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And I love hearing from all of them. <br> <br>In a knowledge-based economy, Twitter is just one more byte to help keep me on top of everything that is happening. Did you know that the Australian swimwear label Zimmermann, whose sales we host on Gilt, just reopened their glitzy Bondi store? I do, because I follow them. I also track former stock analyst Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider (@ hblodget and @ alleyinsider) -- he gets the best scoops. (Full disclosure: Blodget's Silicon Alley Insider shares a board member with Gilt.) But I follow the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and my other guilty pleasure, Gawker, too.<br> <br>As an entrepreneur, the question is, how can you harness Twitter for business? For Gilt, Twitter gives us unfiltered access to our members. They let us know when they're having shipping problems, and at noon, when sales start at Gilt, we hear them explode into a hundred whispers that build into lengthy discussions about the Fendi Spy Bag. When we had Fendi on the site for the first time ever in July, we were all very excited. So it makes sense that our customers would be chattering about that, too.<br> <br>But it's the small tweets that matter. When I didn't know what to wear to a premier party we co-hosted at Sunshine Cinema for Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, I posted my quandary and immediately heard back from my Twitter pals. Where else can an executive get instant advice on a hippie hairdo? <br></p>?<p>Designer digs for a fraction of the price. Yes please. 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My best wishes to you for continued success in your home, health, and work!?For everyone arguing against gay marriage (and I guess, for Chick Fil A):<br><br>Fox News and their talking heads have a long standing record of using highly effective advertising campaigns centerered around unsolvable social issues. There is no solution to gay marriage - it's that simple. Some people are for it, some against and very rarely does anyone change their mind on this subject. <br><br>A massive segment of the United States sees gay marriage and laws supporting gay marriage as an attack on social norms, mores and institutions that define them. There is no arguing with this group (i'm not saying they are right or wrong). This group is fighting for a sense of their own identity. 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No cause of death was given.</p><p>Piaggi stood out in the front rows of Milan and Paris runway shows dressed in her eccentric style outfits, including funky hats and theatrical makeup.</p><p></p><p>She started her career as a translator for Mondadori publishing company, and went on to write for, among others, Vogue Italia.</p><p>Piaggi provided inspiration for Lagerfeld, who published a sketchbook of her creations and once wrote "Anna invents fashion."</p><p>The Victoria and Albert Museum in London held an exhibition in 2006 of her extensive wardrobe collection, including thousands of dresses and hundreds of pairs of shoes.</p><p>Related on HuffPost:</p>?<p>MILAN -- Fashion journalist Anna Piaggi, who provided inspiration for designer Karl Lagerfeld and was celebrated for her own eccentric style, died Tuesday. She was 81.</p><p>Vogue Italia said on its website that she died in Milan. No cause of death was given.</p><p>For years, Piaggi's vibrant dress sense &ndash; including funky hats and theatrical makeup &ndash; made her stand out on the front rows of Milan and Paris runway shows.</p><p>Piaggi started her career as a translator for Mondadori publishing company, and went on to write for, among others, Vogue Italia. She provided inspiration for Lagerfeld, who published a sketchbook of her creations and once wrote "Anna invents fashion."</p><p>The Victoria and Albert Museum in London held an exhibition in 2006 of her extensive wardrobe collection, including thousands of dresses and hundreds of pairs of shoes.</p><p>Master milliner Stephen Jones paid tribute to Piaggi, saying she had served as his "guiding light and an inspiration" and praising her for her "effervescence and inventiveness."</p><p>In a statement to The Associated Press, the British hat designer for royalty and superstars reminisced about how Piaggi would call him and "say `Ah, Stephen, I am doing a wonderful thing and I need a new hat.'"</p><p>Jones said he had visited Piaggi in her apartment just two weeks ago, and they were making plans to take in the men's shows in London in January.</p><p>Jones said Piaggi was not only his muse, she was also "a talisman for all those around the world who believe that fashion is a way of life and that freedom of expression should manifest itself in what we wear."</p>?We were shocked when the tacky-attired Nicki Minaj was spotted sitting next to the always-chic Anna Wintour during Carolina Herrera's Spring...?<p></p><p> -- Expect more government layoffs based on last year's strategic review, Treasury Board President Tony Clement said Monday.<br> <p>That's outside of the savings the government expects to have by not replacing the roughly 11,000 civil servants who leave their jobs every year. And that's before they look at further cuts in the 2011-12 fiscal year.</p><br> <p>On Monday, the Globe and Mail reported over three years.</p><br> <p>"I would say there are more [layoffs] coming, yes," Clement said after appearing at a House committee. "This was part of the 2010 strategic review, this is not part of the go-forward strategic and operating review."</p><br> <p>He wouldn't say how many cuts to expect or which departments would be affected next.</p><br> <p>"The strategic review has to go through a process of identifying potential layoffs and informing those individuals. I'm not going to do it by informing the media. The individuals in question should get the notice first," Clement said.</p><br> <p>"I can't put a number on it until individuals are notified."</p><br> <p>The head of one of the affected unions, the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, said the cuts could hit 285 workers this year. The employees being cut will have eight weeks before their jobs end.</p><br> <p>"The Harper government has been planning it for a while. They lowered the GST by two per cent. They lowered corporate taxes," said Claude Poirier. "The result is they have a huge deficit they want to make up for by laying people off."</p><br> <p>"In the end it's the Canadian public that's going to suffer," he said.</p><br> <p>Clement told the House government operations committee that it's too early into the government's strategic review to decide what exactly will get cut after 2012. The government is looking for $4 billion in cuts, or about 5 per cent of its total budget, in order to balance the budget by 2014.</p><br> <p>Recent media reports have also cited layoffs at the National Gallery of Canada as a result of the budget-cutting exercise.</p><br> <p>But Clement says the government isn't yet at a stage where any decisions have been made for the next phase of the review. He says officials are still consulting with Canada's 67 federal departments and agencies.</p><br> <p>"We're relying primarily on attrition," he said, adding he's been told about 11,000 people leave public service jobs every year.</p><br> <p>"That's a good base from which to start."</p><br> <p>NDP MP Nycole Turmel, a former public service union leader, said Clement is making government employees do the work for him.</p><br> <p>"You're putting words in my mouth right now," Clement said.</p><br> <p>"I think you'd be the most critical," if the government made its cuts without consulting its employees, he added.</p><br> <p>"That would be reckless ... And that's not our government," Clement said.</p><br> <p>Clement was appearing in front of a House committee to discuss the government's budget for the next year.</p><br> <p>The appearance by Clement, who as Treasury Board president is like the chief operating officer for the government, gave opposition MPs the chance to question him on estimated spending through March, 2012, and on how the government plans to balance its budget by 2014.</p><br> <p>Clement has talked about looking to the civil service for ideas about streamlining and cutting programs. In a speech earlier this month, he said departments should look at a full range of options, including administrative efficiencies, business consolidation and user fees, although he later stepped back from the idea of levying fees.</p><br> <p>"We have a chance to look critically at the programs and services we provide, and the operational and administrative methods with which we do it. We have a chance to gauge if we are delivering for Canadians in the best, most relevant and most cost efficient way possible," read his prepared remarks for the June 8 speech.</p><br> <p>"We'll all need to ask fundamental questions about the programs and services we provide.... Should we still be doing this and doing it in this way? Does this have to be delivered by this organization? Why does it cost as much as it does? Can we find savings? Is it achieving the expected results efficiently? Is this a government priority, and is it affordable during a period of fiscal restraint? Are we achieving value for money? These are some of the questions we must ask ourselves in making our determinations," he said.</p><br> </p><p></p> <br>?<p> is that you?</p><p>Oh, no, it's just Darl, a character played by in a new commercial, who bares a striking resemblance to the Kaiser.</p><p>Darl, who in the ad is a character filming an online dating video, is dressed in what seems to be an outfit pulled directly from Lagerfeld's closet. Donning a white ponytail, dressed in a white shirt with a black vest, black tie and accessorized with a crucifix necklace, black leather gloves and, of course, big black sunglasses, Kutcher pulls off Karl's signature look perfectly.</p><p>Darl even says some unbelievably ridiculous things, which remind us a lot of those we've heard in the past:</p>"Au naturel is always in fashion, just like my face."<p>And...</p>"Miracles in my mouth make an Eiffel Tower in my pants."<p>Though Kutcher's accent is a little off, we think this is the funniest thing we've seen all day -- and at least it's bound to be waaaay less controversial than one of the other </p><p>Watch the video and let us know, would you date Darl?</p><p>Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on , , and .</p><p>Also on HuffPost:</p>Click through our slideshow and check out Karl's Net-A-Port line! <br>?<p>After decades of talks, the luxe Bal Harbour Shops will be expanding retail space onto the property of a 67-year-old church.</p><p>The Shops will be growing 200,000 square feet larger, part of that footprint planned for where Church by the Sea sits now on 96th Street. The congregation made the trade in exchange for The Shops funding and building a new 50,000-square-foot, eco-friendly church at the intersection of Bal Bay Drive and Park Drive, according to a press release. </p><p>Church members will also be given free parking spaces in the shops.</p><p>The open-air mall, owned by three generations of the Whitman family, has reportedly been in talks with the progressive Protestant church, founded in 1945, for the last five decades. In June, church members voted in favor of the agreement, which was finalized late last week.</p><p>Some current stores looking to expand will move into the new retail wing along with new brands that have been on a waiting list, said Boardroom Communications' Susan Miller, who represents the shops. </p><p>Bal Harbour currently has more than 100 high-end retailers on the premises, including Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Lanvin, Prada and Valentino. Valued at $2,555-per-square foot, it was recently determined to be the .</p><p>According to a church newsletter, and in a vote taken June 3, .</p><p>The shopping center agreed to move the stained glass windows from the sanctuary into the new building, which will be about 20,000 square feet larger,</p><p>"The free parking as well as a new eco-friendly, state-of-the-art building that was larger... really is what pushed people over the edge to thinking that this was a good idea," the Rev. Robert Asinger told HuffPost Miami.</p><p>About 15 years ago, the relationship turned contentious when the congregation filed a lawsuit against Bal Harbour Shops over parking fees -- church members had to park on the street or pay to use the parking garage. During talks with the shopping center, the garage parking fees were waived. </p><p>My family and I have been in conversations with our neighbors, the Church by the Sea, for the better part of half a century, said the Shops' operating partner Matthew Whitman Lazenby in a statement. We are just delighted to have found a solution that allows the church to advance its mission, while affording us the opportunity to finally move forward with our long-awaited expansion.</p><p>Earlier on HuffPost:</p>?<p>A gentleman according to the books is a man of good and courteous conducts, a well-educated man so to speak. If we stick to this simple vision of who a gentleman should be it seems quite easy for any man to be one or to pretend to be one.</p>?<p>Text By JENNY BARCHFIELD, Associated Press</p><p>PARIS -- Wallflowers and those in the market for business casual, look elsewhere. Boldness was in the air at Paris' spring-summer 2011 ready-to-wear shows on Thursday, as designers here delivered over-the-top looks for those whose entrances are always grand and for the happy few who live in the glow of paparazzi's flashbulbs.</p><p>Check out pictures from the shows and scroll down to keep reading.</p><p></p><p>Manish Arora was paging Lady Gaga with his "baroque beach wear," sculptural cocktail dresses that dripped sequins, rhinestones and massive gold appliques, like exoskeletons. Not pieces meant for sitting, but who needs anything so pedestrian when there are photo-calls?</p><p>The It Girls' favorite label, Balmain, turned punk upside down with a slashed, trashed and thrashed luxury hardcore collection held together by what were certainly the world's most expensive safety pins.</p><p>In flowing white skirts and sleeveless vests, Rick Owens' preternaturally elongated models looked like well-meaning aliens beamed down to teach earthlings about the finer things in life (like style.) Their long, lean silhouettes blunted the California-born designer's aggressive edge and softened his usual post-apocalyptic aesthetic.</p><p>Another American, one-time wunderkind Zac Posen, made his Paris debut with a sensual collection that paid tribute to the French capital's legendary revues, sending out vamped up, feather-covered cancan girls worthy of the Crazy Horse or the Lido.</p><p>Paris' ready-to-wear week moves into day four on Friday with shows by French luxury supernova Christian Dior, rising Paris star Isabel Marant and Lanvin, which season after season churns out precisely what women want.</p><p>BALMAIN</p><p>It was anti-punk punk: By elevating Johnny Rotten's tattered, anarchist uniform to that of a status symbol -- complete with an astronomical price-tag dangling from its safety pins -- Balmain designer Christophe Decarnin subverted the very essence of the punk rock movement.<br>Everything about the punks that was raw and explosive became, in Decarnin's hands, slick and sleek and smolderingly sensual. Gone were the combat boots, replaced by spike heels. The bleach-splashed denim jeans were shrunk onto the models' waifish frames or slashed suggestively to the very upper reaches of their thighs.</p><p>The punks' iconic garment, the leather biker jacket, replaced the peak-shouldered blazers that have become Balmain's must-have look in seasons past.</p><p>The rhinestones that have covered all things Balmain in bling were still there, though the sparkling crystals competed for space on the leather jackets and denim hot-pant cutoffs with hundreds of little silver studs, like the ones used for piercings.</p><p>Slashed American flag tank tops -- so abused they looked like period pieces from the punks' 1970s heyday -- were held together with safety pins.</p><p>A-list photographer Mario Sorrenti called the collection "amazing, totally sexy and glamorous" -- high praise in the fashion world, but hardly the adjectives any true punk rockers would want applied to their style.</p><p>It's a pretty safe bet that the late Clash frontman Joe Strummer would be rolling in his grave to see the safety pin become a luxury status symbol for the It Girl set.</p><p>MANISH ARORA</p><p>The Delhi-based designer outdid himself with a collection where nary a surface escaped the onslaught of sequins, rhinestones and sculptural gold appliques.</p><p>Swingy cocktail dresses were heavy with paillettes and cropped bolero jackets sprouted braided gold appliques that stood out from the body.</p><p>Even the shoes, booties with vertiginous heels, were covered in grasping little coral-like tentacles that shook as the models -- their faces abloom with gold and colorful stripes -- stomped down the catwalk.</p><p>These were clothes for making an entrance, avant-garde pop star style. In such clothes you don't sit -- those oversized sculptural hips wouldn't allow for that -- but simply stand there and bask in the glow of flashes.</p><p>Arora said he'd tried to vamp up the collection by making it more body-conscious than usual.<br>"I'm known to do complicated clothes and lots of embellishments, but my shapes have never been so fitted," he said after the show. "I thought it was time to make it more feminine, more sexy."</p><p>RICK OWENS</p><p>Now we know what the aliens will be wearing when they take over: Without a doubt, Rick Owens will be their label of choice.</p><p>Owens sent out an invading army of extraterrestrial princesses in eerily long, sweeping skirts and clean, sleeveless leather vests with trailing trains. Horn combs, like alien antennae, gave the silhouettes extra length.</p><p>"It's not worth presenting unless it's a bit supernatural," he told the AP in a backstage interview.</p><p>Owens' trademark elements were all there -- the extra-long sleeveless vests, the oversized turned-up collars, the backless apron shirts -- but somehow their aggressive edge had been slightly blunted. A lighter palette of bone white, putty and olive, in addition to the usual black, also helped soften the collection.</p><p>Owens' aliens, it was clear, are a benevolent species.</p><p>ZAC POSEN</p><p>Ostrich feathers enveloped everything, covering the abbreviated bolero jackets, squashed between two gauzy layers of tulle on the second-skin gowns and sprouting from the hips or haunches of catsuits in racy black lace.</p><p>The sultry palette of blood orange, coral and rich velvety reds recalled the mise-en-scene at Paris' classy strip clubs, like the legendary Lido or the Crazy Horse.<br>It was a bold Paris debut for Posen, a one-time critical darling whose label has hit hard financial times of late.</p><p>Still, initial reaction to the show -- which included a heavy-hitting lineup of top models like Carmen Kass and Isabelle Fontana -- appeared mixed. Applause was tepid, and the A-list guests made a beeline for the exit as soon as the lights went up.</p> <br>?The point of patent, trademark and copyright was to protect the inventor/artist who thought it up and allowed him to recoup costs and make a profit before everyone else jumped on the wagon and saturated the market. That is what it was supposed to do, like everything else, its just a lie. It has allowed corporations and governments to buy or repossess an idea leading to corporate holdings of millions, if not billions of patents and copy writes. The company that stakes a claim on a copywrite or patent because the person doing the thinking was an employee is ABSOLUTELY repossessing the employee's idea. Stealing it is more apt a word. <br><br>Now, if the people would stand together when something like this happens, maybe it could be changed. But monkeys are incredibly selfish and stupid bunch and they only care about themselves, so that won't happen. If it did, what we could do is stop buying their crap, mail to them, in mass, shredded batman comics and put such a financial hurt on theses thieves that they will stop trying to rob us. But that's not gonna happen. YOU try getting a selfish, greedy monkey to shred a valuable comic book, even if it's not valuable yet. You will be shredded yourself. Monkeys would MUCH rather destroy life than things.?<p>While some noticed that , it looks like the fashion shows going on in London are picking up the slack. </p><p>In fact, world-renowned milliner Philip Treacy's didn't just send a few models of color down the runway--he cast an all black model presentation. A total of 25 black women strutted out in , which was opened by the equally outrageous Lady Gaga. </p><p>We haven't seen this many black models take over a major fashion moment since . </p><p>The show was a homage to the African woman and their sensibility to dress up, explaining his choice of models. </p><p>We'll take that as: we know how to dress--which is a much kinder assessment compared to that black women's heightened sense is only thanks to Michelle Obama. </p><p>Furthermore, the barrage of color was a welcomed surprise during Treacy's first runway show in 13 years. Black models are usually sprinkled throughout the long list of Fashion Week shows, popping up here and there and often the same four or five faces, like--Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Grace Mahary and Jasmine Tookes. It was nice to see a slew of beautiful black beauties parade down the runway, even if many of their faces were covered by Treacy's eccentric designs. However, are these heavy doses of diversity (that are few and far between) enough to quell the demand for more?</p><p>We're not so sure. Strong showings like the ones during Treacy's show only remind us that there are more than enough black models available and most importantly that they are (and have always been) beautiful ambassadors for a designer's creations. </p><p>Kenya Hunt, style director at Metro International, agrees and further argues that consistency is key. </p><p>"The real sign of progress is when we begin to see black women integrated into the runway in a regular, consistent and organic way, rather than just popping up as a sign of tokenism to fill some sort of quota. So while these all-black moments can be great for sparking dialogue about diversity on the runway we need to see black girls on the runway as often as we do on the street," Hunt told The London Evening Standard. </p><p>There is still a long way to go when it comes to closing the diversity gap within the fashion industry--but we're counting Treacy's colorful show as a major win and a stylish step in the right direction. </p><p>Check out some looks from Philip Treacy's Spring 2013 fashion presentation in the slideshow below. <br></p>?WASHINGTON &mdash; The Justice Department declared Friday that Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to withhold information about a bungled gun-tracking operation from Congress does not...?<p>MILAN &mdash; Boudoir styles, once a trademark of Italian fashion, are back for spring/summer 2010. But rather than the sex pot numbers, which brought out the best in designers such as Dolce&Gabbana and Gianni Versace, this round the look is demure and yesteryear.</p><p>Corset tops worn over a jeans bubble skirt, panties peeping out of a pair of short shorts and bra tops veiled in silk chiffon all combine to create a romantic rather than raunchy mood.</p><p>Many of the styles have a old-fashioned feel with heavy use of old-fashioned lace, knitting and cotton.</p><p>Culottes are pulled out of Grandma's trousseau to become contemporary shorts, worn over loose silk tops.</p><p>There is also an enticing lightness and unfinished touch to these collections, with profuse use of chiffon and gauze, and shredded fabric as if cut but not stitched.</p><p>Layering is a big part of next summer's fashion and designers often lingerie items with shirts, vests, dusters or the latest coverall &ndash; the chiffon apron.</p><p>As this round of Milan fashion comes to a close &ndash; the five day preview showings end Monday &ndash; it is apparent that the designers, hard hit by the current economic crisis, are playing it safe. There have been no dictates this season but, rather, gentle hints, as seen in the soft core of the sexy styles.</p><p>DOLCE&GABBANA</p><p>In this season of lingerie looks, no one could feel more at home than Dolce&Gabbana, who first turned inner wear into outerwear on the Milan runway some 30 years ago.</p><p>For spring/summer 2010, the designing duo, who presented their latest collection Sunday, run the gamut from corsets to culottes in fetching lace, crochet and floral printed silk.</p><p>The transparent effect of lace is used on jackets, dresses, skirts and even shoes and bags. A three-piece tuxedo with cropped jacket and jodhpur pants serves as a reminder that you don't have to take your clothes off to be sexy.</p><p>"The idea was to provoke sensuality," Stefano Gabbana said of the collection, which in many ways was reminiscent of the duo's earliest 1980's styles when pop singer Madonna was their muse.</p><p>The grande finale of the much applauded show &ndash; a myriad of models "dressed" in bustiers, bras and panties &ndash; underlined the fact that the duo was not yet done with "dirty" designing.</p><p>However, there is a sweet, rather than sexy, feel to the collection, reflecting the romantic mood that has captured this round of Milan fashion.</p><p>Even the shoes, despite their towering heels, are wrapped, rather than strapped, around the ankle in a lace bow.</p><p>Colors are mainly black and white, interspersed with demure China porcelain prints. A new Dolce&Gabbana animal print in red or light blue is proof that there is still lots of tiger in that fashion tank.</p><p>FENDI</p><p>There is a feel of yesteryear at Fendi, as if someone had opened Grandma's trousseau trunk and wrapped each item in light gauze for protection.</p><p>Everything from the old-fashioned bras and panties to bubble skirts, shorts and even the high-heeled shoes is covered in a thin veil, lending an ethereal effect to the new spring/summer collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld and presented Sunday.</p><p>Moreover many of the outfits have a frayed look, with unfinished seaming and off-white or black colors which add to the "once upon a time" feel of the clothes.</p><p>And yet the collection is also ultra modern with a brand new shirtwaist made up of shorts and a shirttail back, leather worked to look softer than fabric and the latest Fendi bag with its exchangeable surfaces.</p><p>The many-bags-in-one, designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, inventor of the popular Baguette bag, is sure to be a success in these times of tight purse strings. The simple leather bag comes with little "aprons" ranging from linen to intricately embroidered fabric, in various colors.</p><p>For nighttime, the bag has a satin cover reminiscent of the pouches Grandma used for putting away her silk stockings.</p><p>MARNI</p><p>Marni makes dressing up look easy.</p><p>From the layered styles held together by a striped knitted belt with matching striped leggings to the upbeat flowers, checks and polka dots of the prints, Marni's latest collection presented in Milan on Sunday is all about a laid-back summer 2010.</p><p>Like many collections presented during the current Milan fashion week, the outfits are feather light, and each piece can be worn individually from the sporty shorts to the shirt-dresses to the dustcoats.</p><p>True to designer Consuelo Castiglione's style the clothes take on the personality of the woman who wears them whether they are casual jersey trousers or elegant silk jackets.</p><p>Shoes for next season, worn on the runway with ankle socks, include suede sandals with a small heel, loafers, and wedges made out of light resin.</p><p>Huge petal earrings, wraparound sun glasses and a printed silk head scarf complete the seemingly effortless look.</p> <br>?<p>,05.25.2011</p><p>Executive Editor, HuffPost Style and HuffPost Home</p><p>Here's what it's like to lose your Marc Jacobs virginity: you walk out of the show feeling dizzy, clammy, heart pounding, a little nauseous, and slightly feverish. I think I literally had a fever, but the feeling was also a result of my excitement at having scored a spot at Fashion Week's most coveted show.</p>?<p>When it comes to controversial fashion, we try not to be too sensitive. But sometimes we can't believe what we're seeing.</p><p>While out and about in Los Angeles on Monday, (of "The Suite Life on Deck" fame, for those of you not up on your former Disney stars) chose a top that definitely merited a second look. The actress' tee depicted the word "OFFENDID" along with two F's arranged back to back, creating the optical illusion of a swastika. </p><p>Again, we don't like to nitpick, but wouldn't it be a good idea to steer completely clear from Nazi imagery if you're in the public eye? After all, Brenda just recently ended , complete with and , so she hasn't been entirely out of the press since her Disney heyday. </p><p>More importantly, what exactly is the message? , but it's hard to tell what exactly is meant to come across here. Take a look at the photo below and tell us what you think. Are you offended by Brenda's tee? </p><p></p><p>PHOTO:</p><p></p><p>See more controversial fashion items!</p><p></p><p>Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on , , and .</p>?<p>What lesson did we learn this week, class? Don't rip off Burberry.</p><p> this week as Manhattan Federal court laid down the law on an extensive counterfeiting network. According to Women's Wear Daily, a slew of Chinese websites using the Burberry name and selling fake Burberry goods (yes, ... )have been found guilty of trademark infringement. </p><p>This is certainly not the first time the British brand has taken counterfeiters to task. In 2010, for selling fake Burberry products. </p><p>But the recent suit has more intriguing, precedent-setting terms: in this case, Burberry has been awarded not only a huge sum of money but the offending domain names as well, including and </p><p>, to "hold third-party hosts; payment processors; search engines, such as Google, and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, accountable for associating with the infringing sites," writes Women's Wear Daily. If a site is found to be in cahoots with the counterfeiters, says WWD, Burberry could cut them out from Web searches altogether.</p><p>Let's hope those Chinese counterfeiters aren't social media mavens. </p><p> Tell us in the comment: have you ever purchased a fake designer bag?</p><p>Related on HuffPost:</p> <br>?<p>Former French Vogue Editor-In-Chief who will forever be the editor of our hearts, Carine Roitfeld, for one of the more enlightening interviews since her departure from the glossy. Or maybe it's because we hang on her every mot. </p><p>Here's the most interesting excerpt from the discussion:</p>SPIEGEL: In France, you have a reputation for being the woman who invented "porn chic." Your photos were criticized because they showed young Lolita-type girls, pregnant women smoking and smooching seniors.<br><br>Roitfeld: Yes, of course. Fashion has to be given free rein and only a small number of restrictions. I never used any photos that my children shouldn't see; that was my benchmark. The little girls wearing makeup were never naked; it said "No Smoking" under the pregnant woman; and why shouldn't old people kiss? You must be allowed to play. Anything else is terribly boring. I've also painted white models black and later red, which (the French anti-racist NGO) SOS Racisme complained about.<br><p>SPIEGEL: Did you find that silly?<br></p><p>Roitfeld: It's absurd to accuse me of being racist. I dedicated an entire issue of Vogue to the black model Liya Kebede. I'm always looking for connections to real life. I once had a series of photos about fur; but, in these politically correct times, you can't even go out on the street in New York or London without getting a pie thrown in your face. The photos showed extras holding up posters of animal rights activists. It was meant to be ironic, but unfortunately not everyone got it. Why can't we wear the animals we also eat, such as sheep and rabbits?</p><p>And two more nuggets of wisdom that we'd like to print out and frame... </p>On fashion shows: "The atmosphere isn't as electric as it once was, and they now have about as much charm as a medical conference."<p>Hey, she did .</p>On her fashion principles: "I don't change my handbag every season. I believe in the Yves Saint Laurent woman who either has her hands in the pockets of her pantsuit or is holding her lover's hand. She doesn't need a bag.". And find out more about . <br>?<p>Before she was the First Lady of France, before she was even a renowned singer, Carla Bruni was a model--and not just any model, but one favored by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Gianfranco Ferr, who designed for Dior at the time. So to celebrate the first day of this season's Paris Fashion Week, take a look back at Carla's runway days.</p><p></p> <br>?<p>Sorry for the delay in posting kids, Colonel Cator was out till 5am looking for the juiciest quotes for today's post.</p><p>In case you don't believe me, here is my schedule from last night. Thank God for Joe our driver who zizzed us around town at lightening speed!</p><p><br> North Miami Marching Band at Bruce Weber's Book Party</p><p>6 - 8 pm <br>Andr Balazs & Bruce Weber Party for Little Bear Press & <br>the 10th anniversary of the All American Book Series<br>The Standard Hotel & Spa </p><p>6 - 8 pm<br>Nadja Swarovski cocktail party for the launch of Swarovski Crystal Palace Book<br>The Webster, 1220 Collins Ave.</p><p>6 - 9 pm<br>Fendi Casa and Plum TV 3 x 3 Director & Artist Collaboration<br>Fendi Casa, 90 NE 39th St., Miami, FL 33137</p><p>7 pm<br>Premiere screening of Miral by Julian Schnabel<br>Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd. (@ Lenox Ave.) doors at 6:30 pm<br>9 pm - Maybach, Sam Keller & Jeffrey Deitch dinner honoring Schnabel & Sean Penn <br>New World Symphony, 500 17th St. (@ Drexel Ave.)</p><p>8 pm<br>Opening reception for OHWOW IT AIN'T FAIR 2010<br>3100 NW 7 Ave. @ NW 31st St. Miami, FL 33127</p><p>9 pm<br>Mark Seliger Book Signing & Exhibition<br>Casa Tua, 1700 James Avenue</p><p>8 - 10 pm <br>NADA Party<br>Canyon Ranch Living Miami Beach, 6801 Collins Ave.</p><p>8 - 11 pm<br>Maison Martin Margiela Party - a fusion of fashion and art<br>3930 NE 2nd Avenue, #101, Miami, FL 33137</p><p>8 - 11 pm<br>Native Shoes RAINBOW CITY opening party with a special performance by N*E*R*D, hosted by Shepard Fairey<br>140 NE 39th St. Miami Design District</p><p>9:30 pm - 1 am<br>MoMA PS1 & INTERVIEW with Richard Chang, Klaus Biesenbach, Christopher Bollen<br>A SPECIAL NIGHT PERFORMANCE<br>Walter Salon at the Delano, 1685 Collins Ave., Enter on 17th Street </p><p>11 pm<br>Vito Schnabel, Alex Dellal & Stavros Niarchos invite you to Wall <br>W Hotel, 2201 Collins Ave.</p><p>12:00 am - 4 am<br>Boffo H.U.N.X. party (Alexcalibur performance)<br>Lords South Beach Hotel, 1120 Collins Ave. (@ 11th St.)</p><p><br> Knit Wit's at the Paper Magazine Party</p><p><br>Needless to say we were spinning by nights end. Here are the quotes I overheard, from what I remember:</p><p>Quote 1:<br>Overhearing a well dressed woman reading her friend:<br>"You can lay all the eggs you want honey but they will NEVER be a Cadbury!"</p><p>Quote 2:<br>"Girl are you wearing.."<br>"Yes sister, it's a table cloth, don't ask."</p><p>Quote 3:<br>"Dude, use my dealer, he has a press pass. They think he is an editor from Columbia!"</p><p>Quote 4:<br>Before Billy Farrel was taking a girls photo she looked at her date and said,<br>"Babe can you be on titty tissue patrol?"</p><p>Quote 5:<br>"Oh you know a boy in a pastel sweater set is up to no good."</p><p><br> The last thing I remember from last night...<br></p>?<p>When it comes to tasting food, it's widely accepted that our sense of smell is as much a part of the process as our taste buds. In fact research has shown that 70 - 75% of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. Apply the same theory to what aftershave you wear and you begin to understand why scent is so essential to style.</p>?<p>When it comes to power dressing, I always think of the late 1980's in Los Angeles, where I had moved from London to become a film agent, before throwing it in for a freelance writing career. </p><p>For me, power dressing is frozen in time. </p><p>The women wore big shoulder pads and carried fat Filofaxes; the men sported dark Armani suits. Both sexes shopped and cut movie deals while dining at the Palm, the original Spago's or the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel. </p><p>Of course, my male friends in England at that time, many of whom worked in finance, wouldn't be caught dead in Armani. Power dressing for them was about Savile Row suits and Hilditch and Key shirts, maybe a Harrods tie. </p><p>When I picture their female counterparts, I think tights and court shoes (panty hose and pumps). </p><p>My point is -- power dressing is culturally relative, even job specific. But there are certain universal principles that apply. </p><p>The key for women is to look professional, yet retain their femininity. When power dressing, I propose the latter be achieved through subtleties, the faint scent of perfume, a waist cinched with a crocodile belt, a slight ruffle peeking out of a suit jacket's neck or cuff. </p><p>The good news is that women no longer have to look like quarterbacks. The shoulders came back, but thankfully, not with a vengeance. So let's play ball with some basic power dressing rules.</p><p>10 Tips for Dressing with Power and Style</p><p>1.Suit Up: I don't care what business you're in. When you have the right occasion for power dressing, you wear a suit, or perhaps a tailored shift and matching jacket. Think iconic designers, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, dare I say it, Giorgio Armani. When suit shopping, pick a classic cut, a lightweight fabric that's not seasonal (no crumply linen, no chunky tweed), and a neutral color that suits you well. I favor darker colors for suits and minimal patterns. Trousers or skirts, mox nix. </p><p>2. Tinker Tailor: Go to a tailor in your chosen suit. Nothing looks worse than an ill-fitting suit, so make sure it fits perfectly. Especially have any hems adjusted to work with the shoes you're most likely to wear with it. If in doubt, keep the skirt length just above the knee and the pant length below the ankle. </p><p>3.Slinky Shirt: You want a great shirt that fits snuggly under the suit, but not so snug that buttons pop. Don't go too low cut, though a little plunge is chic, especially under a jacket with lapels. Get an ivory or white shirt -- most skin tones work better with one or the other. No black bras! I'm partial to Anne Fontaine shirts, my splurge. A creamy silk is also a winner. The other Anne (Taylor) always has solid silk top selections. </p><p>4.Neat Feet: Shoes must be comfortable yet have a bit of height. Toes are a no-no. If you can pull off red-soled Christian Louboutin pumps with a pantsuit, I'd be in awe. </p><p>5.Read my Lips: Now I LOVE color, so you're thinking why such a stick in the mud with all the neutrals. Sorry, it's power dressing: fuchsia, orange and turquoise are luscious but they just don't say take me seriously. BUT I will do red. Red is a power color to me. A red bag, if feeling sassy. Red lips, if nothing else... and only with minimal makeup. </p><p>6.Strategic Jewels: A pearl necklace, a brooch (think Madeline Albright kicked down a notch or two) or a simple sculptural gold cuff work. Do not wear too much bling.</p><p>7.Time Keeper: A fine watch says something about your orderliness, not to mention style. Wear one. If you don't have a Cartier, no worries, a vintage watch will be less expensive and just as striking, pun intended. </p><p>8.Legwear: In the winter, I would do opaque tights or trouser socks. In the summer, I would do bare legs. Pasty white legs, no, but a little self-tanner and you're good to go. Peds with pumps are a given. </p><p>9.Bag Lady: A good-looking bag that goes with your suit is a plus. I'd stay away from too bold a color. Aim more for a graphic logo style, like Fendi or Louis Vuitton, if you can afford it. Bag shouldn't be so big that it looks like a weekend tote and not so small that it won't hold your iphone (I currently covet a Gucci iphone case), wallet and a compact. </p><p>10.Be Groomed: I can't stress how important this tip is with respect to power dressing. Cut and blow-dry the locks into a clean shape. Wear minimal makeup. Have a manicure, no 'flamingo pink' or 'salsa red' please, just the palest pink or better yet French. Wax your upper lip and pluck your eyebrows.</p><p>Above all, remember power dressing is all about the right attitude, as well as the right clothes. Be confident, stand tall and smile. Good luck.</p><p>Follow Charlotte Safavi on Twitter:</p>?<p><br>By Kim Palmer <br>FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Gay rights activists and backers of same-sex marriage held "kiss-ins" at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the United States on Friday to protest the fast-food chain president's opposition to homosexual unions. <br>Same Sex Kiss Day is a reaction to comments last month from Dan Cathy, who said he supported "the biblical definition of the family unit" and put his chain of roughly 1,600 restaurants smack in the middle of a cultural debate. <br>Carly McGehee, a Dallas political activist who came up with the idea of the kiss-in, said more than 15,000 people said they would join the protest since she posted an announcement on her Facebook page on July 19. <br>Cathy's company "is continuously supporting hate and bigotry and intolerance," said McGehee, 24. <br>More than 20 protesters gathered at one of the fast-food restaurants in Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, where Mark Toomajian kissed his partner, Jim Fortier, 58, for the cameras. <br>"It's a human rights issue, it's not a First Amendment issue," said Toomajian, 41, as protesters held signs playing off Chick-fil-A's advertising campaign. "Eat More Justice," read one sign. <br>The protest was organized by Marci Alt, 48, of Atlanta, who has an online petition calling for Cathy to come to her home for dinner with her partner of 12 years and their two children. Alt said she has not received a reply from Cathy. <br>Steve Robinson, a Chick-fil-A spokesman, said in a statement about the "kiss-in" that the privately held chain's goal was "to provide great food, genuine hospitality and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A." <br>Earlier in the week, customers who backed Cathy's stance swamped Chick-fil-A outlets, giving the chain - known for chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and being closed on Sundays - what the company called a "record-setting day". <br> <br>MOSTLY PEACEFUL <br>Friday's demonstrations were largely peaceful, although one restaurant in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance was sprayed overnight with graffiti that read: "Tastes Like Hate," with a picture of a cow next to it. <br>More typical was the Chick-fil-A in Fairview Park, Ohio, where only a trickle of protesters could be found during the lunch rush, including one man who into the restaurant with his fist raised and said, "Support marriage!" <br>"It is just an average day for us, pretty typical," said Patrick Tate, operator of the Fairview Park location. "There have been some supporters and some from the other side." <br>Phyllis Harris, executive director of the LGBT Center in Cleveland, said the controversy does have an upside for her organization's goals. <br>"It is allowing people to have their say. It keeps the issue in the public view and you can see folks standing up for marriage equality," she said. <br>As for demonstrating, she said, "We are not going to participate as a group. We are going to focus on work here. What happens, happens. We are not against Chick-fil-A." <br>At a bustling Arlington, Virginia, store there were no smooching protesters in sight as Sara Holtzman, 26, of Washington, emerged laden with Chick-fil-A bags. <br>"To me it makes no difference. They have really great chicken ... and he's entitled to his opinion," she said of Cathy's comments. <br>An anti-kiss-in protester, Leroy Swailes, 61, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, said he had seen two same-sex couples - one male, one female - bussing inside the restaurant earlier. <br>"I'm a specialist. I've been doing this since the '60s, protesting homosexuals," said Swailes, who was dressed in clerical garb with a T-shirt over it with lettering that said "The Resurrection of Sodom and Gomorrah." (Reporting by Chris Francescani and Paul Thomasch in New York, Ian Simpson in Washington, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, and David Beasley in Decatur; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric Walsh)</p>?<p>Chloe Sevigny stepped out to the Sixth annual Gay and Lesbian and Straight Education Network Respect Awards in Beverly Hills on Friday night wearing a structured black and gray coat over a black frock, which was cinched at the waist with an embellished belt. </p><p>She toted a matching purse and donned some serious heels.</p><p>Check out Chloe's look and tell us what you think.</p><p></p><p></p> <br>?<p>The fashion world is moving on to spring/summer 2013 Ready-to-wear this month; but for the rest of us summer is winding down and we're getting ready to update our winter wardrobes instead. So here is a quick edit of the top trends for fall/winter 2012-13.</p><p><br>Leather is going to be huge:</p><p>Fendi, Celine, Givenchy, Christian Dior, Gareth Pugh, Versace, Michael Kors all featured leather heavily in their fall/winter collections. The one item of clothing I really would invest in this season is a knee-length pencil skirt, whilst the classic biker jacket is another key wardrobe staple. Leather is also set to make an appearance as detailing either as pockets, collars, lapels, sleeves; and don't forget accessories - leather gloves anyone!</p><p>Burgundy red is the new black:</p><p>Well deep oxblood red to be precise. The colour featured prominently in the Milan and New York 2012-13 Ready-to-wear runway shows - my top pick has to be a high gloss burgundy PVC raincoat. Other colours to watch for are blue combined with black, purple, white contrasted with black and finally olive-green.</p><p>Cinched in waists:</p><p>It's official the classic sheath dress is not complete without a waist belt. The sophisticated 1940-50s silhouette makes reappearance this year, but with waists accentuated with skinny belts or wide statement belts. Knee-length pencil skirts are back again and so is the midi-skirt as at Roland Mouret, Saint Laurent, DSquared, Christian Dior, Versace and Valentino. Kate Beckinsale carried off the look to perfection on a promotional tour for Total Recall in London this August.</p><p>Military:</p><p>Coats and jackets with epaulettes and statement brass buttons are another fall/winter 2012-13 trend to watch for. Whilst military greens like olive and khaki were popular at Max Mara and Victoria Beckham. The featured jacket from ticks both the military and leather trend boxes.</p><p>Animal prints:</p><p>White Milan, a trade show for fashion buyers earlier this year, was full of leopard print and zebra - so expect to see plenty of spots and stripes in the stores this fall. Snakeskin print is another hot trend to look out for - designers are using it for clothing as well as accessories. A pair of snakeskin print faux leather skinny pants by Laurel is at the top of my shopping list this season.</p><p>Brocades and flower power:</p><p>The Dolce and Gabbana runway show went all out for gilt brocade, cherubs and large floral prints, lending their sultry black-clad Sicilian widow an ornate romanticism reminiscent of Sicily's Baroque churches. The floral trend is morphing from spring/summer into the fall by way of oversize prints, darker hues, rich fabrics and embroidery.</p><p>Equestrian fashion:</p><p>This trend has been around a while now, since at least 2005 when Kate Moss donned her Hunter's at Glastonbury, and it shows no sign of letting up. Givenchy has even given the equestrian trend a sexy reboot with a fetishized version, although it has little in common with the country look espoused by the Duchess of Cambridge. Nevertheless, jodhpurs, riding boots and plaid jackets with elbow patches are still going strong in 2012. </p><p>Last time I did one of these lists I got moaned at for not telling readers where to shop, so I have posted up some ideas with links on my regular page.</p> <br><p>Follow Christine Babington Smith on Twitter:</p>?<p>Last winter designers dared to dabble in fur, but this fall it is all out skin city. The looks filling those designer racks are fur filled. To my eye, it has always been Fendi, J. Mendel, Dennis Basso (in that order) who have been the masters of designer fur-craft. Fendi was the first to modernize the use of fur. It was Fendi decades ago, who transformed squirrel as light as silk into what we would now call a gator. Fur gators have since become a staple for me, and does them for me in sheared mink, rabbit and lamb.</p><p><br></p><p>Now, scores of other ready-to-wear designers are now sculpting in fur. It's not just collars and cuffs... there are purses, phone pouches, house slippers, boots, suspenders, and leggings... in fur. Was it the New York City street vendor who started this fur freefall? Last fall the vendors were pushing bubble gum pink rabbit Davy Crockett style hats. And that look stuck when lines for teens started showing shaved rabbit vests in mainstream malls stores which also showcased faux and real fur gloves and trimmed scarves. <br> <br><br></p><p>Fur has become the texture of the moment. Non-furriers such as Chanel sent their fur message from iceberg strewn runways under the glass dome of Grand Palais in the heart of Paris... there's no need to hold back... Politically correct Chanel was all faux fur and they went full on shagging up fur pants, sweaters, skirts, boots and accessories. Faux fur is easier on the purse strings and no doubt easier on the conscience.</p><p><br></p><p>Other designers shaved, sheared, flattened or lightly blended fur in the mix with elements like trims. Donna Karan gave just a touch with trimmed hoods and thick black collars. Lynx fur coats spilled out skirts at Tory Burch where the more moderate use of fur also included sleeveless vests. And Michael Kors was fur all around from a simple hood to long fur coats and furry bags. </p><p><br></p><p>It seems this fall designers go fur for fashion's sake, forgoing decades of fierce debate. The plush fall styles even smirk boldly in the face of recession. Designers just refuse to be limited...</p><p><br><br><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p></p>?has been covering style off and on the runways as a contributor for NBC "Today", CBS, and . In1979, her media company, pioneered the "fashion video" the first to video tape fashion runway shows and covered the first fashion show on the Great Wall of China in 2007. Today her syndicated style reports are seen in the top 145 markets, on Citybuzz, the hotel channel and its website the past two decades Vidicom has pooled fashion coverage in Paris, Milan, New York, and Beijing for television newsfeeds and websites. As the author of two home style books "Decorating On A Dime" and "Breaking the Rules". Ferer mixes with couture and is an inveterate flea market and thriftaholic.?<p>So if a car's experience is so fundamentally different than riding transit, what parallel experience can we plumb for joyous attributes? I would propose we look for a model to long-distance trains and their sense of possibility and romance, not the raw sex of cars.</p>?<p>"Remember This?" is a new feature on Huffington Post Entertainment where a member of our staff takes a subject from the world of entertainment that hasn't been discussed in some time and brings it back to the forefront. Leading off, Mike Ryan writes about Duran Duran's third album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger.</p>?<p><br>My family and a Korean grad student, Chinatown, LA, c. 1955</p><p>This year, I've been "house-cleaning."</p><p>That's just one of The 99 %'s euphemisms for "turning one's home upside-down looking for primo stuff one can profitably sell online for cold hard cash."</p><p>(We have other euphemisms, if you're interested.)</p><p>In the process of scrounging through my worldly possessions, however, I've made some startling discoveries, and I'm not simply referring to the analog wonders that have turned up: a grandmother's entirely crystal-beaded evening clutch, featuring, I believe, dahlias. I'm certain someone in Arkansas or Iowa has an entire collection of these surprisingly pliable (like Slinkies, really) treasures.</p><p>There's also Aunt Willie Sue's (named for one of her father's old flames) demitasse collection -- another analog wonder. An upscale Italian coffee bar somewhere in the city should snap up these fragile wonders ("Made in Occupied Japan"; "Bavaria, Germany, US Zone"; "Fondeville, England," etc., etc.). Even a demitasse of chicory coffee must have been hard to come by in Seneca, South Carolina in the last world war.</p><p>But it's not the actual stuff that I've found to be such a revelation: it's the chasm-like difference between the life of my late mother (Elizabeth Janette Boleman Herring, 1920-1992), and my own existence that's come as something of a shock.</p><p>My mother gave birth to me at 30 -- late for the 1950s -- but not really that many years separated us. And yet, between the objects that defined her, and those that characterize me? Well, there seems to be an intergalactic-sized caesura.</p><p>Her death occurred at roughly the same time -- 1992 -- as that of this country's middle class. (I lost most of her money in the .com bust.)</p><p>Characteristically, she was doing pretty well with Stage 4 cancer until a small tumor appeared on her face. Then, much like Oscar Wilde, either that horrid wallpaper or she would have "to go." Visible tumors, if you were my Southern Belle of a mother, were not to be borne.