gianfranco Ferre, Romeo Gigli, Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester.

Terry Joins Da Club

It's only a few years ago since Terry Richardson's semi-pornographic point-and-shoot photography style was considered the kiss of death for any mass market label. (Those who remember his raunchy Sisley campaigns will understand why.) Then came Gucci, and everything changed. Now, it seems that every commercial fashion giant is lining up for the Terry touch. Even the eternally preppy and peppy chain Club Monaco hired Mr. Richardson to shoot their fall fashion spots, which features models Anouck and RJ striking not so terribly provocative poses against a white backdrop a la Gucci.

Smells Like TV Spirit

It was only a matter of time until somebody came up with an even cheesier concept than celebrity clothing lines. And here it is: Reality TV fragrances! Cosmetics company Beauty Innovations is launching two scents based on the outrageously popular Fox show American Idol. The perfumes - Idol Spirit for men and Idol Moment for women - will be sold in massmarket doors such as Sears and JC Penney. In the meantime, Beauty Innovations are saving time and money on consumer surveys by letting the thousands of hopeful kids that are lining up for the next round of American Idol auditions test the products. If only they would just bring back their classic 80s Dynasty-inspired scent Forever Krystle instead.

Star Gets Stern

If you enjoyed reading Jared Paul Stern's model obsessed NY Post column Fashion Buzz, you will soon have to look elsewhere to get your fix. To the supermarket, to be exact. The aptly named Stern is leaving The Post to become executive editor at Bonnie Fuller's revamped magloid Star. Supposedly, Fuller's offer of a $300,000 salary and equity in the company was too sweet to resist.

August 29, 2003

Jelly Handbags Are Hot

By summer of 2003, the Kelly and Birkin bags were still two of the most sought after handbags in the world. Many Italian, Asian and French companies have made their own version of the Kelly and Birkin bags to offer. And now everyone is seeking after the rubber version of the Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags, nicknamed Jelly Kelly’s, which are now practically very hard to get.

Due to overwhelming demand and hundred of email requests of the Jelly satchel, modaSac is offering Jelly bags this fall. These rubber totes will come in a variety of fun colors and are available early in October 2003.

modaSac News

Week of August 25, 2003

Karl's Coffee Table Coiffures

Hot on the heels of Hedi Slimane's Berlin book comes another friendship project from Karl Lagerfeld's publishing house 7L. This time around, it's hair heroine Odile Gilbert who gets her own coffee table tomb. The book is called "Her Style: Hair by Odile Gilbert," ("her" sounds just like "hair" in a French accent) and covers Gilbert's spectacular catwalk creations for the past 20 years. Karl himself has of course contributed with photographs and a foreword.

Alaia's New Ally

Believe it or not, but Rei Kawakubo is embarking on yet another fashion collaboration. The enigmatic and supremely innovative designer has already been working with Vivienne Westwood on a joint brand in Japan for the past couple of years, and she just signed a deal to co-design a collection for sportswear firm Fred Perry. Now, Kawakubo has been approached by another enigmatic and innovative icon - Azzedine Alaia. Allegedly, the two will merge their creative powers for an upcoming line of t-shirts.

Diddy on Fifth

P. Diddy's pesky habit of neglecting to pay his bar bills may have made him banned from every self-respecting nightclub in the world, but he's still welcome on Fifth Avenue. The Great Gatsby of the 21st century is said to be in negotiations to sign a deal for a 3,800-square-foot retail space on the corner of Fifth and 41st Street for a Sean John flagship store. So, Puff, does that mean that disgruntled restaurant staff can go there and shoplift?

Wauchob Revamps Magli

Bruno Magli has decided to dust off its image by hiring innovative Irishwoman Sharon Wauchob. The Paris-based Wauchob is going to revamp Magli's line of shoes, handbags and belts, starting with a line for Fall 2004. She will also continue to design under her own name. Sharon Wauchob is known for clothes that feature an inventive use of fabrics and layering, strong lines and graphical appeal.

