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WWD News: Gucci Spotlights Mary J Blige Charity and Pop-Up Shop, Unity Rules at CFDA New Members Bash, Crew Spring Presentation: Opposites Attract, Stefanel Unveils New Store Concept, The Fashion Scoops

Gucci opens a pop-up shop on Crosby Street in Soho. Doors open on Saturday displaying the Gucci and DJ Mark Ronson collaboration sneakers that are sold out.  

J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons for women’s and Frank Muytjens??™ men??™s spring presentation mixed dressy and utilitarian.  This is my go-to store for great classically, well-made, affordable pieces that you can mix with jeans and more edgier pieces for a great updated look that will take you from day to evening for both women and men.  

Read today’s highlights from WWD below.

–Nikki Cho Russo


Gucci Spotlights Mary J Blige Charity and Pop-Up Shop


maryj-blidgeGucci was at both ends of greater New York on Thursday, feting a new partnership with Mary J. Blige??™s charity in nearby Yonkers, N.Y., while preparing to open its Gucci-Icon Temporary pop-up store in SoHo.

Creative director Frida Giannini, Blige and branding impresario Steve Stoute gathered in Yonkers to open the new Mary J. Blige Center for Women, a partnership between The Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) ??” the charity that Blige and Stoute cofounded in 2007 ??” and Westchester Jewish Community Services (WCJS). 

The center has three central goals: to educate, empower and encourage women, noted Blige. 

???As a child, I never saw a confident woman ??” I only saw women being abused,??? said the singer, who grew up in Yonkers. ???There was so much pain growing up ??” it would have been in vain if I didn??™t put myself out there. That??™s why I am here; that??™s why FFAWN exists. I want every girl and woman who walks through this door to know that she is loved ??” no matter who is telling her she isn??™t loved.???

guccishoesBlige emphasized domestic abuse and low self-esteem know no socioeconomic boundaries. ???I??™m not just talking about helping women in the poverty-stricken areas ??” I am also talking about the broken homes of the wealthy where the child is watching mom and dad arguing, and she grows up being abused by some man, as well,??? she said. 

???Mary is an inspiration for us all,??? said Giannini, who is also a board member of the PPR Foundation for Women??™s Dignity and Rights. ???She is a woman who really talks from her heart and from her own experiences, and she is a living example for all women in the world. And at the same time, Gucci is a very powerful brand that can communicate in a very strong way. I thought that, together, we could make something very impressive. I think it??™s important to show that fashion isn??™t just about clothes and accessories ??” it??™s about being involved with initiatives like this one and social responsibility.??? 

Giannini has designed a limited edition, stainless-steel women??™s Twirl watch, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit FFAWN. The watch, which retails for $1,895, is available at Gucci stores, and select department stores. 

The charity had its roots in a conversation Blige and Stoute had at the 2007 Grammys, noted Stoute. ???I asked her, ???In your highest of highs, what are you most passionate about???™ And she said, ???Giving back and helping women. I??™ve had support systems that have come into my life and helped me become who I am, and I want to be able to provide that foundation to as many women as I can.??™??? 

gucci-chaufferNext, Stoute and Blige plan to expand FFAWN workshop programming throughout the five boroughs of New York City, and in 2010 will implement scholarship programs which fund tuition for educational degrees and vocational training programs, as well as implement a grant program that suppor

ts women??™s organizations. Eventually, Stoute and Blige hope to take FFAWN??™s work global. 

Meanwhile, Gucci??™s pop-up store on Crosby Street in Manhattan will open to the public Saturday morning, yet the company is hoping to close the space even before its two-week run is over. The boutique, its white-washed walls covered in the signature Gucci evergreen and red stripes, will pack up as soon as its wares ??” which include the Gucci Ronson sneaker, a collaboration with celebrity DJ Mark Ronson ??” are sold out.

Click here to read the full article


Unity Rules at CFDA New Members Bash



Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen
Photo by Kristen Somody Whalen



Jason Wu and Guest. Photo by Kristen Somody Whalen

NEW YORK ??” No one needs reminding that the economy is in tatters, so the CFDA??™s new members party Wednesday provided reason to present a united front. 

???This is the Kiwanis Club of our business and it is good to be in it, especially in a time like this,??? said David Rees, co-founder of Ten Thousand Things, who was welcoming newbie Lorraine Schwartz to the fold. 

Despite the ongoing catch-as-catch-can retail scene, a few of the rookies at the Four Seasons restaurant said they are more interested in seeing what they can give rather than what they can glean from others. 

Olsen, who has been inducted with her sister, Ashley, said, ???Diane [von Furstenberg] said it best: ???It really feels like you are part of a family.??™???


Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. Photo by Kristen Somody Whalen

After a few years on the designer circuit, the pair is committed purely for professional reasons, not publicity ones. Asked if she felt more at ease with the fashion crowd than the Hollywood one, Mary-Kate Olsen said, ???I don??™t really know the Hollywood scene. This is my day job. This is what I do every day. The clothes speak for themselves. The clothing is all made in the U.S., and there??™s a certain integrity to that.??? 