</p><p>She was a daughter of South Carolina, and of Pasadena, back when Los Angeles was still a paradise for a certain stratum of Americans (and hell, of course, for others, as it remains).</p><p>She learned to drive at about the same time I was born (of sheer necessity), and never really mastered the skill. At the scene of her first fender-bender -- in Altadena -- she emerged from her little coupe with dark glasses, chignon and wide-brimmed hat all firmly in place. In four-inch pumps. Tears streaming down her face. The policeman produced a handkerchief.</p><p>Was there ever really such a time and place?</p><p>Now, I'm putting her Louis Vuittons -- some never used -- up for sale. The garment bag is large enough for precisely two Pucci dresses, Size 4.</p><p>The set of Hartman luggage -- which never saw the interior of a jet's cargo bay -- is going on eBay as well. Pristine pieces, with tiny little wheels, "stroller straps," and combination locks set to her birthday.<br> <br>The fur coats -- we didn't think, we didn't know, OK, we were idiots -- are already sold. The "good jewelry" -- and there was so much of it, my parents were married for 35 years, and he was smitten with her -- has already gone. Newt and Callista have done a lot more to underwrite Tiffany's than my mother ever did but she did have some loot, none of which suits her only child, who took after her Danish, Quarterback father in terms of limb length and height, rather than her 5'2" mom.</p><p>On me, that delicate little Tiffany watch on its gold chain looked like a strand of tinsel on a Sequoia.</p><p>My mother wore four-inch-heels and over-the-elbow kid gloves through the 1970s. I'm keeping some of those shoes, all of those butter-soft gloves. She wore and wore them and yet there's no wear on them to speak of. Nor on the hats -- most sold now, or given away before I left The South for good.</p><p>There's even a china "hair collector," an object with a removable top and a little opening into which my mother placed the hair she removed each night after brushing out her long black tresses. She used it to "fatten up" her Merle Oberon chignon, which she wore under an invisible net, held in place on the nape of her neck with beautiful Spanish and Mexican silver-and-turquoise combs.</p><p>She never changed her hairstyle.</p><p>She was a kind, gentle woman with a very straight back, a fierce social activist, a voracious reader, the wife of a therapist, without whose editing skills he would never have written a comprehensible sentence, a frustrated author, one of the first two women in her family to attend college (though both would marry before finishing degrees) ...</p><p>... and thoroughly middle class. Upper middle class. Down to the Spectator pumps and up to the real pearls (the real pearls, which are going on eBay, too).</p><p>And I must say, I treasure those of her possessions I will keep, and am grateful to have been left the treasures I will now part with to buy necessities. And I don't want to go back to all that ironing, and those girdles and saggy silk stockings, and the Chanel make-up, and the Dior red lipstick.</p><p>But, too, I never, ever want to forget what a work of art Mother was ... and I'm sure that that Altadena policeman, if he's still around, still remembers the Merle Oberon lookalike he had to ticket back in 1955 -- not one hair out of place, but tears and black mascara everywhere.</p>?Ellen Grace Jones is a London based arts and socio-political writer/commentator. She is the Founder and Editor of the award nominated, pithy and provocative fashion news site The Real Runway plus Editorial Director of the digital design agency Black Ghost Media. <br><br>A proud tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, when not expanding her consciousness (or getting her geek on) on metaphysics, spirituality and astrology Ellen is a compulsive vintage hoarder, part time kleptomaniac, gin-swilling, social-media reluctant pop culture junkie and never in danger of falling off her soap box about something.<br><br>Ellen has been published in Dazed and Confused, VICE, Reality Sandwich, DRAMA Magazine, Plastique, Art Wednesday, Mixmag, Amelia's Magazine, Trendstop and WGSN<br><br>Follow The Real Runway on Twitter @TheRealRunway and Facebook?<p>,10.01.2012</p><p>5-time Emmy Award winning celebrity makeup expert</p><p>When it comes to applying makeup, every woman is unique in her needs. In this series Eve Pearl shares her Before and After makeover images, highlighting the individual considerations of Women of Color.</p>?<p>,05.25.2011</p><p>Makeup artist</p><p>Even a whisper-thin line skimmed just on the lash line will give you more arresting eyes, but I'll bet in no time you'll be wanting to go thicker. Heavier. Hotter. Smokier. To get inspired, try my simple eyeliner techniques.</p>?<p>Let's face it - the right bag can change an entire outfit - much more affordably than filling your closet with more new clothes (not that there's anything wrong with that, either.) </p><p>Accessories can make - or break - your look, so finding the perfect item is critical. Below, some of my favorite and some of the newest handbag emporiums in the city at various price points, waiting to change your look. Never underestimate the power of a purse!</p><p><br><br> <br><br> - 725 Fifth Avenue - 840 Madison Avenue</p><p>From the 1920s, Gucci's leather goods and luggage have adorned the world's savviest shoppers. The reinvention of classics such as its Bamboo bag and new designs still have show the same dedication to workmanship - and the famous interlocking Gs.<br> </p><p><br> - 1 East 57th Street - 116 Greene Street</p><p>Travel is just that much more stylish with any of Vuitton's bags - even if the trip is just across the street to lunch. More than a famous logo, Vuitton hearkens back to days when craftsmen ruled supreme.<br> </p><p><br> - 11 East 57th Street</p><p>The creme de la creme of handbags; home of the coveted Birkin and Kelly bags - and scarves that grace the world's most fashionable women. A deserved legend.</p><p><br><br> - 677 Fifth Avenue</p><p>For 85 years, the house of Fendi has been an innovator -- from scarves to shoes to classic bags to sunglasses, find the latest in creative Italian design here.<br> </p><p><br><br>21 E. 57th Street (currently being transformed and appropriately wrapped up like a giant Lady Dior Bag) - 870 Madison Avenue - temporary boutique</p><p>Dior's Lady Dior purse was created for Princess Diana and reached cult status.</p><p><br></p><p><br> - 645 Madison Avenue</p><p>Marks' bags, handcrafted in Italy, are practical luxury, combining functional designs (150 styles) with more than 100 colors of skins, including alligator, crocodile, ostrich and lizard.</p><p><br><br> - 813 Madison Avenue - 450 West Broadway</p><p>Its new Margaux bag, possibly the "it" bag of the fall season, is the archetypal MaxMara design - sophisticated, minimalist, and classy.<br> </p><p> <br> - 717 Madison Avenue</p><p>Looking for a sculptured bag in an exotic material, evoking a global sense of style? Look no further. Kroell's bags reflect her diverse design influences - check out her python hobo.</p><p><br><br> - Bergdorf Goodman</p><p>Gonzalez brings her timeless designs, rare materials and brilliant colors from her native Colombia to New York.</p><p><br></p><p><br> - 29 East 60th Street - 115 Greene Street</p><p>Hindmarch's stylish, practical bags are made for today's multi-tasking woman - and her eco-friendly "I'm not a plastic bag" tote became a global phenomenon.</p><p><br><br> - 394 Bleecker Street</p><p>Luxury with a sense of whimsy. Bags shaped like lips are joined by more classically designed purses and totes in brilliant colors -- and are displayed in museum collections.<br> </p><p><br> - 246 Mott Street<br> <br>Fashion photographer-turned-designer Monica Botkier has created a niche for high style in Nolita, with bags that have a downtown style - that still fit all your stuff!</p><p><br><br> - 1058 Madison Avenue</p><p>Iconoclastic designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord creates works of art that now appear in the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and on the arms of such style icons as Madonna, Diane von Furstenberg and Sharon Stone.</p><p><br></p><p><br> - 473-475 Broome Street</p><p>This French designer's storefront sits side-by-side with that of his wife Isabel Marant, allowing the savvy shopper to marry Dreyfuss' brilliant leather and reptile items with Marant's apparel. It's a match made in shopping heaven.<br> </p><p>Any of these shops can make an older outfit seem completely new - or complete the new outfit you've indulged in. Take a look!</p><p>Happy Shopping!<br></p>?<p>It's the last item you grab as you walk out the door, the first thing you put down as you enter a room. It holds your entire life -- it's your purse. But handbags also are statements in style, whether it's a comfortable hobo or a more structured satchel, in black leather, red patent, an exotic skin or eco-friendly cloth. We all know the amazing work produced by the classic houses of Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Fendi and more. But now is also the time to check out the many styles and colors of some newer designers to enrich your look and keep you organized!</p><p><br> - 394 Bleecker Street<br>Purses may be practical, but here they're never boring -- check out the sunglasses on the side of the small Wanda. Guinness designs each piece herself, and many have become collectors' items.</p><p><br> - 870 Madison Avenue<br>Exotic leathers such as alligator and ostrich in classic shapes and beautiful colors.</p><p><br> - 625 Madison Avenue<br>France's leading luxury leather store since 1898, Lederer offers classic styles and incomparable craftsmanship that never go out of style.</p><p><br> - 5 West 56th Street<br>Beautifully made handbags and accessories in bold colors are the specialty at this family-run shop, one of New York City's best retailers since the 1930s.</p><p><br> - 430 West Broadway<br>An import from Rome, Guidi's pieces are colorful, whimsical and distinctive, a real statement in style. </p><p><br> - 57 Street and 5th Avenue - 37 Wall Street<br>Already a fun place for bags in unusual colors, including its signature blue, Tiffany soon will have a line from Richard Lambertson and John Truex.</p><p><br> - 987 Madison Avenue<br>Opening any minute, the first U.S. outpost of a French legend, run by the descendants of the original glovemakers who founded the house. </p><p><br> - Multiple stores around town<br>Valentine believes that bags are extensions of our "purse-nalities," with bags carrying such names as "confidence" and "rebellious."</p><p><br> - 940 Madison Avenue - Italian style with a twist, designed by V. Bruce Hoeksema and hand-sewn in Florence. </p><p><br> - 660 Madison Avenue<br>Founded in Brussels in 1829 (a year before Belgium became a nation), Delvaux is the oldest luxury leather goods company in the world. And it maintains its old world craftsmanship, making its bags by hand using time-tested techniques. The results are lasting goods with timeless appeal.</p><p><br> - 660 Madison Avenue<br>Milan's answer to Hermes, in a way, given that they both use the techniques of saddlemakers. Valextra's visions apply those methods to interesting, but classic shapes in a unique color palette.</p><p><br> - 21 East 57th Street<br>Okay, I couldn't resist slipping in one of the classics. But the shapes and craftsmanship couldn't be ignored!</p><p>Nothing completes an outfit like the perfect purse. Check out these stores to find your beautiful, useful companion.</p><p>Happy Shopping!</p><p>Follow Faith Hope Consolo on Twitter:</p>?<p>Fancy yourself a Chanel 2.55? An Hermes Birkin? Or perhaps a pretty little leather YSL satchel?</p><p>Just make sure you're not buying a fake. the latest in luxury handbag counterfeiting and found this not-so-good news: counterfeiters are getting much more sophisticated and it's harder than ever to spot a knockoff.</p><p>WSJ reporter Elizabeth Holmes talks to Elizabeth Bernstein, Accessories Director for secondhand retailer Portero, about how the fake bags are looking more and more real.</p><p>For one, many fakes are now actually made with leather as opposed to the typical plastic, which used to be an easy giveaway. Those that are still made with plastic are often embossed with a veiny pattern to mimic that calfskin veins on leather bags.</p><p>But, says Bernstein, there are still ways to tell if you're being duped. From the heaviness of the metal hardware (light hardware = fake bag) to the too-perfect stitching (a real Hermes bag, for example, is all stitched by hand), there are clues that give it away. </p><p>The most entertaining tip? For Chanel bags, Bernstein instructs skeptical buyers to rub the chain straps together and listen to the sound -- the gold plated metal of the authentic Chanel chains rustle differently than the plastic-sounding fake chain. </p><p>Looks like you learn something new everyday.</p><p>WATCH:</p><p><p><p><p><p></p> <br>?i have enormous respect for daniel radcliffe (who reminds us that young people CAN have character) and everybody loves emma watson, but rupe was always my favorite in the hp movies.... <br><br>Life is so lonely. I am a 50-year-old doctor. Ive been living alone since my wife passed away 2 years ago. Maybe I should get going so I got a profile on r?chh??k??. ? om under denver50. Its the best place to meet CEOs, pro athletes, doctors, lawyers, investors, entrepreneurs, beauty queens, fitness models, and Hollywood celebrities. Maybe you can take a try.<br><br>it doesn't hurt that he's pretty hot, too... - but he really could use some help with his hair and clothes...?<p>We've teamed up with Greta Larkins, the genius behind the brilliant Tumblr in a weekly series of animated runway shots.</p><p>In this , Larkins takes on a pink and orange metallic trench from spring 2013 collection for at . While we know the British model (and Burberry face) has a tiny waist naturally, we can't stop staring at this mesmerizing image. Is the new corset?</p>Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on , and .<p><br>For previous Fashion Gifs, take a peek in our gallery below: <br><br><br></p>?<p>We've teamed up with Greta Larkins, the genius behind the brilliant Tumblr in a weekly series of animated fashion shots.</p><p>This week, FashGif takes on this long striped dress from collection which was presented during . Does this dizzying print make you feel like you're seeing double, too? </p>Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on , and .<p><br>For previous Fashion Gifs, take a peek in our gallery below: <br><br><br><br></p>?my particular favorites from paris were rick owens and ann demeulemeester. beautiful, mysterious and flattering. i would buy everything from the rick owens collection and just float through life. i loved the muted colors and( black).<br>so much of paris was derivative and garish(marc jacobs for louis vuitton), it was all done before (and it was)and the patterns were migraine inducing.<br>and can anyone explain to why in certain collections (givenchy, miu miu, marc jacobs) the models are deliberately made to look ugly, gaunt, and very angry. i realize the clothes should speak for themselves and the models are the accessories but what is the point of the smirks and snarls???????<p>We've teamed up with Greta Larkins, the genius behind the brilliant Tumblr in a weekly series of animated fashion shots.</p><p>This week, FashGif takes on this diamond-patterned dress from collection. With a moving dress like this, you would be guaranteed a spot on our . </p>Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on , and .<p><br>For previous Fashion Gifs, take a peek in our gallery below: <br><br></p>?<p>The countdown is on to the world's biggest fashion party. is only 15 days away and we can hardly contain ourselves. And just when we thought we couldn't be anymore pumped about the annual fashion extravaganza, FNO releases a super fab PSA video. </p><p>R&B crooner Usher opens the video that boasts big names like Marc Jacobs, Justin Bieber, model Liya Kebede and NBA baller Tyson Chandler all grooving to Glee actor Darren Criss aptly singing a cover of Madonna's "Dress You Up" and telling us just how fab September 6 is going to be. </p><p>And what's a proper fashion fete announcement without our favorite style star Solange Knowles? The new also makes a cameo in the video, rocking a short curly fro and printed shirt. </p><p>The gaggle of stars are all dressed in FNO's limited edition t-shirts, which are with proceeds going towards the New York City AIDS Fund. </p><p>Check out the video above and visit the for a list of all the parties happening around the country and world. And here are just a few events that we plan on hitting up in NYC: </p><p>Diane von Furstenberg: Solange is set to DJ the party at DVF's Washington Street store--Woot woot! <br>M.A.C Cosmetics: Azealia Banks will be performing at the cosmetic store's 506 Broadway location. <br>Calvin Klein: Dwyane Wade will be at the 654 Madison Avenue store. <br>Henri Bendel: The store is literally bringing in the circus-- Cirque Du Soleil will be in the building!<br>Alexis Bittar: Our favorite jewelry line is throwing a karaoke party at its SoHo store. Best part: anyone who sings a song will get a $50 gift card! </p><p>Here's a look back at last year's FNO festivities... </p>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRFKlVEsUD4JFQsfXJ2dtLuzmVP8q1zOe6cFjXCBrfIccAcD2%2BZCj1ofCLNdb4PAUq1BGtDmh45514kIuB5Ua5hfpX3jCUjpesONZAp5v%2FZYto0CpL2BNQDbLKBQntDL%2BG0SOtgBpYqpM?qPxPOK5wfsIQKsvEhFpfejo4QvdisUdqUxjRi6uckLl37QIrDXjb8omYNPTYLeb7O0O6CYhY0DoG9i7QoNXUSsmxf%2FSTnjle25CqS2QQBjBEnI6MT5fRUDkzpngJUf90nIIwH3XHvkcs76tQzqu4sg%3D%3D?<p>The myth that fashion designers live in their villas and yachts refusing to know what happens to the less fortunate must be absolutely debunked.<br> <br>We have been doing for the last 20 years, there's the and , and the first to join the cause to raise funds have always been the designers. At Christmas lots of them send greeting cards bearing the name of a foundation or project they have supported also on your behalf. When the tsunami tragically struck Japan our publishing house, Cond Nast, besides the Della Valle family, donated significant sums of money to the Red Cross, or to Save the Children, helping out over 7,000 orphans.<br> <br>Renzo Rosso is setting up a village to provide accommodation for orphan children in Mali and Luxottica has already donated over 5 million eyeglasses to the partially blind. Gucci produces some of their items in Africa, as well as Ilaria Fendi. Armani support several organizations that fight against various diseases, while Matteo and Marta Marzotto support the battle against cystic fibrosis. Margherita Missoni, who will get married in a month, instead of drawing up the traditional wedding list will ask the guests to make donations to African orphanages.<br> <br>I could go on mentioning whatever name springs to your mind, be them Italian, American and French. Global fashion is the first to expose itself and help out when tragedies affect and strike different populations in different countries. Thinking that with fame designers have also become selfish -- spending all they earn in vacations, jewelry, cars and parties -- is wrong.<br> <br>It is important for me to underline this aspect because people often blame the luxury world of exploiting situations, while nobody mentions the true qualities they have displayed when helping spontaneously those in need. I wonder why the media give so much space to evil and immoral deeds carried out, besides, by very few people, but hardly mention the good deeds done by many?<br> <br>Scandals are more media-friendly, while good deeds are usually not flaunted around. It's a good and admirable attitude. Yet mentioning good deeds once in a while may help understand that the fashion world is not just frivolous. Besides being the second largest asset in the national balance sheet, it's a community made up of generous and altruistic people. And highly committed.</p><p>Follow Franca Sozzani on Twitter:</p>?<p> announced this month the winners of its third annual . The fur-free fashion show highlighted the works of emerging designers who believe in the benefits of shunning fur, protecting animals and the environment, and embracing the green fashion movement, .</p><p>The organization's website states, "Every year, more than 50 million animals are violently killed in the name of 'fashion.' Some fall victim to barbaric traps. Others spend the entirety of their lives in grim conditions in fur farms across the globe before being slaughtered."</p><p>Born Free USA's CEO, Will Travers, explained the idea behind the fashion show. He said the organization created this competition to celebrate emerging fashion designers who believe in the welfare of animals and refuse to use fur in their work ... This year proves one thing: compassion is in fashion.</p><p>According to Born Free, the winners of the fffashion show were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, including actress (All My Children), (True Blood), and (Living with Ed on Discovery's Planet Green). Brita Bell, editor of , activist and model and fashion designer were also judges.</p><p>A list of the show's winners , and their designs can be seen in the slideshow below.</p><p>There have been other efforts to fight fur -- This May, Seoul officials from a fashion show in South Korea, and even made iPads "bleed."</p><p>Various organizations have long fought the use of animal fur for clothing. Groups like and Born Free USA have into the fur industry, revealing inhumane practices. PETA is noted for its , and , protests against fur, leather and animal abuse.</p><p>: </p>Animals who are trapped in the wild can suffer for days from blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, and attacks by predators. They may be caught in steel-jaw traps that slam down on their legs, often cutting to the bone; Conibear traps, which crush their necks with 90 pounds of pressure per square inch; or water-set traps, which leave beavers, muskrats, and other animals struggling for more than nine agonizing minutes before drowning.<p>Photos Courtesy of Charleton Churchill and Born Free USA. Captions Courtesy of Born Free USA.</p><p></p><p> Learn more about Born Free USA at their , or pages.<br></p> <br>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRA5kxackm6DvoZoChgKGrpw9EF5FqFNNsaYCUtKkbuIyp2gU9Tgv%2F32B1nLrDWAGvDgxkkR8useG2rsOgEVoCnE5ndiIogXSiWqekkhv%2F224LC6oDGR6cYl%2B6JHTpajw%2BKtSnu4bt%2BPO?<p>MILAN - After New York and London, it's Milan's turn to have a say as to how women will dress for the spring-summer 2013. If Gucci is any indication, there is sure to be a lot of colour in their warm weather lives.</p><p>"Sophisticated and essential" is how Gucci designer Frida Giannini described the elegant collection that kicked off Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday.</p><p>Based on a simple elongated silhouette with artful cutouts and decorative flounces, accessorized by skinny high-heeled cage sandals and oversized 1970s costume jewelry, the collection comes in bold shades of fuchsia, coral, kiwi green, mustard yellow and electric blue.</p><p>Total black or total white underline the couture feel of the collection, as do the delicate prints reminiscent of Japanese floral wallpaper, the penthouse pajama pants or the bell sleeves of a simple cocktail sheath.</p><p>But Giannini is very much a contemporary designer, and her couture comes with an edge. This is seen in the sophisticated ankle straps of the sandals decorated with the logo horse bit, the plexiglass clutch bag, and the snake skin patterns for evening wear.</p><p>Over the next six days, more than 60 of Italy's top designers, including Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce&Gabbana, Fendi and Ferragamo will present their take on next summer's well-dressed and well-heeled woman.</p>?<p>Think: Cotton candy.... Pastel grey with a tinge of purple and patent! Could it get any yummier than this? These patent loafers are definitely on trend for the season and are perfect for a rainy day because they're relatively water resistant - added bonus! Functionality and fashionability? Yes, please!</p>?<p>Even whilst heading up Chanel, Fendi and being an all-round style polymath, Karl Lagerfeld thankfully still manages to find time to burp out some preposterous, inflammatory musings from time-to-time. His inability to self-edit is what makes him such a charmingly nefarious fashion patriarch. </p>?Here is a thought: White designers expect people of color to buy and endorse their products. On the other hand, it took years for the very same people to hire people of color (this includes not only blacks, but also Asians and Hispanics) as models, designers and apprentices. To add insult to injury, when people of color go into established designers such as Chanel in Paris or are on Rodeo Drive, there is a reluctance to a) let us in the door ("those people are to poor to be able to afford a designer product), b) a refusal to design clothes that fit people of color, and c) only hire people of color as security but not as salespeople and managers.<br><br>Now some of these things have changed, but not all, this is especially true in terms of hiring and designing for people of color. Therefore, there is a need to get the "Black Voice" out there. Mainstream media is too busy reporting negative stereotypes than reporting on the success of minority communities. Stop reporting every crime within the minority community and start reporting on the success and I'd agree with you that Black Voices wouldn't be needed, because the majority community would finally give the minority community the respect that we deserve.?<p>Friends of the High Line hosted their annual Spring Benefit on Tuesday, where some of the park's biggest fans including Spike Lee, Edward Norton, and many more came out in support. </p><p>Also present was artist Jeff Koons who is hoping to suspend a from a crane above the park, pending a hefty $25 million donation to fund the exciting exhibition.</p><p>Proceeds from the would help "build a much-needed maintenance and operations center, expand our High Line Food program," and various public programming efforts. </p><p>A recent survey from "Travel & Leisure" ranked the High Line as the in the world.</p><p>See photos from the event below:</p><p><br></p>?<p>Fashion Week has a reputation as a time for glamour, a time for fun but for all the flash-bulbs and parties there was a fog of sorrow at the Italian leg that seemed to dim things somewhat.</p><p>This was the first Milan Fashion Week since the passing of Anna Piaggi, the flamboyant and brilliant Vogue Italia editor who had been a significant presence at the shows (and hitting up the party scene with then-partner-in-crime Karl Lagerfeld) long before the writers, bloggers, models and celebrities in attendance this time around were even born. </p><p>But the woman famed for her garish yet curiously fabulous outfits and intimate relationships with all the best designers still managed to capture her fair share of the attention at the event, with a memorial service held on Friday at Milan's Palazzo Reale, the 200 guests in attendance counting Franca Sozanni, Carla Fendi, Manolo Blahnik, and Rosita Missoni.</p><p>Among the speakers was milliner Stephen Jones, who recalled a time when Piaggi called him up requesting some waterproof hats and when he enquired why, she responded 'Well, I can't be naked in the sauna.'</p><p>It was these pieces of whimsy that led the New York Times to lament the Piaggi was 'perhaps the last example of a fashion eccentric'. And whilst it's true the Piaggi, in all her multi-coloured fur and airport-scaring amount of jewellery glory, will never be replaced, it was fitting that on the very same day the fashion industry said goodbye to Piaggi, a sort of successor in terms of sentiment, approach to style and way with words emerged.</p><p>For at her ready-to-wear show on Friday, a triumph of lace-trimmed booty shorts, nude knee-high sandals, and cut-out kaftans slashed to the waist with a live performance from the ever-electric Beth Ditto, Donatella Versace without irony described her collection as 'subtle' to Women's Wear Daily. 'Subtle. Can you underline this' she explained to the industry bible. </p><p>If that is what she considers subtle, God knows what we can expect from the Italian diva in the future. I can't wait for any tips she might have on natural beauty. <br> Anna Piaggi would be proud I'm sure.</p>?<p>Paris Fashion Week tends to yield a wonderfully luxurious crop of bags, and this one was no exception. </p><p>From the simple totes at Rochas to the decadent confections at Louis Vuitton to the obscenely-chic waist bag (it absolutely cannot be called a fanny pack) that made its subtle way down the runway at Hermes, the possibilities were enough to leave purse nuts drooling. Even though we all know that we'd never be able to fit half of our stuff into most of these...if we could even afford them in the first place.</p><p>Take a look at the photos and tell us which is your dream bag for spring!</p><p></p> <br>?<p>One of the reasons I started my website,, is that I wanted a place for women (including me!) to come together and dream. Women should know that they don't have to hang on to an old dream that has stopped nurturing them -- that there is always time to start a new dream. In that spirit, I created a series called "It Ain't Over," profiling women who have pursued -- and fulfilled -- their dreams and passions, no matter what their age or circumstances. This week's story is about how one woman's love of sample sales led her (and hundreds of others) to the designer outlets of Italy. -- MT</p><p>By Lori Weiss</p><p>Deep in the rolling hills of Tuscany, 26 women raise their glasses in glee -- toasting the brilliance of Prada, Gucci and Fendi, as their shopping bags filled with designer shoes and purses spill over on the surrounding tables.</p><p>"That's always the special moment for me on every trip," Deborah Mayer says. "After we've spent the morning at the Prada outlet and the group is gathered at a winery, passing plates of salad and pasta, I sit back and smile and realize how happy everyone is. And no matter how many times I've seen it, I can't believe I'm the one who made it happen."</p><p>And Deborah has made it happen 27 times, to be exact. That's how many Shop Around Tours she's brought to the designer outlet centers of Italy -- a far cry from the entry-level assignments she'd accepted at age 37, in an effort to break into the travel industry, despite two successful careers in television and music.</p><p>"When I first got into the entertainment business, if you told me I was on the guest list, I'd go to the opening of an envelope," she says, rolling her eyes. "But it got to the point where all the free CDs you could shlep home from work weren't enough anymore. People thought it was all so glamorous, but I was having so much more fun in my free time, when I was helping my friends plan vacations abroad. I loved to travel and I wanted them to have the same experiences."</p><p>So Deborah decided to follow her passion by taking a page out of the itinerary that had guided her career path. Just as she had in her earlier professions, she accepted a relatively junior job, hoping someone would notice her -- only this time she did it with a mortgage hanging over her head.</p> <p>"I took a 50% pay cut and a job answering phones for one of the owners of a travel company. I cried the first day when I realized what I'd done. Here I'd gone to graduate school and worked my way up to a middle-management position at another job, and now I was going to answer someone's calls?"</p><p>But that fork in the road put Deborah in the perfect position to learn the business from the ground up. Soon she was traveling through Venice, Rome, Florence and Sorrento -- searching for the country's hidden gems. "It wasn't as fabulous as it sounds," she laughs. "I was trudging through five hotels a day and having drinks with tour operators."</p><p>That said, even Deborah can't deny that there was one particular part that was pretty fabulous. "My boss asked me to check out an outlet center she'd heard about. Who was I to argue? And when I bought shoes at Gucci for $30, I knew I was on to something!"</p> <p>At the time, only Gucci and Prada had outlets in Italy and apparently the designers hadn't caught on to the fact that a true fashionista would fly across the world to get a fifty percent discount -- let alone $30 designer shoes. But it wasn't long before the first American-style outlet mall opened; other designers got on the bandwagon and Deborah's friends began reminding her of the idea she'd brought home with her from Italy.</p><p>So once again, Deborah began with a hope and a prayer -- investing $1,000 in a starter website and advertising on two sample sale email lists that she happened to subscribe to herself. "I've always considered myself a Dom Perignon girl on a Budweiser budget," she says with a smile. "I have nice things but I don't pay full price."</p><p>Two weeks later, while on a lunch break from her real job, she checked her email and was floored to find a flood of like-minded shoppers registering -- enough for her to book not only one tour, but two. "I was on this huge high," she recalls. "My biggest worry was whether I'd have to quit my job to make this happen."</p> <p>She quickly made arrangements for a second group and then flew off to an industry conference. That was September 9th, 2001. Two days later, on September 11th, the world and the travel industry came to a standstill.</p> <p>Deborah not only lost her full-time job, but began losing many of her new clients -- the ones who were now less eager to fly off on a dime. But with a little bit of grit and a lot of determination, she managed to combine the two tours and get on a plane to Italy -- putting on a brave face for her guests, who never had a clue about how worried she was.</p><p>"We were at Loro Piana and I saw this fantastic cashmere bathrobe that was selling for a few hundred dollars. There I was leading a shopping tour in Italy and I couldn't bring myself to buy it.</p><p>But the next morning, it was as if the shopping gods had stepped in. An international writer for Newsweek had stumbled upon Deborah's website -- there, at a newspaper stand in Florence, Deborah opened up a magazine and saw her very first press hit. "At that moment," she recalls, "I knew everything was going to be okay."</p><p>So that day at the Tuscan winery, as her first 26 guests raised their glasses, Deborah breathed a sigh of relief and vowed to bring every group she guided through the outlets of Italy to the very same vineyard -- Castello Di Verrazzano -- which she now refers to as her "happy place." After a morning of shopping, of course.</p><p>As for that cashmere bathrobe, Deborah found it one year later in the perfect shade of violet, and bought it guilt-free -- as an essential part of her fall wardrobe, since now she's able to work from home.</p> <p>And I got it for 85% off!" she says with delight. "Other than this bathrobe, that pay cut I took in order to follow my passion is probably the best deal I've made in my life. It bought me my dream."</p><p>To learn more about Deborah's shopping tours, check out .</p> <br><br><br><br><br> <p></p><br><br><br><br><br><br><p>Add Marlo On Facebook:</p><br><br><br><p>Follow Marlo on Twitter:</p><p></p><br><br>Weekly Newsletter<br>Sign up to receive my email newsletter each week a?? It will keep you up-to-date on upcoming articles, Mondays with Marlo guests, videos, and more!<br><br><br><br><p></p><p><br></p> <br>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRFKlVEsUD4JFQsfXJ2dtLuzmVP8q1zOe6cFjXCBrfIccAcD2%2BZCj1ofCLNdb4PAUq1BGtDmh45514kIuB5Ua5hfpX3jCUjpesONZAp5v%2FZYto0CpL2BNQDbLKBQntDL%2BG0SOtgBpYqpM?<p>"I have lupus...take a look, this is what lupus looks like," declared Grammy Award winning artist Toni Braxton, as she accepted the Women In Achievement Award from Lupus LA at the annual Hollywood Ladies Bag Ladies luncheon and Fendi Fashion Show, Nov. 16 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. <br> <br>Braxton surprised the crowd of over 600 people, revealing publicly for the first time that she suffers from Lupus. "I'm a Lupus survivor, she added, as she accepted her award, surrounded by her sisters and Mom. Braxton brought the oversold crowd to its feet as she continued to declare her support of Lupus LA and the need for research as there is no cure for Lupus. Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe, (The Rachel Zoe Project) was also honored with the Women in Achievement Award, for her business innovation, empowering young women to meet new challenges in their lives. Lupus LA works closely with the Hollywood community (and the many celebrities who have Lupus but are reluctant to speak out because they cannot get medical insurance on film and TV projects) to raise awareness of the importance of finding new treatments and managing this disease with demanding careers. </p><p>"Seeing Toni Braxton speak publicly for the first time about her Lupus was an extremely proud moment for Lupus LA. Her bravery will help many people who suffer from lupus know that they are not alone in their fight," said Adam Selkowitz, Chairman of Lupus LA.</p><p>Lupus affects 1.5 million people, attacks the immune system, causing pain, inflammation and tissue damage anywhere in the body. Over 90 percent of those affected are women, with African-Americans four times more likely to get Lupus than Caucasians. Lupus is America's least known major disease, yet is more common than Cerebral Palsy, MS and Cystic Fibrosis combined and is the leading cause of stroke, heart and kidney disease among young women. The number of patients diagnosed with Lupus is increasing yearly, especially among children and young people. If we can unlock the cause of Lupus and treat it effectively, it will open the door for treatment of many other diseases as well. (Full disclosure: my sister suffers from Lupus and I am on the Board of Lupus LA). <br> <br>At the precise moment Braxton was revealing her struggle with lupus, the FDA's Advisory Panel was meeting in Washington, DC to back the approval of the first drug in 50 years, Benlysta, to benefit those who suffer from Lupus. The panel voted 13 to two to approve the drug, a collaboration of Human Genome Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, who have been developing the drug and will be marketing it. The FDA is expected to make a decision by early December. <br> <br>Lupus LA participated in the clinical trials of Benlysta, as Dr. Daniel Wallace, Founder of Lupus LA and the country's leading lupus expert, had a number of patients responding to the drug. "This is a great day for Lupus awareness," said Dr. Wallace at the event, before he left early to fly to Amsterdam where results from yet another lupus drug were about to be released. <br> <br>Spotted in the crowd bidding on classic vintage handbags and this season's hottest exclusive bags from all luxury designers were Janice Arouh, President of Marketing and Distribution for ES Studios (last year's Women in Achievement winner), Hanna Pantle, BMI, Mary Deckebach, First Republic Bank, Teri Melkonian, Sunset Gower Studios, Ali Hillis (Miami Medical), Meredith Monroe (NCIS), Kimberly Elise (For Colored Girls), Shante Broadus (Snoop Dogg's Fatherhood, and most recent Board Member), Brittny Gastineau (The Gastineau Girls), Lisa Gastineau, Laura Tunberg, Silicon Valley content guru, Salaam Coleman-Smith, President The Style Network, Carolyn Folks, ES Entertainment (Bryon Allen's Mom) Carol Perrin, entertainment attorney, Molly O'Brien, Senator Feinstein's office, Lori Selkowitz, Ali Fedotowsky (ABC's The Bachelorette), Julie Benz (No Ordinary Family), Rebecca Mader (Lost), Melissa Stone, The Style Network, Stacy Van Praagh, President of Fendi US, Tod Hallman, THP Fashion, Vicky Goodman, President, Friends of the Semel Institute, Cathy Kellner-Diaz, Mendelson-Zion, Carrie Brillstein, Dr. Renee Rinaldi, Chairman, Lupus LA Medical Advisory Board, and Board members Debbie and Roger Cowan, Kathy Gallagher, Janis Wallace, Michelle and Alan Kaye, Dorothy Ellis (who secured Prada as next year's Bag Ladies event sponsor) and from New York, Dory Nilenger and Arthur and Betsey Selkowitz. <br> <br>Celebrities donating handbags included Jennifer Aniston, Molly Sims, Rachael Zoe, Shante Broadus, Tori Spelling, Kelly Martin, Molly Sims, Sharon Stone, Paris Hilton, Carol Bayer Sager, Natalie Portman, Melissa Joan Hart, Julie Benz, Zoe Seldana, Eva La Rue, KISS and Ali Fedotowsky. Proceeds from the event topped $300,000 all going to Lupus Research. </p><p>"I am extremely proud of all those who worked so hard at Lupus LA to make our Hollywood Bag Ladies lunch a terrific success," said Linda David, Executive Director of Lupus LA. "Congratulations to Rachel Zoe and Toni Braxton for their outstanding contributions to Lupus LA."</p>?<p><br>As my Huffington Post readers know, I am an opera buff. I try to attend them anywhere in the world where I happen to be, and my particular passion is the Italian operas, Verdi, Puccini and the like. So when I was invited to attend a fashion show called Il Teatro alla Moda, which roughly translates as Theatre in Fashion, I was intrigued. The fact that the show was being mounted by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts cemented my attendance, since this is the new theatrical center being built on the site of the stately old 1933 Italianate-style Beverly Hills Post Office. I suspect I will be writing quite a lot about this performing arts center in the next few years, before and after it opens in 2013, for it will be a spectacular addition to our lovely little city. Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, heir to the great newspaper family, put a large sum into the initial offering, then my banker, Bram Goldsmith of City National Bank, came up with the 500-seat theatre in the center, and many friends like Fred Hayman, Paula Meehan and others dug deep into their pickets to continue the underwriting. It will also serve as a theatrical school for young people, something sorely needed in these perilous times.</p>Norma, by Roberto Capucci, for Temple Virgins scene in Bellini's opera (1986)<p><br><br>Fendi's furs for Cecilia's cape in La Traviata (1983)</p><p><br>Ms. Lou Moore, Executive Director of the Annenberg Center saw this show in Milan about two years ago, and decided it was something which should be offered to our city as an example of the culture which will be exhibited at the forthcoming center. They found a conveniently empty building at MGM Place, at 253 North Beverly Drive, corner of Dayton Way and Beverly Drive, and spent a small fortune converting it into a beautiful, temporary exhibition hall. A stunning exhibition of theatrical costumes from Italy's world-famous haute couture designers, it reflects their passion for opera, dance and theatre. Every costume in the show is exceptional; I can honestly say I have never seen such a collection assembled in one place. It was conceived and curated by Massimiliana Capella and promoted by an Italian group wth a long and unpronounceable name.</p>Carmen's outfit by Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi (1986)<p><br><br>No, not Madonna, it's Missoni's African costume created for the opening ceremony of the 1990 World Cup in Italy!</p><p><br><br>The Dream of Valentino, by Valentino for Monsieur Boncaire.</p><p><br>Armani, Capucci, Coveri, Ferretti, Fendi, Gigli, Marras, Missoni, Ungaro, Valentino, Versace... some I know and some I never heard of, but all sent their best and most spectacular outfits, 80 costumes and sketches in all, to the United States premiere of the exhibition. Lou told me, "The designers' passion for the arts resonated with me on a personal level; for many of them, the arts are their first love. It's that passion for theatre, dance and opera that we plan to bring to the Annenberg when we open."</p>Queen of the Night Costume by Romeo Gigli for The Magic Flute.<p><br><br>Matryoshka costume by Gianni Versace for Souvenir of Leningrad.</p><p><br>So I took my trusty little Canon camera into the hall this week and snapped a dozen shots of what I considered some of the most thrilling costumes there. The show will be open to late November, perhaps longer. It's open from noon to 7 pm on Wednesday to Friday and 11 am to 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets at the door are $10, children and students with I.D. are free, while Wednesday is free for all. I suggest you get over there before it close for a thrilling, fashionable experience.</p>Eva Peron by Versace for Luciana Savignano<p><br><br>...and Versace's Sonia Delaunay Gown for Capriccio</p><p>To subscribe to Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter ($70 for twelve monthly issues), email him at jayweston@sbcglobal.<br></p><p>Follow Jay Weston on Twitter:</p>?Jessica Stam was born in Kincardine, Ontario. She was raised on the family farm, the only girl in a family of seven children. At a Canadian amusement park, a talent scout noticed something special and unique about Jessicas look and approached her to ask if she had ever considered modeling. Jessica decided to give it a try and was immediately signed by a local modeling agency. <br><br>It was Steven Meisel who gave Jessica her big break when he shot her for two Italian Vogue covers for the coveted September issue. He also shot her exclusively as the new face of Valentinos Fall/Winter 2003 campaign and had since become his muse. <br><br>Jessica has appeared in advertisements for Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Bvlgari, Christian Dior, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, DKNY, Atsuro Tayama, H&M, Miss Sixty, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry, Kenzo, BCBG, Gap, Cerruti, Lanvin, Fendi, Nina Riccis fragrance Ricci Ricci, and two consecutive seasons of Aldo and Prada. <br><br>Jessica has had the opportunity to work with such noted photographers as Irving Penn, Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, David Sims, Paolo Roversi, Inez & Vinoodh, Vincent Peters, Juergen Teller, Thomas Schenk, Michel Comte, Glen Luchford, Terry Richardson, Nick Knight, Richard Burbridge, Mickael Jansson, Tom Munro, Carter Smith, Satoshi, and Mert & Marcus.<br><br>In addition, Jessica has established herself as one of fashions biggest international stars. She has been the inspiration to numerous articles regarding the new wave of Canadian It-girls. <br><br>Jessica appeared on the cover of the premier issue of Vogue Turkey, shot by Patrick Demarchelier. Top fashion magazines including Vogue (American, Italian, French, British, Japanese, Chinese) W, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, Numero, W, V, and Another all feature Jessica on a regular basis. She has appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue at an astonishing total of six times.<br><br>Her runway credentials are equally impressive, having walked the runways of Dior Couture, Jean Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab, Valentino Couture, Chloe, Miu Miu, Prada, John Galliano and also the Victorias Secret Fashion show. <br><br>Jessica Stam is consistently ranked as one of the industrys top models. In addition to modeling, Jessica has also been featured as a fashion correspondent for MTV News. She also served as the inspiration for the wildly popular Marc Jacobs Stam bag. Last fall, she collaborated with fashion designer Rachel Roy for the RACHEL Rachel Roy collection. <br><br>Jessica currently lives in New York Citys East Village, is a certified lifeguard and scuba diver, and loves to keep active by playing sports.?<p>The collection follows the same theme as our women's collection of going out, whether it is to work, to the shops, to dinner or a club. The Jimmy Choo man is one who exudes confidence and style whether he is an artist or an investment banker and is understated but has an individual flair. He has a knowledge of fashion and an understanding of the quality and the finish of his clothing.</p>?<p>Designer and "Britain's Next Top Model" judge Julien MacDonald what it's like to work chez Chanel as a 21-year-old -- and be a bit abused by the Kaiser, literally:</p>"He used to carry around an old fashioned black fan and when you were being difficult he'd hit you with it....He'd taunt you then hit you with it -- it was all done in a joking way and never done very hard, but I do remember it quite clearly. It was his alternative to a stick I suppose. Now Karl's signature is his silver jewellery but then it was these specially crafted fans. I'm quite glad I had to deal with the fans and not the jewellery. You'd get knocked out if he jokingly hit you with any of those."<p>Does MacDonald know that ?</p><p>MacDonald, who previously put his foot in his mouth after , is hoping that he's asked back to appear on the UK's next season of "Top Model." He told Vogue, "Finding a top model is tough -- she has to be tall, sexy and have a dangerous personality. When Kate, Linda or Naomi walk into a room you go 'Wow'. That's what I want -- someone that blows you away. You're not going to find that person waiting at a bus stop."</p><p><br></p> <br>?<p>LOS ANGELES Kanye West told an audience at a screening of his film, "Runaway," that he thought about killing himself, but now feels a responsibility to make a meaningful contribution to pop culture and art.</p><p>Describing himself as a pop icon and "soldier for culture," West told the crowd "there were times that I contemplated suicide." However, he said, "I will not give up on life again."</p><p>"There's so many people that will never get the chance to have their voice heard" as loudly as his, West said Monday. "I do it for them."</p><p>West, who didn't say when he had considered suicide, is credited as director of the abstract 35-minute film, which features portions of nine new West songs, boldly colorful visuals and off-kilter camera angles. The mostly dialogue-free piece, set to premiere this weekend on MTV, VH1 and BET, will accompany West's upcoming album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," which will be released Nov. 22.</p><p>After a prelude featuring narration from rapper Nicki Minaj, West's character, Griffin, is seen driving a black MTX Tatra supercar down a country road. Lying next to a hole in the pavement is a phoenix fallen to Earth, played by model Selita Ebanks in pink, gray and brown feathers.</p><p>He takes her home and offers this advice: "First rule in this world, baby: Don't pay attention to anything you see on the news."</p><p>The phoenix sits on a lawn with a deer, rabbit and sheep, then joins West at a private parade featuring fireworks, a marching band and a float depicting Michael Jackson.</p><p>Playing over those visuals are West's next single, "All of the Lights," which he said features Elton John on piano and an all-star chorus including Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Fergie and John Legend.</p><p>Ballerinas in black tutus perform in a scene featuring his current single, "Runaway." When the tune ended, there was applause from both the on-screen and live audience. In attendance were Morgan Spurlock, Ryan Phillippe, Pete Wentz and others in the entertainment industry.</p><p>The 33-year-old West told them that after a "long, hard year," he'd found his "creative sweet spot" by thinking like "a 5-year-old at all times." Besides his mother Donda West's death in 2007, West said he'd also lost three other parental figures in the last three years.</p><p>"Everything has been taken away from me," he said. "I'm so not ... scared. I so don't care."</p><p>After the Taylor Swift incident last year, which he called "a moment of sincerity," West took a six-month break. (At the MTV Video Music Awards, Swift's acceptance speech for best female video for "You Belong with Me" was disrupted by West, who took the microphone to say Beyonce should have won instead for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).")</p><p>West said he moved to Rome and "was interning at Fendi" before finding the inspiration to get back to music.</p><p>He has hinted at the subject of suicide in his recent song "Power," which includes the repeated lines: "Now this would be a beautiful death - I'm jumping out the window, I'm letting everything go."</p><p>That song's remix is among the 10 tunes that West has released for free in recent weeks through his website, a buzz-building initiative he dubbed "G.O.O.D. Fridays" for his label imprint, Getting Out Our Dreams Music.</p><p>The producer-turned-rapper said that after "Fantasy" - recorded in Hawaii with the likes of Q-Tip, DJ Premier, RZA and Pete Rock - he will release an album of songs with Jay-Z and another with Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams under the name Child Rebel Soldiers.</p><p>___</p><p>Viacom Inc. owns MTV.</p><p>___</p><p>Online:</p><p> </p> <br>?<p>On a slow day of tweets, there is no gift in this world like feed.</p><p>When we last heard from @KanyeWest, he was , the track formerly known as </p><p>But to our sort-of delight, Kanye returned to Twitter on Saturday, going on an apparently in-real-time rant about the fashion he saw while driving through five blocks of "the city." (We're assuming he means New York, where .)</p><p>Among the looks Kanye scorned: "big ass striped scarves," "hoodies with sport coats," "off-brand workout sneakers" and pretty much khaki everything. </p><p>This isn't Yeezy's first fashion-related Twitter gripe session; back in January, the rapper to promote his new design company DONDA, tweeting up a storm about working at the Giuseppe Zanotti factory, working at Fendi under cover and supposedly turning down a gig at Versace.</p><p>Check out Kanye's fashion rants below to see what else got the official style thumbs-down from the A-list rapper.</p><p></p><p>Also on HuffPost:</p> <br>?<p>Owing to its immense popularity and coveted social status, it is easy to forget that the catwalk show is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although its origin can be traced to the fashion parades that took place in the couture houses of nineteenth century Paris, it wasn't until the 1990s that designers began to rethink small, individual shows for a minority of buyers and press personalities. </p>?