Cindy loses her Choos

If you're boarding a flight this week, take a lesson from Cindy Crawford: Don't wear expensive stilettos. Not only do they hurt when your feet swell from the air pressure, but they can also disappear. British tabloids report that Cindy was the victim of a shoe thief last week, during the security check-in procedures for a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Cindy was asked to remove her shoes before going through the metal detector, and, ever the sport, the 37-year-old supermodel and mother-of-two uncomplainingly took off her $600 Jimmy Choo shoes and put them aside. Which she shouldn't have done. Because when she went back to pick them up, they were nowhere to be found. Now, something like that would never happen to Naomi Campbell.

Week of August 18, 2003

Gucci's In The House

The more things change, the more they stay the same. When Tom Ford and Domenico de Sole revamped Gucci's business models in the mid-90s, one of their smartest moves was to slash the redundant Gucci licenses that flooded downscale department stores to restore the brand's prestige identity. Now, it seems that little by little, those licenses are creeping back into business again. After launching dog collars, baby bottles and cooking utensils, Gucci has added wallpaper to its range of homeware. We look forward to seeing the entire range of black, grey and brown logo patterns all over MTV cribs next season.

Bouddicca's Business Boosted

Sometimes hard work and talent is justly rewarded - even in fashion. WWD reports that the gifted duo Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby of London label Boudicca has landed a long-term sponsorship deal with American Express. Boudicca are known for dramatic, cerebral and impeccably tailored clothes that have become favorites with stylish shoppers in London and New York. The American Express designer support initiative is a long-term sponsorship aimed at promoting British fashion. The project started in 1997, when the company chose to sponsor Alexander McQueen. Amex's choice to replace the Gucci-owned McQueen label with indie talent Boudicca at a time when many young designers are forced to declare bankruptcy, certainly seems like a timely and appropriate decision.

Battle Of The Bag - Part Two

Hot on the heels of the Hermes vs. Jelly Kelly case of last week, comes another handbag courtroom battle. Louis Vuitton has filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement and counterfeiting against Fashion Express Inc. and Canada's Aldo Group. Allegedly, the aforementioned brands have imitated the immensely popular monogrammed bags with multi-color patterns and illustrations designed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Note to luxury companies: don't make stuff that is so easy to copy.

Kate Spades' Flying Colors

Christian Lacroix is outfitting train conductors, Zac Posen dresses cocktail waitresses and now fashion's most all-American couple Kate and Jack Spade have been tapped to design uniforms and luggage for Song, Delta Air Lines' new low-fare offshoot. Song's marketing profile is to have a happy, whimsical image with colorful interiors and attendants who crack jokes throughout the flight. Add to that the Spades' impossibly perky stripes and envelope clutches, and you have a flying 1950s sitcom.

Naomi Plays Soccer Mom

Perhaps you've been wondering whatever happened to Naomi Campbell's acting career lately. Maybe you thought she was too busy attending to her public relations firm, perfume business, novel writing or music career to pursue her thespian calling. Don't worry. British tabloids report that Naomi is in final talks for a role on the British television series Footballers' Wives, which features a cast of glam characters based on the likes of David Beckham's wife Victoria AKA Posh Spice. If indeed she will be cast, Naomi would make her small screen debut next January.

Week of August 11, 2003

Get Dressed Like Michael Jackson

We have already published plenty of scary reports about various celebrities launching their own clothing lines, but the following item will definitely be the most frightful ever. Michael Jackson has signed a deal with Japanese clothing manufacturer Wakita, to produce a line of suits and formal wear inspired by his stage clothes. The creations will cost approximately $500 each and carry Jackson's MJ logo. While Michael Jackson will not work directly with the designers (phew!), he will have final approval on all the finished pieces.

Lupfer Liquidation

We are sad to report that the very talented and technically skilled London-based designer Markus Lupfer has gone into liquidation after 11 seasons. The German-born designer is believed to have suffered severe financial losses from late deliveries in his past two seasons. He is known for making high quality clothing that successfully combines innovative textile work and technical details with wearable and classic looks. Hopefully, we won't have to wait long for his come back.

Musical Moss Takes The Stage

Kate Moss is usually pretty smart about staying clear of embarrassing career choices (refraining from attempting an acting career for example), but that could end in September. Kate is set to take the stage to sing with Primal Scream at the London benefit Fashion Rocks. The performance will be the soundtrack for Alexander McQueen's runway show. Supposedly Miss Moss is practicing every day to make the most of her musical moment. We hope that's true.