Having just been brought up to speed about the Save the Garment Center campaign, Olsen, who can routinely be found at her West 39th Street factory, said she was keen to pitch in. ???We need it, as well. I hope we can save it,??? she said. 

Jason Wu said he was also on board. ???It??™s not so much what I can gain as it is what I can contribute. I produce 90 percent of my collection in New York, and I would love to preserve the garment center,??? he said. ???The CFDA has been really important in bringing American fashion to the forefront.??? 

Another inductee, Chris Benz, soon will be making his presence in the neighborhood better known. Next week he will relocate his showroom to 247 West 37th Street, where the space is twice as large as his current one around the corner. While packing was pressing on his mind, none of the more seasoned CFDA-ers had offered any pointers about business. ???Not yet, but the night is still young,??? he said. 

Click here for the full article


J. Crew Spring Presentation: Opposites Attract

by WWD Staff


In an upbeat presentation, J. Crew??™s Jenna Lyons started with a Hockney-inspired palette of neutrals with pops of neons. She applied this to looks rooted in counterpoint: whimsically ruffled and otherwise embellished pieces juxtaposed with boyish military-inspired outerwear. For the most part, the contradiction worked like a charm, even if one or two looks felt overstyled.


Frank Muytjens??™ men??™s lineup offered classic pieces in unexpected combinations. A dinner jacket with satin lapels, for example, was shown with distressed jeans, and an oilcloth fireman??™s jacket was paired with white jeans and a skinny tie. ???We??™re mixing dressy with utilitarian,??? said Muytjens, J. Crew??™s vice president of men??™s design. ???The inspirations are familiar but in a different context.??? 

On the financial front, J. Crew said Thursday its third-quarter profits would rise to 54 cents to 59 cents a diluted share, ahead of the 30 cents to 33 cents previously projected. The update drove J. Crew??™s stock up 15.2 percent to $43.49 Thursday.


Click here to view the full slideshow


Stefanel Unveils New Store Concept


stefanel-storeMILAN ??” After boosting the design, quality and image, Stefanel has unveiled the last step in its repositioning plan ??” a new store concept. 

The blueprint was revealed last week during the opening of a new outpost in Frankfurt. 

???Stefanel is going through a real and proper revolution aimed at repositioning the brand in the ???simple luxury??™ segment,??? said Giuseppe Stefanel, chairman of the brand. ???We feel we have intervened heavily on multiple fronts but always in the respect of a brand that has a 50-year-old heritage.??? 

Knitwear, the company??™s core business, now offers snazzier designs, partially thanks to capsule collections codesigned with young talents such as the British duo Cooperative Designs. More high-quality yarns, including cashmere, are being used, and 90 percent of Stefanel??™s production is done in Italy. 

The ad campaigns are now in the hands of Mario Testino, who will photograph Daria Werbowy for the spring ads. 



by WWD Staff

ROCKING FASHION: In New York, style hounds with a passion for music and fashion can head to Openhouse Gallery in NoLIta for Rock N Shop. Beginning tonight with a VIP party and continuing Saturday and Sunday, when the event is open to the public, Rock N Shop offers emerging bands alongside brands that are anything but mainstream. The event is like a concert crossed with a sample sale held in a pop-up shop. Indie bands such as Audio Fiction, A Fragile Tomorrow, Lead Pipe Cinch, Nikki Kelly and Paperdoll will perform as consumers scour racks of Antik Batik, By Malene Birger, Elizabeth & James, Gryphon, Haute Hippie, Lewis Cho, Mike & Chris, Notify Denim, Pink Tartan and Yumi Kim. Rock N Shop is produced by Brand, a pop-up event marketer founded by Nancy Berger, who spent 20 years in the fashion industry working for Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. A portion of the proceeds of Rock N Shop will be donated to VH1 Save The Music.

CHAMPAGNE WISHES: Christian Louboutin made a brief stop Thursday at New York??™s Plaza Hotel to show off his latest collaboration. The accessories designer teamed with French Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck on Le Rituel ??” a special holiday package containing a bottle of bubbly and a crystal flute in the shape of a Louboutin heel, designed by the stiletto maestro himself. The partnership was inspired by an old ritual dating back to Belle Epoque Paris, when cabaret dancers would fill their shoes with Champagne to pass around for all of their male idlers to sip. Retailing for $500, Le Rituel is available at Colette in Paris, and hits select Neiman Marcus stores in November. Louboutin will celebrate the launch in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, beginning in Hollywood on Nov. 5. He also directed a 3-minute film on the concept, airing online at

Click here to read all of today’s Fashion Scoops

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Posted Oct 23 2009 in Uncategorized

WWD News: Big and Little Retailers Join Forces, Maria Luisa Opens in Printemps, Rolling Girl: Front Row at Costume National


Big and Little Retailers Join Forces


From WWD ISSUE 10/05/2009


little-retailersPARIS ??” After designer collaborations and celebrity tie-ups, it??™s now time for stores to pair up ??” even Davids with Goliaths. 