<p>Even whilst heading up Chanel, Fendi and being an all-round style polymath, Karl Lagerfeld thankfully still manages to find time to burp out some preposterous, inflammatory musings from time-to-time. His inability to self-edit is what makes him such a charmingly nefarious fashion patriarch. </p>?<p>After days of rumors, : Karlie Kloss is getting her Angel wings!</p><p>The 19-year-old model will participate in her first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, joining the Angel ranks of Miranda Kerr, Erin Heatherton, Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima and more. </p><p>Although Karlie is undoubtedly one of the biggest models today, it was not a given that she'd be walking the November 9 show. Kloss just turned 19 this summer and . </p><p>But VS casting director John Pfeiffer had his eye out for the strutter, , "Karlie [Kloss] is also of age this year, so hopefully she'll walk the show."</p><p>His wish came true -- on Tuesday Tracey Lomrantz of Glamour and announced Karlie will be having her fitting today. </p><p>But as one door opens, another closes: that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley will not be walking in this year's Victoria's Secret show. </p><p>"I'm not walking this year... I'm working that day," the Burberry face said. But modeling is Rosie's job, which makes us wonder... ?</p><p>Stay tuned -- and catch the Victoria's Secret Fashion show, complete with feather-trimmed Angels and , on November 9. </p><p><br></p> <br>?<p>We can't believe it's been a full year since fluttered down the aisle in . It seems like only yesterday Kate and a powder blue suit-clad Jamie Hince were celebrating their .</p><p>The elaborate wedding solidified the pair as fashion scene regulars -- . This isn't the model's first time at the power couple rodeo though. Kate's relationships with and garnered almost as much sartorial attention as gossip, but she seems to have found a more relaxed style groove with her new hubby. </p><p>Since , the couple has developed a trademark rocker-meets-model look. (We'd like to think they have a shared androgynous closet full of fedoras, blazers, skinny jeans and scarves that they throw on each other to run errands.) But don't think that the bohemian pair are a one-note couple. Kate and Jamie clean up quite nicely, and The Kills frontman doesn't seem to have a problem throwing on a dapper suit and joining his wife at a fashion show. </p><p>In celebration of Kate and Jamie's very first wedding anniversary, we're taking a look back at their signature style. Isn't it cute how they always seem to match?</p><p></p><p>Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on , , and . </p>?<p></p><p>NEW YORK, N.Y. - Karl Lagerfeld's reboot of his own label is happening entirely online.</p><p>Starting Wednesday, the Karl collection, with an emphasis on more downtown styles including denim decorated with a subtle image of Lagerfeld's likeness, jersey dresses, T-shirts, shoes and handbags all with a rock 'n' roll edge will be offered exclusively for the first month on the Net-a-Porter website. After that, there'll also be a Lagerfeld-branded site.</p><p>Among the offerings are the gloves and collar neck pieces he is so famous for wearing himself, all rooted in black and white. What is different from his signature designs for Chanel and Fendi is price, with most pieces landing in the $100-$400 range.</p><p>Lagerfeld, in an email, said he was going the online route despite his reputation for embracing all things exclusive because "I am enough of a fashion opportunist that I like to do things that have not been done."</p><p>There are few designers with the name recognition and stature of Lagerfeld, and that is because he always is a step ahead in his styles, marketing and branding, said Pier Paolo Righi, president and CEO of Karl by Karl Lagerfeld. "It's his way to say, 'Be yourself, don't be shy about it, be intelligent and articulate.' The line uses a lot of iconic elements that relate to Karl himself and is equally ironic."</p><p>For all his success, though, Lagerfeld, has tried a signature label before, with mixed results. In 2006, there was a big, splashy show to generate excitement for the Karl line during New York Fashion Week, but the collection has been dormant for more than a year as the dust settled in some private-equity firm deals.</p><p>This time, the line targets the taste and wallet of the women who buy Chanel cosmetics just so they can be that much closer to Lagerfeld.</p><p>Those women live in every corner of the world, Righi said, so the Internet is the only way to reach them all. "I don't know what people think about him, I think, just from my own experience with him, regardless whether you meet a 45-year-old Parisian woman or a 14-year-old Argentinian or Chinese girl, they love him. He's culturally accepted all over the globe."</p><p>He added, "The customer is an ageless woman, but the feel of the line is young and modern. There's a rock element and a chic element at the same time," Righi said.</p><p>Holli Rogers, fashion director of Net-a-Porter, has very high hopes, noting the site did well with the old version of the brand. It's different from Fendi and Chanel with very clean lines and a more masculine approach, she said.</p><p>She envisions Karl pairing well with lines such as Alice & Olivia and Tibi. Lagerfeld, she imagined, would approve of the notion of mixing and matching.</p><p>Lagerfeld, who is German-born, confirmed it in his statement with his swagger: "I like the idea to do the most expensive and the less expensive what has to be well designed and well done, too. And this is something that I think is a great challenge, and I am lucky that I can do it in great conditions."</p> <br>?<p>When I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BFA in fine arts/photography a little over a year ago, I plunged into an existential crisis. Initially, I spent an entire week doing nothing. I was exhausted from the whirlwind of finals and commencement and my senior thesis exhibition. I sat on my couch, ate a lot of pierogies, and watched five seasons of 30 Rock.</p><p>But that didn't last long. I quickly realized that I needed money. And that meant I needed a job. Besides, that's what you're supposed to do after college, right?</p><p>I already had a job, sort of. In 2008, I started photographing weddings. I admit, I had no idea what I was doing. The frantic pace of the wedding day combined with my inexperience made me want to pee my pants. But I had a good camera and a good eye, and the couples I worked with seemed pretty pleased with their photos. </p><p>Then I discovered . It wasn't even wedding photography, really. It was art. Every single image could have been in a gallery by itself. I was completely awestruck.</p><p>So I wrote Tracy a letter. I wrote a letter saying that I loved her work and that, for me, it redefined the possibilities of what wedding photography could be. I wanted to be her assistant, I wanted to learn everything she knew, I didn't care about getting paid or whatever, I just wanted to be around her and absorb as much as I possibly could from her. Please. Pretty, pretty, pretty please.</p><p>So in the summer of 2009, I packed my bags for Charleston, South Carolina, and learned almost everything I know about wedding photography from the great Tracy Turpen.</p><p>For me, balancing a full college schedule and a job as an independent wedding photographer was difficult, but not impossible. Fine arts students don't co-op; we didn't get entire terms off to gain work experience. Instead, we were expected to find time for internships between classes and homework and ramen-and-Red-Bull-fueled-all-nighters before final crits. Throughout my four years of college, I worked for a wedding photographer, a graduate student, two fine art photographers, two galleries, three restaurants, and was self-employed as a freelance photographer. I graduated with a 3.92 GPA. I didn't sleep much.</p><p>Graduation felt like an abrupt, awkward ending to Ravel's Bolro. I had been building and building and building, but for what? Wearing my modified-garbage-bag graduation gown, swaddled in multicolored cords, holding an empty 'placeholder' diploma case, what had I arrived at?</p><p>Pierogies and 30 Rock, it seemed.</p><p>After my week of lethargy and self-pity had run its course, I got down to business. I had four weddings scheduled that summer. Not a full plate, by a long shot; but not surprising, considering the senior year I'd had. And one cannot live off of four weddings.</p><p>Enter Amy. I've known Amy for 13 years. Amy graduated from Loyola University Chicago in May 2011. Double major in public relations and visual communication, double minor in English and fine arts, 3.5 GPA. Probably slept less than I did. </p><p>Amy and I made job-hunting our jobs. We met at the same coffee shop at the same time every morning, sat in the same seats, drank the same kind of tea, and looked for opportunities. Finding a job, as I quickly learned, is not easy for a new graduate. Suddenly, my website, resum, and portfolio all looked flimsy and juvenile. I hadn't updated anything since my practicum class two years prior. I had a lot of work to do, and I dove into it ravenously.</p><p>But after a few months, I started getting discouraged. It seemed like all the jobs that actually looked somewhat interesting were seeking candidates with at least 3-5 years "real world" job experience. The jobs I qualified for -- "0-2 years real work experience" -- were all office lackeys and coffee slaves. I had been singlehandedly running a wedding photography business for four years. I had experience! I had talent! I had ambition! Why didn't any of this actually count?</p><p>By November, I was dragging my heels in the mud. Amy found a job as a graphic designer at F+W Media. Meanwhile, I was splitting my time between browsing the same job listings that hadn't panned out the first time around, editing the remaining wedding photos from the fall, and lurking in forums with depressing topics along the lines of "What the f*** do you do with an art degree?"</p><p>And then I got a job.</p><p>It was, unsurprisingly, through a connection. VogueVert, an upscale eco-friendly boutique based in Covington, KY, was looking for a new fashion photographer, as their current one was leaving. And my connection had recommended me for the position.</p><p>Fashion photography was, at first, new and exciting. The shoots were an adrenaline rush, whirlwinds of models and jewelry and high-end purses from designers like Fendi and Giovanna Torrico and Elvis & Kresse. It was glamorous, especially for a person who's been rocking the same haircut and the same pair of Gap jeans for the past seven years.</p><p>I loved my job; I loved the company's mission; I loved the people I worked with. So why did I feel so empty?</p><p>In February 2012, I unexpectedly heard back from an arts center in France that I had inquired to a few months prior. The director of the gallery, Michelle Anderson Binczak, sent me the application materials for their artist's residency program and encouraged me to apply. So I did. And, swarthy from the experience of a thousand rejections, thought nothing of it. </p><p>Until I got accepted.</p><p>This is when the existential crisis really hit. I had finally built up some stability of life and income, sort of. To take off for France to make art and work in a gallery would mean potentially shattering that stability. Dare I take this opportunity?</p><p>I came to France in June of 2012. The month leading up to my departure was a frenzied, stress-filled disaster. I had three million loose ends to tie up before I left. Every night, I went to bed at 4 a.m. worrying about all the things I had to do the next day, and woke up at 8 a.m. feeling like I hadn't slept at all. Case in point: new products came in at VogueVert and I had a last-minute fashion shoot three days before my flight. Three days. You get the idea.</p><p>La Porte Peinte Centre pour les Arts is located in Noyers-sur-Serein, a medieval cit in the heart of Bourgogne, France. I don't know how to describe it other than it's exactly like living in a fairytale. The town, tucked into a hairpin bend of the Serein River, is surrounded by fields of wheat and wildflowers. The ruins of a castle atop the hill loom over the walled village. Cobblestones line the streets and flowers cascade from the boxes outside every window. I befriended a little girl who took me to see her grandparents' secret garden a few weeks ago. In the mornings, you can smell croissants baking as the fog lifts. I spend a lot of time lying on the roof at night, once the moon comes up.</p><p>I mean, seriously. My view back home is a grocery store, a gas station, and a Dairy Queen.</p><p>It was difficult for me to accept two things at first. 1) To just make art, without fear of judgment or a specific reason or purpose in mind, and 2) To simplify my life down to only two things: art-making and gallery-watching. I had become so accustomed to doing everything to please my superiors or meet a specific client's needs. I'm the type of person that has seven different tasks going on at any given time, and barely manages to find the time to squeeze in a quick microwaveable dinner. So now I'm expected to do things in my.... free time? Like taking walks? Or long bike rides? Or going to explore the small ancient stone huts outside the village just because?</p><p>Yes, Laura. That is exactly what you do. You're an artist. You make art. And when you're not making art, you think. And breathe. And hike up to the castle ruins because the view is breathtaking and the air is fresh and you can hear the scouts playing flashlight tag in the field below.</p><p>The series of pieces I've been working on since I came to France is spectacular. I really surprised myself. I guess I needed to separate from everything that had been keeping me so occupied to realize that there was something inside me that I was smothering. And I've already sold some artwork for 700, even though my solo exhibition doesn't open until the 17th of August. </p><p>I'm not a self-confident person by nature. Major character flaw? Probably. But at least I'm aware of it and can recognize my needs accordingly. And I needed someone to tell me that, yes, 'artist' is a viable career option. It'll take a lot of sweat and a lot of networking. But you have the gusto for it, Laura Fisher, if you really put your mind to it. </p><p>I also needed to realize what I'm capable of when I allow myself the proper time to make art. Before, I always had this feeling that I was wasting precious time by spending it on my own work. Time that I could be using to edit photos of brides and grooms and peoples' kids and very skinny women wearing shiny things. I'm not saying these photographs are somehow less important or that a career in fashion photography is a terrible thing; it's just not for me. Filling my days with this created a sort of complacent anemia, an in-between state -- busy and satisfied, but not fulfilled.</p><p>It's funny, post-college life thus far has been a chorus of people mostly telling me to find a good, steady job with a dependable company and a 401(k). And all it's really taken is one or two voices to drown out that chorus. I just hadn't heard those voices until now. </p><p>I know that selling a few pieces of art does not an artist's career make. I have a long, arduous way to go from here. But it's a start. And that's exactly what I needed, what I wasn't going to find back home, surrounded by the coiffed distractions of "real work experience."</p><p>I return to the States in September. What do I do next?</p><p>I make art.</p><p>Laura Fisher is an artist, photographer, trivia host, and maker of tiny things. You can view her work and learn more at .</p>?<p></p><p>In Los Angeles, where I live, the movie stars are the celebrities. Here in Paris, the celebrities are the fashion designers -- and they're treated like royalty -- oohed and ahhhed at on the street. </p><p></p><p>That said, the biggest A-Lister is Karl Lagerfield and today his show for Chanel was indisputably the hottest ticket in town. All during Fashion Week people here put relationships on the line to try to get tickets. Some don't actually find out if they have a ticket and are actually going until the morning of! Needless to say, I was thrilled when a friend of mine invited me to go. Luckily, our tickets were delivered in advance.<br></p><p>Did the Chanel show for the Spring/Summer 2011 Collection live up to all the mega hype? Yes, and it wasn't just for a novice like me. Many people who'd been to Chanel for years noted it was the best, most elaborate show in Chanel history. Quite frankly, it was a spectacle more than an event. A full orchestra played in the background, while 85 models strutted across the stunning location, The Grand Palais. The models walked around the gigantic, incredibly well-lit, cavernous structure, decorated with 10 foot high fountains and huge black metallic cut-outs -- constructed to resemble low, French garden hedges. The ground -- what the models actually walked on top of -- was covered with a fine, white gravel -- that actually left a powdery residue on your shoes. I didn't dust my shoes off as the dust was seen as a sign of prestige that said I was at the Chanel show!</p><p> </p><p>The clothes were breathtaking - with lots of color, adornment, eyelet inlays, fringe and tons of feathers. The jewelry focused on mixed metallics, chains, lucite-type cuffs adorned with rhinestones and pearl type rounds of all sizes and colors. There is nothing delicate or dainty about Chanel jewelry. It is meant to say "Look at me -- I have arrived!"<br> <br></p><p>Nearly all the models wore platform shoes, made by Chanel, that were rather clunky looking. The had a 1970's feel to them. The upper part of the shoe varied -- but the bottom part was always the same dark colored platform with a rather square, solid heel. That platform shoe sole -- it appeared black -- appeared also in the form of a wedge. The shoe was the polar opposite of say a classic, ladylike Jimmy Choo or a Manolo. No pointy toe. No thin heel. </p><p>A few interesting tidbits:</p><p>All the models wore contacts to make their eyes a rather iridescent green. As if it's not hard enough to walk daintily in tiny, sheer frocks! Pale makeup, dark dark eyes with dramatic kohl shading on the entire lid. </p><p></p><p>A few of the models sported jackets with teeny, tiny shorts and their bums (also tiny!) hanging out. </p><p>There were no models who were women of color. Apparently, the designers want all the models to look similar so that all eyes are focused on the clothes.</p><p>The front row is where top editors, famous and important people, and royalty sit. At the very center of the show in the front row (pictured below): Vogue Editor Ana Wintour seated next to Susan Tolson, wife of Charlie Rivkin, U.S. Ambassador to France.</p><p></p><p> Unlike many of the other shows during Fashion Week, at the Chanel show, a vast majority of the attendants wear an item by the designer. But you don't have to be decked out head to toe. For example, Vogue's Wintour, pictured above, wore a dress by Chanel, but a maxi length, fur trimmed coat by another designer. </p><p>The show lasted about 20 minutes and it was quite dramatic when the white haired Karl Lagerfield came out at the end with all the models. Everything about this fashion guru is so dramatic -- down to his collar-- which must be five inches tall and so starched it almost looks like a neck brace.</p><p></p><p> After the show was over, he greeted the VIP's like rocker Courtney Love pictured above. Then he sat and spoke with the press for nearly an hour. He was constantly mobbed -- people were literally tripping to get to him -- and he had no fewer than 8 bodyguards. He apparently is easy to spot here in Paris as he travels in a gold Hummer.<br> <br>The outfit range at Chanel was full spectrum -- from jeans and motorcycle boots to floor length evening attire. One man was even dressed as what looked like one of the Village People from way back when! I'll have more on that -- plus some of the celebs who were there and their favorite outfits -- in the next blog. For more photos, check out </p><p>Follow Linda Grasso on Twitter:</p>?<p>Judge Stephanie Sautner just , sending her back in handcuffs to await prior sentencing. But what we're noting is Lilo's choice of outfit for the hearing: the troubled actress cloaked herself in all white, with gleaming gold accessories. Going for an angelic vibe there, Lindsay?</p><p> Lindsay's dress is Fendi and her gold shoes are by Giuseppe Zanotti. That gold bag, of course, is unmistakably Chanel. </p><p>Lohan reportedly wasn't meeting the demands of her probation, which included community service hours and regular meetings with a psychiatrist. Judge Sautner also - yikes!</p><p>At a hearing set for November 2, Lindsay could receive a sentence of up to 1.5 years in jail. We're hoping she finds time to do something about in the interim.</p><p></p> <br>?<p>"It's just tops and bottoms", a friend once told me. "People take it so seriously, it's not brain surgery". He's right of course, it's not brain surgery, it doesn't save lives. But it is a form of therapy, for me anyway. As soon as New York Fashion Week gets under way I'm glued to for the next month. It's exciting, it makes me happy, it definitely helps my brain...</p><p>As Paris Fashion Week draws to a close you can bet your bottom dollar that Mrs Brain Surgeon and Mrs Rocket Scientist have been keeping a close eye. These are the looks they'll be donning when they visit The Heart Surgeons in The Hamptons for spring break. We'll be wearing them too, maybe in the form of Primarni, or Top Shop, even M&S. They filter down to the high street. To quote the great Miranda Priestly: "That blue sweater you're wearing, it filtered down from the collections, it was selected for you" (if you haven't seen The Devil Wears Prada watch it, it's brilliant).</p><p>It's the same with the maquillage (that's French for make up, just because I'm feeling a bit "French" today). Hair and make up trends sneak in to our bedrooms sometimes without us even realising. Look at a photo of yourself from the 80s or 90s, even the early noughties. See what I mean? So we're all effected by fashion, ie the "tops and bottoms".</p><p>As with most music trends, there's a retro feel with a modern edge to new beauty trends. In the past we've seen Vivienne Westwood and Galliano bring a feel of the 1800s. The 1920s, 40s, 50s, even the 80s, have all made a comeback. </p><p>For me the 60s was the most exciting decade in beauty. Everyone looked beautiful. The beehive, the liner, the lashes, the perfectly arched brows, the Quant/Sassoon bob. It's sexy, it's Mrs Robinson, and... IT'S BACK. </p><p>There was a heavy influence sweeping through the SS12 collections. At Mulberry we saw fresh complexions, a touch of liner, rose lips and huge backcombed, messy bouffed hair. Fendi brought a modern edge with gold and silver leaf over black liner, nude lips, finished with a sexy messy beehive. Gucci, as always, added drama with the blackest of black smoky cat eyes, no brows, nude lips and a swept back mini quiff. Vuitton went for it. Big lashes, white liner, peachy nude lips and beautifully arched brows. </p><p>These are some of the most beautiful, exciting looks I've seen in a very long time. Let's indulge ourselves next spring, forget about the recession and take a step back in time. All you need are lashes, liner and a can of Elnett. Treat yourselves to a new tail comb. Spring is going to be swinging. I can't wait...</p><p>To see these looks click - and be inspired.<br></p><p>Follow Lisa Stokes on Twitter:</p>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRFKlVEsUD4JFQsfXJ2dtLuzmVP8q1zOe6cFjXCBrfIccAcD2%2BZCj1ofCLNdb4PAUq1BGtDmh45514kIuB5Ua5hfpX3jCUjpesONZAp5v%2FZYto0CpL2BNQDbLKBQntDL%2BG0SOtgBpYqpM?<p>MILAN &mdash; LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury goods empire based in Paris, on Thursday reported that first-half net profit rose 28 percent thanks to its Louis Vuitton and Bulgari brands and on growth in Asia and the United States.</p><p>The maker of Hennessy cognac, the iconic Baguette bag by Fendi and perfumes like J'Adore posted a net profit of (EURO)1.68 billion ($2 billion), compared with (EURO)1.3 billion a year earlier.</p><p>Revenue rose 26 percent to (EURO)13 billion from (EURO)10 billion.</p><p>LVMH said the performance reflected double-digit revenue growth at Louis Vuitton, the success of the Christian Dior fashion house and the integration of the Bulgari jewelry maker, which was key to an 87 percent boost in profits for watches and jewelry.</p><p>Demand for both wines and spirits was also strong, increasing by 23 percent to (EURO)1.76 billion. Fashion and leather goods remained the main revenue drivers, with Louis Vuitton driving a 17 percent revenue increase to (EURO)4.7 billion.</p><p>LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault credited initiatives including targeted expansion of its brands for the `'excellent performance" in the first half.</p><p>"We approach the second half of the year with confidence," Arnault said in a statement.</p><p>LVMH said it expects to continue to gain market share despite the uncertain economic environment in Europe on the strength of new product launches, targeted geographic expansion and cost management.</p>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRFKlVEsUD4JFQsfXJ2dtLuzmVP8q1zOe6cFjXCBrfIccAcD2%2BZCj1ofCLNdb4PAUq1BGtDmh45514kIuB5Ua5hfpX3jCUjpesONZAp5v%2FZYto0CpL2BNQDbLKBQntDL%2BG0SOtgBpYqpM?<p>No time to page through thousands of eBay listings? Then just sneak a peek at my weekly eBay roundup of top vintage clothing finds.</p><p>This eclectic mix of designer and non-designer vintage clothing and accessories caught my discerning eye because of its uniqueness, contemporary feel and highly collectible nature.</p><p>As always, buyer beware! Be sure to read the listings closely and contact the sellers with any questions.</p><p>This week's selections include pieces by Weiss, Gucci, Fendi, Hermes and Roger Vivier. Be sure to check out the gorgeous Harvey Berin Karen Stark cocktail dress, the 1940s sequin star dress and the vintage 1950s Christian Dior coat.</p><p>Which item is your favorite? Leave me a comment below to let me know and please take a minute to rate your favorite slides.</p><p>Please note that Zuburbia does not endorse the use of fur, feathers, leather or animal skins in fashion. These selections are offered only as more thoughtful and eco-friendly alternatives for contemporary fashionistas who have not yet eliminated animal products from their wardrobes.<p></p><p>DISCLOSURE: Zuburbia is an affiliate member of the eBay Partner Network however editorial selections are made without direct promotional consideration from featured eBay sellers. <p></p><p>GET READY, GET SET, BID!!!<p></p> <p>Follow Mary Kincaid on Twitter:</p>?<p>On the heels of comes another: !</p><p>Yup, get ready to feel old: the teen movie that made a bona fide star and put on everyone's radar turns eight years old today, having been released on April 30, 2004. And although it's been nearly a decade, we can still quote our favorite lines like it was yesterday. ("You can't sit with us!!") </p><p>In honor of turning eight, we've decided to reminisce about the movie's fashion highlights: Cady's "so fetch" tribal bracelet; pink on Wednesdays; dresses in sizes 1, 3 and 5; army pants and flip-flops; white gold hoops; and the ugliest effing skirt we've ever seen. </p><p>Enjoy! <br></p> <br>?<p>A few years ago I took part in a focus group that an Italian luxury clothing brand had assembled. They had invited a number of their customers to a blind panel (i.e. we didn't know who the sponsor was) and a researcher asked us (a group of ten New York women, ranging from a well-known hedge fund owner to self-proclaimed major shoppers) about favorite brands. After an hour what emerged was a clear consensus: some of the brands with great historic cachet had gone too mass market to appeal to us any more and there were only a handful that still represented true quality. (One was Herms, which is one of the few luxury companies having a banner year after the economic crisis.) We bought investment pieces and fashionable accessories, but most of us got our true shopping thrills out of discovering little-known, one-of-a-kind artisans in our travels or from limited edition releases. The second half of our session was devoted to trying to persuade the brand (Loro Piana) not to expand with advertising campaigns or additional shops but to stay small and special and customer centric. Loro Piana is hardly unknown, but it has remained rarefied and countless times since that panel, I have seen further proof that what truly discerning shoppers want is the rare, the anti-ubiquitous. It's why limited edition bags, boots or books are all the rage. It's why pop-up shops have become so popular. In fact, this year, the holiday gifts to get are going to be those not available online but at pop-up shops. At Design Miami this week Limited Editions Experience is bringing together a host of renowned fashion houses including Fendi, Maison Martin Margiela and Marni in temporary stores and 'pop up' boutiques. Each brand will showcase limited edition merchandise (including Fendi's customized needle point baguettes) and 'performance' retail experiences such as a Duncan Quinn ready-to-wear store complete with indoor croquet lawn, and Gucci's second installment of Icon-Temporary, a flash sneaker store with designs by award-winning DJ Mark Ronson. And at Indagare, we invited little-known artisans from Cambodia, Colombia, China, India, Mexico, Kenya, Morocco and more to send artisan made products for three-day market starting December 1 at the Surrey Hotel. </p><p>Read more on </p><p>Read more about <br></p>?<p>A longtime fixture in the style scene, writer Lynn Yaeger is crazy for collecting. She skips fashion shows for antique markets and her morning ritual involves trolling eBay armed with her shortlist of favorite search terms. Yaeger offered , an online style magazine presented by eBay, a rare glimpse inside her apartment--a well-appointed showpiece for her collections. She'll also be joining the publication as a guest columnist, focusing on her personal story as a collector as well as those of other style makers whose personal collections inspire their work--and keep them awake at night.</p><p>The following is an except from Yaeger's : </p><p>Here is what I do every single morning, in between teeth-brushing and waiting for the coffee to boil: I turn on my laptop and type "" into eBay. This is followed by "" and then either "sweater 1930-46 (, )" or "" or "." I do this because I am an avid, some would argue rabid collector, with a shifting catalog of enthusiasms that at the moment includes vintage cardigans and 1920s bracelets; rag dolls meant to resemble French cartoon characters (the aforementioned Becassine dolls) and Victorian children's jewelry--the rarer, the more elusive, the less findable, the better.</p><p><br>Yaeger in her entryway with her eBay-bought fur and Hermes Kelly bag; Yaeger in front of her overflowing closet</p><p><br>Lynn Yaeger in her eBay finest: reindeer sweater, Fendi bag and Hermes bag; Yaeger giddy at the thought of an eBay auction win</p><p><br>antique toy and doll collections</p><p>My collecting started innocently enough, decades ago, with a desire to perk up my house with a couple of interesting geegaws and maybe add a few pieces of old-fashioned glamour to my wardrobe. One day, oh, maybe 12 or so years ago, I was at my desk at the Village Voice when a colleague moseyed over to show me something our new toy, the computer, could do. He typed "Martha Chase doll" (a circa 1910 plaything I was obsessed with at the time) into something called eBay (funny name, right?) and when those doll faces popped up on the screen, my life changed forever.</p><p><br>Yaeger in her kitchen</p><p>The items I collect exert a powerful pull on my imagination and I am certain that I'm not alone in my passions. In the next several weeks, I will be interviewing other collectors--people like Barneys Creative Director Simon Doonan and his partner, renowned interior designer Jonathan Adler--for eBay's The Inside Source. Some folks may head to eBay seeking a new MP3 player or a handbag that sold out before they could get their hands on it (I know I have!), but I'll be trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of what makes otherwise sane people spend all their money on King George coffee mugs and vintage striptease costumes. They'll be sharing with me the joys of the hunt, the incredible rush of victory when you get your hands on something you've been longing for, and, inevitably, the agony attending the ones that got away.</p><p><br>At her computer browsing on eBay </p><p>Read more about Yaeger's collections and find her eBay wish list at .<br></p>?<p><br>Stephanie Mark and Erin Kleinberg, the bloggers behind The Coveteur</p><p>On , their perfectly turned out ode to closets, BFF's Erin Kleinberg and Stephanie Mark giddily document the impeccable taste and sartorial acquisitions of stylesetters everywhere. The Toronto-based twenty-somethings met at summer camp as teens, and in the interim racked up stints with boldface names and places, like W and Elle magazines and designer Phillip Lim.</p><p>These days, while Mark still works as a stylist and Kleinberg designs a fashion collection under her own name, the two have generated serious buzz (not to mention high profile collaborations with Elle and Teen Vogue) by exploring style from a new angle. Their site offers an e-look at cherished pieces of tastemakers' wardrobes and other personal spaces through luscious photos and pithy quotes.</p><p>Photographer Jake Rosenberg, who's also from Toronto and only 23-years-old, shoots the images. They are at once intimate portraits of inanimate objects with real personality, and creatively styled still lives. Each is accompanied by a personal anecdote from its owner -- a tidbit about the items' significance or provenance. Kleinberg and Mark write the chatty introductions and by keeping them short, let the loot speak for itself. A list of digital inspiration next to each post lets readers delve deeper into the subject's style psyche. </p><p>, a regular contributor to , eBay's digital style magazine, chatted with Erin and Stephanie, who prove to be irrepressibly bubbly and devoted to what is clearly their true calling. See more below, and to read the full story. </p><p>The Inside Source: How did The Coveteur blog come to be?</p><p>The Coveteur: We are so obsessed with street style that we thought, "Why not take it into the home, right into the closet, where all of the getups are curated from?" We started the blog after seeing The Social Network. That movie was super inspiring for us.</p><p>The Inside Source: What are your backgrounds?</p><p>The Coveteur: Erin is the designer behind the womenswear line Erin Kleinberg. Prior to starting the label she interned for W magazine's Fashion Director, Alex White, and for Susie Sheffman [at Canada's] Fashion magazine. She also did a stint at [department store] Holt Renfrew in the personal shopping department. </p><p><br>An image from stylist closet. </p><p>While attending Parsons in New York City, Steph apprenticed under Elle's Style Director, Kate Lanphear. She then went to on to work with celebrity stylists Annabel Tollman and Leslie Fremar, whose clients included Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams, Charlize Theron, and Julianne Moore. She also has a marketing background, [and has worked with] fashion companies Intermix and 3.1 Phillip Lim. </p><p>The Inside Source: What blogs do you follow?</p><p>The Coveteur: The usual suspects: , , Man Repeller, WhoWhatWear,, Fashionista.</p><p>The Inside Source: Whose closets have been your favorites so far?</p><p>The Coveteur: We died when we shot Patricia Field's. Nicole Richie's stylist, Simone Harouche, has the sickest vintage dress collection. Model Brad Koenig's son Hudson, who is only two-and-a-half-years-old, has an entire wardrobe of custom Fendi and Chanel. It was really something! pieces were out of control. </p><p><br>An image from The Man Repeller's closet. </p><p>The Inside Source: Have you ever seen something in someone's closet, and then bought something similar for yourselves?<br><br>The Coveteur: 10 million percent! Mostly this happened at [partner at Starworks Media] house. She is dope dope dope! After seeing her closet, we both ransacked Isabel Marant for platform kicks and scarves. Also, [celebrity stylist] Estee Stanley turned us into Fendi and Manolo Blahnik fiends.</p><p>The Inside Source: Describe your personal styles.<br><br>The Coveteur: This is such a hard question. I feel like we dress thematically; there are so many different thoughts going on in our brains. Steph's style is just cool. Minimal on the jewels; focuses on the clothing. EK is more about the vintage, the jewels, the lace. But collectively, we drop dead for anything Proenza, '90s Prada and Miu Miu, Isabel Marant shoes, Celine sunnies.<br><br>The Inside Source: What do you stockpile?<br><br>The Coveteur: Equipment blouses.<br><br>The Inside Source: What do you splurge on? <br><br> The Coveteur: Anything Marant.<br><br>The Inside Source: How do you scrimp?</p><p>The Coveteur: We hit some sick sales in Vegas this year; we got like three Proenza dresses for the price of one. Yay!</p><p>The Inside Source: What are you coveting?<br><br>The Coveteur: Anything Lowe, Aurelie Bidermann jewels, Givenchy leopard, Anita Ko panther knockers, and Jen Meyer key necklaces.</p><p><br>An image from Jonathan Adler's closet. </p><p>The Inside Source: Whose closet would you most like to gain access to?</p><p>The Coveteur: Both of us agree that it would be Hugh Hefner for sure. Steph would also say Fran Drescher, and Erin would probably say Pharrell.</p><p>The Inside Source: What would your dream closet be like?</p><p>The Coveteur: Khloe Kardashian's [photographed by The Coveteur in collaboration with Elle magazine]! That sucker is huge and beyond organized.</p><p>The Inside Source: What have you hunted for on eBay?</p><p>The Coveteur: We were obsessed with the vintage cut glass candlesticks that had endless amounts of wax melting onto the sticks and table at [Current Elliott founder] Merritt Eliott's house, so we hunted them down on eBay and re-created the look. The best home furnishings that we fall in love with in people's homes were often acquired on eBay.</p><p> to read the full story and to see Erin and Stephanie's eBay product picks. Photos courtesy of The Coveteur. Article written by Marni Elyse Katz for The Inside Source.</p><p>This story was written in its original form by Marni Katz. Images provided by The Coveteur. to read the full story and see Mark and Kleinberg's eBay picks. For more interviews with our favorite fashion and design industry insiders, visit - and be sure to follow us on and . </p>?<p>Miami-Dade County took a great stride for animals when a . In the mean time, there are plenty of dogs and cats waiting for residents to take them home to become a part of a forever family.</p><p>At shelters across the county, dogs and cats of all ages, breeds and sizes are available for adoption. Blake is a furry Shih-Tzu mix who loves hamming it up for the camera. Baby Jingo is one of many kittens looking for homes, perfect for those who want to raise a cat from the beginning.</p><p>Since it's South Florida, there are a variety of animals that can become a part of your family. Sam and Frodo are two, bright and happy birds, and Meko the leopard tortoise is a unique pet.</p><p>On Saturday, the county is hosting a , with half-off adoption prices, free entertainment and a skateboard rodeo. A perfect place to meet your new furbaby!</p>CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Miami-Dade's animal shelter was already a kill-free facility. The plan to implement the no-kill policy will be presented before the Miami-Dade Commission in early 2013.<p>Here are just a few adoptable animals in the community:<br></p>?<p><br><br></p><p>Since the French created cinema and perfected fashion, who better to discuss how the two arts inform one another? The in New York City boasts a series of events through March doing just this. An exhibition of artwork by Jean-Philippe Delhomme is on display in their gallery at 22 East 60th Street through April. They've partnered with FIT to screen four fashion-related documentaries including The Day Before: Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld on February 23 as well as And ELLE Created Woman on February 27. Three figures in fashion give talks in March: Reed Krakoff (March 21), Stefano Pilati (March 27) and Dries Van Noten (March 29).</p><p>But the cinematic highlight is a selection of movies curated by the designer Agnes B, all of which deeply influenced her work. It began with Jean Renoir's amusing bauble The Crime Of Monsieur Lange last week (which she presumably loved for the jaunty hats the women wore) and continues with ...And God Created Woman on Valentine's Day (a movie better known for what Brigitte Bardot DIDN'T wear), Godard's My Life To Live (Vivre Sa Vie) and Pierrot Le Fou on February 21 and Golden Marie/Casque d'Or on February 28. Head to for more information and check out trailers for two of the selections below.</p><p><p><p><p><br><p><p><p></p><p>Follow Michael Giltz on Twitter:</p>?<p>MILAN &mdash; The first day of the Milan menswear shows for next summer was a mixed bag of old favorites and new entries.</p><p>The biggest news Saturday was the return of Jil Sander to her eponymous label after an eight year absence. She marked her comeback with a prim and precise collection dotted with color and trendy styles, showing she is willing to update her minimalist trademark.</p><p>The Sander event was nearly overshadowed by the unconventionally bright Burberry collection aimed at dispelling any British summer gloom.</p><p>Dolce&Gabbana, using non-professional models imported from Sicily and harking back to yesteryear styles, showed that summer dressing can and should stay genuine and simple. Luxury comes in the details.</p><p>Still to come in the four-day preview showings are such big Italian designer names as Versace, Prada, Missoni, Armani and Fendi.</p><p>____</p><p>JIL SANDER</p><p>Jil Sander is definitely back.</p><p>The menswear collection shown in Milan on Saturday &ndash; the first collection German-born Sander has designed for her own label in eight years &ndash; had the undeniable minimalist touch which characterizes the eponymous label founded in 1968.</p><p>The collection was prim, proper and precise. Pristine white shirts paired with an elongated jacket and slim trousers, both in dark Jil blue, graphic printed T-shirts in fabric just stiff enough to keep them from looking sloppy and classic two-tone lace-up shoes made up the summer look.</p><p>"It's good to be at home again," the designer told The Associated Press backstage after the much applauded show &ndash; the first of the four-day preview Milan menswear shows for summer 2013.</p><p>In the label's stormy history &ndash; Sander left her company twice in the past 12 years &ndash; other designers tried their hand at her style, but no matter how creative, they were never quite able to match her very personal minimalism.</p><p>The last of these was Belgian designer Raf Simons, who bowed out after his rave review women's collection last February, just as Sander was announcing her return. In April Simons was named creative director at Dior.</p><p>"We want to keep our integrity and go back to our roots," said the 68-year old designer, dressed in a crisp white shirt and navy slacks. Off the runway rumors had her unhappy with the flashier turn the label had taken.</p><p>And yet her interim years, some spent designing for the low cost but trendy Japanese Uniglo chain, seem to have relaxed her tastes.</p><p>The latest sleeveless jacket is really an elongated vest. Bermuda shorts in ultra-light wool are cut with precision but shaped like surfing trunks. Classic footwear sports a trendy colored sole.</p><p>The once black and navy palette has been invaded for next summer by bright shades of ochre yellow, granite red and cobalt blue and particularly warm beige. No matter what the style, the fabrics are, as usual, exquisite.</p><p>_____</p><p>DOLCE&GABBANA</p><p>These are happy boys. Happy that it's summer. Happy to be Sicilian.</p><p>A live band in traditional costume, complete with mandolins and tambourines, accompanied the 73 men and boys who walked down the runway of the Dolce&Gabbana venue in downtown Milan, wearing yesteryear combinations of black and white, a reference by the designing duo to their Sicilian roots.</p><p>Often opulent if not ostentatious in their fashion preferences, this round the duo opted for simplicity, starting with the models. Ranging from 12 to 43 years of age, all non-professionals, they come from Sicily from such walks of life as student, house painter, barber, waiter or simply unemployed.</p><p>"We wanted to put our clothes on real men because fashion should be for real people," Stefano Gabbana said, speaking to reporters ahead of the show.</p><p>Maybe that is why despite the yesteryear setting, the models looked so at home in their striped black-and-white T-shirts over slim black slacks or plain black shorts accessorized by a black Sicilian cap.</p><p>For more formal wear, the Sicilian man puts on his Sunday best: a pristine white shirt with wide open collar and a close fitting suit with small jacket and slim trouser. Boys, as was the custom until not very long ago, stick to shorts.</p><p>Most of the outfits were accompanied by sturdy leather sandals.</p><p>A closer look at the clothes, however, reveals that this is not low-cost fashion. Fabrics are ultra-light and ultra-fancy from linen to silk, to light wool and chiffon.</p><p>The grand finale, made up of all 73 models, looked like a simple parade of dark suits and white jackets. In reality each outfit is unique, either in choice of fabric or styling detail.</p><p>____</p><p>BURBERRY</p><p>"Come rain or shine" read the fashion notes at Burberry Prorsum.</p><p>But the latest menswear collection by British designer Christopher Bailey, shown Saturday in Milan, was much more about shine than it was about England's proverbial bad weather.</p><p>Everything in the summer 2013 preview collection, from short-sleeved shirts to traditional rain attire, was in shining, almost blindingly bright shades of metallic, or better yet, fluorescent fabric.</p><p>Thus bring on a fuchsia pink trench coat, an electric blue bomber jacket or a shiny turquoise lapel on a classic tweed overcoat. Footwear, mainly of the sturdy sandal type, and practical tote and iPad bags also come in glaring hues.</p><p>But fear not. Bailey wouldn't dream of leaving his tried and true customer out in the cold.</p><p>Along with the shimmering shockers, the show was filled with traditional tweeds, classic suits albeit with a slim cut and country old favorites: raincoats, field jackets and oversized parkas.</p>?<p>MILAN &mdash; "Where is Anna Wintour?" asked a message across one runway Thursday on the first day of Milan's winter womenswear fashion week. It was the question of the moment as fashionistas feared the superstar editor would sit out much of the festivities because of her tight schedule.</p><p>Organizers scrambled to accommodate the director of American Vogue, squeezing over a hundred shows and presentations into just four days. But, Fendi and Prada chose to show on Thursday &ndash; with or without the powerful fashion arbiter, the inspiration for Miranda Priestly in the book and movie "The Devil Wears Prada."</p><p>And they were glad they did. Fresh off the plane and decked out in purple, Wintour made a surprise appearance, and took her front row seat at both afternoon shows.</p><p>"You have to believe in what you are worth," Silvia Venturini Fendi, the second generation Fendi designer, said after the show, which featured the label's trademark furs.</p><p>Later Thursday, Wintour watched Prada, where designer Miuccia wowed the fashion crowd with her latest collection, a winter dream full of cozy knits and flared skirts, perfect for the screen heirs of 1950s stars Debbie Reynolds and Doris Day.</p><p>A parade of models, each with their hair in perfect chignons, came down the runway in below-the-knee skirts, wool gowns with ruffled hems and bodices, cable knit suits and short flared jackets with fur trimming.</p><p>They sported retro shoes from slingbacks to pumps to sandals, all worn with embroidered wool knee socks. Bags were of the old-fashioned handle strap or clutch variety. Black and retro Prada prints recalled a dimly lit winter.</p><p>Also seen on Thursday's runway was Dolce and Gabbana's second line D&G's winter wonderland, complete with furry "apres ski" boots with a hidden high heel and crystal studded goggles.</p><p>Wintour plans to be in Hollywood for Oscar night March 7th and before that is scheduled to attend Paris fashion week. The French are likely to resist any changes to their well-orchestrated fashion calendar.</p><p>The scheduling to accommodate Wintour prompted much soul-searching among Italian designers, industry insiders and officials. Milan Mayor Letizia Moratti, the head of the fashion chamber, Mario Boselli, designer Giorgio Armani and Diego Della Valle, head of Tod's shoes, all said Italy should stand its ground.</p><p>Fendi's Venturini expressed regret that there was not more "esprit de corps" among Italian designers.</p><p>"We need the courage to join forces," Venturini said.</p> <br>?<p>From wild platforms to over-the-top fringe, sometimes most memorable moments are indeed its most outrageous. </p><p>There were plenty of . Besides all the , oversized accessories, lightning bolts, wacky platforms and took a turn down the runway. As came to a close on Monday, we decided to gather all the truly wild looks in the slideshow below. Don't miss our recap of and , and stay tuned for our updates from Paris!</p><p></p><p>Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on , , and .<br></p>?<p>With the four main Fashion Weeks just around the corner, I am looking forward to finally seeing the latest collections from some of the world's best designers. Whether I am lucky enough to be present at the shows, or if it's a case of catching up online afterwards, September marks the time of year I make my imaginary shopping list of coveted items, either for my styling clients or myself. With a jam-packed schedule in each city, and a host of brands to choose from, it can be a difficult task to name my favourites, however, I have tried to encapsulate below my "must-see" shows, and the designers I will have my eye on this season.</p>?<p>MILAN - The first day of the Milan menswear shows for next summer was a mixed bag of old favourites and new entries.</p><p>The biggest news Saturday was the return of Jil Sander to her eponymous label after an eight year absence. She marked her comeback with a prim and precise collection dotted with colour and trendy styles, showing she is willing to update her minimalist trademark.</p><p>The Sander event was nearly overshadowed by the unconventionally bright Burberry collection aimed at dispelling any British summer gloom.</p><p>Dolce&Gabbana, using non-professional models imported from Sicily and harking back to yesteryear styles, showed that summer dressing can and should stay genuine and simple. Luxury comes in the details.</p><p>Still to come in the four-day preview showings are such big Italian designer names as Versace, Prada, Missoni, Armani and Fendi.</p><p>____</p><p>JIL SANDER</p><p>Jil Sander is definitely back.</p><p>The menswear collection shown in Milan on Saturday the first collection German-born Sander has designed for her own label in eight years had the undeniable minimalist touch which characterizes the eponymous label founded in 1968.</p><p>The collection was prim, proper and precise. Pristine white shirts paired with an elongated jacket and slim trousers, both in dark Jil blue, graphic printed T-shirts in fabric just stiff enough to keep them from looking sloppy and classic two-tone lace-up shoes made up the summer look.</p><p>"It's good to be at home again," the designer told The Associated Press backstage after the much applauded show the first of the four-day preview Milan menswear shows for summer 2013.</p><p>In the label's stormy history Sander left her company twice in the past 12 years other designers tried their hand at her style, but no matter how creative, they were never quite able to match her very personal minimalism.</p><p>The last of these was Belgian designer Raf Simons, who bowed out after his rave review women's collection last February, just as Sander was announcing her return. In April Simons was named creative director at Dior.</p><p>"We want to keep our integrity and go back to our roots," said the 68-year old designer, dressed in a crisp white shirt and navy slacks. Off the runway rumours had her unhappy with the flashier turn the label had taken.</p><p>And yet her interim years, some spent designing for the low cost but trendy Japanese Uniglo chain, seem to have relaxed her tastes.</p><p>The latest sleeveless jacket is really an elongated vest. Bermuda shorts in ultra-light wool are cut with precision but shaped like surfing trunks. Classic footwear sports a trendy colored sole.</p><p>The once black and navy palette has been invaded for next summer by bright shades of ochre yellow, granite red and cobalt blue and particularly warm beige. No matter what the style, the fabrics are, as usual, exquisite.</p><p>_____</p><p>DOLCE&GABBANA</p><p>These are happy boys. Happy that it's summer. Happy to be Sicilian.</p><p>A live band in traditional costume, complete with mandolins and tambourines, accompanied the 73 men and boys who walked down the runway of the Dolce&Gabbana venue in downtown Milan, wearing yesteryear combinations of black and white, a reference by the designing duo to their Sicilian roots.</p><p>Often opulent if not ostentatious in their fashion preferences, this round the duo opted for simplicity, starting with the models. Ranging from 12 to 43 years of age, all non-professionals, they come from Sicily from such walks of life as student, house painter, barber, waiter or simply unemployed.