Model Misbehavior

There's been a lot of behind-the-scenes grumbling about corruption and client cheating at New York model agencies lately, and we can only hope that things will turn around soon. US officials at the Department of Justice have launched a probe into claims that leading agencies conspired to fix booking charges for models, thus cheating their girls out a large portions of their fees. Some of the agencies accused of this malpractice are Elite and Ford Models. If proved, the allegations could eventually lead to criminal charges and prison sentences for those convicted.

Week of August 04, 2003

Paul Weller Gets Booty-licious

As we're all too aware of right now, bright and poppy mod fashions are back in style, and we could all use a little help from the pros. Thankfully, British style icon Paul Weller - who has been sporting the look since he was the front man of The Jam in the early 80s - is coming to the rescue. The dapper Weller is designing his own line of shoes for cult brand Hudson, which is inspired by his own swinging sixties collection of shoes and various images of the youth-quake decade. The first collection features Weller-designed desert boots a range of colors including cherry red and baby blue.

Jeremy Scott Plays To The Gallery

Jeremy Scott may not sell a whole lot of clothes, but he sure knows how to put on a good show. According to FWD, the LA-based designer is once again skipping the traditional runway format for NY Fashion week and is planning to stage an installation with live models in the Deitch Projects' gallery. The fiercely fashionable space was the location of photographer Steven Klein's and Madonna's video installation this spring, and has also been the launching pad of art-rock-cabaret group Fischerspooner.

Claudia Back On Cover

Did you think that recent motherhood may have shifted Claudia Schiffer's focus away from modeling? Fear not, the Uber Blonde is once again gracing the latest cover of German Vogue, complete with naked baby in her arms. She is also rumored to be working on various high profile editorials. Well, as long as she stays away from acting, we're not complaining.

Gucci Sued By Ex-Employee

It's not only Tom Ford and Domenico de Sole that have issues with the company that employs them. Roseanne Bova, a former Gucci employee in Boston, is suing the company, claiming that she was fired from her job after illness prevented her from fulfilling a newly-imposed 40-hour workweek rule. Ms. Bova, who was suffering from breast cancer, had continued to work regular hours even as she was undergoing radiation treatment, but when the company announced that all employees should be working 40-hour weeks, she asked for permission to stick to 30 hours, and subsequently lost her job. She had worked in the Gucci boutique in the Copley Place mall for 14 years.

Hurly Burly Wedding

If you thought that all the recent celebrity divorces and breakups would stop other tabloid fixtures from running to the altar before they've had a chance to get to know each other, think again. After about 9 months of extremely public dating, Liz Hurley and German/Indian textile heir Arun Nayar have decided to tie the knot next February. Unsurprisingly, Liz has chosen her old pal Donatella Versace to design her wedding dress. Donatella has been asked to make a bright red sari for the traditional Indian ceremony in Mumbai. (They are later celebrating the nuptials a second time in England.) If there's anyone who can turn a sari into the kind of sexy cleavage baring siren gown that The Hurl is so fond of, it's La Donatella. Indian fashion will never be the same.

Week of July 28, 2003

Zaldy Dresses Melissa

We're happy to report that rock star and style icon Melissa Auf Der Mauer is stepping back into the spotlight. Music mavens can soon look forward to Ms. Auf Der Mauer's first solo album, while fashion fans will no doubt eagerly await her tour costumes. Melissa (who's previously promoted indie talents like Elisa Jimenez and m.r.s.) will be dressed by the incredibly gifted New York designer Zaldy. Look forward to a sartorial match made in heaven.

CK's Bulge Boy Shatters Myth

Some men will be relieved and others will be bitterly disappointed to hear Calvin Klein underwear model Travis Fimmel has admitted to stuffing his pants for the infamous ad campaign that disrupted worldwide traffic in 2001. If you're wondering what Travis' real crotch looks like, stay tuned for his upcoming Tarzan television series.

JLo Gets The Goods

Since everyone else seems to be dying to shatter the nauseatingly wholesome "I'm still Jenny from the block" image that Jennifer Lopez has campaigned for the past year, we will of course chime in. NY Daily News reported last week that an anonymous source at the Louis Vuitton shoot in Paris has disclosed that JLo greedily grabbed every single item of LV clothing after the shoot. Supposedly, one of La Lopez's assistants racked up the goods up in a duffle bag, while the rest of crew watched in shock and awe. As if that wasn't enough, Jennifer's people reportedly called the studio shortly afterwards to say that she left behind a pair of socks.