As fashion retailers continue to feel the pinch from the worst recession since World War II, they??™re becoming increasingly creative to offer more exclusive products and experiences that can persuade regular shoppers to open their wallets and hopefully attract new customers as well. 

Over the weekend, Gap and edgy Parisian boutique Merci wrapped up a monthlong project in which each hosted a selection of the other??™s products in their New York and Paris stores. Also over the weekend, Parisian department store Printemps christened the opening of a Maria Luisa location within its recently revamped Boulevard Haussmann flagship here. 

Uniqlo recently set up shop in hip Paris concept store Colette as a teaser for the arrival of its Paris flagship, which opened last week. 

And Target is mulling a one-off collaboration with Britain??™s Liberty to launch clothing and accessories bearing the store??™s trademark flower prints. 

???In an effort to lure back the consumer, retailers are increasingly having to be more creative by devising events and promotions that promote the concept of uniqueness, exclusivity and scarcity. The partnership with an exclusive brand is just one example,??? said Patricia Pao, founder of New York-based fashion consultancy The Pao Principle. ???I think we are going to increasingly see more of the big brand-little brand pairings.??? 

Through these kinds of partnerships, large retailers acquire a degree of exclusivity and scarcity, as well as the prestige of carrying the smaller but highly desirable brand. The smaller retailers gain brand awareness and a degree of exposure they couldn??™t afford to buy on their own, as well as trialing their products on new consumer segments. 

???I do think it??™s the next thing,??? said Robert Burke, president of Robert Burke Associates, a New York-based consulting firm. ???The designer collaborations have been played out quite a bit. This is a new angle. It??™s one of those win-wins.??? 

He noted that for giant stores, ???there??™s a great deal of cachet with these small retailers, particularly French retailers.??? Whether big or small, all retailers jockey to carry exclusive designer brands and products. Now big retailers are competing to gain access to buzzy specialty store banners, Burke said. 

Indeed, according to market sources, Galeries Lafayette recently made overtures to Dover Street Market, the quirky multibrand emporium in London masterminded by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Gar?§ons, which has everything from vintage Cutler & Gross sunglasses and Christopher Kane dresses to Rose Bakery pound cakes under one roof.

???It allows us to bring in new talents, which can??™t really stand commercially on their own feet in a big space, but which we think have potential for our customers,??? said Maurizio Borletti, chairman of Printemps Holdings, which controls France??™s Printemps and La Rinascente in Italy.

Industry experts pointed out there has to be synergy between each brand??™s customers, because both brands still need to produce and sell merchandise to their core customer. 

???These arrangements need to be more than merely puff and noise. It requires consistency in terms of brand identities so the hype around the event and cobranding does not dilute any of the brands,??? said Florian Gonzalez, a London-based brand consultant. ???Hopefully, by sharing their customers, products or retail spaces, brands experience cross-fertilization, rather than cannibalization or confusion.???

Click here to read the full article



Maria Luisa Opens in Printemps



From WWD ISSUE 10/05/2009



maria-luisaWhen Maria Luisa Poumaillou opened her eponymous boutique in Rue Cambon in 1988, her address became famous for carrying not just the best of fashion, but also many small, edgy brands that are now household names. 

Department store Printemps hopes to renew that success as a branch of Maria Luisa formally opened Saturday within its sprawling Boulevard Haussmann flagship. 

With Poumaillou??™s involvement, Printemps, which has just emerged from a major refurbishment in a move to rebrand itself as an upmarket shopping destination, will make directional designers available in a department store for the first time in France. 

???That??™s why we wanted this partnership,??? said Tancrede de Lalun, merchandise manager for men??™s and women??™s wear at Printemps. 

Decorated in ivory and charcoal-gray large stripes with a powder pink ceiling, the boutique occupies a 2,583-square-foot space at the core of the second floor, where the main designer lines are located. 

The reason for placing the shop-in-shop at the center of the store was to complement Printemps??™ more mainstream designer offering with edgier labels like Gareth Pugh, Rick Owens, L??™Wren Scott, Manish Arora and Martin Margiela, as well as with a number of exclusives like Victoria Beckham, Pierre Hardy and Manolo Blahnik. 

Click here to read the full article



Rolling Girl: Front Row at Costume National

by WWD Staff

From WWD ISSUE 10/05/2009

richardsonAlexandra Richards is ratcheting up the modeling credits. Along with sister Theodora, she is fronting the latest French Connection campaign shot by Terry Richardson, and she is soon due to appear in ads for Diesel, J. Crew and Seven Jeans. Despite the hectic modeling schedule, Richards seems to have found time for music. ???I am DJing at Bungalow 8 in London,??? she said at Costume National on Sunday.









–Nikki Cho Russo

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Posted Oct 05 2009 in Uncategorized
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