</p><p>"We wanted to put our clothes on real men because fashion should be for real people," Stefano Gabbana said, speaking to reporters ahead of the show.</p><p>Maybe that is why despite the yesteryear setting, the models looked so at home in their striped black-and-white T-shirts over slim black slacks or plain black shorts accessorized by a black Sicilian cap.</p><p>For more formal wear, the Sicilian man puts on his Sunday best: a pristine white shirt with wide open collar and a close fitting suit with small jacket and slim trouser. Boys, as was the custom until not very long ago, stick to shorts.</p><p>Most of the outfits were accompanied by sturdy leather sandals.</p><p>A closer look at the clothes, however, reveals that this is not low-cost fashion. Fabrics are ultra-light and ultra-fancy from linen to silk, to light wool and chiffon.</p><p>The grand finale, made up of all 73 models, looked like a simple parade of dark suits and white jackets. In reality each outfit is unique, either in choice of fabric or styling detail.</p><p>____</p><p>BURBERRY</p><p>"Come rain or shine" read the fashion notes at Burberry Prorsum.</p><p>But the latest menswear collection by British designer Christopher Bailey, shown Saturday in Milan, was much more about shine than it was about England's proverbial bad weather.</p><p>Everything in the summer 2013 preview collection, from short-sleeved shirts to traditional rain attire, was in shining, almost blindingly bright shades of metallic, or better yet, fluorescent fabric.</p><p>Thus bring on a fuchsia pink trench coat, an electric blue bomber jacket or a shiny turquoise lapel on a classic tweed overcoat. Footwear, mainly of the sturdy sandal type, and practical tote and iPad bags also come in glaring hues.</p><p>But fear not. Bailey wouldn't dream of leaving his tried and true customer out in the cold.</p><p>Along with the shimmering shockers, the show was filled with traditional tweeds, classic suits albeit with a slim cut and country old favourites: raincoats, field jackets and oversized parkas.</p>?<p>MILAN &mdash; After New York and London, it's Milan's turn to have a say as to how women will dress for the spring-summer 2013.</p><p>If the first day of previews Wednesday was any indication, next summer will feature a lot of bold color and patterns. While the more structured, usually daytime, looks were in heavier fabrics, evening or playtime came in airier, diaphanous materials like chiffon and tulle.</p><p>Milan designers are offering more romantic looks rather than their trademark slinky and sexy. Long and loose pants were paired with ample tunic tops while voluminous long skirts offered a nice sweep.</p><p>The accessories &ndash; high-heels and bags alike &ndash; often replicated patterns in the outfits. Hair styles were long and simple, either tucked up in a chignon or behind the ears.</p><p>Over the next six days, more than 60 of Italy's top designers, including Gucci, Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce&Gabbana, Fendi and Ferragamo will present their take on next summer's well-dressed woman.</p><p>___</p><p>GUCCI</p><p>"Sophisticated and essential" is how Gucci designer Frida Giannini described the elegant collection that kicked off Milan Fashion Week.</p><p>Based on a simple elongated silhouette with artful cutouts and decorative flounces, accessorized by skinny high-heeled cage sandals and oversized 1970s costume jewelry, the collection came in bold shades of fuchsia, coral, kiwi green, mustard yellow and electric blue.</p><p>Total black or total white underlined the couture feel of the collection, as did the delicate prints reminiscent of Japanese floral wallpaper, penthouse pajama pants or the bell sleeves of a simple cocktail sheath.</p><p>But Giannini is very much a contemporary designer, and her couture came with an edge. This is seen in the sophisticated ankle straps of the sandals decorated with the logo horse bit, the plexiglass clutch bag and the snakeskin patterns for evening wear.</p><p>___</p><p>FERRETTI</p><p>Diaphanous, dainty and above all delicious. The Alberta Ferretti collection for the spring-summer 2013 is sure to be a hit wherever sophisticated maidens gather, from beach clubs to garden parties to summer weddings.</p><p>While a mega-screen projected silently moving water, model after model came down the runway wearing gowns so light they looked like a second skin. With their hair gelled back as if they had just come out of the water and many gowns ending in a delicate train, the models looked like a parade of beautiful mermaids.</p><p>The colors of the gowns ranged from pearly white to sea green and Mediterranean blue. Sometimes the light fabric was adorned with shimmering sequins, at others it came in dainty lace. Sheer nude tulle, which allowed the skin to shine through, held the gowns together, creating the mermaid effect.</p><p>The overall look was young, demure and very special with every outfit unique.</p><p>When asked what inspired the dreamy light look, the Italian designer said she felt the need to "make up for the heavy moment we are all going through."</p><p>___</p><p>MILA SCHOEN</p><p>Mila Schoen dug into the archives for 1970s graphic prints for next year's warm weather looks.</p><p>The collection at Milan Fashion Week featured zigzag, confetti or gum-wrapper prints in dreamy pastels or more vibrant pinks, sea-foam green or gold.</p><p>Many of the daytime looks were two pieces, allowing for endless combinations and coverage. Cropped tops were shown over belted short skirts that flair, long-sleeved tunic tops were over super-wide trousers for an elegant, all-covered feel.</p><p>Designer Bianca Gervasio played with volume, accenting short skirts with a pair of inverted pleats on each hip for a bubble effect that contrasted with tighter fitting bodices, sometimes off the shoulder or with cap sleeves.</p><p>And Gervasio turned the volume way up for evening wear, offering romantic flowing pleated or tiered skirts that swept along the floor. The evening color palate was mostly pastels, a soft pink skirt with an ivory off-the-shoulder top, pulled together by a belt accented with crystals.</p>?<p>Perhaps this has happened to you: you're making a mad dash to the store and you reach for some familiar packaging...and only when you get to the checkout do you realize you've grabbed the wrong thing. It happened to me recently at my local drugstore. Instead of the Crest Whitestrips I was after, I found myself at the checkout with the drugstore's own brand version of it.</p><p>No, I don't need glasses. But you do sometimes need 20/20 vision and concentrated attention to see the differences between how the generic store brand is packaged compared to the manufacturer label.</p><p>Saatchi & Saatchi coined the phrase "." This is when a brand becomes more to you than just the product in the packaging, but something that inspires you beyond the expected performance.</p>"Lovemarks reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can't live without. Ever. Take a brand away and people will find a replacement. Take a Lovemark away and people will protest its absence. Lovemarks are a relationship, not a mere transaction. You don't just buy Lovemarks, you embrace them passionately. That's why you never want to let go." - Saatchi & Saatchi<p>One example of this might be Dove's campaign for real beauty. You could argue that this campaign goes way beyond what we want and need when we're buying soap. But their campaign is certainly inspiring. And precisely because of that many people feel an intimate connection with the brand. They perceive Dove as a brand that's more inclusive, positively feminist etc. And they might always reach for Dove at the drugstore because for them that brand is a "Lovemark" that goes beyond a mere fad. They love the product, but also respect it.</p><p>The reason I was upset about my purchase was because I felt led astray by the too-similar packaging. The brand I wanted is by a company I know and trust. I've used their product a long time. OK, it may just be a tooth-whitening system, but I know the product performs and I rely on it. I feel like over time it's my trusted brand and I respect the company. In fact, many of the brands I feel this way about are those small consumables that I buy over and over again. You know the feeling -- we all have our favourite products we buy over and over!</p><p>Branding is an integral part of my job, but it's also the kind of shopper I am. I pay really careful attention to products and branding. Some retailers' approach is to go for a generic "no name" brand -- that familiar yellow packaging is, in fact, a brand itself. It stands for no-nonsense and value, it conveys that the product isn't trying to impress you with fancy and excessive packaging but is focused on giving you "exactly what it says on the label" for a fair and competitive price. I completely respect this approach. It may seem like those no-name products are a "non-brand," but in fact they're a very clever and distinctive brand in their own right.</p><p>But there's another approach I find less clear-cut: this is when the store brand's packaging looks a little too similar to the product it's "inspired" by. This is the approach I was nearly taken in by, and I've since noticed that it's pretty common at drugstores and grocery stores! A lot has been about luxury designers (Chanel, Fendi, Louis Vuitton) being copied, whether it's designer purses sold on Canal Street or Louboutin's iconic red soles suddenly appearing at many discount stores. But what about these more everyday brands? Is imitating them not also wrong? Do we think the brand is "worth" less just because the product is affordable?</p><p>It might be wrong to assume that just because a product costs $10 and not $1,000 that less investment goes into the branding and research. Think about it. The world is a much more competitive place for coffee-makers and shampoo companies than it is for high-end designers. If you're going to spend $800 on pair of shoes, you'll no doubt pay attention to what you're buying. It's almost certain that those kinds of brands will be "Lovemarks" to the people buying them. But if you're making that mad dash to the grocery store, the decision-making process is very compressed in time and way more competitive. The pressure is on! These products must attract your attention, communicate clearly what they are and why they're better and also deliver to make you loyal over time.</p><p>Most companies work exceptionally hard to develop a recognizable brand. They select a product name, design packaging, fonts, colours and materials. They conduct a lot of research to get it right, making sure customers understand the product name, that the most important information is prominent and that the design is aesthetically pleasing. Once they hit the right formula, they stay loyal to it so that they become a familiar and recognizable brand to their customers. Colgate, Starbucks, Nike -- you can probably picture their packaging just hearing their names. That's a sign of effective branding. </p><p>But beyond the packaging, those companies are also the ones who conduct all the product research and development, search out new ingredients, run clinical trials and huge taste kitchens, always trying to bring a better product to the marketplace. And they stake their very reputation on the fact that it's an effective product. When Crest brings out a new toothpaste or tooth-whitener, it represents a huge investment and risk. </p><p>There's always been a fine line in branding between flattery and imitation. No doubt store brands tread on the right side of the law. But just because they're not doing something illegal does not mean that they're completely transparent. If they created their own consistent brand and product (like the yellow-packaged no-name brands do), there wouldn't be an issue. But it feels like they're simply piggy-backing off the hard work of other companies in order to confuse customers, just as I was confused. As customers, we should be able to make our own choices. There might be times when I don't care and am happy to buy the store brand. I just don't like the idea that I might unwittingly make a purchase I didn't want to make.</p><p>But the thing that really strikes me is that these imitation brands are missing an opportunity. That no-name generic yellow packaging is a better brand because it could actually become a Lovemark -- something that people respect and love, turn to every time and would miss if it was taken away. But the imitations will never be a Lovemark to people because they're not actually doing something original and with integrity. Why not build a brand that people actually respect? Wouldn't that be better business?</p><p>Follow Natasha Koifman on Twitter:</p>?<p>This weekend, I'm all about finding some key pieces that work the red and pink colour clash trend. This super-hot look shows no sign of slowing since it's recent Spring Summer 2011 catwalk revival, with designers including J Crew and Louise Gray having showed more of this eye popping colour contrast for Spring Summer 2012 too.</p>?<p>One of our guilty pleasures is to scour for new and fashionable items to buy on the fly. Because, let's face it, the site is one of the top online retailers in the world -- and the items it showcases are second-to-none. </p><p>So when we were offered a chance to chat with Holli Rogers, fashion director of the sartorially smart site, we jumped (in heels!) at the opportunity. From leather and lace to baroque embellishments and animal print, Rogers says fall 2012 has a lot going on -- and plenty of stylish looks to try out. </p><p>The only problem is some of these statements can be hard to pull off (what, exactly, does baroque look like?). Which is why we asked Rogers for her thoughts on what will be big for fall -- there are five fashion stand-outs you need to pay attention to. </p><p>With a little help from POLYVORE, here's her fall fashion trend report.</p><p></p>?<p></p><p>The descriptions "a man of many hats" and "renaissance man" do not even marginally do justice to what Karl Lagerfeld has achieved, and is indeed still achieving at the age of "79". Lagerfeld has paved the way for countless designers and fashion creatives throughout the industry, particularly in terms of fully embracing being multi-talented (designer, photographer, film-maker, style icon, self-publicist, illustrator, artist...) and pioneering brand collaborations in a credible and creative manner. Those of you are familiar with some of my work, will be aware of the 2010 and 2011 partnerships between Diet Coke and The Kaiser; and this week saw the official unveiling of his collaboration du jour with cult Japanese make-up artist brand shu uemura. </p><p>In a similar vein to his work with Diet Coke (it is his official drink of choice and a key element of The Karl Lagerfeld Diet), the partnership with shu uemura is rooted in genuine and legitimate history. For the past twenty years, Lagerfeld has been using shu uemura eyeshadows for his (now world famous) fashion sketches - across Fendi, Chanel, KARL and so on. In his words, "no other company has such beautiful colors".</p><p>Lagerfeld met the late Mr. Shu Uemura in 2006 and "really liked his pioneer[ing] spirit and the sparkling energy in his eyes". He felt that Mr. Uemura created something that no one else could. </p><p>"I really like beautiful things. When I was young I didn't know anything about art and fashion, like the beautiful sketching paper, the variety of paint colors, and colorful crayons. But I was always sketching. When I first saw shu uemura's eyeshadows in a St. Germain beauty boutique, I was so excited to see the colors showcased in the atelier of an artist. Ever since I've been a big fan of both shu uemura and Mr. Shu Uemura."</p><p>In a marketing world where links between names and brands are progressively becoming more and more tenuous, it is rare to see such an authentic partnership that is deeply rooted in history come to life in such a beautiful and creative way. </p><p>The hero moment for the capsule collection, and indeed the icon that it is centred around is Lagerfeld's anime creation - 'mon shu girl' - an anime creation merging the worlds of shu uemura and Karl Lagerfeld (note the symbolic white shirt and black tie). Sketched by Karl Lagerfeld's own hand using shu uemura products, "mon shu uemura" means 'my darling shu uemura'. The character even has a preferred sushi, and personality traits and interests including watching cute boys, playing guitar, oh and in case you were wondering, her blood type is 'O'. This level of detail and the immensity of the collection itself is just a brief glimpse into the intricacies of Lagerfeld's creative mind. </p><p>He says, "In homage to the brand and inspired by Japanese culture and Tokyo's contemporary art scene, I created 'mon shu girl.' She incorporates my iconic fashion style, a white shirt and black tie, and a very oriental hair style and make-up. </p><p>"I wanted to invent my own personal vision of a Japanese manga character. It was not easy to make such limited choices considering all the things shu uemura has and does. It is all supposed to match the doll I designed for them as well as the mood, the spirit."</p><p>Spending the better part of two hours in his close proximity at the launch in Paris truly demonstrated his genuine interest and excitement for the project. Again, something rare in a world brimming with brand partnerships and collaborations based on little or no authenticity. Above and below you can see the original sketches of 'mon shu girl', straight from the mind of The Kaiser, along with the campaign images of Japanese supermodel Tao photographed by Lagerfeld at his studio in Paris. </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>The collection launches in exclusively at Selfridges from October 14. Full details of the capsule collection are available at </p> <br><p>Follow Nik Thakkar on Twitter:</p>?["entry_id":"1944981","entry_url":"http:\/\/\/2012\/10\/06\/christina-aguileras-new-album-poses-nude-cover_n_1944981.html","content_type":"image","image_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/213492\/slide_213492_769678_small.jpg","thumbnail_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/213492\/slide_213492_769678_small.jpg","title":"Celebs Who Go On Reality TV As Judges","slideshow_id":"213492","vertical":"entertainment","entry_id":"1946334","entry_url":"http:\/\/\/2012\/10\/07\/beyonce-jay-z-at-barclays_n_1946334.html","content_type":"image","image_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/203941\/slide_203941_598900_small.jpg","thumbnail_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/203941\/slide_203941_598900_small.jpg","title":"Beyonce and Jay-Z","slideshow_id":"203941","vertical":"entertainment","entry_id":"1943799","entry_url":"http:\/\/\/2012\/10\/05\/not-fade-away-trailer-david-chase-video_n_1943799.html","content_type":"tweet","image_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/255175\/slide_255175_1609668_small.jpg","thumbnail_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/255175\/slide_255175_1609668_small.jpg","title":"'Not Fade Away' Reactions","slideshow_id":"255175","vertical":"entertainment","entry_id":"1943928","entry_url":"http:\/\/\/2012\/10\/05\/ice-t-obama-no-weed-debate_n_1943928.html","content_type":"image","image_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/221717\/slide_221717_1608904_small.jpg","thumbnail_url":"gadgets\/slideshows\/221717\/slide_221717_1608904_small.jpg","title":"Celebrity News &amp; 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At a recent fundraiser in New York, the president said that though he likes West for being intelligent and from Chicago, he still thinks West is "a jackass." </p><p>The comments were revealed in an 8,000-plus piece on West by David Samuels of The Atlantic,. Samuels asked Obama if he favored West or Jay-Z. It turns out the Commander in Chief prefers Hov.</p><p>Obama shortly after the rapper interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music awards. In an interview with CNBC shortly after the incident, Obama said, "The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She's getting her award. What's he doing up there? He's a jackass."</p><p>West apologized profusely for the incident and went on Jay Leno's TV show for an especially brutal dressing down (in a somewhat questionable move, Leno ). The rapper then withdrew from public view for over a year, interning at Fendi and living in Japan. </p><p>The is a sharp analysis of West's move back into the spotlight. It traces West's efforts on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne, the album West and Jay-Z collaborated on. Samuels treks across the countries attending Throne concerts, taking a smart look at the idiosyncrasies that reveal themselves when two heavyweight artists go on the road for months together. </p><p>Rakim, one of the most influential rappers of all time, offered an interesting take on Obama's comments. "It's good that the president knows about Kanye," Rakim says. "But to have to call him a jackass? He should be a little more focused ... I mean, that exposure could have been 'Yeah, Kanye, he's a very interesting person.' Instead of 'He's a jackass.'"</p><p>West recently released two new songs, "Theraflu" and "Mercy." The and took aim at Kardashian's ex Kris Humphries while . </p> <br>?<p>It was only natural that Oprah would take a vacation after . On Wednesday, she sent her a message about what she was doing.</p><p>In the message, Oprah thanked her fans "for the kindest words I've ever heard" following the end of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." And she disclosed that she had found a new love: white truffle pizza.</p><p>"Now finally away on vaca," she wrote. "Relaxing. Trying not to eat too much. But had 2 slices of the best pizza ever in life today. WHITE TRUFFLE! Had to stop myself. Could have eaten the whole thin sliced, home made thing."</p><p>She also sneaked in a book recommendation.</p><p>"Catching up on reading:UNBROKEN. By Laura Hillenbrand," she wrote. "I know so many of you have read already. It's as good as everybody says. 72 pgs. in, can't put it down."</p><p>The message concluded, "My new ambition is to make a treasure of the small moments. All of your emails are mini treasures. As was that White Truffle pizza. :-) Oprah."</p> <br>?<p>'Tis the season to get hitched, and not just because Kate Middleton said so! </p><p>The New York fashion community just held Bridal Week 2012 (yes, 2012 -- designers know brides-to-be need that long to plan) and we'd be remiss in our slideshowing efforts if we didn't share Oscar de la Renta's newest collection with you. </p><p>The man covered all of his sartorial bases, including pants (we're breaking to applaud as we type), subtle color, ruffles, shrubbery, short skirts and even fur and sheer fabrics, if you're into that sort of thing.</p><p>Take a look and tell us which dress you'd wear to the wedding of your dreams. Which, okay, might be happening April 29.</p><p>(Photographs courtesy of Oscar de la Renta)</p><p></p><p></p><p><br></p> <br>?<p>We've teamed up with Greta Larkins, the genius behind the brilliant Tumblr in a weekly series of animated fashion shots.</p><p>This week, FashGif takes on this beaded jacket from 's spring 2013 show from . Can we expect to see wearing this on the campaign trail? We doubt it, but it sure would make things even more exciting.</p>Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on , and .<p><br>For previous Fashion Gifs, take a peek in our gallery below: <br><br><br></p>?<p>Fashion and Paris are pretty much synonymous terms, so it stands to reason that Paris Fashion Week is possessed of a certain special fabulousness that's hard to find anywhere else. There are shows from some of the most important names in fashion, but there's also the inimitable street style busted out by les Parisiennes in honor of the week, and it's truly something to behold. </p><p>Here, , a collection of photos from outside the shows. Take a look and tell us which get-up you think is the most fantastic! </p><p></p> <br>?<p>The melting pot of contemporary eclectic music oozed last weekend at Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco in what is turning out to be an annual SF shakedown. The 3 day event which took place in the historic (yet still an old home place to those seeking alternative shelter) remained rich with customs while still providing a great platform for worldly headliners (Arcade Fire, Muse, and Phish) while fostering local pride (Fresh and Onlys). This 4th time around for OSL allowed its true colors to come out and play; the music, yes, was supremely supreme, but the true magic came in that SF's populace and underlying culture were able to shine. As I made my way through the Fendi sunglasses and khaki pant-laced hipster crowd of Outside Lands I couldn't help but think how cool it was to be at a festival in my hometown. Outside Lands doesn't look like Woodstock or festivals of the 60s, in fact I can count the tie dye shirts on one hand, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Outside Lands is an ultra-current festival that caters to the diverse tastes of the modern music fan. It has an environmental twist at its core with out the preachy. Toyota Prius stations, solar panels stages, awesome waste "directors", and the bike valet are now a common sight -- the rule rather than the exception.</p><p>Outside Lands festival in San Francisco celebrated its 4th anniversary this past weekend. By all accounts, but most importantly my own, the festival was an absolute success. In fact, I would argue that Outside Lands is making a strong case for best festival in the country. Casting aside the lineup for a moment (and its got a sick lineup), Outside Lands lacks the mud of Bonnaroo, the unbearable heat of Burning Man and the lack of irrelevance of, say, a Lollapalooza and the remoteness of Coachella. Throw that into the City by the Bay and you got a contender for best festival out running. <br><br></p><p>The line up ain't bad either. The headliner was Phish, arguably the most important American band of the last 25 years, followed by Muse on Saturday and Arcade Fire on Sunday. There were Indie Rock bands like STRFKR, classic rock icon John Fogerty did a set, and Arcade Fire did a solid yet predicable set. For clarity, I did not get to attend every show, but I will say that the high points of crowd exuberance were during Girl Talk and DeadMau5; people went nuts. In a live sense the Twitter generation wants the club atmosphere at a festival and that is what these two bands provided. Lastly, the Phish set brought a whole new group of followers into the jam band's followers. The use of familiar covers allowed the band to catch the newbies' attention; followed by strong pointed originals to seal the deal.<br></p><p>Follow Patrick Pfeiffer on Twitter:</p>?<p>Paul Ryan waded into the Chick-fil-A controversy when he that he associates the fast food chain with "free speech." </p><p>On Thursday, a reporter from Virginia-based CNN affiliate WDBJ, upon finding out that he would only have five minutes with the Republican vice presidential candidate, decided to engage Ryan in a round of word association. </p><p>"Chick fil-A," Orlando Salinas, the WDBJ reporter, . </p><p>"Good chicken," Ryan said. "Free people exercising their free speech rights."</p><p>Chick-fil-A sparked controversy last month when company president that he and his company support "the biblical definition of the family unit" when asked about the issue of same-sex marriage.</p><p>Cathy's remarks were met with backlash, as many LGBT activists called on supporters of gay marriage to boycott the chicken chain. Protesters have organized "" at Chick-fil-A locations across the country. </p><p>Meanwhile, conservatives jumped to defend the chain's right to condemn same-sex marriage. Mike Huckabee a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day earlier this month, which was endorsed by a number of notable right-wing figures including Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann.</p><p>Romney, however, has distanced himself from the controversy, declaring that the Chick-fil-A debate was not "." While he has avoided directly addressing his stance on the chain, his campaign may have made a quiet showing of support. reported earlier this week that the Romney campaign spent $500 in "meeting expenses" at the chain last month, just days before Huckabee's appreciation day.</p><p>Also on HuffPost:</p>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRFKlVEsUD4JFQsfXJ2dtLuzmVP8q1zOe6cFjXCBrfIccAcD2%2BZCj1ofCLNdb4PAUq1BGtDmh45514kIuB5Ua5hfpX3jCUjpesONZAp5v%2FZYto0CpL2BNQDbLKBQntDL%2BG0SOtgBpYqpM?<p>The Salvatore Ferragamo cruise collection front row attracted quite the starry guest list with actresses Leighton Meester, Freida Pinto and Hilary Swa...</p>?<p>Today's a big day in the land of couture, a.k.a. Paris: !</p><p>After and the looming question of who would take , Simons presented his first couture collection to the fashion elite this morning. Who showed up? Major designers (Marc, Donatella, Diane, Olivier), major editors (Anna, Carine), celebs (Marion Cotillard, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lawrence) and one very special guest: Princess Charlene!</p><p>This isn't the Monaco royal's first time in the front row, just one seat away from Anna Wintour. But seeing Charlene hit high-profile fashion events is certainly more exciting these days: since being and last summer, Charlene has revved up her style, and to finally secure her fashion footing. </p><p>Now she's confident enough to sit next to one of fashion's most powerful individuals. No, not Nuclear Wintour -- Bernard Arnault. Arnault, for those in the know (), is the boss at , the luxury conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, Celine, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Fendi and a whole lot more. Charlene sat with Bernard on her left and his son, Antoine Arnault, on her right. And with Antoine? Natalia Vodianova, his girlfriend.</p><p>Not bad company for a princess working her way through fashion's ranks. Check out the chic crowd taking in Raf Simons' debut in Paris today.</p><p></p><p>Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on , , and .</p>?<p>Twelve years ago the visionary architect and designer , principal of the New York-based global design firm , traded in his cashmere vest, tie and slacks for something that looked and felt more true to his old biker self. He never went back and now he's famous in fashion circles for his signature tough looks, with his black leather pants, vest and cap, tattoos and skull rings. But he's world-renowned in architecture for his soft, light filled, and luxurious interiors. </p>Photo credit: Katja Rahlwes<p>Early on, Marino apprenticed with such masters such as and . He designed the New York apartments of a number of celebrities and creatives, including ("I got a very big push thanks to Andy at the start of my career," he told ), , and and </p><p>He's designed several private residences from the snowcapped mountains of Aspen to the sunny shores of Palm Beach, a yacht club in the beautiful island of Sardinia, museums, an opera house and too many luxury boutiques to count. His designs, which have been featured in , , , , , and , introduce surprising new shapes, heights and materials. From Fifth Avenue to Rodeo Drive they can be seen in all the major fashion capitals of Europe and the US, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. </p><p>I was recently in the store he created in Rome, a renovated 19th century palazzo. I was so awestruck by the interior -- the dramatic 1960's dangling glass chandelier, the smoky walls and marble floors--that I hardly even noticed the clothes. The radiant stores he designed in Singapore and Hong Kong, the luxurious boutique in Paris, his Beverly Hills and New York and his New York Fendi and are more like galleries than boutiques; they have received innumerable awards for excellence in design and architecture. </p><p>An interesting intersection of fashion, business, and architecture, my interview with Marino delves into creativity, collaboration and finding peace on an airplane. </p><p>Q. What were the best and the worst jobs you ever had? What lessons did you take away from them?<br><br>Best: Construction in Japan is the most organized and precise in the world, and the client invested the proper time and budget to develop the new glass skin. To be able to have truly created something NEW (glass TV on the outside, clear vision for office workers from the inside) was a unique opportunity.</p><p>Worst: Not many come to mind. I either quit early on if I feel I've incorrectly hooked up with a client or if he/she isn't serious about bringing the project to fruition.<br>One thing I've learned: NEVER do promotional work. It never leads to anything but a total lack of respect for your time and your work.</p><p>Q. When did you land your first big project and what was it?</p><p>The Whittle Communications Headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee. Two entire city blocks that I combined into one, with a huge courtyard garden. It is now a federal courthouse. </p><p>Q. How do you handle collaborators or colleagues who damp down your ideas because they think they're too ambitious? What was your most courageous idea?</p><p>I've never experienced that. Our office is very open and free. </p><p>My most courageous idea was to build Barneys New York with natural light on all floors, all sides. No department store had ever done that before.</p><p>Q. Do you do it all yourself or do you delegate? How do you trust others to carry out your vision?</p><p>I'm a design-it-all-myselfer. I delegate all phases of construction administration and office management. I have an excellent staff of senior architects and designers, most of whom have been with me for at least 12-15 years, to help carry out my vision. Having said that, my work week averages 60-80 hours.</p><p>Q. How do you know when it's time to walk away from a project?</p><p>When either the client is totally unreceptive to my ideas, or he/she stops paying!</p><p>Q. Where do you get your creative inspiration? </p><p>Paintings, nature (landscapes), music (opera).</p><p>Q. Do you think people are more creative when they're younger?</p><p>No. I think they just think they are because everything seems new and original when you're younger, due to a lack of knowledge and experience.</p><p>Q. Who is your dream collaborator and why?</p><p> Well educated in architecture, his humanistic approach is unparalleled.</p><p>Q. You have a very dynamic look and are a brand unto yourself. How do your clients in less open countries react? What do you think of organizations that impose strict dress guidelines on their staff?</p><p>As I'm a creative person, people extend me a lot of slack. Once I was in an airport in Saudi Arabia and I realized I was the only person in black surrounded by hundreds of men in white. A little surreal. </p><p>Regarding dress guidelines, it depends on the profession that you are in.</p><p>Q. What advice would you give to young architects going into the workforce? How hard is it to break through and establish a name for yourself?</p><p>Young architects should gather as much construction experience as possible and work for two or three different architects in their first six years out of school. It is VERY DIFFICULT to break through. The field is crowded with talent and very connected practitioners.</p><p>Q. With so many global clients, it seems that your office is the airplane. How do you juggle so many clients and projects at the same time while balancing your personal life? <br><br>When I'm in New York, I rarely go out, in order to spend time with family. Also, my personal life is fairly uncomplicated. The good thing about the airplane life is there is lots of uninterrupted time; to read, to think, to draw.<br></p> <br><p>Follow Rana Florida on Twitter:</p>?eGHZmFyID44mYu00M5dZQr%2BjdVtc6mbKKwyhi9exWxVPnmmfTCGgRFKlVEsUD4JFQsfXJ2dtLuzmVP8q1zOe6cFjXCBrfIccAcD2%2BZCj1ofCLNdb4PAUq1BGtDmh45514kIuB5Ua5hfpX3jCUjpesONZAp5v%2FZYto0CpL2BNQDbLKBQntDL%2BG0SOtgBpYqpM?<p>MILAN &mdash; Sharon Stone helped raise more than $1.1 million ((EURO)846,000) for AIDS research at a charity auction, hours after a brief trip to a hospital during Milan Fashion Week.</p><p>The 54-year-old Stone experienced migraine-related symptoms after the Fendi runway show Saturday night, was examined as a precaution and was given a clean bill of health, the amfAR Foundation for AIDS Research said in a statement Sunday.</p><p>The foundation denied earlier reports that she had fainted.</p><p>At the charity auction Saturday night, Stone was in fine form, cracking jokes as she enticed higher bids.</p><p>"Wild horses couldn't keep her away," the foundation said.</p><p>Designer Roberto Cavalli paid (EURO)35,000 ($45,500) for a new interpretation of the 1972 Bocca sofa shaped like lips after Stone reclined on the piece, demonstrating its comfort.</p><p>`'You can kiss my a-- anytime," she joked with Cavalli, who was sitting at Stone's table.</p><p>A 2004 Damien Hirst etching of nine colored dots called `'Quene 1-AM" netted (EURO)110,000 ($143,000) while a Robert Rauschenberg print `'Site" earned (EURO)40,000 ($52,000).</p><p>The foundation said most of the money it raises is used for research toward finding a cure for AIDS.</p>?<p>Every two years the International AIDS Conference rolls around and every two years I always start the week by referring to it as a bit of a jamboree. The conference is the world's largest gathering of experts, activists, people living with HIV and policy makers.</p>?<p>MILAN, Italy &mdash; Shoes are contemporary jewelry, designer Donatella Versace once said, and in recent years they have become an integral part of a designer's fashion statement.</p><p>Armani one season ennobled the running shoe by pairing it with chiffon evening wear. In the 1990s the stiletto became a symbol for racy chic. More recently, prewar platforms and wedges thought to have been relegated to the back of grandma's closet became super hot again, especially with teenagers.</p><p>The heels have become taller with each season, and the inches are apparently taking their toll. Models at this week's preview shows in Milan tripped, slipped and _ in the case of one model wearing ankle-strapped high-heels at Prada _ toppled over.</p><p>On the fourth day of Milan Fashion Week, there were shoe troubles for both Pucci and Dolce & Gabbana. The sensible footwear from Fendi, however, kept those models firm on the ground.</p><p></p><p>PUCCI</p><p>The Pucci silk prints were breathtaking, tending for daytime to be in monochrome or featuring abstract palm leaf prints. For evening, Pucci created prints out of a myriad of stitched-together crystal beads on a gold background.</p><p>Gold also made up the high-heel of Pucci's summer bootie. But apparently extra height makes the shoe as treacherous as it is gorgeous. Despite being trained to be steady on her feet, the same model stumbled three times, somehow managing not to fall.</p><p></p><p>DOLCE & GABBANA</p><p>They might have chosen slippers to go with their pajama party, but the Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana duo accessorized their luxurious silk outfits with sparkling and soaring platform sandals. The super-high platforms were also used for their dreamy ball gowns in tulle and embroidered roses. Dolce defended the towering look, saying that every girl has the right to dream.</p><p>But if several of the trained models stumbled on the slippery runway during the show, how can one expect a debutante to negotiate the ballroom floor?</p><p></p><p>FENDI</p><p>The Fendi show featured models wearing wild pinned-up hairstyles and futuristic lace dresses cinched at the waist by a cummerbund. The look may have been offbeat, but the overall effect was still the elegant and easygoing look preferred by Italian designers for the summer 2009.</p><p>The footwear at Fendi was strangely calm, though, especially for the house that made metal ankle straps a fashion fetish. The high heels were never towering, and favored was an open-toed saddle shoe fitted with a comfortable wedge.</p>?<p>It's those little surprises that make it all worthwhile, and I'm speaking of both parties and real life. For me, those welcome moments summed up my experience navigating New York Fashion Week's party scene this season. One brilliant surprise was Gary Clark Jr. During his bluesy set opening for hip-hop icons The Roots at the John Varvatos store during Fashion's Night Out last Thursday, the young Austin, TX-based musician's electrifying riffs mesmerized a room packed with industry guests and celebrities like Heidi Klum, Rose McGowan, Sean Avery, Miss Jay, Mike D. of the Beastie Boys and various Gossip Girl cast members. </p><p>As any troubadour will tell you, fashion parties aren't always the easiest crowds to captivate. Even though the Varvatos store occupies the space that was once CBGB's; even with an enthusiastic intro by Varvatos himself, even with a crowd well-lubricated with Belvedere vodka cocktails. But Clark Jr. pulled it off. He's just so chill. As for The Roots, they were amazing, too -- as we all knew they would be -- jamming out hits, as a Zeppelin cover and turning the room into a sweaty dance party.</p><p>With Manhattan's streets swarming with revelers and invite-only concerts rocking shops around town, the key to mastering Fashion's Night Out was to pick a couple of events and stick to them. (This less-is-more approach served me well throughout FW and kept my self-loathing at manageable levels.) I heard Ronnie Spector was performing at Bergdorf Goodman, Drake at Versace, but headed to the nearby Mondrian SoHo hotel to catch synth-pop sensation Neon Indian at the SPIN magazine after party.</p><p>Music was everywhere this season. The night before, Swedish songstress Lykke Li held court at the Fendi O' music series party at Boom Boom Room atop the Standard Hotel, and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy DJd. This event also marked Boom Boom Room's relaunch, and official debut of holiday fundraiser Belvedere RED Special Edition supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. Meanwhile at PH-D atop the Dream Downtown, BlackBook magazine celebrated fifteen years. I must confess I stayed home, satiated from the previous evening's private Courtney Love concert at Hiro Ballroom. </p><p></p><p>Presented by DeLen tequila, this Tuesday edition of the always-memorable Nur Khan Sessions was also the tenth anniversary of ONE management, In fact, ONE's president Scott Lipps manned the drums for Ms. Love. "He's good or he wouldn't be here," she told the audience. (And he was.) </p><p>Toasting to "temperance" with a half-glass of red and wearing a white blouse and chic black Calvin Klein vest from the '90s (her first piece of swag ever, she confided) Courtney was in radiant form. She and her band led the fashion crowd, warmed up by DeLen cocktails, through a couple of Stones covers and Hole's biggest hits, including "Skinny Little Bitch," "Violet" and "Miss World." Illustrious guests included Russell Simmons, Andy Hilfiger, Ali Hilfiger and Adrien Grenier, with afterparty at Khan's new Electric Room beneath the Dream Downtown hotel.</p><p>Meanwhile, elite and eclectic collided last Friday night at Phillips de Pury & Company uptown for the opening of curating duo Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld & Andy Valmorbida's latest pop-up contemporary art event. Some 2000 people, including Lauren Hutton, Owen Wilson, Stavros Niarchos Jr. and Nicky Hilton turned up to party down at this retrospective of artist Richard Hambleton, presented in collaboration with Giorgio Armani. As a peer of Basquiat and Warhol, Hambleton remains a prolific artist and this touring show featured work new and old. </p><p><br></p><p>Credit: Billy Farrell Agency <br><br>Jet-setters bonded with street artists over champagne, then floated over to the afterparty at Indochine. The artist made an appearance, and also in attendance was Restoin Roitfeld's mother, former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld. (She reportedly brought down the house the following evening at at a Karaoke party thrown in her honor by Barney's. Another good surprise!) Loyal to the soire's artsy motif, my next stop was online contemporary art marketplace's shindig in the Mondrian SoHo's penthouse and terrace with a view. Artist Nick Cave and stylist Ikram Goldman were in the house to celebrate Cave's new collection of limited-edition prints for Artspace.</p><p>Saturday night, chaos was in the air so my stick-to-your-party rule was in full effect. This meant Boom Boom Room for Purple magazine's Fashion Week affair. The rooftop space was jam-packed with familiar faces and the likes of Terry Richardson, Lydia Hearst, Liv Tyler, Lindsay Lohan, Johnny Knoxville, Jason Sudeikis -- even Courtney Love made an appearance. The scene at the door was madness yet the door staff gracious and the action inside well worthwhile; a little bit of magic eighteen floors above the city. Belvedere was flowing and guests were smiling -- which, this being New York, might have been the biggest surprise of all.<br></p>?It's not a matter of being dated, what she has on basically looks as if NO effort or thought has been put in to this. She just grabbed a pair of jeans and a top and off she went. WHY is anyone even evaluating a pair of jeans and a top like this? It's just stupid. Maybe these journalists need to write about SOMETHING, but can't they pick SOMETHING more interesting? Heck, I wore something more interesting than this when I was hanging my laundry on the line today. A pair of jeans and a top is NOT an outfit, it's NOT an ensemble, it's NOT something that can be called "fashion." Save all of that for when someone has on a Chanel suit or they're on their way to a red carpet event. This is NOT an appropriate topic for someone on their way to a sporting event.?Stacie Krajchir-Tom has worked as a television producer for 15 years. Her experience ranges from working in morning television for NBC to producing an Emmy winning consumer and cooking show. While working at the entertainment new show Extra, Stacie produced all the style, fashion and beauty segments as well as celebrity interviews and spend many nights on the red carpet. Stacie launched two shows for The Style Network: You're Invited a home entertaining show and Area a home design show.<br><br>Over the past years she has worked to amass a diverse portfolio of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and design press across the national and consumer board.<br><br>Chronicle Books published Stacie's first two books; she is currently working on an eco lifestyle/entertaining book. She is a contributing lifestyle/trend expert and has been featured in The Washington Post, New York Times, Smart Money Magazine, Pink, Real Simple, Maxim, Esquire and Vanity Fair magazines.<br><br>Stacie runs a working certified eco business in Los Angeles. She supports socially responsible companies and in 2007 launched the lite green project at The Bungalow. The encourages small businesses to take action and participate in becoming more eco conscious. <br><br>As an ambassador, Stacie supports various causes and networks which aim to inspire and empower young women. She launched The See and Sprout Project in 2007 an international creative collective and workshop.<p>There are moments in fashion when you recognise something that will change the landscape of our fair industry. It happened at Jil Sander in September 2010 when Raf Simons transformed neon colours into a palatable concept with that skirt. But now, the new 'it' item has arrived, storming catwalks and constructed by the real who's who in fashion. If you are looking for the defining autumn addition then this is it. Seriously. Introducing, the trouser suit.</p>?<p>NEW YORK, N.Y. - Donna Karan mingled with Miss Piggy, Michael Kors judged karaoke with Debra Messing and Kim Kardashian signed perfume sets Thursday as shoppers broke out their stilettos and their wallets for the fourth annual Fashion's Night Out.</p><p>The celebrity-studded night was designed to lure shoppers into stores for celebrity spotting, music, giveaways, food and drinks, and, of course, shopping. By early evening in New York, the basement beauty floor of Bergdorf Goodman was packed.</p><p>Madeleine Russell of Manhattan, wearing her FNO shirt from last year, got her nails done ahead of a long line. She attends FNO events every year.</p><p>"I'm inspired by all the fashion around me and I get my own ideas."</p><p>Like the FNO pro she is, Russell planned to head home from Bergdorf to put on makeup and her Manolo Blahniks to see Cyndi Lauper at the Blahnik store.</p><p>The event launched in 2009 in New York by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has proven so popular that it's now a fixture in some 19 countries, over three weeks involving tens of thousands of shoppers.</p><p>In New York, Kim Kardashian was signing $123 gift sets of her perfume True Reflection at Lord & Taylor, while Nicole Richie and Jennifer Hudson promoted their new clothing lines at QVC and Lauper promoted her new musical, "Kinky Boots."</p><p>"Kim is the only person I put my life on pause for," said Aaron Ward, 26, a personal trainer from the Bronx who showed up at 4:30 p.m.</p><p>He bought the Kardashian perfume gift set for his mother and has purchased more than 50 other items from the Kardashian brand as gifts.</p><p>"I love Kim but I am not a girl," he added. "I am a Kim Kardashian curator."</p><p>Donna Karan schmoozed with Miss Piggy at the DKNY store on Madison Avenue, the pig in a black dress designed by Karan herself fittings and all. The two fashionistas posed together with hunky New York City firefighters featured in the fire department's calendar, their ladder truck parked outside.</p><p>Michael Kors helped judge a karaoke contest with Debra Messing and Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Kate Upton at his Madison Avenue store. He called Fashion's Night Out the trifecta: "It's starting the new season, you're excited to see what's in stores. You're reminded it's fun to shop and you can feel the energy."</p><p>At the nearby Ann Taylor store, bank worker Lenore Muller of Manhattan headed inside for a chance to be made over by stylist Mary Alice Stephenson and get counted among 50 women to pose in the store's windows for the crowds outside.</p><p>"We call it window glamming," Stephenson said.</p><p>Muller, in a Taylor top, is a regular shopper at the store. "I'm getting together with girlfriends and this is a reason to get together," she said.</p><p>At the Macy's in Herald Square, 38-year-old customer service rep Keisha Carter from Brooklyn picked up two shirts and a dress on sale, but she admitted she hadn't realized it was Fashion's Night Out for the second year in a row! She said she enjoyed the energy.</p><p>"People are more helpful," Carter said. "There's a busy-ness feeling, even more than usual."</p><p>In the makeup department, Lorrin Lynn, 24, a CPA, got a free makeover at Bobbi Brown after buying her special FNO lipstick. She also went hunting for reality star Bethanny Frankel showing off her shapewear line in the intimates department and "Bachelorette" star Emily Maynard at the Benefit Cosmetics counter.</p><p>"It's fun to go out to the stores, see the trends, and there's free booze!" said Lynne, cruising the night with a friend for their second FNO.</p><p>By dusk in Paris, the luxury shopping district was awash with thousands of people both the serious shoppers and those who just wanted to enjoy themselves.</p><p>"There are too many people here to buy clothes. But people get to know the brands, and buy another time. Today, it's all about fun," said Corine Marneffe, 50.</p><p>Chloe produced one of the best spectacles in Paris: A parade of dancing cheerleaders who descended in camp style from a Chevrolet truck.</p><p>In London, models Yasmin and Amber Le Bon (wife and daughter of Simon) were walking in a fashion show at the Westfield shopping centre along with Lizzy Jagger (daughter of Mick).</p><p>Does all the starpower and hoopla help at the register? "Ask me tomorrow," Max Azria said with a laugh backstage before his BCBG presentation at New York Fashion Week. He said it can't hurt to meet shoppers.</p><p>Stores across the U.S. are also holding events, though they're less star-studded. In Chicago, Saks Fifth Avenue will offer free cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and music; in Atlanta, Lenox Square Mall is giving out gift bags, will hold a fashion show at Banana Republic and offer makeup touch ups at Aveda. In Dallas, fashion shows were planned at Galleria Dallas and NorthPark Center, where the Neiman Marcus will show "The September Issue," provide snacks and a contest for a $2,500 gift card.</p><p>The event, timed for the first day of New York Fashion Week, also coincides with the final night of the Democratic National Convention. A Vogue spokeswoman said the event was planned a year in advance with thousands of retailers.</p><p>She added that Wintour is a supporter of President Barack Obama and noted that shoppers had five hours of events plenty of time to get home to watch Obama speak if they wish.</p><p>"That's what Tivo's for," said Simon Doonan, the creative ambassador-at-large at Barneys.</p><p>NBG Productions analyst Brian Sozzi said Fashion's Night Out started inconspicuously but has gained traction over the years.</p><p>"It gets customers into stores in a non-peak hour after work and it gets them energized," he said. "It's a win-win for retailers who are piggy backing on Fashion's Night Out's own marketing so it's not a big investment for them."</p><p>On Twitter, Fashion's Night Out's hashtag, (hash)FNO, was one of the top trending keywords. Laura Ashley tweeted about goodie bags while designer shoe label Christian Louboutin shared a special Fashion's Night Out Spotify playlist.</p><p>Kelly Talamas, director of Vogue Mexico & Latin America, said that last year's Fashion's Night Out boosted local sales. For its second year, Fashion's Night Out Mexico more than doubled the number of participating stores, to 250 from 100 in 2011. FNO Mexico will also expand to the Mexican city of Guadalajara, where activities will be held Sept. 13.