Madonna Acts Again

If you thought that the cinematic disaster "Swept Away", has discouraged Madonna from doing more pretentious art house flicks with overwrought sexual content, think again. Rumor has it that Madonna has signed on to star in French director Catherine Breillat's upcoming movie. Like Madge herself, Breillat is more known for getting great publicity rather than great reviews. Her best- known film, Romance X, starred Euro porn super star Rocco Siffredi, his massive manhood and a classic, French bang-each-other's-heads-against-the-wall-then-have-sex love story. This does not sound like a match made in heaven.

Vogue Hommes Gets Political

Fashion mag bad boy Richard Buckley continues to cause trouble over at Vogues Hommes International. Just in time for the second-year anniversary of 9/11, Vogue Homme's September issue will focus on the Middle East. Fashion editorial in the book was shot on location in various parts of the Middle East by local photographers, and the issue is meant to examine Western stereotypes about Islamic culture. "I think it will be somewhat explosive," the ambitious editor told WWD last week, "But fashion always reflects larger issues. We're still feeling the effects of Sept. 11 in the business."

Week of July 21, 2003

Betts Beefs Up the Book

As Kate Betts is gearing up for her launch of Time's bi-annual Style & Design issues it appears that she's staying loyal to her old friends. Betts has hired former Bazaar employees Kristina Zimbalist and Melissa Ceria to write for the magazine and Ricky Vider to style the fashion pages. She will also work with Times' art director Terry Koppel and ex-Vogue photo editor is Andrea Ferronato.

Britney Hires Lori

We're pleased to bring you the happy news that Britney Spears has upgraded her style staff from dreaded duo Kurt and Bart to sartorial super star Lori Goldstein. However, Britney has yet to actually make a public appearance in the no doubt tasteful duds that Ms. Goldstein has selected for her. On her last outing, Brit decided to get dressed all by herself and showed up in a mismatched ensemble of ripped "Page Six Six Six" tee, mini skirt and fedora.

Turly Baby on the Way

According to several tabloid reports, Christy Turlington and brand new husband Ed Burns are expecting a baby. Supposedly, the pair has been spotted taking pre-natal classes for the past few weeks in Tribeca. And in case you're worried about the kid being exposed too many downtown fumes, we can assure you that he/she will be breathing fresh air on the weekends in the Hamptons. A chatty realtor told us that Mr. Burns just closed a deal on a $1.5 million house, since that was all he could afford. We somehow find that hard to believe....

Calvin's Realty Check

And if you're worrying about Calvin Klein's state of mind, keep worrying. Above Hamptons realtor also informed us that CK just bought a $35 house that is ironically referred to as "The Castle" by locals since it's considered so gaudy. Whatever happened to Mr. Minimalism?

Nelly Puts on Clothes

Believe it or not, but apparently there's room on the market for yet another hip hop star's clothing line. Nelly announced last week that he will launch his women's collection Apple Bottoms (not to be confused with Pear Shaped) in a few months. The label is a spin-off from Nelly's Vokal menswear line, and will include jeans, dresses and tracksuits. The model for the upcoming campaign will be selected through a nation wide talent search.

Week of July 14, 2003

Hedi Renews His Contract

Fashion's golden boy, Hedi Slimane, has renewed his contract as artistic director of Dior Homme, thereby ending all speculation over whether he was leaving the house to start his own label. The new contract will also expand his responsibilities to include the company's fragrance and cosmetics department. Look out for a slew of new and improved scents like Eau Sauvage, Fahrenheit, Dune for Men and Jules.

Christina Shines in Versace

It's a testament to Steven Meisel's genius that he managed to make Christina Aguilera look like a beauty in the Fall 2003 Versace ads. Mr. Meisel shot Christina without make-up and with her hair straight in ethereal black and white. Supposedly, her predecessors Madonna's and Courtney Love's popularity happened to peek during their Versace ad campaigns. Great Donatella timing or Stevie's magic?