</p><p>"Mexico is one of the strongest countries in the fashion scene, there is knowledge about fashion and interest in shopping," Talamas told the AP. "All the brands representatives told us that they sold a lot. There were some who said to us: 'Wow, we sold more than ever! This has been the most successful day in the year,'" she said. Talamas added that those brands included Fendi and luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre.</p><p>In Paris, Fashion's Night Out is also an opportunity for young fashion designers to showcase their work. Rising star Anthony Vaccarello now a staple fixture of the Paris fashion-week calendar moved into trendy boutique Colette for the evening to show off his new work. It included an exquisite one-shoulder white satin gown.</p><p>"Here in Paris it's about window shopping, looking, celebrating fashion. In New York, the emphasis is on purchasing. It's just two different styles of the same evening," said Vaccarello.</p><p>___</p><p>Associated Press writers Mae Anderson, Anne D'Innocenzio, Samantha Critchell and Leanne Italie contributed to this report from New York. Thomas Adamson contributed from Paris, Cassandra Vinograd contributed from London, Isaac Garrido from Mexico City and Jamie Stengle from Dallas.</p>?<p>MILAN &mdash; Strong and yet soft are the watchwords for the next winter season.</p><p>The looks are demure, but with an edge that is expressed largely through the materials &ndash; leather and big shaggy fur &ndash; and military accents. Details give a feminine feel: pleats, beads, feathers and bubble sleeves.</p><p>Many designers showing their winter wears on the second day of Milan Fashion Week on Thursday favor ankle boots, either equestrian-style or Victorian, most with extra high heel.</p><p>The pantsuit is making a comeback, but not at the expense of dresses, which permeate the runways.</p><p>The basic palette is black or white, with bursts of color ranging from autumn hues to bright yellow, purple and red. Multicolored patterns also make an appearance.</p><p>___</p><p>PRADA</p><p>Miuccia Prada's collection has some basic building blocks: cropped pants worn either under a long skirt, with a short jacket, an empire-waisted long coat or sleeveless vest for a layered look.</p><p>Details make the difference.</p><p>Elegant black combinations were the backbone of the collection. Some long coats featured tails, a look Prada launched for men last month. Oversized beads ringed pant hemlines, decorated the bodice like so many brooches, or created a vertical pattern down the skirt.</p><p>The empire waist of the jackets and dresses provide a flattering silhouette.</p><p>Even with the heavily layered look, Prada's lines remain impeccably clean &ndash; both ethnic and elegant.</p><p>After the introduction in black, Prada exploded with brocade prints recalling hip 1960s upholstery in bright orange, pink, green and purple.</p><p>Long printed coats dipping below the knee and belted high with a jeweled buckle were paired with cropped pants, the better to show off the comfortable flat Mary Janes with bright rubber soles &ndash; an antidote to the super-high-heeled strapped pumps.</p><p>Prada brought back the pant suit, a look which is popping up all over Milan, but she also sometimes paired complementary prints, say a purple and red hexagon vest over brown and black diamond pants, leaving lots of room for the Prada woman to mix and match.</p><p>A fiesta of bags accessorized the look, including Prada favorites from doctor bags to tiny cell phone-sized evening purses. Models wore dark eye makeup, and long hair extensions often in contrasting colors.</p><p>___</p><p>FENDI</p><p>There's something of a Nordic warrior in Fendi's womenswear collection for next fall and winter.</p><p>Fresh from the hunt, the Fendi woman is draped in fur &ndash; sometimes in bright warpath yellow, more often in earth tones &ndash; or clad in leather, crocodile, or eel. Her accessories, from thick belts that double-cinch to oversized collars, create an armored look, tough and resilient.</p><p>Many of the clothes were stiff and deconstructed, but not without feminine touches like pleated skirts and puffy sleeves.</p><p>Silvia Fendi Venturini, who collaborates with Karl Lagerfeld, called the collection "strong, sweet and soft."</p><p>The collection's accents were both old-fashioned and modern. A violet blue tailored woolen coat featured balloon shoulders that finished in long sleeves, while two-toned Victorian tie or button-up ankle boots, worn with ripped tights, completed most outfits. To keep it contemporary, there also were square IPad cases carried by handles.</p><p>Leather gave the collection its toughness, but that wasn't the final word. Leather dresses or skirts were cut out to allow a lightweight pleated skirt to sway alluringly.</p><p>Fur was not only shaggy and voluminous, screaming for attention in multicolor, but also light and wispy. A fitted Shearling dress had wisps of fur at the shoulders, while a straight dress featured a ring of fur around the hips.</p><p>Colors were mostly earthy brown, black and blue with some crimson, mustard and peacock. Models wore double braids, white eye shadow and partially rimmed cat glasses.</p><p>___</p><p>MAX MARA</p><p>Max Mara meets Lili Marlene could be the title for the latest womenswear signature collection from the fashion group known for its fashionable yet easy-to-wear styles.</p><p>The theme for next winter is without a doubt military, as epitomized by the army cap that appeared throughout the show, and the Khaki green palette.</p><p>Military coats, duffle coats and toggle sweaters all combine to make up a bold collection for a woman who likes to be in control, and at the same time dares to be different. Leather and alligator print inserts in a dropped waist and leather half-belts accentuate the military feel of the collection.</p><p>But the latter-day Lili is as much at ease in her fatigue pants gathered at the hem like a parachute as she is in her tailored shorts worn under a long sheepskin coat. Classic Max Mara styles such as the camel coat are given a new twist when fashioned into a power jumpsuit.</p><p>For a night at the officers club, she wears a sailor-striped jumpsuit highlighted with Art Deco tassels, but never lets go of her hat. Here black and white join the army shades.</p><p>Fabrics make all the difference. Far from military wool felt, these uniforms are made out of angora, patterned knits and a whole range of soft leathers and wool fabrics.</p><p>Footwear could hardly be anything but booties with an aggressive heel, but an occasional Mary Jane in silver mirrored leather softens the look. Leg and arm warmers accompany many outfits, a trend that seems to be making a comeback on the Milan preview runway.</p><p>___</p><p>BLUGIRL</p><p>Whether cheerleader or Siberian siren Anna Molinari's girl will have a vast wardrobe to chose from next winter, according to the designer's latest Blugirl collection.</p><p>By day, she is on campus cheering on the local football team, in a bright argyle knit skating skirt, oversized sweater and red duffel coat. By night, she morphs into an icy vixen in a white beaded chiffon gown with Mongolian fur moon boots and matching fur hat.</p><p>In between she's the life of the cocktail party in combinations of candy colored pink, yellow and green pastels. Her dress is fashioned out of fur, her gloves sparkle with sequins and her two tone high-heeled pastel lace-ups could be the envy of Mary Poppins.</p><p>Musts in the Blugirl's winter wardrobe are cozy knit leg warmers (a favorite on the current Milan runway), furry ear muffs and a pair of fingerless gloves &ndash; a reminder that designer Molinari's first thought is fashion not frost.</p>?<p>"Victoire de Castellane brings her free-spirited nature to the secular savor faire of jewelry, which she expresses by experimenting with larger-than-life forms, wild burst of psychedelic odor, and excessive details. Her creations have the ability to cast magic spells, inspire wonder, and stimulate interaction."<br> ~~ Michele Heuze, author of...</p>?Emma Stone has become quite the fashion plate over the course of her recent, multi-week "Amazing Spider-Man" promotional tour. For the worldwide journey, the 23-year-old...?MANILA, Philippines &mdash; Termites, storms and neglect have damaged part of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos' legendary collection of shoes and other possessions left...?Susan's designer accomplishments stem from a successful career as an international supermodel. Susan has rocked the catwalk, for Valentino, Versace, Prada, Lacroix, Chanel, John Galliano, Nicole Miller, Badgley Mishcka, Bill Blass, DKNY, Anne Klein, Todd Oldham, Calvin Klein, Herve Leger Michael Kors and others. Holmes also scored campaigns for Adrienne Vittadini, Yves St. Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Escada, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld, Claude Montana, Rochas, Guess?, Diesel and Pepe Jeans, as well as Gottex Swimwear, Victoria's Secret, and billboards, ads and commercials for Peugot, Triumph, H & M lingerie. By the mid 1990's Holmes was one of the 20 highest paid fashion models. While pregnant with her first child with legendary rocker Duff McKagan, formerly of Guns N' Roses, she began designing her first swimwear line. Now 12 years later her swimwear has graced the pages of Maxim, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, Playboy, Cosmo and many more. She won "Swimwear Designer of the Year" in 2008 by the NYC Fashion Industry, " The Michael Awards". <br><br>Susan Holmes Swimwear, LLC is worn worldwide by celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Venus Williams, Elle Macpherson, Stella McCartney, Heidi Klum, Keira Chaplin and Anna Kournikova. In fact, in a recent Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, she was the designer "with the most suits" and donned the huge calendar cover, and DVD cover as well. Susan's designs can be found at?<p>Everywhere we went last night, on day three of Art Basel, we just couldn't escape Andy Warhol -- in image, anecdote, Factory protg or even flash mob (more on that later). </p><p>The night started on an altruistic note atop Dream South Beach for the RISE art event at HIGHBAR, benefiting Next AID (honoring World AIDS Day) and something called Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches (who knew?), where we relished the crisp, humidity-free night air. </p>Trey Speegle and model at Hotel Breakwater<p>Two blocks over on Ocean Drive at Hotel Breakwater, New York-based artist Trey Speegle was body-painting "by numbers" a pair of hunky, shirtless boy models, cleverly named "Me" and "You," after two of his trademark paint-by-numbers paintings. His signature was stenciled cheekily just above the models' razor-sharp hip bones.</p><p>"You know body 'art' can be tough," Trey shared, as he filled in a buff pec with turquoise paint. "The only tattoo idea I had that I could ever commit to was getting Andy Warhol to sign me and have it inked so I could be a Warhol. But 25 years after he's been gone, it would be cheating to do it now, right?" </p>Anthony Haden-Guest, Tatijana Shoan and Scott Fishkind at Fendi Casa<p>Later, at Fendi Casa in the Miami Design District, celeb photographer Patrick McMullan hosted the launch of photographer/publisher Tatijana Shoan's oversized art/fashion magazine, AS IF, with guests including LA-based fashion designer Corey Lynn Calter and author and Warhol contemporary?Anthony Haden-Guest.</p>Rebekah Keida in front of Dennis Carbee mirror work at Miami Art Space<p>A dozen blocks south, in Miami's Wynwood area, Miami Art Space hosted "Elements," a 10-artist showcase that featured Miamian Henrique Souza's ethereal underwater photography. In the back courtyard, the popular Ms. Cheezious food truck was parked (galleries with food trucks have emerged as one of this year's most welcome Art Basel trends), along with two vehicular tokens of modern culture -- a vintage chocolate-brown Schwinn bicycle and Copper Mike's "Steampunk," a tricked-out chopper with leopard seat and headlights formed from vintage submarine warning lights.</p>"Steampunk" motorcycle by Copper Mike at Miami Art Space<p>We could have used one of those bikes to navigate through the streets of Wynwood; instead, we inched our soccer mom SUV (a hybrid, but of course) through the traffic clog at a pace that afforded us quality time to take in some of the graffiti murals lining Wynwood Walls along NE 2nd Avenue.?We ran head-on into unintentional political performance art, as a posse of (very loud) young men worked the street on foot and from the back of a honking pickup truck, hoisting hand-scrawled "Occupy Miami -- Give us back the money!" signs, one featuring a drawing of an American flag with its stars replaced by corporate logos.?? </p>Anna Plaks and Ric Pipino at Cafeina<p>Rolling up to Cafeina lounge/gallery on NW 23rd Street, just past the studio of prolific outsider artist Purvis Young, we arrived at the Refinery29 Miami launch party where we were greeted by a door girl with hot pink polka-dotted lipstick (actually a temporary tattoo by Violent Lips, applied for guests inside the party). Andy Warhol was in the house, to be sure, represented by an exhibition of never-before-seen portraits of Andy by photographer Karen Bystedt, taken in 1982 at The Factory and shelved for 27 years. </p>Cornell Dewitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas at PULSE Miami<p><br>The legends included some great Andy-isms: "I collect jeans," begins one of the Warhol quotes. "I have a Calvin Klein, a Jordache, a Studio 54. I don't wear them. I collect them. The fun thing is to walk down the street and see if you can pick out whose jeans someone is wearing by the design on the back."</p><p>My Lord, how we wished Andy were still with us. (One of our few regrets in life -- besides not buying property on South Beach in the late 1980s -- is not saying hi to Andy when we saw him at the 6th Avenue/26th Street flea market in New York one Sunday many light years ago. He was looking at curios on a table one minute then, poof, he was gone.)</p>Maurice Marciano and Cio Soler at Cafeina<p>There were lots of fashion girls at the Refinery29 event, of course, with short-shorts and heels winning out for most-worked look. Guests included coif king Ric Pipino and Maurice Marciano of GUESS?, arm-in-arm with sleek girlfriend Cio Soler, whose vision will be shaping the fashion house's direction, he told us, beaming with pride, before he was whisked away for less impromptu interviews.</p>Petra Mason and Ausbert de Arce at Cafeina<p>Back in the car, we caffeinated en route to The Standard for the night's final stop, the Interview magazine party, co-hosted by the Andy Warhol Museum. Held outside on the breezy bayfront deck, the soiree drew hundreds of artsy souls, including polo-playing entrepreneur Peter Brandt; filmmaker Michael Holman, whose Gray: Live at the New Museum is being shown Sunday at Miami Beach Cinematheque; and Suzanne Mallouk, the "widow of Basquiat," now a psychiatrist in private practice. A preview for a lost Warhol film from 1968, San Diego Surf, to be released next year, looped on a projection screen. </p>Suzanne Mallouk and Michael Holman at The Standard<p>At one point we glimpsed a vision of strawberry blonde bouffant, which turned out to be legendary Warhol protge Holly Woodlawn, star of Warhol film Trash. Woodlawn, now in her 60s, grew up in Miami Beach and -- pop culture tidbit for those born during the Reagan administration -- inspired the Lou Reed lyric "Holly came from Miami, F-L-A." She'll be doing a special cabaret performance tonight at WALL at The W South Beach, which we can't wait to witness.? </p>Eric C. Shiner, Stacy Engman and Holly Woodlawn at The Standard<p>Just when we thought our night was complete, the perfect nightcap: A small army of white-wigged "Dancing Andys" flash-mobbed to "Walk on the Wild Side" under the night sky. Andy would have been proud.</p>"Dancing Andys" flash mob at The Standard?<p> We were certainly not prepared for the frenzy surrounding shoe designer Christian Louboutin's personal appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue at Bal Harbour Shops on an otherwise quiet Monday afternoon. Had we been, we would have purchased our red-soled stilettos at pre-sale and gotten in line for the shoe signing...</p>?<p>In his new series "The Day Before," filmmaker Loic Prigent documents the 24 hours before a runway show, capturing the behind the scenes havoc at Proenza Schouler, Sonia Rykiel, Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture and Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld. In this clip, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are caught pinning, sewing, fixing hair, applying make-up and talking about cheeseburgers seconds before the models have to walk. Buyer Ikram Goldman, Michelle Obama's unofficial stylist, could see the preparations from where she was seated. "They basically blessed every piece before it went out on the runway, they either de-linted it or they touched it...even just rubbed their hands over the dress," she said.</p><p>WATCH:</p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p></p>Read our page.<br><br><p>Follow HuffPost Style on and become a fan of HuffPost Style on !</p> <br>?<p>Fathom:</p><p>Many factors come into play when considering what to pack for a trip -- weather, itinerary, atmoshpere, the company you'll keep.</p><p>And then there's Italy, which will inspires you to pack your finest. From handcrafted leather loafers to chic convertibles, from Pucci and Gucci to Fiat and Fendi, the country practically breeds style. (Track-suits and knuckle rings aside.) Some of the best Italian style is exemplified by iconic Italian cinema stars from the 20th century: Sophia, Gina, Monica, Marcello, Rudolph.</p><p>For your procrastinating pleasure, cinematic glamour shots of Italy's biggest black-and-white stars.</p><p></p> <br>?<p>I knew what the odds were when we started (though, of course, I was convinced I could beat them). I'd heard the horror stories from filmmakers I'd interviewed over the years: unscrupulous and inept producers, financiers and film companies, and so forth.</p>?Despite the efforts of our neolithic JudeoChristic whackos, out culture continues to evolve positively.<br><br>Human sexuality is more like a sliding scale than a series of segregated buckets. People line up along various points on a continuum, and younger people especially are exploring the possibilties inside them rather than accepting only binary sex roles, arranged marriages and other restrains on our true nature.<br><br>It's good news in a country where many people had a cow at the sight of Janet Jackson's nipple in prime time. Thankfully, the FCC's Puritan penalty has been reversed.?<p>, called "The A Train," blends two very different types of people: police officers and models.</p><p>The shoot stars model Raquel Zimmermann in an ambiguous metropolitan environment, which, although we're admittedly biased, looks an awful lot like New York to us.</p><p>, NYPD-esque police officers corral leggy models on and off subway cars. One model slumps in head-to-toe leopard print against a pillar, looking bored as officers try to control the mayhem. Another is made up to resemble Marilyn Monroe, complete with rhinestone-studded chain collar.</p><p>The shoot features clothes from Fendi, Tripp and Patricia Field. In one photo, a model flashing spiky gold cuff bracelets grips the subway pole. We've gotta 'fess up: we'd be afraid of her.</p><p>Check out a couple photos from the cover story below, and </p><p></p><p></p> <br>?Willa Shalit is an artist, theatrical and television producer, author/editor, socially-conscious entrepreneur and philanthropist, who says that, all of my professional activities are efforts to use art as a vehicle for social change."<br><br>To bring economic recovery to women in post-conflict zones, Shalit has worked to create markets in the United States for products manufactured jointly by Palestinian and Israeli women, and by women survivors of the Rwandan genocide. As a result, Fair Winds Trading, Inc. has become a leading importer of handmade goods from Rwanda; it has partnered with Macy's for the Rwanda Path to Peace project to market hand-woven Rwandan baskets in the United States, and produced hand-beaded gemstone and glass bracelets in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine.<br><br>In addition to creating Fair Winds Trading, Inc., Willa is also the editor of the book, Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female, a collection of essays and reminiscences by notable women and author of Lifecast: Behind the Mask, which details her methods and experiences casting sculptures of the Dalai Lama and other notable persons for an exhibit of touchable lifecasts of the faces of celebrities and other notable individuals, for the purpose of making famous faces accessible to the blind and visually-impaired. The exhibition toured American museums for ten years. Shalit and her lifecasting art were also featured in the Emmy Award-winning television documentary, Willa: Behind The Mask.<br><br>Shalit's photos of Afghanistan, Rwanda and Israel have been published in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Parade magazine, Marie Claire magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, and distributed by the Associated Press wire service.<br><br>Willa also produced the Broadway revival of August Wilsons Ma Raineys Black Bottom and several off-Broadway shows including: James Lecesnes One Man Band, Eve Enslers The Vagina Monologues, and Necessary Targets. In Cape Town, South Africa, Willa produced Carol Kaplans Jocasta Rising at the Artscape Theatre Centre. She was the Executive Producer of the HBO film of The Vagina Monologues and Until the Violence Stops, a documentary film about V-Days 2002 activities. <br><br>Shalit was one of the co-founders, with Eve Ensler, of V-Day, a non-profit organization that distributes funds to programs and organizations that work to stop violence against women and girls, and served as its first executive director. <br><br>Willa also served as a Special Advisor to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and was named by Womens eNews as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century in 2006. She serves on the boards of the Hadassah Foundation and the Agohozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda.<br><br>Shalit is married and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and New York City. She and her husband, Michael Schneider, have one daughter, Natasha Schneider.?<p>The 1940s - at least for Fendi director Karl Lagerfeld - are back.</p><p>The spring-summer 2012 show started with the whirring of a film reel and the primly-dressed models began sashaying past to the sounds of film classics, their hair swept back in big manes and wearing giant tinted glasses.</p><p>The designs featured plenty of apron, smocks and tunic style dresses with hints of embroidery and see-through fabric. The colours were very muted - mostly black and white with some beige, pastel pink and khaki thrown in.</p><p>But the cuts were wild - including asymmetrical skirts, cut-out shoulders, big frilly aprons and knitted jumpers with see-through backs.</p><p>The array of handbags ranged from a humble purse to a giant rock-encrusted bag and even a sparkling green-and-gold number.</p><p>One of the strong points of the collection was a perforated suede-hooded jacket, but the design that drew the most &quot;aaahs&quot; from the crowd was a peacock feather dress that was certainly attention-grabbing, if perhaps impractical.</p><p>The German-born Lagerfeld, 78, who has his own fashion label and is also the creative director at Chanel, emerged after the show in his trademark sunglasses, ponytail hair and black leather gloves to a standing ovation.</p><p>Founded in 1925 in Rome, Fendi is now owned by French luxury giant LVMH.</p><p>The Max Mara show earlier on Thursday had a feel that was both retro and futuristic - harking back to the ever popular 1950s with pastel turquoise, beige and mint-green dresses, as well as experimenting with mixed fabrics.</p><p>Max Mara defined the collection as: &quot;Pure and linear, athletic and minimalist, tailored and crafted. It designs a new futurist silhouette.&quot;</p><p>The fashion house said the tones that dominated the show - sky blue, sand beige and cloud white - were inspired by &quot;the colours of the desert.&quot;</p>?<p>Men's ready-to-wear A/W 2011/2012<br> January/February<br> International</p><p>The fall/winter 2011/12 collections will be showcased in European fashion capitals, with Milan starting the presentations (January 15-19), followed by Paris (January 20-23). London Fashion Week, which presents women's and men's collections during the same period, will run from February 18-23. In New York, men's and women's ranges will be shown alongside each other from February 10-17.</p><p><br>Hong Kong Fashion Week A/W 2011/2012<br> January 17 - 20<br> Hong Kong</p><p>As the largest annual fashion industry gathering in Asia, the fair hosted over 1,700 exhibitors from 24 countries and drew more than 21,000 buyers from 92 countries in 2010. The event has steadily expanded its World Boutique section, which showcases designer labels from the U.S. and Europe. Various collections including women's wear, men's wear, children's wear, sportswear, lingerie, swimwear, evening wear, as well as fashion accessories, shoes and costume jewelry will once again be presented during Hong Kong Fashion Week.</p><p><br>Berlin Fashion Week A/W 2011/2012<br> January 19-22<br> Berlin, Germany</p><p>Germany's most progressive couturiers, including Kilian Kerner, Lala Berlin, Patrick Mohr, Perret Schaad, and Anja Gockel will showcase their collections during the 8th Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week, which will run concurrently with the capital's biggest street and urbanwear fair Bread &amp; Butter (January 19-21).</p><p><br>Haute Couture A/W 2011/2012<br> January 24-28<br> Paris, France</p><p>The world's leading haute couture week, which had been reserved for dramatic fashion shows presenting out-of-this-world creations by designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, or Chanel, has added haute jewelry to its roster. The field's most prestigious brands such as Boucheron, Cartier, Chaumet, and Van Cleef &amp; Arpels now complement France's most storied couturiers. This year, runway shows and presentations will run from January 24- 27.</p><p><br>S?o Paulo Fashion Week<br>January 28- February 2<br>S?o Paulo, Brazil</p><p>Started in 1996, S?o Paulo Fashion Week has evolved into the most important fashion event in Latin America and has elevated itself onto the same playing field as the prestigious fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, New York and London. Expect to see catwalk shows by major Brazilian labels like Ricardo Almeida, Reinaldo Louren?o, and Ronalda Fraga, as well as by luxury European brands like Chanel and Versace. The most anticipated event of SPFW is by far the presentations of sexy Brazilian beachwear lines like Amir Slama's Rosa Cha.</p><p><br>Copenhagen Fashion Week A/W 2011/2012<br> February 2-6<br> Copenhagen, Denmark</p><p>Northern Europe's largest fashion event draws some 60,000 designers, buyers, and press twice a year (every February and August). Danish fashion is known for its unique angle on design, innovation and aesthetics with a more modern approach to femininity and functionality, expressed in fresh silhouettes. Coupled with its leading trade fairs CPH Vision, Gallery and the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, the Danish capital is quickly cementing its status as a global fashion hub.</p><p><br>New York Fashion Week?A/W 2011/2012<br> February 10-17<br> New York, US</p><p>The event kicks off the women's ready-to-wear season in the four fashion capitals (the other three being London, Milan, and Paris), the most important time in the fashion half-year. American designers including Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, and Calvin Klein will all showcase their collections.</p><p><br>London Fashion Week? A/W 2011/2012<br> February 18-23<br> London, UK</p><p>Following New York's Fashion Week, London's event brings together established British designers including Richard Nicoll and Pual Smith, and new talents like the actress-cum-designer Sienna Miller who founded Twenty8Twelve with her sister. Issa London, the Brazilian designer who made the now-famous sapphire blue dress that Kate Middleton wore to announce her engagement to Prince William, is among those scheduled to stage a catwalk show. London Fashion Week will showcase both women's and men's collections. </p><p><br>Women's ready-to-wear A/W 2011/2012<br> February/March<br> International</p><p>The fall/winter 2011/12 collections will be showcased in European fashion capitals, with Milan starting the presentations (February 23- March 1). The fashion week in the French capital will wrap up the season between March 1-9 after the programs in New York, London, and Milan. The most anticipated shows comprise the biggest names in the industry such as Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel and local French favorites Isabel Marant and Sonia Rykiel.</p><p><br>Tokyo Fashion Week A/W 2011/2012<br> March 19-25<br> Tokyo, Japan</p><p>Japan's design stars including Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Gar?ons) or Yohji Yamamoto have long been showing their collections outside Tokyo, but the city remains a breeding ground for exciting, up-and-coming talent made in Japan. Japan Fashion Week will be held concurrently with its prestigious global fashion fair Livingroom in Tokyo (March 22-24).</p><p><br>Moscow Fashion Week A/W 2011/2012<br> March 31- April 5<br> Moscow, Russia</p><p>The biggest fashion event in Eastern Europe will celebrate its 11th year in existence this year, showcasing the best in Russian design as well as from the former Soviet republics: Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Georgia, etc.</p><p><br>Barcelona Bridal Week<br> May 10-15<br> Barcelona, Spain</p><p>The 21st Bridal Week, which sees shows and presentations from domestic and international designers including 'Queen of the Wedding Dress' Vera Wang, outshines New York Bridal Week (April 9-11) as the leading event in the field given the event's history and prestige. This year, some 240 brands are expected to exhibit in the 30,000-square-meter space and as many as 30 bridal fashion catwalk shows will be staged for the 13,800 expected attendees.</p><p><br>Australia Fashion Week S/S 2011/12<br>May 2-6<br> Sydney, Australia</p><p>Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is the Asia Pacific's premier stop on the international fashion week circuit joining Paris, Milan, New York and London. The five-day official schedule includes on-site collection shows held within state-of-the-art collection showrooms, off-site collection shows, The Gallery and The Presentation Suites at The Westin Sydney.</p><p><br>Men's ready-to-wear S/S 2011/12<br> June/July<br> International</p><p>The spring/summer 2012 men's collections will be showcased in European fashion capitals, with Milan starting the presentations (June 18-22), followed by Paris (June 23-26).</p><p><br>London Fashion Week S/S 2011/12<br> September 17-22<br> London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julian Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their spring-summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.</p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week S/S 2011/12<br> September 21-27<br> Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's spring-summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.</p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week S/S 2011/12<br> September 28-October 6<br> Paris, France</p><p>The season of spring-summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.</p><p><br>Haute Couture S/S 2011/12<br> July 4-7<br> Paris, France</p><p>The world's leading haute couture week, which had been reserved for dramatic fashion shows presenting out-of-this-world creations by designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, or Chanel, has added haute jewelry to its roster. The field's most prestigious brands such as Boucheron, Cartier, Chaumet, and Van Cleef &amp; Arpels now complement France's most storied couturiers. This year, runway shows and presentations will run from July 4-7.</p><p><br>New York Fashion Week S/S 2011/12<br> September 8-15<br> New York, US</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talent, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.</p><p><br>Tokyo Fashion Week S/S 2011/12<br> September 17-21<br> Tokyo, Japan</p><p>Tokyo's Fashion Week wraps up the global fashion presentations and runway shows for the S/S 2012 season.</p>?<p>A spokeswoman for Fendi's public relations company told AFP that fur would be part of the show on June 2 but could not say how many such items would be featured.</p><p>The event will be staged on a newly built island on the Han River, which the city of Seoul wants to promote as a landmark.</p><p>The Italian firm said last week that city officials had threatened to cancel the event unless all fur items were removed from the catwalk.</p><p>The city government said pressure from animal rights groups had rendered the show too controversial, and Fendi had described the short notice as &quot;difficult to understand... in light of the months of preparation and cooperation&quot;.</p><p>But in a statement Monday, the fashion house said that now &quot;all terms have been mutually agreed&quot; for the show.</p><p>The Rome-based company originally planned to present 40 pieces from its autumn/winter collection including 20 fur items.</p><p>A Seoul city official said Fendi pledged to &quot;redesign&quot; the lineup to reduce the number of fur items displayed by its models.</p><p>&quot;They promised to make the show more acceptable to the public... and we have our international credibility to consider. So we accepted the offer,&quot; said the official, who declined to be named.</p><p>&quot;The show will go on as planned.&quot;</p><p>The South Korean group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth vowed to launch a campaign to boycott Fendi products after the city's change of heart, and called for protesters to picket the June 2 show.</p><p>&quot;Let's go together to let many people know about the brutal nature of Fendi, which has cruelly sacrificed fur animals for nearly 100 years,&quot; it said.</p>?<p>Dello Russo's idiosyncrasies don't stop at clothing. How many fashion editors do you know with their own eponymous fragrance C released by last year in a bejewelled shoe that was inspired by a Christmas-tree bauble? Actually, how many do you know with their own self-managed blog, or a retinue of staff whose email signature reads &quot;Anna Dello Russo Factory&quot;? It's easy to imagine Anna as a fictional character marching her Manolos through Funny Face or even Prt--Porter, but this is what being a 21st-century fashion editor is all about C part celebrity, part caricature; definitely larger than life.</p><p>We've seen hints before in the deification of US Vogue's Anna Wintour and the former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, whose names have become known to people who never read the fashion pages, via prime-time documentaries and fictional characterisations galore. But Dello Russo is another entity entirely C creative director and fashion consultant Ronnie Cooke Newhouse described her as an &quot;insider fashion reality star&quot;, and she's in touch with her audience 24/7. She blogs on and tweets during the shows, broadcasting her image over the internet and even across competitors' magazines (she was the lead editorial and cover-girl of last autumn's 10 magazine). The final leap, never before made by any member of the fashion press, was on to the catwalk last year, modelling for the Lanvin/H&amp;M fashion show in New York, and for Giles Deacon's first presentation for the Parisian house of Emanuel Ungaro C a neat inversion of the set that looks and the set that is looked at in the world of fashion. Online, plugged in and turned on, she explodes the idea of the fashion editor being at least once removed from the general public. Anna Dello Russo is always ready for her close-up.</p><p>The question remains: from whence did she spring, fully formed, to thrash the fashion world into a collective frenzy with a length of gold lam? Dello Russo has actually been working in fashion for more than 20 years, 18 of those at Cond Nast Italia alongside Franca Sozzani, the all-powerful editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue. However, it was only with the advent of the internet and fashion-savvy street-style bloggers such as Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist and Jak &amp; Jil's Tommy Ton that Dello Russo's hardcore love of fashion reached a global audience. As her extreme catwalk looks popped up all over the internet, the general public collectively gasped: &quot;Who is this woman? And why is she wearing a slice of watermelon on her head?&quot;</p><p>Today, street-style bloggers have multiplied, but they all seem to remain enamoured by Dello Russo C her stride slows to a crawl as hundreds cluster to pap-snap her outfits between car and show as she does the rounds of the international capitals during fashion weeks. &quot;They made me. They made a new career,&quot; Dello Russo states, matter-of-fact. Her upfront nature is one of her most endearing qualities C and incredibly rare in fashion. Maybe it's because, by her own admission, her English is &quot;no so good&quot;: her accent is as thick as carbonara sauce, punctuated with much extravagant gesturing and clanking of various items of jewellery.</p><p>Those photographers, however, only gave visibility to something already brewing. Dello Russo has been collecting clothing for 20 years, keeping her ever-expanding wardrobe in a climate-controlled second apartment next door to her home in Milan. This she sees not as an extravagance, but as an investment, both financially and culturally. &quot;All my money, all my passion goes into the best, the key pieces of fashion. The pieces people want to see in the future,&quot; she says. Generally, that means catwalk-hot, high-octane fashion C Dello Russo has a penchant for the glitzy, ritzy dresses created by Peter Dundas for Emilio Pucci and Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, short and encrusted with embroidery and glitter. They're not generally considered &quot;daywear&quot;, but Dello Russo doesn't really do day. &quot;I don't have this routine life. I don't go into the office; I'm travelling around the world. I'm lucky. But I never liked easy clothes in my life. My mother said, 'You want a pair of jeans?' and I said, 'No, mother, I want a couture dress!'&quot;</p><p>According to Dello Russo, her childhood contained many gems like this. Born in the Italian provincial town of Bari in 1962, she was a dedicated follower of fashion from her early years. &quot;I was always looking in the bag, look at the jewellery. Mamma would say, 'Please don't do that, it's not polite', but I would say, 'Mamma, I love the bag!'&quot; The breakthrough fashion moment was indicative of Italian fashion in the 1980s. &quot;I said to my father, 'Father, I would like a bag C not just a bag, a set of Fendi bags.' This was 1980s time, so logomania!&quot; Dello Russo's hands spring into action, waving in the air as she spits out &quot;F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F&quot; like a fashion firearm to describe the Fendi initial-spotted zucca weave. You get the feeling she probably still has that Fendi luggage set somewhere, shrouded in acid-free tissue in her hermetically sealed archives.</p><p>From there it was an obvious step to Milan and Vogue Italia, during the early-1990s boom time of Italian fashion. &quot;It was an incredible moment. Incredible creativity, a massive fashion moment. Dolce &amp; Gabbana were starting, the golden age of Italian fashion. Versace, Armani, Ferr, Missoni C an amazing 'Made in Italy' moment.&quot; Dello Russo worked at Cond Nast Italia for 18 years: 12 with Vogue, then six with the male-focused L'Uomo Vogue. During those years, she never missed a round of the bi-yearly fashion collections. &quot;For me, everything is by consequence. That's why I never want to miss a season C I saw the evolution of fashion.&quot;</p><p>Passion is a word that leaps to mind when scrambling to describe Dello Russo's approach to fashion. Helmut Newton had another term: &quot;fashion maniac&quot;, a badge she wears with pride. Her overwhelming love of the industry stands as anathema to the black-clad fashion world's obsession with cool. Dello Russo has the maxim &quot;I don't want to be cool, I want to be fashion&quot; writ large across her blog, and is rarely clad in black, preferring instead the peacock plumage of sequins, furs, Technicolor satin and gold C preferably all at the same time.</p><p>What does she make of the breathtaking attention she has garnered? She loves it. That comes through in the pictures of her C unlike the static, studied poses of other fashion hacks, Dello Russo seems in constant animation, laughing, waving, and generally having a whale of a time in her front-row seat. After all, a woman doesn't take to the Ungaro catwalk clutching a jewelled sheep grudgingly. For her, this is the achievement of a life-long dream. &quot;I used to be like Cinderella, working hard in the kitchen. Now finally I've been invited to the ball.&quot;</p><p>It's uncertain where the cash comes from to fund her obsession C she is uncharacteristically cagey about consultancy work, although rumours abound as to the collections she has a hand in (here's a hint: look for anything gold). She also asserts that her clothes aren't gifts but are bought retail C a considerable investment given that just one of those racy Balmain frocks she sported during fashion week would set you back 10 grand, never mind the k cost of that additional apartment. Dello Russo's reasoning behind such expenditure? &quot;It's a job, but on me. It's like going to the dentist C if you go to the dentist and the dentist doesn't have beautiful white teeth... then how good is he?&quot;</p><p>In a tangential way, her reasoning makes perfect sense. Unlike so many characters in the fashion world, Dello Russo is happy to put her money where her mouth is. Witness her latest editorial for the March issue of Vogue Japan: models giggling in poster paint-bright duchesse satin with tea-sets, lobsters, birds and shoes perched in giant hair-dos (the shoes doubling as a canny bit of product placement C they were Christian Dior). That sounds like just the sort of kooky gear fashion editors love to shovel on to models while dressed in head-to-toe black. Dello Russo, however, sported a variation on her own Christmas card, and in no less than three shoots since. Indeed, you often get the impression that she is practising her styling on herself, or vice versa.</p><p>There's no emperor's new clothes to this, though C Dello Russo is perfectly aware of how extreme her look is. &quot;Sometimes I feel ridiculous, but it's in a good way. Like the watermelon [she wore on her head], I love that. It's such an Italian touch of humour.&quot;</p><p>There is certainly a distinct touch of the Italian eccentric in everything she does. That is, of course, a long tradition: the Marchesa Luisa Casati (see box, right), for example, was an Italian aristo who astonished turn-of-the-century Europe by walking around in a leopard-skin top hat with live marmosets scampering about her outfit as a rather unconventional fur tippet. You can't help but feel La Casati would have appreciated Dello Russo's appearance at Paris Vogue's 90th birthday celebrations last October, a masquerade ball where she pitched up in Emilio Pucci and a one-off Gareth Pugh headpiece looking like a cross between Lady Gaga and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.</p><p>Understandably, many also draw comparison with her fellow countrywoman Anna Piaggi: they're both Italian, they're both called Anna, they both plonk oversized fruit on their heads and call it a look. They're also both Cond Nast matriarchs, trained by Vogue Italia C of all the Vogues, the one that best marries creativity with commerce.</p><p>That's worth bearing in mind when you look at Anna Dello Russo Inc, the unofficial cottage industry she has spun around her name and image. Her blog is the primary tool in this, engaging her directly with her ever-growing fan-base. &quot;It's a completely different world from magazines,&quot; she explains. &quot;It's really democratic. You feel in touch, you feel instantly the feedback.&quot;</p><p>Magazines, of course, have realised that the internet is the way to go, but still few editors engage with it on Dello Russo's grass-roots level. She tweets from the shows to roughly 40,000 followers, and posts continuously to her site. Rather than the polished world of a, however, it's resolutely low-fi, with a touch of Dello Russo's trademark madcap humour. Witness Anna's head crudely Photoshopped on to her favourite looks from the latest collections, kitsch gilt photograph frames around images, and Dello Russo's distinctly nuanced grasp of the English language reflected in every post. &quot;I want to talk with a massive part of the people,&quot; she says. &quot;I prefer to translate in my English because the sense will be the same. I want to give a sense of myself.&quot; Despite editors becoming personalities in their own right, that's virtually unheard of in the ivory-tower world of fashion.</p><p>It is through the blog that her eponymous perfume came about. &quot;I put on my blog a wish to have a perfume. And then people came to me saying, 'That's incredible, I want it, when did it come out?'&quot; obviously saw mileage in the idea C its first range of Dello Russo-branded products C 10 T-shirts bearing her image sporting a self-selected array of &quot;looks&quot; C sold out within hours.</p><p>Next up after the perfume, you would assume Dello Russo would be hankering after creating a clothing line C but that's what everyone would expect, and hence is probably the last thing she'd want to do. Instead, Anna Dello Russo has plans for a record. Fashion-show soundtracks may never be the same again.</p><p>Fashion Incarnate: The women who lived the look</p><p>Anna Piaggi (1931-present)</p><p>The doyenne of Italian fashion, Piaggi has been writing about the business for more than 50 years and owns more than 2,000 dresses. Known best for her inspirational spreads in Vogue Italia, which use montages of images and text, her influences extend to designers from Karl Lagerfeld to the milliner Stephen Jones, both of whom are close friends. She is conspicuous by her headgear, flamboyant, Anglophilic style and her perennially changing hair colour.</p><p>Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881C1957)</p><p>First and foremost among the fabulous is the Marchesa, an Italian socialite of the early 1900s, who famously kept a pair of leopards as pets (which she walked at dusk around her home town of Venice) and was waited on by naked men adorned with gold leaf. A reference point for many designers, from John Galliano to Mary Katrantzou, Casati's stunningly ornate residence and decadent parties scandalised polite society and attracted the impolite in equal measure.</p><p>Isabella Blow (1958C2007)</p><p>Blow is best known for her work with the designers Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, to whom she acted as both muse and mentor. The indefatigable fashion editor at Tatler was often to be seen in the office resplendent in full couture looks, and bought McQueen's graduate collection straight off the catwalk, paying the young, gifted and broke designer in instalments of 200. She died in 2007 and was much mourned by the industry to which she had devoted her life.</p><p>Diana Vreeland (1903C1989)</p><p>Fierce and fearsome, Vreeland was editor-in-chief of US Vogue from 1963 until 1971, and &quot;discovered&quot;, among others, Lauren Bacall. She notably worked with the photographer Richard Avedon, and lived in an apartment decorated solely in red. In her &quot;Why don't you&quot; column for Harper's Bazaar, Vreeland suggested dressing a daughter as an infanta for her birthday party and washing children's hair in dead champagne, as per French aristocratic tradition. &quot;She was, and remains, the only genius fashion editor,&quot; remarked Avedon on her death.</p><p>Harriet Walker</p>?<p>Vaccarello won the Grand Prix at the Hyres Fashion Festival in 2006 before working alongside Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi. He has been showing his own-label collections during Paris women's ready-to-wear since 2009.</p><p>The 200,000 endowment will benefit his next show in October as well as the opening of a French branch of his label. He will also receive mentorship from fashion experts, the opportunity to exhibit at France's Galeries Lafayette department store, and a 10,000 donation of Swarovski crystals to be used in the spring/summer 2012 collection.</p><p>Bestowed by fashion's editorial and buying elite including The Daily Telegraph's Hilary Alexander, French Vogue's new editor in chief Emmanuelle Alt, and Paris concept store Colette's creative director Sarah Lerfel, the award has helped to boost the careers of Giles Deacon and Hakaan in past years, for instance.</p><p></p>?<p>Auction house Christie's is hosting its second annual Bid to Save the World Green Auction, and while the live event on March 29 is invite-only, the general public can bid on many items online through April 7. Fashion auction items include an invitation to Chanel's fall couture show (plus meet-and-greet with Karl Lagerfeld), a style consultation with Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley and designer Diane von Furstenberg, and unique Fendi bags.</p><p></p><p>Flash sale site Rue La La has opened a boutique with Tory Burch on March 22, selling the designer's limited-edition t-shirts to benefit Japan earthquake relief efforts. The pop-up store will remain open for five days (three days longer than the site's usual designer boutiques), and non-members will be able to use Tory Burch's invitation at the below link.</p><p></p><p>For other recently created items to support Japan, visit , , or .</p><p>French designer Anne Valerie Hash has partnered with e-tailer for an online pop-up store that sells her new affordable line AVHASH BY. Launching March 24, the boutique will stay open for a month.</p><p></p><p>Popular Tumblr blog We the Urban , which focuses on fashion photography, design, and art, has turned into an online magazine.</p><p></p>?<p>On a somewhat lighter note, that same month Lagerfeld photographed his muse and creative collaborator, Amanda Harlech, and her great friend and a highly valued couture customer, Daphne Guinness, for a fashion editorial in the July issue of V Magazine. The two women 'exchanged personal styles' for the story and it's hard to imagine either of them doing so for anyone else. Harlech said later that Lagerfeld had told her on set that she looked like &quot;a hausfrau&quot; dressed in Guinness's look and resplendent in blonde hair piece. She took this in the good humour with which it was hopefully intended.</p><p>In June, Lagerfeld made another TV appearance, on Le Grand Journal, this time with Lady Gaga and resulting in a live, impromptu iPad photo session C a white-gold iPad photo session, if you please. The couturier later sent the songstress a Chanel carrier bag emblazoned with Crayola-coloured portraits of the two of them together, penned by his own hand. When she uploaded it on to her website, Lagerfeld says it received no less than 53 million hits. Not bad, considering that the work in question probably took no more than seconds to execute. Lagerfeld sketches continuously, brilliantly and at breakneck speed.</p><p>In August, he unveiled a 45-piece collection for the American department store, Macy's. Priced from $50 to $170, signature tweeds, leathers, little black dresses, T-shirts and fingerless gloves all made an appearance. No more a designer fashion snob than one to draw a line between high and low culture, Lagerfeld was famously the first designer to collaborate with Swedish high-street giant, H&amp;M, back in 2004. That collection sold out worldwide in a matter of only hours and its designer has since argued that the accompanying advertising campaign, in which he was asked to appear, was the single significant factor that, after all these years, finally made him a household name.</p><p>Then, in October, Lagerfeld staged an exhibition at the Salon de la Photo at the Paris Expo, showcasing his own fashion photography as well as work by such luminaries as Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton. He launched a women's fragrance C Kaleidoscope C under his own name, and shot the accompanying (kaleidoscopic) advertising campaign. Next came a label for a 2009 vintage bottle of red wine in celebration of the Chateau Rauzan-Sgla vineyard's 350th anniversary.</p><p>In the same time-frame, Lagerfeld designed two ready-to-wear collections shown in Milan for the Italian fur house, Fendi, and two more staged in Paris for Hogan. The first for the latter label was accompanied by a short film, the second by a 32-page book, comprising his sketches and photographs of models in the clothes.</p><p>And then, of course, there is his day job. As designer and couturier at the esteemed house of Chanel since 1983, Karl Lagerfeld is responsible for the creative direction of the single most successful fashion company in the world. Nobody knows exactly how much money Chanel makes. It is privately owned by the Wertheimer family and among the luxuries of independence is the right to keep any figures under wraps. Everyone assumes, however, that sales at Chanel C which include the proceeds of a lucrative haute couture business, ready-to-wear collections, pre-collections, money-spinning cosmetics and fragrance, not least Chanel No 5 C exceed all others. Lagerfeld showed Chanel women's ready-to-wear in March and October in Paris. He took his autumn Metiers d'Art collection, designed to uphold the workmanship of Chanel-owned ateliers including Lesage (specialist embroiderer), Desrues (costumes jeweller), Massaro (shoemaker), Maison Michel (milliner), Goossens (goldsmith), Lemarie (feather specialist) and Guillet (floral accessory specialist) to Istanbul in early May. Also in May, he unveiled Chanel Cruise in Saint Tropez. His autumn/winter haute couture collection for Chanel took place in the French capital again in July. Given that each of these involves the creation of upwards of 80 fully accessorised exits, not to mention the most elaborate and expensive mises-en-scnes in the business, this alone is no small feat.</p><p>To describe Lagerfeld as a Renaissance man, then, would in no way do justice to either his hugely prolific output or indeed his versatility. Much has been made of this in the past, with journalists labouring incessantly to unpick it. Is Karl Lagerfeld's obsession with &quot;doing&quot; an attempt to ward off mortality C or at least avoid confronting it head-on? Is his apparently compulsive ingestion of modern C and indeed historic C culture a way of ensuring he may never be accused of being locked in an ivory tower? And does his need to surround himself with C and work alongside C bright, young, beautiful things somehow fill an emotional void?</p><p>The answers to those questions will almost certainly never been known. Or, as Lagerfeld himself puts it: &quot;I personally have nothing to say, nothing to explain. I make such big efforts to forget things and I can't tell the story of my life because, thank God, I'm still living it. Non, non, non. I couldn't tell the truth.&quot; It seems only fair to respect that position. Some things are best left a mystery, after all. That Lagerfeld's media incarnation is a construct C a magnificent construct C is not in dispute. He is among the world's most intriguing and magical figures, a heady, fairytale fusion of King Midas and the Pied Piper with a touch of the Big Bad Wolf thrown in to make things more entertaining still. Why not let him be with that?</p><p>on a more pragmatic level, whatever the motivation behind his unprecedented levels of productivity and insatiable appetite for the present and the new, it is perhaps only to be expected that on the day we're due to meet, Karl Lagerfeld is late. It is no more than a fortnight after the spring/summer 2012 prt-a-porter season has ended and only days before he disappears to shoot the advertising campaign that will launch Chanel's most recent collection in every glossy magazine next January. Tardiness, given his workload, is quite simply his prerogative. In fact, it will be a minor miracle if he shows up at all.</p><p>Chanel's Paris headquarters are located in two adjacent 18th-century buildings on the Rue Cambon, spread out over five floors above a street-level Chanel store. Japanese tourists queue up to photograph the window displays and more of every nationality mill around the merchandise inside. The Chanel offices, too, buzz with activity. Chanel-besuited buyers from the company's boutiques across the globe have arrived in force to choose from the huge collection that Lagerfeld has provided for them: different pieces work for different markets C from fashion forward to classic C and all of those involved are painstakingly trained to ensure they invest in the right pieces for their individual domains. A Chanel caf has been set up on a mezzanine level for the duration, providing refreshments. And there we wait for the man himself to appear.</p><p>Four o'clock C the designated time for our meeting C comes and goes, as does five o'clock. It would be wise, I have been reliably informed, to pack an overnight bag, as M Lagerfeld has been known not to arrive until early evening. Frantic e-mails bounce between BlackBerrys to establish his whereabouts until... &quot;Il est la! Il est la!&quot; It is 5.30pm exactly and Lagerfeld is no more than 90 minutes behind schedule.</p><p>In fact, the salons in which Gabrielle Chanel, the house in question's namesake, based her business and made it one of the 20th century's phenomenal success stories, are currently undergoing refurbishment. The studio where the interview will take place on the top floor is a temporary one. Some things never change, however: now, as always, Lagerfeld has a sign that reads 'Mademoiselle', a decidedly camp flourish in honour of his predecessor, affixed to the door. Inside, he is flanked by the members of his team, including Virginie Viard, his elegant first assistant of many years.</p><p>Lagerfeld is dressed, as always, in a high-collared starched shirt (he has around a thousand of them, he has said, all made for him by Jermyn Street specialist, Hilditch &amp; Key), a black tailored jacket, skinny black jeans and boots. His hair is pulled back into a ponytail and powdered a frosty white. On his hands he wears black leather fingerless gloves, studded with grommets engraved with the Chanel double C. And then there are the all-important finishing touches C the aviator sunglasses, the large buckled belt, the looped silver chains, the jewel-encrusted tie-pin and the heavy-metal rings.</p><p>His image is precise, monochromatic and linear to the point of photographic. It comes as something of a surprise, however, to find that in person he is animated C warm, even C quick on his feet and even quicker in his delivery. He has often attributed his staccato speech patterns to his mother who, like her son, was a restless spirit and insisted he got straight to the point when he talked to her or else she would walk away.</p><p>He says now: &quot;She was exactly what I needed C exactly what was needed for a child with a head like this&quot;.</p><p>Accounts conflict as to whether Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg in 1933 or 1938. His father made a fortune manufacturing condensed milk and, as Hitler rose to power, moved his family to an isolated estate in the northern German countryside. Lagerfeld remembers that the first &quot;real&quot; books he read were Tolstoy's War &amp; Peace and Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks, a precocious choice by any standards.</p><p>&quot;But I am a fashion designer, there's no need to discuss serious literature. The point is, I was beyond pleased with myself C beyond C so I think I needed a little downer. I didn't play with other children. I couldn't have cared less. I hardly went to school. I learnt everything at home. By the time I was six I could speak German, English and French, because I asked for the teachers. My problem as a child was that I was bored to death, because I wanted to be a grown-up person. My childhood was endless C from eight to 18 felt like hundreds of years. Today, parents are too much on their children's backs. They're over-caring. Non. Children should be in the corner. I was always in the corner, reading or sketching. But I wanted to be there. That's all I ever wanted to do.&quot;</p><p>Back in the present, and Karl Lagerfeld, for the moment, has two iPods in front of him, an A4 block of white paper and a pencil. He holds an iPad in his hand.</p><p>&quot;I use it mostly for sketching. I'm very good at it. I discovered a technique. It's like engraving. Really not bad. There is no Photoshop. You have to know how to sketch. It's not something done with the help of computers. I hate computer sketches because they're all the same. They have no personality. If you want to see how it works... Voila! [Click.] This is the brush. [Click.] This is how thick you want the line. [Click.] And then here are the colours. [Click.] You want red, maybe? [Click.] He sketches a line with his fingernail... Unbelievable, no? It's better with the special pen and I'm not going to keep it because it's nothing. And so then you do this. [Click.] And this. [Click.] And it disappears. I have iPads in every room. Look, here's Lady Gaga dressed as a man.I shot her like that...&quot;</p><p>He says that he is drawn to pop's most famous protagonist for her personality more than her music. &quot;She's a great person. A very clever girl. She's a concert pianist. She is well brought up. She's an Upper West Side girl with real learning. She's not just an idiot from nowhere.&quot;</p><p>There are too many of those to name and the distinct impression is that it would be demeaning to spend too much time discussing them. But Lagerfeld does say: &quot;There are so many third-rate people now who are more famous than people who should be famous, but sometimes people who could or should be famous are very boring, too.&quot;</p><p>And here he is C only moments in and despite his press department's protestations C on the subject of the Royal Wedding; he may have been frustrated as a young boy but he retains a childlike sense of the mischievous. &quot;I wasn't mean,&quot; he says of his commentary of the day. &quot;Non. But I'm not blind. The men in England, they get away better with that kind of look than the women. Much better. It's like in Monaco. They're dressed for a ceremony and it's very becoming. But the women, when they go into bright colours, strange hats, bad proportions, short skirts, big legs and all that, then it's more difficult. Do you speak French? I'll send you the tape.&quot;</p><p>In truth, as Lagerfeld's star has risen to ever more stratospheric heights, his opinions on others have softened somewhat. In the 1970s and early 1980s, when in Paris he was best known as designer at Chlo C although then as now he worked on many more collections anonymously C his serpent tongue was legendary. This continued until the early Noughties, with everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Claudia Schiffer on the receiving end of his seemingly indefatigable jibes. Today, though, he is more patrician in his views, ready to compliment fashion designers Hedi Slimane, Haider Ackermann, Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton, the designer Marc Newson and others on what he sees as their considerable talents. And Lagerfeld has good reason to be magnanimous. The transformation of Chanel from moribund status label to a French luxury goods behemoth that towers above all others under his creative directorship is fashion's Holy Grail. In his post-modern ability to not only create collections from inception to store but also project both his own image and that of the project he is working on at any given time, Lagerfeld is the predecessor of Tom Ford (at Gucci), John Galliano (at Dior) and, perhaps most significantly, Marc Jacobs (at Louis Vuitton), to name but a few. And his ability to do his job brilliantly, season after season, year after year and even decade after decade is unparalleled. While other designers rise and fall with alarming regularity, Lagerfeld, if anything, just gets better and better. His recent collections for Chanel in particular have been among his finest C if not his finest C to date.</p><p>&quot;I'm not a journalist,&quot; he says, neatly quashing any hint of adulation. &quot;I don't see it that way. You know, I have a few flight hours so I have the technical knowledge needed to go ahead. I don't advance in the dark. I advance in a well-lit past to get to the next point. I'm talking professionally. The rest? I prefer things blurred. Over is over.&quot;</p><p>for the record, Lagerfeld first arrived in Paris as a teenager and trained as a couturier in the traditional manner, working as an apprentice for Pierre Balmain and later designing for Jean Patou before launching himself as a freelance ready-to-wear designer in the 1960s, just as that discipline was to take off. Again, this demonstrated considerable foresight as, at this point, the seeds were planted for designer fashion to grow into the financial power house that it is today.</p><p>Lagerfeld plays down his ability to shift between one fashion house and another, and between different disciplines, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.</p><p>&quot;Apparently that's how it is, but don't expect me to say it. That would be horrible. For me, Chanel is a normal language,&quot; he argues, referring to the cardigan jackets, quilted handbags, gilt chains and little black dresses that are among the house signatures. &quot;I never mix it up. Fendi is completely different, and so are the collections I do for myself. They have not one point in common. In fact, I have no personality, or I have three, depending on how you look at it. And I love that there's no overlap.</p><p>&quot;It's not that other people aren't very good, but they're maybe not as good at the image thing. But there is no recipe. It's only discipline. It's very simple. I think it works. I'm not my own Dr Freud. I just do it, you see. Doing for doing. There are no real rules, so don't ask me how. In fact, I'm not even a serious person.&quot;</p><p>His speech is peppered with elliptical statements such as these, all of which do a fine job of deflecting any real attempt at interpretation.</p><p>&quot;I think of everything and nothing, you know.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I don't ask myself this sort of question.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I think I am a much more superficial person than you imagine.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If you ask me the sense of life, the sense of life is life, it's not that bad.&quot;</p><p>And so forth.</p><p>He is happy to talk about the aforementioned Nietzsche project for 7L.</p><p>&quot;I'm publishing 12 volumes because somebody sent me them. They found them in the middle of nowhere. It's all his work, with his personal remarks written in the margins and on the sleeve. But he's not my favourite. My favourite is Spinoza. Bon.&quot;</p><p>Equally forthcoming are his views on diet. Having dropped a good third of his bodyweight, in 2002 he published a bestselling book on the subject.</p><p>&quot;I made a diet and my doctor made money that way. We sold nearly a million copies. I never touch sugar, cheese, bread... It was a very good, healthy thing, the best move in my life, I think, but it's totally effortless. I only like what I'm allowed to like. I'm beyond temptation. There is no weakness. When I see tons of food in the studio, for us and for everybody, for me it's as if this stuff was made out of plastic. The idea doesn't even enter my mind that a human being could put that into their mouth. I'm like the animals in the forest. They don't touch what they cannot eat.&quot;</p><p>His dietary regime is made easier, it almost goes without saying, because he has his own cook. Rather than pour forth on the idiosyncracies of his lifestyle, Lagerfeld prefers to sketch his living environment, bluntly commentating on any extravagance as if it were the most natural thing in the world. He picks up a pencil and starts drawing.</p><p>&quot;I always work at home in the morning,&quot; he says, illustrating his words as he speaks. &quot;Here is my bed. It's not that big. And here I am. And around me there are books, books, books. I read 10 of them at the same time. My favourite, I have told you, is Spinoza but I have superficial books too, and magazines, I read all magazines, people magazines, fashion magazines. Stuff your brain. Stuff your brain with knowledge. I want to know everything. I want to see everything.</p><p>&quot;Bon. Here's my street [drawing a map]. Look. Here is the Seine. Here is Quai Voltaire. Here's one house. [He draws it.] I sleep there. I go here. [He draws a second house nearby.] It's a town house where I go for lunch and everything. I cross the street. [He draws another house.] I have a huge office here and then I go here [and another] to my photo studio. And here [he pens a fifth and final residence] I have a guest house because I don't want people in my home.&quot;</p><p>Lagerfeld is not for a second fazed by how extravagant such a way of living may seem. &quot;Today in France people want to come across as politically correct but that is the absolute opposite of the French spirit. It's boring. Be politically correct. Give to charity. But people don't have to know. Very often when I go somewhere people come up to me and say: 'You know, I'm taking care of humanitarian work'. I say: 'Why? You don't like animals?' Serious people have to do those things but they don't talk about it. You can be serious. Of course you can be serious. But it mustn't show too much.&quot;</p><p>The trappings of fame are a small price to pay for the comfort of his everyday existence. And now in his seventies, Karl Lagerfeld is immensely famous. &quot;It's just like this: one day, I want to go out without a bodyguard to my framer which is not far from my studio, so I put on a bonnet and on the corner of my street this person says to me, in French [he adopts the voice of a taunting schoolgirl]: 'Alors, on se dguise?'. Even my voice is easy to recognise. When someone calls and they've made a wrong number they recognise the voice. This happens very often. They say: 'You have a voice like Mr Lagerfeld'.&quot; He laughs now, only too aware of how ridiculous this might seem.</p><p>It's approaching 7pm and Lagerfeld's entourage are looking at their watches nervously. As our meeting comes to a close, we return once more to the subject of his work.</p><p>&quot;Please don't say I work hard. Nobody is forced to do this job and if they don't like it, they should do another one. If it's too much, do something else. But don't start doing it and then say, 'Aaaah, it's too much'. Because a lot of people depend on it. What we do at Chanel, thousands of people work on these things; these things are sold in hundreds and hundreds of shops all over the world. People like the big machine, and the money the big machine involves, but the effort... Then, suddenly, they become artists. They are too weak. Too fragile. Non. We have to be tough. We cannot talk about our suffering. People buy dresses to be happy, not to hear about somebody who suffered over a piece of taffeta. Me, I like to make an effort. I like nothing better than concrete reality. I'm a very down-to-earth person, but it is my job to make that earth more pleasant.&quot;</p>?<p>Designing with the planet in mind is the mantra of the dozens of designers who showcased their spring/summer collections at the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris this weekend, just before the official Fashion Week kicks off on Tuesday.</p><p>&quot;Being ethical is harder work,&quot; Isabelle Quehe, who founded the event seven years ago, told AFP. &quot;You have to source your fabrics, find people to work with, sometimes train them in their countries of origin,&quot; she said.</p><p>&quot;But there are far more ways of designing ethically today than when the show was created,&quot; as new green fabrics arrive on the market, from alpaca in Latin America, to recycled plastics, polyester or junk materials, said Quehe.</p><p>To a soundtrack of tropical birdsong and pattering rain, Paqocha from Ecuador showed a body-hugging catsuit of macrame-like alpaca knit, while Esther Casto updated Peruvian tradition with bat-wing ponchos in green and caramel.</p><p>Creating beauty from junk, Berlin designer Stephan Hann stitched old photo negatives into a honeycomb of black loops for a dramatic body-sculpting dress, and layered disks of scrap into a peacock-feather motif skirt.</p><p>Fur even got a look-in in one of Hann's dresses, made from printed leopard-skin vinyl panels, while a spectacular bridal gown had a trompe l'oeil train made with puffed balls of reused old shirts.</p><p>Hosted at Paris' new City of Fashion and Design on the River Seine, the Ethical Fashion Show's four days of catwalks and round-table debates are one of a string of green-minded events gaining momentum on the global fashion scene.</p><p>In New York the GreenShows Eco Fashion Week just held its third season, while London Fashion Week hosted its first ever &quot;sustainable fashion show&quot;, showcasing designers including Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood.</p><p>Green fashion events have long existed on the London fringes, but it was the first time the British Fashion Council cleared a slot on its official schedule to showcase a selection of creators with a conscience.</p><p>Eco-awareness has reached Italy too, where Giorgio Armani has started using recycled polyester, Fendi has a bag line made of reused tyres and rugs and Marni has made tyre-rubber bangles, according to Fashion Illustrated weekly.</p><p>Quehe believes the Paris fashion scene - which &quot;still sees ethics as unfashionable&quot; - is lagging behind its rivals in cleaning up fashion's act.</p><p>For Sylvie Benard, head of environmental matters at the French luxury giant LVMH, &quot;luxury and sustainable development are compatible.&quot;</p><p>She admits few large fashion houses have made ethics or the environment visible priorities - &quot;because what counts is the beauty of the product&quot; - but argues that the high end of fashion is inherently sustainable.</p><p>&quot;Real luxury is about products that last, that are passed down from generation to generation - and which are made in excellent labour conditions, sometimes using artisan techniques that would be lost if it were not for haute couture,&quot; she said.</p><p>Fabrics and techniques aside, there is a social side to most of the Paris show designers' work, too, like Mayte Alorcon from Peru who employs single mothers to stitch her upmarket alpaca shawls and ponchos from home.</p><p>Also from Latin America, Lima-based designer Susan Wagner paid inmates in a prison outreach programme to produce a line of bags inspired by pre-Colombian woven motifs, updated for the 21st-century.</p><p>And Cyclus, a Colombian firm that creates urban men's bags from inner tubes recovered from garages across Bogota, makes a point of giving secure, full-time contracts to its workshop staff in the city.</p><p>&quot;We are trying to preserve our values as we grow,&quot; said Aude Helias, one of five parters in the venture.</p><p>For Cyclus, as for many ethical designers, that means working with selected small stores - rather than big retailers.</p><p>&quot;It's tempting at first, because a big store will order 1,000 items in one go,&quot; said Helias. &quot;But they can reject a batch of bags for a tiny fault, and destroy a whole chain of values at the push of a button. I've seen it happen.&quot;</p>?<p>The latest figures look mind-boggling. James's first book has sold in excess of 5.3 million copies in the UK, and the trio as a whole more than 12 million. Global sales of all English-language editions have topped 40 million. Susan Sandon, MD of the Random House division (Cornerstone) that publishes James, calls the phenomenon &quot;perhaps one of the most extraordinary experiences of my entire publishing career and I feel privileged to be part of it&quot;.</p><p>Time, I think, to stand back and strap Fifty Shades into the remorseless machine of history. It isn't simply that sex sells, and always has. No advanced civilisation has ever lacked erotic art, high and low. More germane to this case is the evidence that erotica may often spearhead change in the technology and distribution of culture. James's novels have shown that an ebook success can cross over into torrential print sales, with neither platform detracting from the other. Publishers might study that interchange between digital and dead-tree markets, once they have stopped flooding the shops and sites with knock-off imitations of James's books. By the way, someone ought to point out that the executives of Britain's leading houses have peddled their innumerable Fifty Shades rip-offs with rather less dignity and transparency than the sort of cheerful teenager who flogs fake Fendi, Gucci and Prada in the night-markets of Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.</p><p>The role of erotic books and images as drivers in the evolution of media goes back at least half a millennium. In the early 16th century, works such as Pietro Aretino's Sonneti Lussiriosi C sexy sonnets partnered by Giulio Romano's illustrations of acrobatic positions C taxed the skills of engravers and printers, and enjoyed underground success through Europe. In the France of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the novel grew in scope and sophistication thanks to libertine tales, with giants such as Laclos and Diderot merely figureheads in an erotic armada. Over the Channel, mass readership of fiction in England boomed in part thanks to stories of vice, not virtue. We remember a few landmarks of lubricity, such as John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill) in 1748, but not the iceberg of torrid print beneath such famous tips. Erotica (however you define it) has whipped print culture from one innovation to another.</p><p>Beyond its blissful union of print and digital appeal, Fifty Shades contributes to this history in one other unignorable dimension. Women have of course authored erotic hits before, but usually in the dark. For decades critics maintained that The Story of O by &quot;Pauline Rage&quot; (ie Anne Desclos) was written by a man; Dr Brooke Magnanti (once known as Belle de Jour) met the same assumption. In the 1980s, Anne Rice wrote some of the most stylish of post-war erotic works, but under the pseudonyms of Anne Rampling and AN Roquelaure. &quot;EL James&quot; may not be the real name of Erika Leonard, but the age of routine subterfuge has passed. Mistresses of sultry prose may now stand proudly before their readers as middle-aged mothers-of-two from Bucks, not shadowy houris clad in Myla with penthouses in Paris. In principle, we should applaud. In practice, I suspect, Eros still loves a little mystery.</p><p>It's not just about the bike. What of the golden shot?</p><p>In 2008, cycling superhero Bradley Wiggins published his autobiography. With another golden haul (not to mention the Tour) another memoir rolls into view. The wheeled wonder has moved to Yellow Jersey Press for Bradley Wiggins: My Time, due on 8 November. Publishers cater amply for cycling fans. Might they do the same with lower-profile Olympians: say Peter Wilson, the shooting champ? The farmer's son was coached by Sheikh Ahmed Al -Makhtoum of Dubai, after all. I can see not just a book but a feelgood movie in that.</p><p>Australia's golden team of thinkers</p><p>Back in 1974, Clive James entitled his first collection of essays The Metropolitan Critic. The title set out James's stall as the public man of letters who speaks boldly to a broad audience reachable through magazines, newspapers or broadcasting, rather than as the academic specialist who aims to impress one tiny tribe. After Gore Vidal's passing, we have just lost another thoroughly metropolitan voice who married depth of learning with passionate accessibility. Robert Hughes was not merely a superb art critic but popular historian, cultural pundit and all-round light-footed heavyweight. Hughes hailed from the same country as not only James but the late Peter Porter C always so urbanely companiable as critic and poet C and indefatigable Germaine Greer. Post-war Australia sent a champion team of public intellectuals overseas. Who is training their successors?</p>?<p>Christina Norton at The Berkeley told Relaxnews on October 14, &quot;the Pret-a-Portea concept [began] five years ago - and [we] are very excited to be celebrating its anniversary.&quot;</p><p>The final ten cakes in the running pay homage to looks and accessories from?Alexander McQueen,?Alice Temperley with Manolo Blahnik,?Anya Hindmarch,?Giambattista Valli,?Christian Louboutin,?Fendi,?Paul Smith,?Jimmy Choo,?Zac Posen, and?Philip Treacy's past ten collections.</p><p>To see the cakes and cast your vote before October 17, go to:?. The winners are announced on October 23 and that will include voters that are shortlisted to win a two-night stay for two at The Berkeley along with a?Prt--Portea tasting.</p><p>If you are going to be in London you can still savor the couture cakes?that are served?daily from 1-5:30 pm in the?Caramel Room. Norton added, &quot;Our next collection will be based on the fashion runways from Spring Summer 2011 catwalk shows and will be out in April 2011.&quot;</p><p>Should you be more interested in eye candy take a peek at this year's candy couture collection from Dylan's Candy Bar (owned by Dylan Lauren, the daughter of renowned American designer Ralph Lauren) in New York City designed by students from Savannah College of Art and Design this September: </p><p>Plus, Salon du Chocolat, the annual traveling event devoted to the art and trade of chocolate,?takes place October 28-November 1 in Paris and continues on to New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow and Madrid throughout 2010-11. At each event the hosting nation will highlight local fashion designers with?a &quot;choctabulous&quot; fashion show. Tickets 9-12.50??</p><p>See highlights from past chocolate runway shows around the world, go to:?</p>?<p>Lips were whitened out at Hussein Chalayan, or rendered entirely nude with matte lipsticks at Jil Sander.</p><p>Pat foundation into a heavy duty lipbalm (Elizabeth Arden's Eight-Hour Cream, 25, available nationwide, will hold it well) for this, or look for a nude shade that is more brown than pink.</p><p>Bleached brows became a statement too, especially at Hakaan. It's a risky business but is striking on those with lighter hair C you can use any type of facial hair bleach, such as Jolen Crme (10, available nationwide).</p><p>Brunettes might want to consider Rooney Mara's invisible brows in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before they take the plunge.</p><p>Skin is understated and conspicuously dull, so choose a foundation with good coverage, such as Nars' Sheer Matte (29, with a primer C Smashbox's Photo Finish is a classic and now comes in a skin-correcting variant that cuts out redness.</p><p>Hide dark circles and rosacea with the newly launched Halo Highlighting Wand, and keep everything in place with Jurlique's rose-scented Finishing Powder.</p><p>Girlish Glamour</p><p>The shows were awash with candy colours and pastels for spring, and the beauty trend takes these shades as its accents. There was mint green eye shadow at Simone Rocha, lilac at Todd Lynn and sky blue at Meadham Kirchhoff.</p><p>Look for raw pigments (such as Mac's ProChromaline range, which can be mixed like paintpots) or a colour-rich eyeshadow that can be swept on for a translucent effect or piled on for high impact. Bobbi Brown's new-season neon shades work well, as do Nars' eyeshadow pencils.</p><p>Keep skin muted and fresh so you don't look like a china doll; blusher in rosy pink feeds into this trend, as do pastel nail varnishes C the waiting list for Chanel's latest shade is long, but you'll get there in the end.</p><p>The most daring way to wear pastels, however, is in your hair: the street craze for dip-dyed ends is still going strong, but the catwalks saw an injection of shades more regularly found in an ice-cream parlour: raspberry ripple at Thakoon, strawberry red at Julien Macdonald and pistachio streaks at Mark Fast.</p><p>Cult salon Bleach has been at the forefront of this look. &quot;Find a colour that's right for you, just how you would choose a shade of lipstick,&quot; says co-founder Alex Brownsell. &quot;Be brave: eventually it will fade, so start bold.&quot;</p><p>Gold</p><p>Something of a micro-trend this: models at the Topshop Unique show, inspired by Cleopatra, were covered in gold leaf. At Fendi, gold leaf came on eyelids, while nails at Alexander McQueen came courtesy of Minx, the heat-reactive foils that are melted on to the nails for a dramatically glamorous, sci-fi look (0113 217 3813).</p><p>Glowing</p><p>For those too healthy to keep their natural dewiness under wraps, the third option this season is to embrace the fresh-faced looks on show at Mulberry and Chlo, where the ruddy cheeks and athletic good looks of a Fifties prom queen clashed with an all-natural feel almost Seventies in its sensibility.</p><p>One ubiquitous product this season are Beauty Balm creams C time-saving all-rounders that moisturise, tone, highlight and illuminate all at once, and can be applied in the morning to last all day. Este Lauder's is one of the best, with an SPF35, and acts like a tinted moisturiser to give a bonne mine to even the most tired complexions.</p><p>Dust Laura Mercier's Brightening Powder on top to prevent shine C &quot;dewy&quot; is not &quot;sweaty&quot;, after all C and finish with clear gloss on the lips. Because the emphasis here is on looking healthy over and above polished, try a lipbalm rather than gloopy cosmetics.</p><p>Finally, tend to your locks C no self-respecting outdoorsy type has anything less than a thick mane, so counteract some of the wintry weakening with Aveda's Damage Repair serum.</p>?<p>Hannah McGibbon, creative head of Chlo, celebrated the launch of the French label's new scent in Paris June 16, with the help of celebrity friends including actresses Julie Depardieu and Ludivine Sagnier, and French Vogue's editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld.</p><p>McGibbon said that the fragrance was inspired by the scent of an old Coty face powder; the beauty giant will distribute the perfume come September. Prices are not yet known.</p><p>Italian luxe brand Fendi has also announced a new scent to be released in the same month: Fan di Fendi is aimed at &quot;free, sensual, joyous, and electrifying&quot; women, and the press text as well as the campaign - depicting models dancing in a nightclub-inspired scenario - suggest that the brand is going for a younger audience with this new scent after its latest launch, Palazzo had to be taken off the market after just 18 months.</p><p>Fan di Fendi will retail from 52.</p><p>Men will also be able to sample new scents come fall: Dolce &amp; Gabbana's The One Gentleman and Bulgari's new man's fragrance are both slated for a September release.</p>?<p>Only in the fashion world, perhaps C but then the label is known for its sex appeal, and designer Donatella Versace will get away with the claim. Exposed shoulder blades were the vogue at several shows at Milan, along with rather more significant themes of bright blocked colour and pattern.</p><p>The Versace collection began with all-white dresses, but as the show was based around &quot;a playful game of proportions and opposites&quot; there were also flashes of red, turquoise, coloured stripes and a bright pattern made up of the Greek key design which forms part of the label's logo.</p><p>The key pattern also informed geometrically arranged inserts of clear and coloured PVC, which appeared on clingy pencil dresses and offered glimpses of flesh. This being Versace, however, many dresses offered more than just glimpses, with decorative back belts known as martingales showing off the shoulders and revealing and framing the back. Floor-length gowns with bodices made of woven fringes which cascaded to the floor are sure to be coming soon to an awards ceremony near you.</p><p>The first show of the day, Moschino featured large, cartoonish spots and stripes throughout in a palette of mainly red, cream, black, white and yellow. Shapes included puffy cotton skirts, ruffled shirts, high-waisted jeans and cropped trousers and boxy Chanel-style jackets. Accessories came in the form of cream cowboy hats and cream scarves with black polka dots. Overall, the collection's spots and voluminous shapes were reminiscent of Lacroix's exuberant spirit and use of volume. Also within the collection there were off-the-shoulder peasant blouses in red and blue prints, which have cropped up in various forms at Fendi, D&amp;G and Alberta Ferretti as well as at Marc Jacobs in New York.</p><p>At Etro, the peasant blouse came with voluminous sleeves with cut-out shoulders, in cream with gold sequins and in the form of printed tunics and smock dresses with one shoulder revealed. One of these was in bright cobalt blue, a key colour of the season. The peasant blouse was memorably designated high fashion by Yves Saint Laurent in the Seventies, and the jewel colours and shapes that have appeared this week, notably at Gucci, also recall his heyday.</p><p>In addition to the peasant blouses, tunics and dresses at Etro, there were other Seventies references at work, reinforcing signs from New York and London that the era is a major influence for next season. A white linen flared trouser suit recalled Bianca Jagger in her Studio 54 days, while mustard silk jumpsuits and halternecks in the paisley silk scarf print for which Etro is famous also evoked the disco decade. In a welcome alternative to the hard benches that the fashion crowd normally sits on, each place had a cushion in one of Etro's patterned silks.</p>?<p>Master of the red carpet Oscar de la Renta showed a very colorful one worn over a white shirt dress, and even paired it with the typical round braid.</p><p>Following this first New York sighting of the hitherto backward-deemed outfit, Karl Lagerfeld not only included the dirndl at Fendi but also sent out loden jackets and felt skirts. Dark green and grey, the colors of German men's traditional outfits, dominated the German-born designer's runway for the Italian label.</p><p>Even London wild child Christopher Kane embroidered flowers onto his little black dresses and went for dirndl-inspired necklines, before Marc Jacobs gave the dirndl one of the highest fashion accolades, integrating the style into his Louis Vuitton collection.</p><p>If the industry's top-selling label thinks this can sell, it will probably sell. And Munich's Oktoberfest will probably be even busier this year.</p>?<p>Venice's resident population has shrunk to a little over 59,000, down from about 175,000 at the end of the Second World War. Residents are finding it ever more difficult to live normal lives as the city's infrastructure and shops increasingly cater mainly to tourists.</p><p>Any attentive visitors who leave the well-worn tourist path and ventures through the meandering alleys to the city's seductive but eerily silent squares will ask themselves: where are all the real Venetians?</p><p>&quot;This is not a normal place any more,&quot; Ms Fersuoch said. &quot;Some people have to take a vaporetto [water bus] if they want to buy fresh vegetables, but they can buy a $2,000 watch or a $400 carnival mask within metres of their home,&quot; she said.</p><p>Venice's majestic palaces and churches are built on low-lying islands, mud piles and stilts, and while plenty of time and money have been spent on plans to protect the Unesco World Heritage Site from water, many residents say the issues that are eroding their way of life have been neglected. One variation of a joke making the rounds among Venetians is about a tourist who asks where she can buy a litre of milk for her child and is told: &quot;Go past the Gucci store, take a right at the Fendi store, go straight over the bridge at the Dolce &amp; Gabbana boutique and I think there is still a grocery store there C if the guy hasn't died.&quot;</p><p>Ms Fersuoch made headlines with an intentional provocation in July when she urged the United Nations to put Venice on its endangered cities list. Mass tourism, environmental neglect and plans for new construction are sounding the death knell for the lagoon city, she said.</p><p>As many as 130,000 tourists descend on Venice on some peak days in summer C more than double the resident population. Calls by groups such as Italia Nostra to limit the number of tourists, for example through reservations for large groups such as those coming off huge cruise ships C what Italians call &quot;intelligent tourism&quot; C have fallen on deaf ears.</p><p>&quot;No one denies that tourism is the engine that drives the Venetian economy and that people in the tourism sector work very hard. But by basing so much on tourism, the city has lost its social fabric,&quot; Ms Fersuoch said.</p><p>Residents' associations have expressed alarm about proposals to build a satellite city on the mainland that would be linked to the historic centre by a sub-lagoon metro system. They say it would disgorge even more tourists.</p><p>Ordinary Venetians have also seen their city become prohibitively expensive, particularly for the elderly. Getting daily foodstuffs to shops in the car-free city is a strategic enterprise involving trans-boarding goods on to progressively smaller boats and eventually on to handcarts to get to those shops that do not have canal frontage. Each layer of transport adds a layer of cost.</p><p>Venice has also moved into a somewhat surreal realm of what could be defined as a sort of &quot;absentee gentrification&quot;, because many of those who have bought property are rarely there. Many residents now leave and rent out their apartments as short lets to tourists at much higher prices than they would get renting long-term to students, workers or families.</p><p>Those who sell often do so to well-heeled outsiders from as far away as the US or Australia seeking the prestige or personal gratification of owning a second home with a view of the Grand Canal, even if they only use it for weeks, or even days, a year.</p><p>&quot;Venice has become a theme park. Sometimes it reminds me of a sad Disneyland,&quot; said the Venetian writer Caterina Falomo, editor of When There Were Venetians, a book of recollections and reflections by Venetians on how daily life in their city has changed over the years.</p><p>&quot;The role of politicians is to protect the city in all its aspects,&quot; she said. &quot;Their first duty is to defend the daily life of residents, not the whims of tourists. The only way to deal with this is to just say 'stop'. The flow of tourism has to be controlled. With every new luxury hotel, every new bed and breakfast or new holiday apartment, a bit of the city dies.&quot;</p><p>And although Venice is synonymous with film because of its annual festival, there are only two cinemas in the city. &quot;A world-famous city with only two cinemas for people who live there is not normal,&quot; Ms Falomo said.</p><p>The Morelli family, which has been running a pharmacy near the Rialto Bridge for 105 years, keeps an electronic &quot;population counter&quot; of residents in its shop window. On a recent September day, the count stood at 59,254. &quot;I would love to see the number go up,&quot; said Andrea Morelli, grandson of the pharmacy's founder. &quot;But I don't see any sign of that happening any time soon.&quot;</p>?<p>Rumours of Simons' departure have been whispered around the industry for almost six months, and the announcement will only serve to increase speculation that the Belgian designer is destined for the top job at French house Christian Dior, a vacancy that has remained conspicuously unfilled since John Galliano's dismissal last March.</p><p>&quot;Jil Sander thanks Raf Simons for his dedicated commitment to the brand and wishes him the very best for the future,&quot; the company said in a statement. &quot;The group will communicate the appointment of a new creative director in the next few days.&quot;</p><p>In a strange twist, Jil Sander herself, the German designer who founded the label in 1968, gave an interview published yesterday in which she told the German magazine Gaia that she would like to return to the brand which bears her name. The Milan-based company has declined to comment on this.</p><p>Sander originally left the label in 2000 after selling a 75 per cent stake to the Prada Group, citing disagreements with CEO Patrizio Bertelli. They negotiated a truce and she returned in 2003, only to leave again the following year for the same reason. After a period of retirement, Sander's name became common currency once more when she signed on to collaborate with Japanese high street chain Uniqlo in 2009.</p><p>Since his appointment to the label in 2005, designer Raf Simons has brought his own version of conceptual femininity to Jil Sander. Originally a brand that thrived during the Nineties vogue for minimal design with its androgynous subversion of the masculine wardrobe, Simons' more delicate version of fashionable purism has widened the label's reach and developed its personality considerably.</p><p>&quot;I was thinking about the heritage of Jil Sander,&quot; he said backstage at last season's acclaimed show, in which he mixed Fifties dirndl skirts and dresses with paisley and Picasso prints, &quot;but I don't want to use her methods anymore. I want it to be sexier, more romantic.&quot; Simons' past three collections have been dubbed his &quot;couture trilogy&quot; by some, as his aesthetic has reached ever more ambitious and exquisite heights. Could they have been preparation for a new beginning elsewhere? The fashion world waits with baited breath.</p><p>Meanwhile, the catwalk schedule continued with MaxMara and Fendi yesterday showing two very different versions of luxury. The former developed several trends to have emerged previously in both New York and London, with military-inspired olive greatcoats made from double cashmere, as well as houndstooth and Prince of Wales check knits embellished with sparkling crystals.</p><p>Karl Lagerfeld's collection for Fendi is sure to divide opinion, with its use of exotic furs and skins. Tufted fox decorated the shoulders of cable- knit sweaters, while goat hair was dyed canary yellow for a shaggy and striking finale. Whatever the ethical dilemmas, there is a demand for such materials in Italy C and, most importantly, the emerging markets C and this is a collection sure to satisfy those tastes.</p><p>Yesterday evening also saw another of Milan's biggest names unveiling their autumn range. &quot;I didn't want to talk about power, but about being important,&quot; said Miuccia Prada after showing her collection of mainly tailored pieces, printed with vintage lozenge and rhomboid prints from the label's own archive. &quot;And about the importance of beauty. It wasn't ideas, just clothes.&quot;</p><p>These came in an idiosyncratic silhouette, with waists cinched at empire-line height by belts with chunky plastic buckles, short trousers layered with mid-length kilt-style skirts and cropped frock coats with tails that were also embellished with plastic tiles, crystals and mirrored beads.</p><p>Initial pieces in plain black wool felt austere, but as the collection moved from darker separates to suiting, a palette of increasingly challenging colour combinations emerged. The graphic prints had a seventies feel - in orange and purple, mustard and brown, even navy and black - and repeating pastille imagery was picked out in 3D with yet more oversized plastic adornments.</p><p>&quot;They were fake prints,&quot; Prada said. &quot;Just plastic not jewels. It was poor embroidery.&quot;</p><p>But it was of the highest quality, of course, from a powerhouse known for her attention to detail.</p><p>Fashion week in Milan continues today with catwalk shows from Versace and Moschino.</p>?<p>Yet when it comes to making big decisions such as paying 4bn for Bulgari or approving new products like &quot;vibrating&quot; mascaras, it's still mainly founder Bernard Arnault and the boys who decide. (The men have been known to test new mascaras.) Of the 18 board members, only two are women C Arnault's daughter, Delphine, and Bernadette Chirac, the wife of France's former president.</p><p>But even Arnault wants more women at the very top: a third non-executive female director will be joining in May and more will follow. He's given Chantal Gaemperle, the head of human resources and synergies for the group, the task of helping push the proportion of female executive committee members to 35 per cent by 2012. Gaemperle, who joined LVMH from Nestle four years ago, admits the group could do better: &quot;We are pleased with the way progress is being made but the most important thing is that we have diagnosed the problem and now have a visible agenda to follow.&quot;</p><p>Part of that agenda is being imposed as LVMH, along with all of France's listed companies or those with more than 500 staff, are now required to follow the country's new quota laws which demand that 40 per cent of non-executive directors be women within six years.</p><p>But, Gaemperle adds: &quot;Quotas for the board positions are only one aspect. More importantly, we need to get more women into the most senior executive positions because then they feed through to board level. We have to look at the facts: around the world, 50 per cent C in some places more C of all graduates are women but they are not represented in those numbers at the top of business. Yet they are as educated as men, but not coming through enough into senior positions. For me, in human resources, this is about talent and it must be a competitive advantage to have as much diversity as possible.&quot;</p><p>Headhunters used by LVMH have been told always to include women on their candidate lists, while women internally are picked out as high-flyers and groomed for the top through its FuturA training programme. Gaemperle doesn't say whether she supports statutory quotas or not but says feelings in France are mixed about the new law, with much of the criticism coming from women who don't like the idea of getting C or being seen to get C jobs other than on merit.</p><p>We met at LVMH's offices in London last week where she was hosting a conference C EllesVMH Women in Leadership C with 40 of the group'stop executives from around the world to celebrate International Women's Day. There were talks from Bridget Farrands, the co-author of Lost in Transition, and London Business School's Rob Goffee on leadership issues plus a chance to network C in work time.</p><p>Impeccably dressed in black from top to toe, the Swiss Gaemperle cuts a striking figure; her English is fluent and for one of the luxury industry's first ladies, she's understated and gentle. But she's refreshingly candid too about what some would say are the most nitty-gritty of issues facing men and women at work. &quot;Sadly, it's still the women who take on most of the home responsibilities so we have to educate people to share more. It's about parenting, sharing childcare between partners, taking barriers away from women who wish to succeed at work. Take networking C most women don't want to sacrifice too much of their time outside of work to socialise and meet people so it's important we offer them the opportunities in business hours.&quot;</p><p>What Gaemperle won't do is stereotype women as better leaders, even though much of the research into gender leadership has shown that having more women on the board improves company performance.</p><p>&quot;I don't think it's a helpful distinction to make because it leads to stereotypes and that can be dangerous; you get women who are just as interested in power for power's sake as you do men. What I do think, however, is that women have different competences and, because of family life and having to juggle so many things, they come to work with a different experience. And it is that diversity which givesus a competitiveadvantage.&quot;</p><p>She's also keen to improve the image of theso-called &quot;soft skills&quot; C communications, marketing, legal and human resources C in which women tend to specialise and which are just as vital to business as &quot;hard skills&quot;. &quot;Yes,&quot; she laughs, &quot;even human resources. I can't think what's soft about looking after and training 83,000 people of 55 different nationalities and abilities around the world.&quot;</p><p>Gaemperle calls the diversity of LVMH's brands and products her &quot;ecosystem&quot;. &quot;We have so many different companies, different experiences that everyone can have a career adventure in LVMH, and I like to work on the 'talent circulation' so people from champagne at Dom Prignon can switch to Kenzo or Fendi. The possibilities are endless.&quot;</p><p>Soon she will have another 4,000 workers in her ecosystem following the takeover of Bulgari; half of them in Europe and the rest spread around the world. The Rome-based jeweller, founded in 1884 by Sotirio Bulgari, draws on hundreds of years of tradition dating back to early Greek silversmiths, and is still run by members of the founding family. Bulgari also has a high proportion of female staff C 64 per cent, and 58 per cent of whom are in managerial positions, and although the chief finance officer, Flavia Spena, is a woman, there are none on the board.</p><p>What's so extraordinary about LVMH's swoop on Bulgari is the faith Arnault is putting in the continued growth of the luxury goods market at a time when so many other industries are struggling. LVMH is still booming C sales last year rose to 20bn and profit soared 73 per cent to 3bn, with strong growth still forecast to come from its 50 brands.</p><p>It's Arnault's first acquisition in 10 years and even analysts like the Bulgari deal despite the hefty 60 per centpremium that he's paying, valuing Bulgari at some 26.4 times earnings. The industry average is eight times earnings. To head off the recession, Bulgari has been introducing new lower-end products, and more at the top too; its Sotirio Bulgari retrograde date automatic watch sells for $18,900.</p><p>Gaemperle is confident that the well-off, and the not so well-off, will keep buying quality products despite these tough times. &quot;People still want to buy quality; shoppers in Japan and China still want authenticity and craftsmanship.&quot; Growth in luxury goods sales shows no sign of slowing, she says. The Far East, the US and developing markets all have lots of potential. Mongolia's Ulan Bator has a Louis Vuitton shop, for example, but not a McDonald's. &quot;We see room for big expansion.&quot;</p><p>What the world really wants to know, though, is what Arnault, who is the world's fourth richest man according to Forbes, will do next. He and his family own 47.6 per cent of LVMH, worth about 25.4bn. He is also sitting on a 20 per cent sake in Herms, acquired in a controversial derivatives raid without the knowledge of the target's founding family. The raid caused a panic at Herms, and legal action is still being threatened.</p><p>Even if Arnault doesn't bid for the rest of Herms, he's making sure a rival will have him to contend with. And then there is Burberry, often touted as a perfect fit with the LVMH stable. Wouldn't that be a brand worth adding? &quot;Ah, Burberry,&quot; smiles Gaemperle. &quot;It's a very good company C run by women, you know.&quot;</p>?