Eva Does The Movies

Next model in line for a movie star career is Eva Herzigova. The blonde bombshell has gone brunette for the role in her upcoming film "Modigliani". Eva was cast in the role of Olga, short- suffering wife of Pablo Picasso. The movie is directed by Mick Davis and also stars Andy Garcia and French actress Elsa Zylberstein.

Cate Does Donna Karan

And next actress in line for a fashion ad is Cate Blanchett for Donna Karan. The Australian actress who will star for three seasons in Donna Karan's Collection ads, beginning this fall. (Seems they still save DKNY for the models.) Cate is featured solo in dramatic black and white pictures shot by Mikael Jansson.

YSL Hints at Comeback

Both Demi Moore and Yves Saint Laurent can testify that there's nothing that makes you quite as popular as retiring and then coming back. Or at least unexpectedly pop up here and there in brief and mysterious public appearances. YSL was out on the town last week to support his main woman Loulou de la Falaise, and caused quite a sensation when he hinted at a future return to his metier. "I'm bored," he told French radio station TF1, "Maybe I'll come back. After all, Chanel came back [to fashion] in her seventies."

Week of July 7, 2003

Klum's Close-Up

The behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the film about Peter Sellers' life - which is currently being shot in London - may turn out to be more scandalous than the real thing. Originally, Sophie Dahl was cast to play German sex goddess Ursula Andress, but she bailed out of the project after realizing that Sellers had once two-timed her own mother with the original Bond girl. Luckily, Heidi Klum stepped in to save the day. Klum will make her screen debut star alongside seasoned stars like Emily Watson, (as Sellers' first wife) and Charlize Theron as Britt Ekland (his second wife). We wish her luck. At least she'll have no problem with the accent.

Hollywood Does Halston

It seems like the next fashion-Hollywood crossover will be an upcoming biopic on Studio 54 disco king and designer dandy Halston. WWD reports that the script is written by Daniel Minahan who also penned "I Shot Andy Warhol," and that Rupert Everett tops the list to play the late designer. No word yet on who will play Liz and Liza.

It's a J-Lo World

In spite of all the nay-sayer predictions, J-Lo's steadily growing fashion empire continues do very well. Next out is a range of cold-weather accessories, with a line of JLo by Jennifer Lopez hats, gloves and scarves scheduled to make their debut this fall. And there's lots more to come, as her company, Sweetface fashions, just signed a major deal with an investor. We can also look forward to seeing Ms. Lopez on billboards everywhere as the Louis Vuitton girl. Not to mention countless music videos, sappy films, behind-the scenes specials and magazine covers. Since there's no escape anyway, we've decided to just take a deep breath and go with it.

Versace Jr in Vogue

The fact that Donatella Versace's daughter, Allegra, was struggling with serious eating disorders a few years ago, was apparently not enough to persuade her mother that a modeling career may not be the wisest choice for her child. Last week, 16-year-old Allegra made her magazine debut when she was shot by Pamela Hanson for Teen Vogue's October-November issue.

Couture Gets Competition

The Haute Couture shows in Paris start today, and it looks like the most exciting news this season is that a lot of talented ready-to-wear designers have hijacked the schedule and are hogging the spotlight without the blessing of the Chambre Syndicale. These crashers include Rick Owens, who's debuting at Revillon; Spanish designer Sybilla, who's showing her first collection of eveningwear for Capucci; YSL's side kick Loulou de la Falaise and Yohji Yamamoto. As the lines between ready- to-wear and Haute Couture thus continue to be blurred, it's no wonder hardly anyone knows how to tell them apart anymore.

Week of June 30, 2003

Rei Does Rudy

Fashion's most tireless team player, Rei Kawakubo, has found herself another collective project to participate in. Kawakubo has teamed up with authentically preserved 60s fashion icon Peggy Moffitt, to re-launch the designs of avantgarde designer Rudi Gernreich. Moffitt, who was the late designer's close friend and muse, has searched for a contemporary creator to resurrect Gernreich's designs for the past 18 years. A capsule version of the Moffitt/Comme des Garcons/Gernreich line will debut at 10 Corso Como in September.