<p>How much spare time does he have? Not only is he creative director at both Chanel and Fendi, his K Karl Lagerfeld line C a more accessibly priced selection of shirts and signature high collars C launched earlier this year on Net-a-Porter, and he cut the ribbon on a pop-up store devoted to his image in Selfridges last month.</p><p>Previous shows for his eponymous label have seen models wearing bejewelled motorcycle helmets, complete with interior iPod slots. Clearly, there's no danger of the creative juices running dry.</p><p>When asked backstage at Fendi last week how he managed to keep on top of his workload, Karl Lagerfeld simply said: &quot;I love what I do. That's the best motivation there is.&quot; A lesson to us all, perhaps.</p>?<p>Semana Internacional de la Moda (SIMM)<br>September 1-3<br>Madrid, Spain</p><p>The country's most important fashion week showcases the collections of local as well as international designers. The inclusive event attracts buyers from all over the world looking for everything from vanguard fashion to everyday wear, sportswear, underwear, plus-size and teen fashion.</p><p><br>Istanbul Fashion Week<br>September 7-10<br>Istanbul, Turkey</p><p>One of the youngest fashion weeks of the world, the event has already gained a high-profile following thanks to designers such as Dice Kayek and Hakaan. </p><p><br>Fashion's Night Out<br>September 8<br>International</p><p>The global shopping event, initiated by Vogue magazine, will take place in more than 100 cities around the world, with participating countries including the US, Australia, China, the UK, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. For the first time, online retailers will also stage special shopping events to involve those who aren't close to any of the participating locations.<br></p><p><br>New York Fashion Week<br>September 8-15<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talents, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.<br></p><p><br>Daphne Guinness exhibition<br>September 16 - January 7<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>Filling the void left by the Met's Alexander McQueen exhibit, this new display at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) is dedicated to socialite and supporter of high fashion Daphne Guinness, featuring around 100 garments and accessories from her collection by the likes of Azzedine Ala?a, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Christian Dior, and of course her personal favorite McQueen.<br></p><p><br>London Fashion Week<br>September 16-20<br>London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julien Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their Spring/Summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.<br></p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week<br>September 21-27<br>Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.<br></p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week<br>September 27 - October 5<br>Paris, France</p><p>The season of Spring/Summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.<br></p>?<p>Lakme Fashion Week<br>August 16-21<br>Mumbai, India</p><p>With the help of Mercedes Benz, which also sponsors fashion weeks in New York, Sydney, and Berlin, for example, Lakme fashion week has developed into India's most prestigious fashion event.</p><p><br>Sydney Fashion Festival<br>August 23-27<br>Sydney, Australia</p><p>The Sydney Fashion Festival features ticketed fashion events for the public, showcasing Australia's leading designer brands and retailers as their Spring/Summer collections arrive in stores throughout the city. The main fashion shows are held in the Sydney Town Hall and are accompanied by a satellite schedule of fashion and lifestyle events that span the city. The Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is Australia's most globally-followed fashion event but, like the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Festival is popular with the locals as it is open to the public.<br><br> </p><p><br>Semana Internacional de la Moda (SIMM)<br>September 1-3<br>Madrid, Spain</p><p>The country's most important fashion week showcases the collections of local as well as international designers. The inclusive event attracts buyers from all over the world looking for everything from vanguard fashion to everyday wear, sportswear, underwear, plus-size and teen fashion.</p><p><br>Istanbul Fashion Week<br>September 7-10<br>Istanbul, Turkey</p><p>One of the youngest fashion weeks of the world, the event has already gained a high-profile following thanks to designers such as Dice Kayek or Hakaan. </p><p><br>New York Fashion Week<br>September 8-15<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talents, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.<br></p><p><br>Daphne Guinness exhibition<br>September 16 - January 7<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>Filling the void left by the Met's Alexander McQueen exhibit, this new display at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) is dedicated to socialite and supporter of high fashion Daphne Guinness, featuring around 100 garments and accessories from her collection by the likes of Azzedine Ala?a, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Christian Dior, and of course her personal favorite McQueen.<br></p><p><br>London Fashion Week<br>September 16-20<br>London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julian Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their Spring/Summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.<br></p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week<br>September 21-27<br>Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.<br></p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week<br>September 27 - October 5<br>Paris, France</p><p>The season of Spring/Summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.<br></p>?<p>Rachel Zoe collection launch<br>August 1<br>Online</p><p>Months after releasing the lookbook, the celebrity stylist is making her first collection available internationally on e-tailer For the launch at 12pm EST, there will be behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Zoe's own fashion line as well as a question-and-answer session on the site.<br></p><p><br>Scandinavian fashion weeks<br>August 3-14<br>Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway</p><p>While August is a calm month for fashion in general, the Scandinavian countries are using the gap in between seasons to build an alternative scene that attracts more and more visitors each year and that has local designers return from big international fashion cities to show in their home countries.</p><p>Copenhagen: August 3-7, <br>Stockholm: August 8-14 (Mercedes Benz Fashion Week: August 9-11), <br>Oslo: August 8-14, </p><p><br>Lakme Fashion Week<br>August 16-21<br>Mumbai, India</p><p>With the help of Mercedes Benz, which also sponsors fashion weeks in New York, Sydney, and Berlin, for example, Lakme fashion week has developed into India's most prestigious fashion event.</p><p><br>Sydney Fashion Festival<br>August 23-27<br>Sydney, Australia</p><p>The Sydney Fashion Festival features ticketed fashion events for the public, showcasing Australia's leading designer brands and retailers as their Spring/Summer collections arrive in stores throughout the city. The main fashion shows are held in the Sydney Town Hall and are accompanied by a satellite schedule of fashion and lifestyle events that span the city. The Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is Australia's most globally-followed fashion event but, like the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Festival is popular with the locals as it is open to the public.<br><br> </p><p><br>Semana Internacional de la Moda (SIMM)<br>September 1-3<br>Madrid, Spain</p><p>The country's most important fashion week showcases the collections of local as well as international designers. The inclusive event attracts buyers from all over the world looking for everything from vanguard fashion to everyday wear, sportswear, underwear, plus-size and teen fashion.</p><p><br>Istanbul Fashion Week<br>September 7-10<br>Istanbul, Turkey</p><p>One of the youngest fashion weeks of the world, the event has already gained a high-profile following thanks to designers such as Dice Kayek or Hakaan. </p><p><br>New York Fashion Week<br>September 8-15<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talents, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.<br></p><p><br>London Fashion Week<br>September 16-20<br>London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julian Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their Spring/Summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.<br></p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week<br>September 21-27<br>Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.<br></p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week<br>September 27 - October 5<br>Paris, France</p><p>The season of Spring/Summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.<br></p>?<p>New York Fashion Week<br>Through September 15<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talents, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.<br></p><p><br>Daphne Guinness exhibition<br>September 16 - January 7<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>Filling the void left by the Met's Alexander McQueen exhibit, this new display at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) is dedicated to socialite and supporter of high fashion Daphne Guinness, featuring around 100 garments and accessories from her collection by the likes of Azzedine Ala?a, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Christian Dior, and of course her personal favorite McQueen.<br></p><p><br>London Fashion Week<br>September 16-20<br>London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julien Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their Spring/Summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.<br></p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week<br>September 21-27<br>Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.<br></p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week<br>September 27 - October 5<br>Paris, France</p><p>The season of Spring/Summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.<br></p>?<p>Scandinavian fashion weeks<br>August 8-14<br>Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway</p><p>While August is a calm month for fashion in general, the Scandinavian countries are using the gap in between seasons to build an alternative scene that attracts more and more visitors each year and that has local designers return from big international fashion cities to show in their home countries.<br><br>Stockholm: August 8-14 (Mercedes Benz Fashion Week: August 9-11), <br>Oslo: August 8-14, </p><p><br>Lakme Fashion Week<br>August 16-21<br>Mumbai, India</p><p>With the help of Mercedes Benz, which also sponsors fashion weeks in New York, Sydney, and Berlin, for example, Lakme fashion week has developed into India's most prestigious fashion event.</p><p><br>Sydney Fashion Festival<br>August 23-27<br>Sydney, Australia</p><p>The Sydney Fashion Festival features ticketed fashion events for the public, showcasing Australia's leading designer brands and retailers as their Spring/Summer collections arrive in stores throughout the city. The main fashion shows are held in the Sydney Town Hall and are accompanied by a satellite schedule of fashion and lifestyle events that span the city. The Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is Australia's most globally-followed fashion event but, like the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Festival is popular with the locals as it is open to the public.<br><br> </p><p><br>Semana Internacional de la Moda (SIMM)<br>September 1-3<br>Madrid, Spain</p><p>The country's most important fashion week showcases the collections of local as well as international designers. The inclusive event attracts buyers from all over the world looking for everything from vanguard fashion to everyday wear, sportswear, underwear, plus-size and teen fashion.</p><p><br>Istanbul Fashion Week<br>September 7-10<br>Istanbul, Turkey</p><p>One of the youngest fashion weeks of the world, the event has already gained a high-profile following thanks to designers such as Dice Kayek or Hakaan. </p><p><br>New York Fashion Week<br>September 8-15<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talents, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.<br></p><p><br>London Fashion Week<br>September 16-20<br>London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julian Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their Spring/Summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.<br></p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week<br>September 21-27<br>Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.<br></p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week<br>September 27 - October 5<br>Paris, France</p><p>The season of Spring/Summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.<br></p>?<p>Sydney Fashion Festival<br>August 23-27<br>Sydney, Australia</p><p>The Sydney Fashion Festival features ticketed fashion events for the public, showcasing Australia's leading designer brands and retailers as their Spring/Summer collections arrive in stores throughout the city. The main fashion shows are held in the Sydney Town Hall and are accompanied by a satellite schedule of fashion and lifestyle events that span the city. The Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is Australia's most globally-followed fashion event but, like the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Festival is popular with the locals as it is open to the public.<br><br> </p><p><br>Semana Internacional de la Moda (SIMM)<br>September 1-3<br>Madrid, Spain</p><p>The country's most important fashion week showcases the collections of local as well as international designers. The inclusive event attracts buyers from all over the world looking for everything from vanguard fashion to everyday wear, sportswear, underwear, plus-size and teen fashion.</p><p><br>Istanbul Fashion Week<br>September 7-10<br>Istanbul, Turkey</p><p>One of the youngest fashion weeks of the world, the event has already gained a high-profile following thanks to designers such as Dice Kayek and Hakaan. </p><p><br>Fashion's Night Out<br>September 8<br>International</p><p>The global shopping event, initiated by Vogue magazine, will take place in more than 100 cities around the world, with participating countries including the US, Australia, China, the UK, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. For the first time, online retailers will also stage special shopping events to involve those who aren't close to any of the participating locations.<br></p><p><br>New York Fashion Week<br>September 8-15<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>The biggest American designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, will show alongside fresh talents, including Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang, when the Big Apple kicks off fall's fashion month.<br></p><p><br>Daphne Guinness exhibition<br>September 16 - January 7<br>New York, NY, USA</p><p>Filling the void left by the Met's Alexander McQueen exhibit, this new display at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) is dedicated to socialite and supporter of high fashion Daphne Guinness, featuring around 100 garments and accessories from her collection by the likes of Azzedine Ala?a, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Christian Dior, and of course her personal favorite McQueen.<br></p><p><br>London Fashion Week<br>September 16-20<br>London, UK</p><p>Just one day after the end of the shows in New York, the London Fashion Week begins. House of Holland, Julien Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Acne, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Burberry Prorsum are some of the brands showing their Spring/Summer collections in London, considered the most avant-garde of the four big fashion weeks.<br></p><p><br>Milan Fashion Week<br>September 21-27<br>Milan, Italy</p><p>After London and before Paris, the fashion crowd moves to Milan to look at the women's Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Expect great shows from the likes of Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci and Prada.<br></p><p><br>Paris Fashion Week<br>September 27 - October 5<br>Paris, France</p><p>The season of Spring/Summer ready-to-wear shows ends in Paris with legendary houses like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.<br></p>?(Relaxnews) - <p>No new fashion iPhone apps this week - so have a look at the podcast section on iTunes instead and find great DIY ideas, styling tutorials, and fashion week coverage.</p><p>Threadbanger - D.I.Y Fashion &amp; Style</p><p>Learn how to recycle, restyle and modify your clothes with the tutorials from Threadbanger. There's a new episode every Friday, past podcasts included a Valentine's nightie how-to, tips for making your own braid headbands, and a pattern making tutorial.</p><p>Vogue.TV<br></p><p>The magazine's regular podcast tackles beauty tutorials and fashion trend reports, and brings you sneak peeks behind the scenes of fashion shoots. Its website's popular 60 Seconds to Chic is also part of the offering. For a more designer-focused podcast, try's version, Style Videos.</p><p> Fashion, Gear, and Style for Men</p><p>This app for all stylish gentlemen provides you with a flow of shopping and styling tips as well as runway coverage and celebrity portraits. And yes, there are also beauty tutorials.</p><p>Tip: Whether you're a fan of high or fast fashion - a big number of brands, from Chanel to H&amp;M, have their own podcasts on iTunes.</p><p>Previously released fashion iPhone apps</p><p>Shop View - London</p><p>Oxford Street in the heart of London is Europe's busiest shopping mile, and finding your way around all the stores and special offers might seem daunting to many. Enter Shop View: the $1.99 app gives you a 3D tour of the local shops plus links to their websites and Twitter feeds of special sales.</p><p>What's Your Fashion Style</p><p>For $0.99, this new application lets fashion fans take a quiz based on their average outfit choices in order to determine their personal style.</p><p>FashionFLW</p><p>Fashion Followed sends you collages of new fashion items for daily outfit inspiration.</p><p>GQ</p><p>Just in time for men's fashion season, GQ magazine has something for the gents: with an app especially launched for its February issue, you'll get this month's feature on the most stylish men on the planet as well as a Victoria's Secret fashion shoot, a suit special, a guide how to survive Valentine's Day and much more for the price of $2.99.</p><p>Stitches Lite</p><p>For all DIY fashion fans out there: get new patterns and instructions for crocheting for free with this new app.</p><p>Love It or Lose It</p><p>Can't decide what to wear? Love It or Lose it ($1.99) lets you send up to three pictures of an outfit - from the store, your room, or wherever you are - to your friends or the app's online community, giving you instant feedback on how you look.</p><p>Trendstop TrendTracker</p><p>This new app not only selects the season's trends for you but also gives you fashion events and venues around the globe.</p><p>The Fashion Handbook</p><p>Designed with the serious fashion fan in mind, the Fashion Handbook gives you explanations of key terms as well as fashion's role in the context of art, architecture, and entertainment. It explores the 'fast fashion' phenomenon, addresses do's and don'ts, and selects the rights styles for each body type. The serious approach, however, has a serious price too, compared to other apps: the guide sells for $9.99.</p><p>Inditex - Zara</p><p>Before the Spanish chain's online store goes live, Zara has released an iPhone app that is designed to facilitate your shopping through collection lookbooks, detailed pictures of the clothes and immediate access to its stock. Plus: the app alerts you of new arrivals.</p><p>Target</p><p>The US retailer's application is even more extensive than Zara's, featuring a store finder telling you exactly what is currently in stock at your nearest store, special offers, and even a gift finder as part of its offering. In addition, the app lets you comment and review items for other shoppers' reference.</p><p>myFendi</p><p>The ultimate application for the Fendi fan lets you classify your favorite looks by the label and locate the closest store. As a special gimmick, this app also mixes and matches Fendi items with the clothes in your wardrobe.</p><p>Teen Vogue Haute Spot</p><p>Joining the ever-growing number of fashion publications launching their own iPhone shopping apps, Teen Vogue now lets readers browse its closet, combine their favorite items, share the looks with an online community and buy the clothes directly over the phone. The app will be free through the end of January.</p><p>Chicfeed</p><p>This app works like a Dstill (see below) for street style, bringing you updates from the most popular blogs, including the Sartorialist, Face Hunter, and Altamira.</p><p>Social Mall</p><p>Social Mall gives you the best local malls and corresponding special offers. Not sure if you should buy an item? Share it with your friends via the app and get their instant feedback. A movie or dinner after shopping? Send out a group invite to other iPhone users. US customers only.</p><p>Next</p><p>The British fashion label has launched its application that not only lets users shop online and browse the stock of hundreds of stores worldwide but also gives you styling ideas and the season's key trends for inspiration.</p><p>Tattoo Patterns</p><p>Spray- and paint-on tattoos were all over the runways last fashion week from Rodarte in New York to Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris, and now this app, priced at?$1.99, gives you almost 130 different patterns, no matter if you want the real deal or not.</p>?<p>MaxMara designer Laura Lusuardi's drew on the classic British country look for her show, reinterpreting kilts and urbanising Irish knitwear with long-haired alpaca and camel tartan bustiers and skirts.</p><p>The collection was aimed at &quot;the active, younger and more animated woman,&quot; Lusuardi said backstage: &quot;She is always elegant though, and ageless in her way.&quot;</p><p>But while she described the collection's tones - light greys, browns, Sixties' yellows, antique silvers and golds - as &quot;colours of the city,&quot; Lusuardi's models had an almost wild, earthy vibe about them.</p><p>Figure-hugging knitted jumper-dresses were topped with oversized fur neckwarmers, and leather skirts were paired with fur bodices or a long, dark brown, oversized coat that masked the face, enveloping its wearer up to the eyes.</p><p>In Fendi's show, Karl Lagerfield and Silvia Venturini Fendi dazzled with a collection inspired by the &quot;perverse&quot; woman, with models wearing high-heeled brogues and swinging mustard, blue and red boxed bags, their hair in chignons.</p><p>&quot;She's a composed woman with moments of madness and frivolity. A woman who dares,&quot; Fendi told AFP backstage before the show.</p><p>High necklines with sober skirts to the knee were broken up by dashes of pink, orange, green and azure, in block colours or glimpsed through pleats, for &quot;a woman who has an idea of colour that's all her own.&quot;</p><p>The designers added a &quot;faux-savage&quot; tinge to the collection with asymmetrical jackets in netting and shetland, and cloaks and luxurious stoles in collages of sable, fox, chinchilla and mink.</p><p>In an attempt to &quot;move away from the concept of the 'it' bag,&quot; Fendi and Lagerfield presented a wider collection for the autumn-winter show, featuring highly structured bags in leather, or in varnished blues and oranges.</p><p>Wide coats in dark blues and greys tailored in at the thigh were set off by coloured tights and brogues feminised with a lace-like design etched by laser.</p><p>The star detail was a clutch decorated with semi-precious stones, one of Fendi's favourites. &quot;It's a jewel, almost too pretty to wear,&quot; she sighed.</p><p>Ditching the daring woman for the urban ballerina, the D&amp;G show was an explosion of fluorescent oranges, pinks and greens with models sporting cotton and silk T-shirts over tutu-style brightly-coloured feather skirts.</p><p>Huge multi-coloured letters featured on most of the outfits, from silk and chiffron one-pieces to woollen tube dresses worn with masculine, oversized jackets and high-heeled trainers.</p><p>At Prada, the last main show of the day, guests perched on polystyrene cubes alongside a brilliant white runway spanning two floors, in theme with Miuccia Prada's crew of futuristic airwomen and sea-creature creations.</p><p>Pillar-box red, black and cream coats with large silver buttons were topped off with black, silver or turquoise flying helmet-style caps in fur, velvet and snakeskin.</p><p>Dresses were medium-long, hemmed just above the knee, with wide and soft checkered patterns on the front in dark green, black, white and burgundy, with a block of strong contrasting colour on the reverse.</p><p>A couple of silk, long-sleeved robes suggestive of pyjamas in pale blue and pink heralded in a collection of wide-lapelled dresses in delicate oranges and yellows, adorned with large, shimmering scales that rustled down the catwalk.</p>?<p>The designer told AFP he was inspired by the American painter Edward Hopper, with a pallette also favouring yellow and grey.</p><p>&quot;Yellow, grey and strange blues, not at all navy,&quot; he said.</p><p>On other catwalks, D&amp;G, the second line of maestros Dolce and Gabbana, inhabited the colour-free zone that prevailed on Thursday.</p><p>Shaggy boots from toe to knee, in black, grey or white, were the common denominator, underpinning wispy dresses, cheeky knit short shorts or woolly shifts, many sparkling with strass.</p><p>Blugirl's Anna Molinari meanwhile teased the viewer with illusory knits.</p><p>Fluffy white jackets that looked like fur from afar turned out to be sculpted knits created with elaborate loops.</p><p>Molinari's faux furry theme melted into the evening with grey or dusty pink cardigans over shimmering silver or black shifts.</p><p>Frankie Morello answered Blugirl's understated fun with an edgy collection suggesting neo-punk: all black, save a few red soles flashing from the bottoms of vertiginous platforms.</p><p>A live heavy metal girl band drove home the sassy message contained in cuffed jean short shorts over sparkling leggings, or a strass-studded black jacket.</p><p>Pointy padded shoulders added to the gothic effect.</p><p>&quot;It is darkness, night and mystery,&quot; the designer says. &quot;It is certainly always the opposite of pure white.&quot;</p><p>The top designers are squeezing their shows into four days this time after it emerged that Anna Wintour, editor of the American Vogue magazine, would be cutting short her stay.</p><p>Wintour, the inspiration for the book and subsequent film starring Meryl Streep, &quot;The Devil Wears Prada,&quot; is regarded by many as the most influential person in the industry.</p><p>The highlight of Friday's shows will be Gianfranco Ferre, Versace and Jil Sander.</p><p>Bottega Veneta, Max Mara, Armani and Gucci will follow Saturday, with Marni, Roberto Cavalli and Missoni giving their shows on Sunday.</p><p>While there will be other shows on Monday, none of the big names will take part.</p><p>Several thousand buyers from around 40 countries are expected overall, as well as 2,000 journalists.</p>?<p>Best women's fragrance</p><p>Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani<br>Chance Eau Tendre by Chanel<br>[Untitled] by Maison Martin Margiela<br>Womanity by Thierry Mugler<br>Belle d'Opium by Yves Saint Laurent<br>Voyage d'Herms by Herms<br>Balenciaga Paris by Balenciaga<br>Lady Million by Paco Rabanne<br>Love, Chlo by Chlo<br>Fan di Fendi by Fendi</p><p>Best men's fragrance</p><p>Bleu de Chanel<br>Gucci by Gucci Sport<br>Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef and Arpels<br>Boss Bottled Night by Hugo Boss<br>Voyage d'Herms by Herms<br>Bulgari Man by Bulgari<br>Force by Biotherm Homme<br>Le Male Terrible by Jean-Paul Gaultier<br>Chrome Sport by Azzaro</p><p>Best packaging (women's)</p><p>Flora Nymphea by Guerlain<br>Oriens by Van Cleef and Arpels<br>[Untitled] by Maison Martin Margiela<br>Womanity by Thierry Mugler<br>Belle d'Opium by Yves Saint Laurent<br>Voyage d'Herms by Herms<br>Balenciaga Paris by Balenciaga<br>Lady Million by Paco Rabanne<br>Love, Chlo by Chlo<br>Fan di Fendi by Fendi</p><p>Best packaging (men's)</p><p>Bleu de Chanel<br>Gucci by Gucci Sport<br>The One Gentleman by Dolce &amp; Gabbana<br>Carbone by Balmain<br>Voyage d'Herms by Herms<br>Bulgari Man by Bulgari<br>Force by Biotherm Homme<br>Le Male Terrible by Jean-Paul Gaultier<br>Burberry Sport for Men</p><p>Best ad campaign (women's)</p><p>Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani<br>Classique X by Jean-Paul Gaultier<br>Trsor in Love by Lanc?me<br>Womanity by Thierry Mugler<br>Belle d'Opium by Yves Saint Laurent<br>Voyage d'Herms by Herms<br>Balenciaga Paris by Balenciaga<br>Lady Million by Paco Rabanne<br>Love, Chlo by Chlo<br>Fan di Fendi by Fendi</p><p>Best ad campaign (men's)</p><p>Bleu de Chanel<br>Burberry Sport for Men<br>The One Gentleman by Dolce &amp; Gabbana<br>Boss Bottled Night by Hugo Boss<br>Chrome Sport by Azzaro<br>Bulgari Man by Bulgari<br>Force by Biotherm Homme<br>Le Male Terrible by Jean-Paul Gaultier</p><p>You can vote for your favorite perfume at .</p>?<p>Beauty</p><p>Pure colour nail lacquer: 14, Este Lauder, </p><br><br><p>Skinleya, anti-ageing lift foundation: 110, Sisley, , 020 7591 6380</p><br><br><p>Rouge pure shine lipstick in 30 shimmering pink: 22.50, Yves Saint Laurent, available nationwide</p><br><br><p>Fan di Fendi: 39.95 for 30ml, Fendi, Boots nationwide</p><br><br><p>Passion face palette: 35, Clarins, 0800 036 3558</p><br><br><p>Candy Eau de Parfum: 40 for 50ml, Prada, 020 7494 6220</p><br><br><p>Precision ink: 17, Illamasqua, </p><br><br><p>Aromatics elixir solid perfume necklace: 50, Clinique, , 0870 034 2566, available from 7 October, or now exclusively at Harrods</p><br><br><p>Le Prisme Blush Glow in Lune Rose no 41: 29.50, Givenchy, 01932 233 824</p><p>Grooming</p><p>Colonia, designer edition: 104, Acqua di Parma, </p><br><br><p>Suprme Night Secret, night cream: 195, Dr Sebagh, </p><br><br><p>Eau Sauvage eau de toilette: 44 for 50ml, 020 7216 0216 or </p><br><br><p>Pour un Homme de Caron: 48 for 75ml, Fortnum &amp; Mason, 020 7734 8040</p><br><br><p>Le Soin Noir Serum: 245.50, Givenchy, </p><br><br><p>La Fume eau de parfum: 60 for 50ml, Miller Harris, </p><br><br><p>Pardon perfume: 108, Nasomatto, </p><br><br><p>BDY-WS FIRE body wash: 17, Kyoku, </p>?<p>Chief executive of PPR, Guccis parent company, Francois Henri Pinault posed for photographs with Chinese starlet Gao Yuanyuan before the show, a week after his companys announcement that Guccis sales in Asia had propped up the luxury goods conglomerates figures this year.</p><p>According to AFP, Chinese imports of Italian textiles went up 27 per cent in 2011 C not a figure to be disregarded while the country is mired in austerity measures and its fashion industry is predicting a five per cent drop in revenues for 2012. Such is the demand from this market, not to mention the economic necessity of addressing its consumers, that Milan Fashion Weeks governing body, the Camera Moda, has this season launched a Chinese language version of its website.</p><p>And it was clear from the clothes that this had been taken into account, with Guccis creative director Frida Giannini incorporating some of the houses most successful signatures into her baroque-tinged, Chinoiserie-inspired vision for the coming season.</p><p>The labels trademark leather riding boots and tasselled cord belts were teamed with silk and velvet brocade dresses and chiffon blouses with billowing bell sleeves and upright ruffled collars that recalled Edwardian Orientalism in their side-fastening cheongsam necklines. Characteristic gold hardware came on military-derived cropped and voluminous jackets, and prim blouses were updated with pleated tie necks. Forest green, burgundy and aubergine hues added to a feel of unadulterated luxury that began in sumptuous textures such as shearling and mink inlaid on chiffon to make full, silken coats and ended in a dress, skirt and jacket all made from a pav of shimmering midnight green feathers.</p><p>This is modern-day romanticisim, Giannini explained, citing the pre-Raphaelites as inspiration. Dramatic sensuality, and dark glamour.</p><p>For the finale, chunky crystals and sequins were embroidered onto full-length goddess gowns made from double layers of wrinkled tulle that undulated with the body so as to shift from opaque to sheer with each step.</p><p>More than 72 fashion houses will show their collections in venues across the city over the next six days, with Prada and Fendi scheduled for tomorrow and Versace and Giorgio Armani over the weekend.</p>?<p>Gucci, owned by French luxury conglomerate Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, will present its Gucci Kids line at its historical Firenze boutique as the Pitti Bimbo international childrenswear fair, running from June 24 to 26, kicked off on Thursday in the Tuscan city.</p><p>The line, aimed at children from newborn to age eight includes shoes, dresses, accessories and sunglasses created by Gucci star designer Frida Giannini.</p><p>Historical family fashion house Fendi, owned by French luxury group LVMH, had already presented an incomplete line for babies and is now fielding a collection designed by Fendi heiress Silvia Venturina Fendi at Pitti.</p><p>The collection is a partnership with Italian company Simonetta, which has already worked in the past with designer Roberto Cavalli on children lines.</p><p>As the economic downturn bit hard into luxury apparel and fashion spending throughout 2009, childrenswear was not spared, but it weathered the crisis better than others and perspectives for growth seem to be pointing up.</p><p>In a downturn, &quot;adults are likely to give up spending on clothes for themselves before they give up buying for children,&quot; Michelle Strutton, a senior analyst at research firm Mintel told AFP.</p><p>&quot;The market in general has been focused on price, and the designer element is very niche but I would expect growth to be better in this sector than in the overall market,&quot; Strutton said.</p><p>Turnover for Italian companies in the sector remained stable in 2008, but dropped by 5.5 percent in 2009, according to Sistema Moda Italia, the federation of Italian fashion and apparel companies.</p><p>But Pitti Immagine, the organiser of the shows, said it was expecting 10,000 buyers from Italy, US, Brazil, Ukraine and Turkey and Hong Kong to come see the collections at the fair, compared to less than 7,000 last year.</p><p>Kidswear markets abroad are also looking up, forecasts say.</p><p>Mintel expects the 44-billion dollar (35-billion euro) US childrenswear market to grow about eight percent and the UK market by three percent at current prices by 2014.</p><p>Sales in the UK for ages zero to two &quot;has largely prospered, assisted by growing infant numbers, greater affluence and the purchase of many items as gifts,&quot; Mintel said in a report.</p><p>As shows began on Thursday, several traditional childrenswear houses like Italy's Sarabanda or Miss Grant proposed apparel in certified biological cotton, while others opted for wooden buttons and linings and country themes.</p><p>Just like top designers embraced eco-chic at the men's shows in Milan this week, laying grass on walkways and wrapping models in eco-friendly fabrics and plant and animal motifs, the children's collections seem oriented towards green themes.</p><p>Other children collections to be presented at Pitti Bimbo inclued Calvin Klein, Elsy and Patrizia Pepe.</p>?<p>Arnault already controls Fendi, Pucci and Louis Vuitton. Most famously, in the latter part of the 1990s, he was involved in a bitter struggle with arch-rival Francois Pinault, CEO of PPR (Pinault Printemps La Redoute) over control of the Gucci Group. In that case, Arnault was unsuccessful. But never one to let spirits be dampened, he today has his eye on Herms, perhaps the grandest French status label of them all.</p><p>It all started with an announcement, three months ago now, stating that LVMH had amassed a 17.1 per cent stake in Herms, taking family descendants entirely by surprise. Two months later, that rose to 20.2 per cent. &quot;LVMH built the stake through cash-settled equity swaps with three banks that dated back to 2008 when the luxury industry was in deep crisis,&quot; reads the US edition of this month's Economist magazine. &quot;The use of these derivative contracts allowed LVMH to skirt disclosure requirements and produced a nice profit for Mr Arnault, who had bet on Herms' stellar rebound.&quot;</p><p>In fact, Arnault is currently facing an enquiry by French regulators over concerns that he may indeed have violated disclosure laws. In the meantime, it is perhaps only to be expected that the extended Herms family C today comprising the Puechs, Guerrands and Dumas, all related by marriage C which owns more than 70 per cent of the business, is none too happy with what it clearly sees as an unwelcome attack, not only on its future, but also on a time-honoured heritage.</p><p>Although the powers that be at LVMH claim they have no intention of attempting to acquire a controlling stake in the company, speculation is rife that, if the current generation of family members might be reluctant to sell their shares, their heirs may be more amenable. It's not without reason that Arnault, the man at the head of it all, is dubbed &quot;the wolf in the cashmere coat&quot; and his far-from-demure entrepreneurial style is well-known, not to mention entirely at odds with the more discreet and traditional values this proudly independent name represents.</p><p>And so Herms fought back. In December, a holding company was created, grouping more than 50 per cent of Herms' capital, thereby granting family members first rights to buy shares from each other should any decide to sell. This, too, is currently being looked at by French authorities at the behest of minority shareholders but, said Bernard Puech, chairman of mile Herms, the family management company, in an interview for Le Monde recently, the move is &quot;further proof to all those people who do not believe us. We are a united family, animated by one spirit C to transmit to our descendants the unique jewel received from our parents.&quot;</p><p>The unique jewel in question was founded as a harness and saddle workshop in Paris in 1837 by one Thierry Herms. In 1880, his son, Charles-mile, took over, moving the business to 24 Rue Faubourg Saint-Honor where it remains, albeit vastly expanded, to this day. Assisted by his sons, Adolphe and mile-Maurice, Charles-mile built up a discerning and cosmopolitan clientele across the globe. With the dawn of the 20th century, Herms, then managed by the third generation and known as Herms Frres, cemented its reputation as purveyor of leather goods to horsemen and women of style. mile-Maurice furnished Tsar Nicholas II with saddles and the company introduced its first bag C the haut courroies C designed to allow the world's most well-heeled equestrians to carry their Herms saddle with them wherever they went.</p><p>As enamoured with craftsmanship as he was innovation, mile-Maurice, on a trip to America during the First World War, experienced the impact of the car and mass production on a brave new world and with it the potential of the luggage industry to flourish. He returned with, among other things, exclusive rights to introduce the zip, or &quot;American fastener&quot;, to his home country. Soon known about town as fermeture Herms, it was quickly adapted to the purposes of fine leatherwork. At the same time, Herms' production of fashionable items increased to include travel, sport and driving accessories, clothing, belts, gloves, jewellery and wristwatches. During the 1930s, and drawing on a by-that-time extensive personal collection of paintings, books, objets d'art and curiosities related to equine pursuits and travel, Herms classics including a petit sac courroie pour dame, later known as the &quot;Kelly&quot;, leather diaries and printed silk scarves, also went into production.</p><p>In 1945, following Paris's liberation from German occupation, Marlene Dietrich, in full GI uniform, marched with General Patton's army, stopping off at Herms to sign autographs on her way. Herms orange, initially used more extensively than it might have been during the war because of dye shortages, was officially adopted for packaging post-war, all stamped with Le Duc Attel, a drawing by Alfred de Dreux depicting a Parisian two-horse equipage and registered as the Herms trademark not long after. The official naming of the aforementioned Kelly bag, meanwhile, came in 1956, after a photograph of the young Princess Grace of Monaco clutching hers to her belly to hide the early stages of pregnancy appeared on the cover of Life magazine.</p><p>By that point, and with mile-Maurice's son-in-law, Robert Dumas, at the helm, anyone who was anyone shopped at Herms: Christian Brard, Jean Cocteau and Colette, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Bergman, Bogart, Bacall, Bardot and more. The spectacular success of the Kelly was followed, some 30 years later, by that of the Birkin, sketched, fashion folklore decrees, by Jean-Louis Dumas, a fifth-generation family member who took up the company reins in 1978, as he chatted to the actress on a flight between Paris and London. At a recent sale of vintage Herms bags at Christies, nine of these dating from the 1980s sold for more than 30,000 apiece, four fetched just under 40,000. A 1998 Rouge Moyen alligator Birkin went under the hammer for 49,250. Birkin sold her own black calfskin bag to benefit the International Federation of Human Rights for a record 74,352 in 2009.</p><p>Given a culture that thrives on conspicuous consumption and a fashion industry that still, for the most part, decrees that what is in one season will be out the next, Herms stands alone as a creator of entirely timeless luxury goods that are as understated as they are beautiful. Designers as diverse as the elusive, Belgian-born Martin Margiela and the extremely famous Jean-Paul Gaultier have worked their magic designing womenswear for the house, always ensuring that its history and unparalleled respect for fine workmanship is upheld.</p><p>Next month in Paris, a new name, Christophe Lemaire, will debut in this capacity. Since the late 1990s, Veronique Nichanian has been responsible for equally elegant menswear. Unlike the majority of fashion's big names, Herms has never licensed any of its by-now formidable output, preferring instead to control its production first-hand in workshops on the outskirts of Paris.</p><p>Neither has the company ever paid celebrities to endorse its designs. And yet, everyone from Martha Stewart to Kate Moss and from Elle Macpherson to Victoria Beckham are all too happy to parade their allegiance to the Birkin in particular. The latter is said to own more than 100 Birkin bags. More extraordinary still: no amount of over-exposure appears to dent its allure.</p><p>If Herms has always had an eye on experimentation and modernity, the manner in which everything from the most modest of wallets to a crocodile handbag studded with diamonds is made, is exclusive to the point of anachronistic. Even the tools involved in the creation of merchandise are handmade. Those who staff the Herms ateliers are trained for between two and three years, then join the company as apprentices before being allowed to work unsupervised.</p><p>As for the legendary waiting lists C which mean that even those prepared to pay upwards of 4,400 (the starting price for a Kelly bag) and 5,700 (for a Birkin) might not actually get hold of either for months and even years C they are in place not as part of any canny marketing strategy, but because Herms turns down more skins than it accepts, such is the rigour of its quality control.</p><p>Herms scarves, equally, of which two collections are released each year, are sewn and printed entirely by hand, each one woven from thread produced by no less than 250 mulberry moth cocoons. The more classic, and still predominantly horsey, designs are favoured by Queen Elizabeth II and Hillary Clinton, but that's never stopped the more obviously fashionable likes of Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker sporting them.</p><p>And therein, perhaps, lies the ultimate secret of Herms' success. While the vast majority of luxury brands have an image that appeals to a distinct customer base, the only link between one Herms customer and another is that they are in possession of perfectly good taste and, of course, a disposable income to match. Herms may be worn by the lady of the manor just as it might a young fashion designer, dressed always in battered jeans but in possession of an Herms belt, say. While other designer bags and accessories come and go, anything designed by Herms really is for life, destined to be handed down from generation to generation, just as the business has been for more almost 200 years.</p><p>Throughout the Seventies and Eighties, Jean-Louis Dumas radically extended and reinforced the presence of the Herms Group across the globe until, by 1990, annual sales were reported at $460m. Dumas died last year, although he had passed the Herms baton to Patrick Thomas, the first-ever outsider, four years before that. While the family claims it is united, just as the descendants of the Louis Vuitton family did before it, there are many more members than there used to be, and there's no guarantee that the next generation will feel as bullish.</p><p>According to the Financial Times, as of October 2010, a mere 0.1 per cent stake in Herms was worth in the region of 18m. The company posted 289m in net income in 2009. It's small wonder, then, that Arnault is keen to remain in the frame. Should the family eventually loosen its hold, it would be nothing short of humiliating for Arnault were it to fall into the hands of any competitor.</p><p>&quot;LVMH knows that it cannot do much without the approval of members of the fifth generation of about 15 people aged roughly between 65 and 75,&quot; HSBC analysts confirmed last month. &quot;But LVMH is positioning itself for the sixth generation. While the fifth generation always said it wanted Herms to remain independent, the sixth generation may think differently.&quot;</p><p>For his part, M Puech is unconvinced. &quot;The sixth generation is extraordinarily committed and wants the maison to remain an independent, family-controlled firm.&quot; With aristocratic nostrils suitably flared, he said: &quot;We are inheritors of values more than of money&quot;.</p><p>'La Maison', the photographer Koto Bolofo's pictorial account of the Herms empire, is published by Steidl, priced 103;</p>?<p>Guadagnino's rapt, almost fetishistic attention to surface luxury at first feels slightly odd, as if he's composing an ad for some high-end gourmet magazine. Yes, we get the picture, thanks C we're just the people pressing our noses against the window. Only as the story unfolds does its overture of formal perfection make a point: there's only so much even this money-honeyed lot can shape to their will. The first sign of the glaze beginning to crack comes when Emma's artist daughter, Elisabetta, presents her grandfather with what he assumes to be one of her paintings. He unwraps it to find, lo! an arty photograph instead C and looks distinctly underwhelmed by it, too. This little wrinkle of awkwardness foreshadows a large one: when the old man makes his announcement as to who will inherit the family textile business, he somewhat Learishly nominates his son Tancredi, as expected, and his grandson, Edo (Flavio Parenti), as joint owners.</p><p>By the end of the evening another time-bomb has been set. Edo has been beaten in a race earlier in the day, and the victor, a handsome young chef named Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), has modestly called at the house to deliver a cake he has made as a consolation present. Emma, on her way to bed, is introduced to the stranger, an encounter that looks innocent enough until she collides with him again some months later, by which time Edo and Antonio are preparing to set up a restaurant together. The film, elliptical in its movement, indicates what lies ahead by shadowing Emma's story with that of Elisabetta's, who has recently come out as a lesbian and dumped her boyfriend. As if taking permission from her daughter's boldness (and copying her new cropped haircut to boot) Emma finds herself chafing at the constrained life she has made for herself. It is only halfway through the film, for instance, that we learn Emma is actually Russian by birth, and changed her name when she married Tancredi: &quot;When I moved to Milan, I stopped being Russian,&quot; she says. This revelation spills out in the aftermath of a passionate rendez-vous with the chef at his rural hideout in Sanremo.</p><p>The director Guadagnino pieces this together in a dreamy, impressionistic way reminiscent of Visconti, particularly in his mixing of long shots and extreme close-ups. Yorick Le Saux's prowling camerawork in the scenes where Emma spies on Antonio evokes the half-sickened, half-yearning mood of Dirk Bogarde's Von Aschenbach stalking Tadzio through the streets in Death in Venice. The difference is that Von Aschenbach is already dying; for Emma, surprised by passion, a new lease of life is being offered. The affair unfortunately elicits a soft-headed, overheated extravagance from Guadagnino, evidenced in his close-ups of the couple's bodies entwined with flowers. It's like an idiot adman's vision of D H Lawrence, and a misjudgement on the director's part.</p><p>Yet there are compelling reasons to keep faith with the film, not the least of them Tilda Swinton's performance. She does banked-down hysteria better than almost anyone, whether as the blackmailed mother of The Deep End (2001), the hopeless kidnapper of Julia (2007), or the murderous schemer of Michael Clayton (2007), for which she won a deserved Oscar. She is not an immediately sympathetic character here, partly because we cannot see what could be wrong with her gilded life, apart from a stiff-necked patrician husband whom we barely get to know. But Swinton understands about making a person live and breathe on screen, rather in the way Pauline Kael once described Jack Nicholson: where other actors convey thought or emotion with a gesture, &quot;Nicholson does it with his whole body, as if he were electrically prodded.&quot; That is Swinton's gift, too, and it is shrewd casting that makes her a convincing mother both to the fair-haired Elisabetta and the dark, rangy Edo. Swinton's is one of four memorable female faces here: Alba Rohrwacher as Elisabetta and Diane Fleri as Eva, Edo's fiancee, were familiar from Daniele Lucchetti's 2006 My Brother is an Only Child, while the tiger-eyed Marisa Berenson (another echo of Death in Venice) is superb as the faintly terrifying Recchi matriarch. I loved the way she just plucks an exquisite small painting (Morandi?) off her wall to give as a wedding present to her grandson.</p><p>Seen in the wrong mood, I Am Love may appear nothing more than a trivial and melodramatic squib about rich urbanites messing up. But the rich have their private agonies, just like the rest of us, and it's sometimes more relaxing to watch people combust in lovely surroundings, dressed in Jil Sander and Fendi. It might make you want to go to Milan, even if you can't run to a secluded baronial mansion with hushed lighting, immaculate furniture and museum-standard artworks. Think of it as the cinematic equivalent of window-shopping.</p>?(AFP) - <p>Italian fashion house Elena Miro's models - voluptuous, sensual, but most of all &quot;real&quot; - slinked down the catwalk Wednesday to kick off Milan Fashion Week.</p><p>Basic black dresses and other dark solids flattered the fuller figures sporting Elena Miro's fall/winter 2010-11 collection.</p><p>Or how about stretch trousers in shimmering beige hugging a shapely derriere, or a cream-coloured decollete wool suit jacket revealing an ample bosom?</p><p>The brand's goal is to &quot;help real women to feel confident and at peace with themselves,&quot; said owner and chief strategist Elena Miroglio.</p><p>The collection headlined the show for the fourth year running, since an uproar over &quot;heroin chic&quot; in the fashion world followed the death of a top Brazilian model from anorexia in late 2006.</p><p>Under the new rules, girls under 16 cannot take to the catwalk, and models must produce a certificate proving that they have no eating disorders.</p><p>&quot;The reasons for anorexia go much deeper,&quot; Miroglio told AFP. &quot;The important thing for the designer is to be able to present a different kind of beauty, both in marketing and in the media.&quot;</p><p>The diminutive Miroglio, 39, said the average size of Elena Miro models was 46 (British 16, American 12), and the lines all start at size 42.</p><p>The Italian government and two top fashion associations signed a code of ethics in 2006 after Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died of heart failure weighing only 40 kilos (88 pounds).</p><p>The following year, President Giorgio Napolitano made Miroglio a Knight of the Italian Republic, praising the Elena Miro brand for &quot;emancipating women from a restrictive concept of beauty.&quot;</p><p>Elena Miro is now in the 25th year of &quot;the soft revolution,&quot; the company said in a statement.</p><p>The brand &quot;has contributed to and enriched people's perception of what is chic and sexy and has placed personality at centre stage,&quot; it said.</p><p>Recalling a 1997 ad campaign with the slogan &quot;Goodbye Skinny Girls,&quot; it said the drive was &quot;a riposte to the fashion world's neglect of the 'Mediterranean-shaped' woman.