Homme Is Where The Heart Is

Gone are the days when boys could complain that they had less sartorial choices than girls. As the equal opportunity factor within the fashion system continues to grow (as in more interesting clothes for men, not more CEO posts for women of course), two of Paris‚ most extravagant talents are launching their menswear debuts. Christian Lacroix will design his first menswear collection for spring/summer 2003, and John Galliano is showing his first John Galliano Homme line in a private presentation in Paris this week. Simultaneously, the poster boy for the new menswear movement, Hedi Slimane, is releasing his first book of photographs at Karl Lagerfeld's bookstore 7L.

Hell-Raiser Hilton Strikes Again

Since we can't seem to resist any opportunity to love to hate Paris Hilton, we sincerely hope that you don't mind this piece of disturbing news straight from the Los Angeles club scene. E! Online's gossip columnist Ted Casablanca reports that Ms. Hilton had a recent run-in with a distressed doorwoman at a private party at North. Apparently, Hilton and entourage were not invited to the event, and when the bouncer lady asserted this fact, Miss Paris reportedly started screaming, "You're just jealous! Because you're ugly, and I'm pretty...and rich." If that's what happens when you're rich, we should all wish to be poor for the rest of our lives.

Naomi's Pain in The Neck

Finally there's a reason to not want to look like a model. Swan necked supe supreme Naomi Campbell is currently forced to wear an off-duty neck brace. The 33-year-old is suffering from a herniated disc - a bone in her back that is putting pressure on her spinal nerve, causing intense pain. Her London-based physiotherapist, Sammy Margo, told the press that the injury could very well be fashion related. "Models tend to have longer necks than most people and so are more prone to neck problems," he says. "Also, intradiscal pressure can increase at high altitudes so that flying for long periods and sitting in an awkward position, or wearing ridiculously high heels for the catwalk can all lead to neck pain."

Men a la Mode in Milan

The Milan menswear shows ended last week, and highlights included Bottega Veneta's ocean liner- inspired collection and - not surprisingly - the Jil Sander come back. While Bottega Veneta's designer Tomas Maier showed simple leather goods and ergonomic clothes enriched by intricate detail, Jil Sander effortlessly returned to the clarity, purity and quality that first made her famous. Tom Ford sent out updated cowboys, Donatella Versace was inspired by Hollywood via Morocco, and Calvin Klein had its official show with Calvin in the front row and menswear designer Italo Zuchelli taking the bow.

Week of June 23, 2003

Donatella Sees Red

You know that times are rough when the fashion label that epitomizes extravagant luxury is hurting financially. After decades of unbridled financial success, the house of Versace has reported a net loss of 46.8 million in the year of 2002. However, siblings Santo and Donatella believe that a new financial plan and the appointment of chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio will turn their business around, and that it will soon reach its former glory. There are no plans of a public offering.

V-ive La Difference

Fashionable boys around the world will be delighted to hear that Stephen Gan's new men's mag V Man is coming along nicely. Besides appointing Numero editor (and V writer) Philip Utz as editor in chief, Gan has also assembled his regular gang of Inez and Vinoodh, Mario and Karl for the premiere issue. All this sounds frightfully familiar. Our concern is: Will there be a difference between V and V Man?

Paris Supports Its Young

The French have had an especially bad rep lately, but at least they're good to young designers. Chambre Syndicale president Didier Grumbach, who organizes Paris fashion week, has doled out the coveted beginning-of-the-week date October 7 to up and comers like Andrew Gn, Haider Ackermann and Bernhard Willhelm, who usually find themselves pushed aside to later dates. The shows start on October 6, which coincide with Yom Kippur, which means that only a few off calendar shows have been scheduled. Obviously, Grumbach has his lesson from the stir he caused a few years back when he neglected to observe the holiday and had to reschedule shows at the last minute.

Jose Levy Folds

French designer Jose Levy has declared bankruptcy only six months after he announced a new investor and expansion plans. While Levy has never been a big name outside France, he has been one of the most popular new menswear designers in Paris. He was also the first employer of Hedi Slimane, when the Dior Homme star first started his fashion career.

Posh in Nikki's Footsteps

The ever unstoppable Victoria Beckham, AKA Posh Spice, has joined forces with Nikki Hilton. The 29-year-old British media magnet will design accessories for Samantha Thavasa, the same company that enlists the talent of Nikki Hilton, for a limited range of jewelry and handbags in Japan. Just like Nikki, Posh was approached by the label after she had appeared in a very successful ad campaign.

By Johanna Lenander, Fashion Net
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