&quot;</p><p>Milan Fashion Week, which runs through Monday, will feature Fendi, Prada, and Dolce &amp; Gabbana on Thursday.</p><p>The top designers are squeezing their shows into four days this time after it emerged that fashion maven Anna Wintour, editor of the American Vogue magazine, would be cutting short her stay.</p><p>Wintour, the inspiration for the book and subsequent film starring Meryl Streep, &quot;The Devil Wears Prada,&quot; is regarded by many as the most influential person in the industry.</p><p>The highlight of Friday's shows will be Gianfranco Ferre, Versace and Jil Sander.</p><p>Bottega Veneta, Max Mara, Armani and Gucci will follow Saturday, with Marni, Roberto Cavalli and Missoni giving their shows on Sunday.</p><p>While there will be other shows on Monday, none of the big names will take part.</p><p>Several thousand buyers from around 40 countries are expected overall, as well as 2,000 journalists.</p>?<p>But Prada was having none of it, dictating stripes and solids in simple shapes cut from Japanese cotton for spring/summer 2011 in a collection full of eye-catching colour clashes.</p><p>Models for the quirky label came out on stripey platform tennis shoes, carrying faux furs - striped or white or both - with their hair slicked-down and wound into twin chiffons at the nape, some sporting striped sombreros slung behind them.</p><p>Those wearing coloured plastic glasses looked as if they were on their way to a maths exam.</p><p>The venue, a paragon of industrial architecture featuring poured concrete and steel for the catwalk, with the photographers crowded into essentially a three-sided cage, lent an aura of urban chic to the collection.</p><p>Fashion blogger Bryanboy, spotted wearing a Prada sweater mixing black and white with coloured stripes and perched on Japanese-type clogs, said he was among those who offered designer Muccia Prada a robust accolade when she came out after the show.</p><p>&quot;It wasn't avant-garde at all,&quot; he told AFP. &quot;It was very safe.&quot;</p><p>For Frankie Morello's show, an expanse of white sand replaced the catwalk and the models played with their unkempt hair and flirted with the photographers, swaying their hips like nobody's business.</p><p>One had an electric guitar slung over her cutaway swimsuit, two others showily smoked cigarettes.</p><p>At the other end a metal 1960s-era Airstream caravan served as the backdrop to a beach scene with three hunky guys drinking beer, working out and comparing surfboards while a young woman with her hair in curlers sized them up.</p><p>Designers Maurizio Modica and Pierfrancesco Gigliotti said the mise en scene fell somewhere &quot;between mirage and reality&quot;.</p><p>Making good on a promise to allow lingerie to &quot;claim its space,&quot; they let the waist of a pair of broad-gauge fishnets rise well over the edge of size zero jean shorts, or a denim bra to be worn on the outside, or simply sewn on upside down as a design feature.</p><p>Denim met chiffon in a jean miniskirt with a long cream train, or in breast-revealing tops over microshorts.</p><p>To send home the carefree message, the models came out in oversized T-shirts at the end, playfully emptying bottles of water on the designers' heads.</p><p>Fendi achieved a more restrained, languid air, with calf-length flared skirt dresses and ruffled organza frocks, though suggestive jungle calls and drums played in the background.</p><p>Copious sleeves - raglan, flared or structured &quot;lantern&quot; sleeves - contributed to the look of cool sophistication.</p><p>A prim blue suit with short sleeves, slightly puffed, was made less demure by a thigh-revealing slit up the front.</p><p>Flowers were everywhere as Dolce &amp; Gabbana rolled out their D&amp;G second line for younger customers from behind a flower-bedecked stage and down a catwalk lined with flowerbeds. Even the invitations came with packets of zinnia seeds attached.</p><p>Flouncy, feminine creations in a multitude of floral patterns floated to the floor while jaunty red-chequered kerchiefs evoked summer picnics.</p><p>Trousers were cut wide and flared, stopping at mid-calf. A peasant top with oversized side pockets gave off a similar casual, somewhat retro vibe.</p><p>Meanwhile overalls worn without shirts or bras had a naughty air, as did a pair of red leather hot pants.</p><p>&quot;Modern elegance&quot; was the theme for Ermanno Scervino, boyish in the deconstructed men's shirts, while geometric shapes defined the woman of the future.</p><p>Lots of leg was on display under microskirts and short shorts, whether for daytime or evening.</p><p>Materials were of understated elegance - ultra-light leathers, Swiss cotton poplin and white organdy.</p>?<p>It is filled with the new and exclusive Karl Capsule Collection; Karl, the affordable range for men and women; and Karl Lagerfeld Paris menswear, a more upscale affair. All of these are designed, according to the press release, to allow customers to experience the Karl Lagerfeld world.</p><p>Judging by the bright young crowd in front of the store's main entrance and dutifully lined up at the sides of its escalators, in anticipation of the arrival of the man himself, more than a few are intent on doing just that.</p><p>&quot;You know, personally, I don't even think that I'm famous,&quot; says Lagerfeld, at this point in full possession of his body and comfortably installed in a suite at Brown's Hotel for the afternoon. He is due to drop in on the launch in question before long.</p><p>&quot;I wouldn't say I was a beginner but you're only as good, not as your last show, but your next show. I can't go into a shop without people in front of the door taking my picture on their iPhones. That's very strange to me.&quot;</p><p>He will doubtless be more taken aback still, then, when he sees that the outline of his profile also graces everything from the interiors of lifts at the aforementioned department store to the T-shirts of those operating them or showing guests to the roof where cocktails are served and Alison Mosshart is DJing.</p><p>&quot;Yes,&quot; he says. &quot;Sometimes even I'm surprised at what can be done with my head.&quot; Surely, though, he must realise that his self-styled, always black-and-white image C from the clothes, to the hair to the dark glasses C has as much in common with a lithograph as a living, breathing, human being.</p><p>&quot;But I didn't do that on purpose. I see myself more like a cartoon. I wanted to become a cartoon artist when I was a child. I'm pretty good at it.&quot; His skills as an illustrator are unrivalled as anyone even remotely interested in fashion will know. &quot;But I never proposed my face [as part of the branding]. The company asked me if they could use it. I personally am too modest, if I can say that, to make such a proposition.&quot;</p><p>It must be a relief, in an age where respect for privacy is conspicuous by its absence, that people at least have the courtesy to seek permission before stamping his silhouette here, there and everywhere. &quot;Yes. Yes. Yes. Everybody still has to ask if they can use my head the head doesn't come for free.&quot; Whether he fully understands it, Lagerfeld is as instantly recognisable as royalty and rock stars but nowhere near as intimidating as might be imagined. And he is perfectly well-mannered to boot. &quot;I got here two hours ago,&quot; he says, &quot;It's fun. It's nice. One shouldn't be too difficult, no? It's the first time I see London with so much sun. It's beautiful. All those Regency buildings in the sunlight. The standard is really quite impeccable.&quot;</p><p>Although great pains are taken by his people to separate the designer's work on the line that bears his name from that of his creative directorship at Fendi and, of course, Chanel, Lagerfeld says what he wants to say, when he wants to say it. And given his long, spectacularly grand career and ability to keep up with the times, that is as it should be. And so the Karl and Karl Lagerfeld collections are &quot;a reflection of me as a person and the others are more like an interpretation of a style. It's never mixed. Fendi never looks like Chanel, Chanel never looks like Karl Lagerfeld. I don't know how I've managed it. I think I have no personality but in fact I have three.&quot; Lagerfeld's public persona has effectively blocked any real attempts at probing over the years and the personality he speaks of is therefore communicated on a surface level. &quot;You see a silhouette. There's nothing else to see. I remember a photographer saying to me, 'I have to spend three days with you to know what's behind the image'. I said, 'You're wasting your time; there's nothing there'.&quot;</p><p>Both Karl and Karl Lagerfeld rely on sharp cuts inspired by menswear, on a monochrome colour palette on the contemporary uniform of T-shirt and jeans and C closer still to the designer's personal style C detachable high collars and fingerless leather gloves. For his part, Lagerfeld's skinny black brocade trousers are of his own making as indeed is his tie, but his shirt is made for him now, as always, by Hilditch &amp; Key and his narrow black jacket is Dior Homme. &quot;But I have worn Dior for a long time,&quot; he says.</p><p>Lagerfeld's output is more diverse than any other designer's: he is responsible for everything from Chanel haute couture where money is no object to the accessible Karl. In 2004, he was the first big name to collaborate with the Swedish high-street chain H&amp;M: he says it was that company's decision to use his photograph in the accompanying advertising campaign that made him a household name.</p><p>&quot;I'm very much against the idea that 'commercial' is a boring word because you cannot make a collection that nobody wears. Fashion is what people wear and what they buy. I know exactly what can be done and for what price. I know what costs what and why something is expensive or affordable. That is part of my job. I think it's very pretentious to think that you are only catering to a limited group. I am lucky, though, as I have the total range.&quot;</p><p>Luck, in a world where Lagerfeld's very longevity is the exception that proves the rule, has nothing to do with it. Instead, his is the infinitely protean model that has set the standard for contemporary fashion as practised by everyone from Miuccia Prada to Marc Jacobs. As well as designing Karl, Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi and Chanel, Lagerfeld has a publishing imprint, 7L, a subsidiary of Steidl, and he is also an accomplished photographer.</p><p>&quot;I'm militating for a 48-hour day but that's a problem, especially in France, with the 35-hour week,&quot; he says. &quot;I have 35 hours of rest. But I'm not tired, so that's okay with me. I have the job I want and the right circumstances in which to do it. Nobody has that like I do.&quot;</p><p>If Karl Lagerfeld is blessed then his good fortune pales into insignificance as compared to that of his one-year-old cat, Choupette. &quot;Now, Choupette really is famous,&quot; he says. &quot;She has become the most famous cat in the world. I even get propositioned by pet food companies and things like that but it's out of the question. I'm commercial. She's not. She's spoiled to death. Obviously. &quot;</p><p>Choupette travels with Lagerfeld to St Tropez on his private jet &quot;in the cockpit, with the pilot, she loves looking at the sky&quot;. She has three maids whose duties include keeping a diary of all activities and taking her to the vet for a check-up every 10 days. &quot;I don't take her,&quot; Lagerfeld says. &quot;I don't want her to be furious with me.&quot;</p><p>And with that he's off to make a brief appearance at his own party and then back to Paris. &quot;Choupette waits for me at the front door,&quot; he says. &quot;She doesn't like being alone. She gets moody.&quot;</p>?<p>Fendi's statement on Sunday said it had difficulty understanding the decision and had spent months preparing. It added it would continue negotiations.</p><p>Animal rights activists in Seoul had threatened massive rallies unless fur was removed. City official Seo Jeong-hyup said yesterday that Seoul subsequently demanded it because of negative public sentiments.</p>?<p>After New York and London, fashionistas and buyers from over 37 countries are set to flock to Italy's financial capital to see 66 brands sweep down the runways following an exceptional turnaround for many labels in 2010.</p><p>Pre-fall collections, often indicators of upcoming autumn-winter shows, were shot through with luxury and opulence as Italian designers exulted in fur shrugs and fox scarves, as well as 1970s-inspired velvet suits.</p><p>Fashion giants Gucci, Alberta Ferretti and Roccobarocco will open the show on Wednesday, while Thursday's catwalks will star Fendi, D&amp;G and Prada.</p><p>Versace and Etro follow on Friday, with Bottega Veneta, Emporio Armani and Roberto Cavalli on Saturday. Sunday and Monday see Dolce&amp;Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani and Just Cavalli on the catwalks.</p><p>Newcomers Carta e Costura, Erhan Coruh and N-U-D-E will be showing on Monday March 1, before buyers, journalists and the fashion set jet off to Paris fashion week, which will run until March 9.</p><p>Unlike last year, when the new names led Milan as a beacon of hope in a struggling industry, this year the novices are expected to take a back seat as Italy's finest brands revel in their financial turnaround.</p><p>The Gucci Group announced to great fanfare last week that it had a stellar last quarter with sales up overall in 2010 by 12.2 percent.</p><p>Francois-Henri Pinault, head of PPR - the French multinational that owns Gucci as well as Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen - celebrated last week by announcing he will head Gucci in its new guise as &quot;Luxury Business Group.&quot;</p><p>As the luxury goods industry rebounds more quickly than expected from the crisis, Pinault aims to tighten his grip, cutting out the middle man.</p><p>For fashion's &quot;ice-cream man,&quot; Robert Polet, it may be his last time among the front row fashionistas in Milan. The ex-head of Unilever's gelato division steps down as CEO of Gucci as PPR streamlines its prosperous luxury portfolio.</p><p>Not to be outdone, the Prada group announced this month that its 2010 sales topped its target of two billion euros ($2.72 billion) on the back of soaring business in Asia where it is about to launch its first public share listing.</p><p>Sales jumped 31 percent with a 48 percent rise in sales in Asia, confirming the &quot;winning strategy&quot; of investing in the area's growing appetite for luxury goods, according to CEO Patrizio Bertelli.</p><p>Speaking ahead of the shows, Milan mayor Letizia Moratti said: &quot;This is a crucial sector for our economy.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It's a particularly dynamic sector with 15,000 companies in Milan and surroundings. In 2010 alone, 342 textile or fashion businesses were created in Milan - around one per day,&quot; she said.</p><p>Milan-based giant Dolce &amp; Gabbana, beloved by stars such as Madonna, Monica Bellucci and Angelina Jolie, is on the backfoot however because of an ongoing trial into founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for tax fraud.</p><p>The first preliminary hearing in Milan on Friday into allegations that the pair committed tax fraud of around one billion euros ($1.4 billion) was adjourned, according to US Women's Wear Daily.</p><p>The stylists are represented by Massimo Dinoia, ex-lawyer for &quot;Ruby the Heart Stealer,&quot; the voluptuous pole-dancer at the centre of a sex scandal surrounding Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.</p>?<p>The new C-X16 two-seater, set to go on display at next week's Frankfurt Motor Show, uses a new 3.0-liter V6 engine along with a 70kW hybrid motor and is described by Jaguar as an 'exploration' of future performance hybrid options.</p><p>Using a combination of gasoline and batteries, the C-X16 offers a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds, with an electric-only top-speed of 50 mph (80 km/h)</p><p>The electric motor can also be activated using a steering wheel button for a power boost, inspired by the recently-introduced Formula One KERS system, charged through a brake regeneration system.</p><p>The C-X16 picks up on a couple of new Jaguar styling signals such as the front trapezoidal grille, although the automaker says that it is intended to showcase the evolution of its design direction, with sharp creases on the hood and a sweeping roofline.</p><p>Inside, it is finished in 'vermillion red' and uses a climate control system which Jaguar says is inspired by the Typhoon fighter jet, with dash-mounted vents that appear from the dash to provide a blast of air as necessary, retracting afterwards.</p><p>The model will go on show for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show (september 15-25), where it will compete for attention with the upgraded Porsche 911 Carrera, the Maserati GranCabrio Fendi and the Ferrari 458 Spider.</p><p></p><p>?</p>?<p>West is currently working on the high-end creations, based out of a studio in central Paris, the paper quotes a source.</p><p>Just last year, he had told Elle: &quot;Did you not see the Lindsay [Lohan] and Ungaro collection? That was 9/11 for celebrities doing fashion. After that I thought: 'Well I can't do a line now'.&quot; But the big-mouthed entertainer seems to have changed his mind, having already released a collection of luxury scarves with design collective last month.</p><p>Kanye West previously released sneakers with French luxe label Louis Vuitton and upped his fashion credentials with design internships including at US retailer Gap and Italian design house Fendi.</p><p> </p>?<p>A series of leaked paparazzi photos show what promises to be a glitzy, glamorous ad campaign featuring The O.C. star and fashion trendsetter Rachel Bilson in three short films. Directed by Lagerfeld, who is the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, Bilson incarnates three different characters - all brooding, temperamental artists - who can only be appeased by indulging in Magnum ice cream bars.</p><p>While a leading ice cream brand in Europe, Magnum is relatively unknown in the American market. When it hits freezer aisles in April, the frozen dessert bar will be making an aggressive play at market share currently dominated by Dove ice cream bars and H?agen-Dazs.</p><p>The three, 90-second spots will debut at the April 21 in New York City. The first trailer will be released April 19 on Magnum's page.</p><p>In the first vignette, &quot;Photo Mood,&quot; Bilson plays a famous, irritable model who seeks pleasure in a Magnum ice cream bar.</p><p>In &quot;Applause,&quot; Bilson channels Black Swan and plays a prima ballerina who escapes from the throngs of adoring fans and the clutches of her amorous boyfriend by seeking refuge in an ice cream bar. Leaked photos from the Paris film set show Bilson crowned with a sparkling tiara, her brown locks pulled back in a tight bun.</p><p>In &quot;Art Class,&quot; the premium ice cream brand serves as Bilson's muse. As an obsessive art student, she creates a masterpiece as she indulges in her cravings.</p><p>The short films also feature Lagerfeld's personal muse, male model Baptiste Giabiconi, who plays Bilson's spurned lover and photographer.</p><p>Succumbing to life's little pleasures is central to the ad campaign as well as Bilson's MO, she said.</p><p>&quot;My character believes that a day without pleasure is a day lost,&quot; she said in a statement. &quot;... (that's) ?my personal philosophy, too.&quot;</p><p>Using high profile celebrity endorsements and short film montages to sell its ice cream is a favorite marketing strategy for the Unilever brand. In 2008, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria was cast in a series of sexy, glamorous ads to endorse the brand. Benicio Del Toro of Traffic and Snatch fame, also peddled the brand's Magnum Gold series.</p><p>Magnum ice cream bars will be available in the US in Magnum Classic (vanilla bean, dipped in Belgian chocolate), Magnum Almond (with almonds), Magnum Double Caramel (with caramel sauce), Magnum White (vanilla ice cream dipped in white chocolate) and Magnum Dark (vanilla ice cream dipped in 60 percent dark chocolate).</p><p>Magnum is also present in Turkey and Indonesia and is sold under the name Streets Magnum in Australia and New Zealand.</p><p>The ice cream bars will be available nationwide in mid-April at retailers like Walmart, Target, Safeway, Kroger, for between $2.59 to $3.99.</p><p></p><p></p>?<p>Novelty Biker Jackets:? Classic biker jackets will be huge come spring, replacing the bevy of shearling aviator bombers? that were everywhere this past A/W 2010 season. While Moschino and Balmain stuck with conventional leather styles, updating them with a few modern details like zippers, studs, and safety pins, Burberry Prorsum presented a stylish snakeskin number while John Richmond threw convention out the window and showed a sleeveless number in a surprising shade of bold forest green.</p><p>Superfine Knits: Knits have always served as a practical seasonal transition piece and next season, you can expect to see tons of super-fine knits in sensual silhouettes. Preppy styles were abound at Clements Riberio while Jil Sander juxtaposed sheer and knit, simultaneously concealing and revealing models' torsos.</p><p>Minimalist Tanks: Minimalism has been a key trend in fashion ever since the start of the global recession. The aesthetic won't be going anywhere next spring, as designers continue to put out pieces with clean lines. Expect to see form-fitting tanks in soft leathers and buttery shades with simple necklines and little embellishment that will serve as easy yet stylish separates.</p><p>Minimalist Maxis: The maxi dress will be a huge fashion piece next season given both its versatility and comfort factor. Jil Sander and Sonia Rykiel showed maxi dresses that functioned as both day and evening-wear in bright sherbet hues while CNC Costume National showed an anonymous, voluminous shirt dress.</p><p>Bloomer Shorts:? Expect to see these retro babies in stores everywhere for spring. Bloomers, with their loose fit and exaggerated hips, convey a youthful non-chalance and will be the silhouette of the season. Shorts were shown in gingham, stripes, and white crochet. At Thakoon, they were paired with chic linen blazers.</p><p>Striped Bags: Contrasting loud wide stripes, both kitschy and nautical, will be found on a number of accessories for spring from clutches to over-sized totes. These statement pieces were shown on the runways for Moschino Cheap and Chic, Prada, Jil Sander, Proenza Schouler, Sonia Rykiel and Fendi.</p><p>Extreme Wedges: Summer sandals will be fashioned with extreme wedge heels next season. Fendi channeled the Seventies with their wood veneer and satin combinations, while Anne Valerie Hash and Barbara Bui showed elegant, neutral numbers, and Charles Anastase revealed a bold pair with exotic ostrich-skin detailing.</p><p>Wooden Heels: Like extreme wedges and minimalist maxis, wooden heels constitute another key trend for spring that gives a nod to the Seventies. Chunky wooden heels offset by neutral leather uppers or natural canvas uppers can be expected among the shoe offerings. Everyone from Donna Karan to Marni to Matthew Williamson showed variations of the 70s-era strappy wooden heeled shoes.</p><p>Source: </p><p>(Launched in 2001, the London-based is a leading online trend forecasting and analysis service with a focus on color trends, fabric trends, street fashion trends, runway trends, and fast fashion trends.)</p>?<p>There's also the misconception about Harlech's actual role in those collections. The popular myth has her jet-setting from a vast country pile in Shropshire to a vault of a couture wardrobe at the Paris Ritz, where she galavants about a capacious suite frocking herself up to inspire Karl Lagerfeld, at whose right hand she has sat for the past 15 or so years.</p><p>Perhaps it all arises from the label most often attached to Harlech: muse. &quot;People think of me as a stereotype: muse, privileged, decorative,&quot; she says wearily, and warily. &quot;Classically, the muses were the inspiration. They'd come and go C they wouldn't actually make things, get their hands dirty. I don't think I'm a muse, although I think I can help pull a trigger. I really like getting my hands dirty.&quot;</p><p>Harlech has been getting her hands dirty for nearly three decades C first alongside British design genius John Galliano during his tumultuous first decade in business (she was with him long before the scandal which led to his dismissal, from his graduation through to his appointment to Dior in 1996), and more recently as Lagerfeld's &quot;outside pair of eyes&quot; (his words) at Fendi, during his occasional consulting stints for luxury brand Hogan, Coca-Cola and Macy's, but primarily at Chanel, the most celebrated fashion house of all. Certainly, Harlech's influence will be felt when that great name unveils its spring/summer haute-couture collection in Paris this week.</p><p>So let's shatter some of those myths. First of all, the suite is in fact a spacious but serviceable fourth-floor room C Harlech herself shouts out, &quot;Tell them about the glamour of me washing my hair in the sink and getting changed in the bathroom!&quot; while doing just that. Why the Ritz? It happens to be across the rue (Cambon, that is) from the headquarters of Chanel C so conveniently placed that Mademoiselle Chanel herself lived here.</p><p>The &quot;decorative&quot; epithet Harlech complains of comes, perhaps, from a lingering Anglo-Saxon puritanism about an obvious love of appearance. It's not to say that Harlech is vain C although she's strikingly handsome, hair pulled back from fine-boned face with a jaw line you could facet diamonds on C but she definitely loves dressing up. While I'm sweltering in a black T-shirt on an unseasonably warm winter's day in Paris, she is dressed in a pliss slip of Chanel chiffon as underskirt to a billowing broderie anglaise dress and Edwardian whitework jacket.</p><p>As that outfit suggests, however, there is no misconception about her vault of an haute-couture wardrobe. I saw a small proportion of it scattered across Harlech's room: a silver-embroidered column of black taffeta, a few flawless tweed jackets and a chiffon sheath speckled with seed pearls, like dew. It's an utterly Harlech part of her Chanel contract that part of her wage includes a piece of custom-made haute couture from each collection. With neither the will nor way to take it back to Shropshire, Harlech keeps most of it chez Ritz. k</p><p>That's also a neat comment on the divided life Harlech leads: half on the Continent as the woman behind the man behind two of the most successful fashion houses in the world; the other half in deep rural seclusion on the Welsh borders. How does she square the two? &quot;The head is still the same!&quot; she states. &quot;I'm not a schizophrenic, I don't change personality in the middle of the Channel.&quot;</p><p>That, however, is exactly what everyone expects. And Harlech hates to disappoint. A case in point: the first time we met she was in a geisha get-up to be photographed by Nick Knight for i-D magazine. The second time C again for a portrait sitting C she wheeled in a suitcase, wrapped herself in a vintage silk-and-velvet robe and Chanel couture lace blindfold and became something halfway between Nancy Cunard and Marlene Dietrich. It's more than dressing up; it speaks of the transformative fantasy of fashion C and it's not something you see every day.</p><p>It could balloon into pretentiousness, of course. But there's something surprisingly no-nonsense about Harlech. She's down-to-earth and incredibly funny, as far from the couture matriarch stereotype as possible. Few women would describe the hallowed ateliers of Chanel as &quot;a lot of clucking, a bit like chickens. It just gets faster and faster and louder and louder without anything getting done. And I always feel like: 'Don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!'&quot; Her role, an essential one for Lagerfeld, is to be the level-headed one, the calm amid the clucking.</p><p>Lady Amanda Harlech was born plain Amanda Grieve in Camden, north London. In fact, scratch the plain. &quot;Where we lived was a nest of writers,&quot; she recalls. &quot;Nick and Claire Tomalin, Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett, VS Pritchett C as well as the Conrans. It was the most exciting place to be a kid. We all did plays and dressed up. It was fantastic.&quot; Her father, a solicitor, founded the charitable, artistic Jerwood Foundation, while her well-dressed mother allowed the young Amanda to indulge in her love of dressing-up. That liberal, art-filled upbringing led her down her first path, to Oxford University, where she planned to write a thesis on Henry James and moral bankruptcy. &quot;My voyaging through literature led me to a writer who questioned every truth and intention,&quot; says Harlech. &quot;And I find I'm doing the same at Chanel: questioning every surface, extracting the truth of what a designer is trying to articulate.&quot;</p><p>The leap from Henry James to haute couture is one that few would fathom C but Harlech vaulted it with ease. That said, her first experience of fashion was as a junior fashion editor at Harpers &amp; Queen, where &quot;we didn't work with the Chanels and the Saint Laurents. You had to do it with a T-shirt.&quot; Alongside her duties at Harpers, Harlech freelanced for London's junior style mafia C the inventive and arresting magazines that boomed in early 1980s London, i-D and The Face. &quot;It was making something out of nothing, really, with scissors, pins and double-sided tape.&quot; Harlech's shoots from the period leap out: girls wrapped in brocades, tousled hair full of twigs and cobwebs like Miss Havisham.</p><p>Brocades? Twigs and cobwebs? Miss Havisham? It was only a matter of time before Harlech hooked up with John Galliano, who, in 1984, had just graduated from St Martins, unleashing his French Revolution-inspired Incroyables collection on a New Romantic-crazed London. How Amanda met John has since become a fashion fairy tale. &quot;We sat and had tea, as the light thickened outside and the sky turned navy-blue,&quot; she recalls. &quot;It was probably one in the morning when we finished. He brought his drawings, his paintings and his scraps of fabric, his story. Suddenly it was someone who was talking, speaking the same language as me. And my feelings were: 'I don't want to let him go, I can't possibly exist without him,' because he electrified everything that I had felt. Here was the stuff that I dreamt of.&quot;</p><p>So began a 12-year fashion love affair, as Harlech collaborated with Galliano every step of the way from original sketch to set-dressing. (It was her exquisite lace lingerie which hung on a washing line, &quot;creating a mood&quot; at Galliano's spring 1995 show C and was unceremoniously stolen.) Galliano himself remarked that Harlech was &quot;more than a muse&quot;: indeed, years ahead of the now-standard &quot;creative consultant&quot; role allotted to many a stylist, Harlech was an essential cog in the Galliano machine.</p><p>&quot;She really starts with me at touch base,&quot; said Galliano back in 1996. &quot;Touch base? That sounds like a game of rounders!&quot; shouts Harlech now, laughing. &quot;John would say, 'I've got this idea for little pinstripe suits,' and I'd say, 'Well, they're little honcho girls and they're there in the bar, and they've rubbed up against the brick of the wall C and the brickwork made a mark at the back of their jacket.' That's how we'd work together.&quot; It sounds esoteric, until Harlech herself grounds it: &quot;I'm interested in stories. I think I'm a bit of a pathfinder.&quot; Hence, Harlech's narratives with Galliano inspired the clothes they created. Take the old-fashion chestnut of X meeting Y (Ancient Egypt meeting hip-hop, for example); for Harlech and Galliano, X couldn't meet Y unless they knew when, where and why. &quot;John created whole worlds for every woman, no, for every girl, boy, woman, man to explore,&quot; says Harlech, affectionately.</p><p>In 1986, amid the craziness of the Galliano years, Miss Amanda Grieve became Lady Amanda Harlech, marrying Francis David Ormsby-Gore, 6th Baron Harlech. It was their divorce just over a decade later that prompted a creative and professional separation with Galliano, as she shifted alliance to Lagerfeld, Chanel and a wage to support her family. &quot;It was very different and I felt very isolated to begin with. At first take, I felt Chanel was incredibly ritualised, like a court, where everybody had their roles. We all curtsied and kissed at the same time: and if you don't kiss that person, you're considered very rude and you'll have your head chopped off. Now I understand more. Karl is incredibly warm, generous, hysterically funny, very challenging, extraordinarily bright, a maverick genius, never confrontational; it's as vivid in its way as it was with John.&quot;</p><p>Despite the regular wage, the question of what Lady Harlech actually does from day to day is tricky, because no two days are the same. In Paris, we meet in the afternoons because Harlech has been working through the night with Lagerfeld to accessorise the spring 2012 Chanel collection. Later that month, Harlech's BlackBerry messages reflect her path across Europe: shooting the Chanel campaign in the South of France with Lagerfeld and former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld; to Rome for Fendi; back to Paris to prepare Chanel's pre-collection; and then to Shropshire for a few moments' respite.</p><p>Speaking to Harlech, it's easy to see why designers want her around: she's inspiring. Listening to her talk about anything from a book to a piece of music to a particular fashion collection fires you up. (She tries not to look at other shows, but is currently fixated on the &quot;white drama&quot; of Rei Kawakubo's spring Comme des Gar?ons collection.)</p><p>As to what fires up Harlech, that's simple: &quot;Couture has a power that ready-to-wear can never have; the attention of les petites mains as they sew, all that love and belief goes into the cloth. That's what you feel when you wear it,&quot; she explains. Her eyes shine as she says this, but it's not the acquisitive glisten of the fickle fashion fraternity, but a true love.</p><p>&quot;I'm anti-fashion. I really am,&quot; she adds. &quot;I don't want people spending their money on It bags.&quot; At Chanel, home of the 2.55 handbag that launched 1,000 knock-offs, that seems nothing short of heresy. But for Harlech, fashion isn't about the easy answer. &quot;I think the most destructive thing is fear: when people don't want to say what they think,&quot; she says. &quot;The chorus of 'Oh, that's so beautiful' is very dangerous. I want to ask questions. I find the whole process of fashion a fascinating quest of discovery.&quot;</p>?<p>Lagerfeld's women's collection will be sold in about 250 Macy's stores as well as online starting September 2011. It is part of the American department store chain's new initiative to launch a series of limited-edition designer collections for its Impulse range - geared towards younger, more fashion-forward customers - starting early next year.</p><p>The designer collections will rotate every two months and will start in February 2011 with Kinder Aggugini, a darling of the London fashion scene. Aggugini, who started his eponymous label four years ago, has previously worked with John Galliano, Paul Smith, Versace, Calvin Klein, and Vivienne Westwood. Priced on average from $40-$140, with specialty pieces selling up to $300, his line for Macy's will channel a rocker-chic aesthetic.</p><p>But while Aggugini's name may not be recognizable to all Macy's shoppers, Lagerfeld's is anything but obscure. &quot;Karl Lagerfeld holds a unique place in the world of fashion, an icon who is the ultimate modernist,&quot; said Terry J. Lundgren, president and chief executive officer of Macy's Inc. &quot;Through the decades, his style and vision have marked the history of design. It is a tremendous honor to bring his inimitable perspective to our fashion customer.&quot;</p><p>Though the &quot;Kaiser&quot; heads some of the biggest luxury houses in the world - he helms the $10 billion US dollar Chanel empire, the Italian brand Fendi, and his own eponoymous label - Lagerfeld has an affinity for collaborating with mass market retailers. He rolled out a one-off collection for Swedish fast fashion chain H&amp;M in 2004, and not only photographed the A/W 2010 catalog for the French mail-order company 3 Suisses, but was even featured in one of its print ads for a washing machine.</p><p>In a recent interview with the retail and beauty trade publication Women's Wear Daily, Lagerfeld commented on his desire to branch out into the lower-priced area: &quot;It's funny for a person who has money to buy something inexpensive, and it's great for a person with not so much money to be able to get something by a designer. It's the new snobbism.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Masstige&quot; - a term that was coined from the words &quot;mass market&quot; and &quot;prestige&quot;- is steadily gaining steam. The current A/W 2010 season is glutted with high-profile designer collaborations, such as Mulberry for Target, Lanvin for H&amp;M and Valentino for Gap.</p><p>?</p>?<p>The German designer for Chanel and Fendi fashion houses wore his trademark uniform of white pony tail and dark suit with white shirt, complete with dark glasses, for a presentation at a central Moscow hotel.</p><p>For the calendar, he dressed models including Hollywood actress Julianne Moore in gold laurel wreathes and gold body paint, while the four male models wore metallic gold codpieces.</p><p>The Pirelli calendar is the &quot;best of the best of the calendars,&quot; Lagerfeld enthused to AFP.</p><p>The designer chose the theme of Greek mythology for the photo shoot because of his childhood love for sagas such as Homer's the Iliad, he said.</p><p>&quot;You know, when I started learning to read, the two first things that I read were the IIliad and Nibelungen,&quot; he said, referring to German mythological sagas.</p><p>At the presentation, Lagerfeld even compared himself to the chronicler of Greek mythology, calling himself the &quot;visual version of Homer.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I did it with my camera instead of with my pen,&quot; he said.</p><p>The calendar has been published by Italian tyre company Pirelli since 1964, and has become a collector's item for its erotic nudes snapped by photographers including Richard Avedon.</p><p>Lagerfeld stressed at the presentation that he steered away from any sleazy content and did not pressure models to do risque poses.</p><p>&quot;They know they can trust me. I would never do something not absolutely correct,&quot; he said. &quot;There was no danger, no sleaziness.&quot;</p><p>The models include Hollywood actress Moore, who poses as Hera, the queen of the gods, in a more modest shot than the other models that does not expose her breasts.</p><p>Dutch model Lara Stone, the wife of British comedian David Walliams, also took part, portraying the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite.</p><p>&quot;Nobody believes in these gods anymore but the girls in the Pirelli calendar are the goddesses of today,&quot; Lagerfeld said in a film at the presentation.</p><p>Models said they saw the calendar as an art project.</p><p>&quot;It's less like a calendar and more like a form of art,&quot; US model Erin Wasson told AFP.</p><p>&quot;If you're a huge fan of Karl Lagerfeld, you're going to want this piece of work from him, as if he'd released a new art book,&quot; Wasson said.</p><p>&quot;I think for a model the best thing is to be in a book or in the Pirelli calendar,&quot; said Italian model Bianca Balti.</p><p>&quot;It's the only nice calendar. In Italy there are so many vulgar calendars, like very sexy,&quot; she said, gesturing a voluptous silhouette. &quot;But Pirelli is just about art and beauty.&quot;</p><p>?</p>?<p>Last week in Milan, the country's top fashion houses stayed true to this heritage. Okay, okay, not everyone is going to be able to pull off C or afford C one of Gucci's bright purple furs, Prada's roomy python jackets or Dolce &amp; Gabbana's bedazzling golden evening gowns (luxury comes with a capital &quot;L&quot; for autumn/winter 2011/12, by the way), but it seems likely that a lot of people will want to. And why? Because it all just seemed fun, plain and simple C high-end without being too high concept, upmarket but not too uptight. In fact, a lot of the collections seemed to have a sense of optimism, colour and freshness that is more characteristic of the spring/summer season C take the D&amp;G show, for example, possibly the most youthful, fluorescent and irreverent collection that Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce have produced in years. Or Angela Missoni's offering C a bright pastel paean to leisurely outdoorsiness, replete with what looked like suede and snake wellies. Of course this is Milan so, like it or lump it, there was a huge amount of fur. But, moral problems aside, even the most extravagant of these were far from heavy or dowdy. Karl Lagerfeld stuffed his full of glitter at Fendi. Gucci seemed to go twice round the rainbow in mink. Add a sense of cinematic mystery C Emporio Armani did spies, Gucci did femme fatale, the Jil Sander girls could have been female Bond villains C a pretty thrilling first foot into the new season.</p><p>Collage/Clash</p><p>All over Milan runways, designers played with eye-grabbing clashes of texture, colour and mood, both in looks and individual pieces. The first evidence of this was at Fendi, where what looked like a wall-sized collage of papery swatches formed the backdrop for a collection that was all about unexpected mixtures and chic assemblage. Voluminous coats, gathered daintily at the elbow, looked as if they'd been assembled from a series of disparate elements, garnished as they were with coloured patches, false lapels, piping, shawl necks and unexpected cutaways. At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier was also playing a sartorial Frankenstein. Commenting that designing his 1960s-tinged but undoubtedly forward-looking winter collection &quot;was like being in a laboratory&quot; he did his best to create some sublime mismatches of textile, pattern and style. Fur and nylon met on an oversized, amber-coloured parka; spidery prints in deep yellow, green and orange vied against each other in clashing twinsets; delicate, neutral silk blouses were paired with mottled orange suits in a blotchy, thick wool weave. At Salvatore Ferragamo, Massimiliano Giornetti also got his clash on, playing with classic menswear textiles C houndstooth, pinstripe, woven wool C by setting them against each other (and black and white leopard print) in composite dresses and mix-and-match suiting. Meanwhile at Dolce &amp; Gabbana C a superbly entertaining, surprisingly youthful show in which masculine tailoring and star prints were the defining elements C the designers proudly proclaimed that &quot;clothes and accessories are mixed almost randomly, with no rules&quot;.</p><p>Iridescent</p><p>Nothing draws attention like a sparkly dress and it seemed like Milan was keen to push this 1980s favourite for winter 2011/12. Dolce &amp; Gabbana produced the most bombastic expression of this: a knee-length, long-sleeved gold number in sequins and stars; answered in separates by similar skirts, trousers and oversized dinner jackets. But there was a range of intriguing takes on the trend, from the futuristic, metallic gleam of the heavily layered looks at Roberto Cavalli to the rhinestone-bedecked dresses at Emilio Pucci and the intricately woven, geometric glitter shifts at Marni. At Versus, Versace protg Christopher Kane used sequins and iridescent glitter as a counterbalance to his winter collection's somewhat surprising sobriety. In Kane's predominantly black looks, which mixed simple, tailored shapes with corsetry and boning at the midriff, glitter became a jarring accent, splashed over the front of dresses in a triangle check pattern and encrusted upon the thick heels of clunky platform shoes. Miuccia Prada, of course, didn't present anything so obvious as a sequin in her fascinating, 1920s-meets-1960s Prada collection, but towards the end of the show she fielded a series of dresses (worn with fur and intricately textured plastic bathing caps) in which pearlescent fish scales (not unlike something that Paco Rabanne might have come up with in his heyday) swished and tinkled against each other for a delightfully shimmery effect. It was half cocktail party, half synchronised swimming gala C and all the better for the confusion between the two.</p><p>Green</p><p>The Autumn/winter palette in Milan was full of loud, arresting shades, continuing a trend for colour-blocking that has been on and off the runways for the past five years. But if there was one colour that predominated for winter (last season we had orange) it had to be green. Frida Giannini got the ball rolling with her astoundingly luxurious, darkly mysterious collection for Gucci, which was a riot of colour, fur and glamour; spot-on, not just for the brand, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, but for the season. The opening looks said it all: a teal goat shawl, a deep green chiffon dress, an emerald python blazer and a bulky, turquoise fur coat trailing equally bright foxtails. Though Giannini went through some gorgeous shades of amber, mauve, pink and red, it was those deep greens that she returned to for the finale piece C a sheer, halternecked evening gown topped by an elaborate set of handmade green flowers that seemed to burst into bloom across the shoulders. And where Giannini began, others seemed to follow: at Prada, green was a dominant colour in the maxi-tartan print, low-belted dresses (wryly cut with a swooping back), as well as the snakeskin jackets, furs and boots (which came served up with a tromp l'oeuil dance shoe on the foot). Marni, too, had its fair share of green in its geometric-print, cropped-sleeve jackets, deep-green fur coats and contrasting jewelled neckpieces. And Peter Dundas's Emilio Pucci collection, inspired in part by the rustic colours of Tyrolean dress, was almost green all over, beginning with the kaleidoscopic, lace-embellished print dress that he opened with.</p><p>Oversize</p><p>Alongside all the rather upfront glitter and glamour of the Milan collections, several of the more forward-thinking designers were getting a bit tricksy with the shape of the human body, playing with proportions and creating an interesting, slightly hulking silhouette. At one more wearable end of the spectrum, there was D&amp;G, where a renewed vigour for all things 1980s called for masculine, oversized blazers. The feminine/masculine mix-up also made for broad shoulders at Salvatore Ferragamo, where models donned suit jackets with veryWall Street shoulder pads. But the most exciting developments came from Milan's intellectuals, namely Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. The former tailored her jackets with a wide armhole and an odd, curving seam that wound around the back of the arm to a cropped sleeve. The result was lobsterish in the best sense possible C one of those unique frumpy/chic touches that have become Prada's unmistakable trademark. Raf Simons, meanwhile, was all about extending the body in the most extreme ways possible in his Jil Sander collection, which featured simple, massive jackets with a sleeve that was turned and dropped to the front C resulting in a sandwich-board-like flat back. It's probable there might not be many takers for his satin, padded duvet dress (the challenge of the season will be to see if anyone can wear it and not look like a walking bolster) but the rest of his silhouettes had a graphic impact that made this one of the strongest Jil Sander collections since he started.</p><p>Florals</p><p>A bit of a surprise for winter, this, but what can you do? Gucci did flowers, Just Cavalli did flowers, Jil Sander did flowers: it's undeniable. But the concept of extravagant blooms suddenly opening in winter chimed nicely with the rest of the colour and glitter that marked the season and has a nice, irreverent sense of humour to it. This, of course, was the whole point at Moschino, where the brand's logo above the catwalk was rendered in red roses; the flowers dictating the colour palette of white, navy and bright scarlet. In a collection that took many cues from naval dress C visored caps, gold rope and aviators were all in play C the roses provided a shock of romanticism and towards the end were rolled out in a maxi print for dresses and dinner jacket lapels, as well as a humorous headpiece (there was also a chicken hat kicking about C though it's anyone's guess as to what trend that's part of).</p><p>Raf Simon's flowers C printed on the neat surfaces of his spacious dresses C were similarly large and bold, though of a darker variety.</p><p>Adam Welch is editor of 'Wonderland' magazine</p>?<p>The first four companies haven't changed position, and all but Tiffany &amp; Co were already part of the top ten last year.</p><p>Reasons for the analysts' decisions included Vuitton focusing on its travel heritage, Tiffany refusing to discount, and Herms still being family-owned while working on a new brand in China.</p><p>&quot;In the past, many companies were quick to cut their marketing spend during a down<br>economy,&quot; said Joanna Seddon, CEO of Millward Brown Optimor. &quot;A new trend has emerged in the wake of the recession as more companies realized the importance of maintaining and even increasing budgets to support brand loyalty and engagement.&quot;</p><p>In general, it can be said that those brands which successfully upped their value over the past year stayed true to their core values while expanding in Asia.</p><p>The complete ranking is as follows:</p><p>1. Louis Vuitton<br>2. Herme?s<br>3. Gucci<br>4. Chanel<br>5. Hennessy<br>6. Rolex<br>7. Moe?t &amp; Chandon<br>8. Cartier<br>9. Fendi</p><p>10. Tiffany &amp; Co.</p><p>More information can be found online at .</p><p>Meanwhile, Vuitton's creative head, Marc Jacobs will feature as the only fashion designer on Time's 2010 edition of its 100 Most Influential People list, due out April 29.</p><p></p>?<p>The Paris-based luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Mo?t Hennessy has revealed a forecast-beating 14 per cent sales rise in the first quarter on a like-for-like basis, and a 25 per cent leap on an absolute basis. Overall sales for 2012 grew to 6.6bn (5.4bn), beating the 20 per cent growth in the final quarter of 2011. </p><p>LVMH admitted it is facing an &quot;uncertain&quot; European economy and said it is placing &quot;strict control over costs&quot;, but said Europe was showing signs of improvement, while business was strong in the US and in Asia.</p><p>TAG Heuer and Bulgari necklaces helped it report sales growth of 141 per cent to 630m for the jewellery division, mainly boosted by last year's acquisition of Bulgari. </p><p>Around a third of sales for the group come from fashion and leather such as Louis Vuitton and Fendi, which grew 12 per cent on a like-for-like basis.</p><p>Revenue was also swelled by selective retailing, which includes the perfume chain Sephora and Paris department store Le Bon March, which saw sales surge 18 per cent.</p>?<p>German brand Manhattan Cosmetics is gearing up for the world's biggest beer bash, launching an Oktoberfest-inspired collection of lipsticks and blushes, all designed to recreate that Heidi-like rosy freshness. A mini mascara to fit into your handbag and some blotting paper (it's going to be hot in those tents!) in a cute picnic blanket packaging are also part of the range.</p><p>Just last year, numerous designers included re-interpretations of the dirndl, German women's traditional dress. Karl Lagerfeld not only included the dirndl at Fendi but also sent out loden jackets and felt skirts. Dark green and grey, the colors of German men's traditional outfits, dominated the German-born designer's runway for the Italian label. Even London wild child Christopher Kane embroidered flowers onto his little black dresses and went for dirndl-inspired necklines, before Marc Jacobs gave the dirndl one of the highest fashion accolades, integrating the style into his Louis Vuitton collection.</p><p></p>?<p>Maserati said August 23 that it will debut the Maserati GranCabrio Fendi, a special edition of the 4.7-liter V8 GranCabrio designed with legendary Italian designer Silvia Venturini Fendi.</p><p>The model uses a dark grey body color with a golden finish named Grigio Flamma Fendi and features the exclusive Pergamena Fendi wood trim interior finish, along with Fendi yellow trim and the brand's F-logo stitched onto the seat.</p><p>Fendi's Cuoio Romano leather (from its Selleria line) has been used for internal details such as the instrument cluster cover, the gear lever and floor mat profiles.</p><p>German brand Porsche has also confirmed that it will use the show to launch a new vehicle, the new 71,449 (81,750) Porsche 911 Carrera.</p><p>Described as a &quot;completely new generation&quot; of the iconic coupe (which first hit the road in 1963), the new Carrera features a 100mm longer wheelbase for improved stability and a heightened presence, with a lower roofline and wider frontage.</p><p>A new lightweight body, formed from aluminium-steel composite, makes the model up to 45 kg lighter than its predecessor, while a wider spoiler reduces lift to keep the car handling properly.</p><p>The model will be fully unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show (September 15-25) and will go on sale in December 2011.</p><p></p>?<p>Hair: Gow Tanaka using Paul Mitchell</p><p>Make-up: Adam de Cruz using Shu Uemura</p><p>Stylist's Assistant: Emma Akbareian</p><p>Photographer's Assistants: Rokas Darulis &amp; Andy Picton</p><p>Filming and Editing: Daniel Burdett</p><p>Shot on location at Hollywood Beachside Hotel Suites, Miami, With huge thanks to and The Surfcomber Hotel, Miami, .</p><p>Go to to see a fashion film of this shoot</p>?<p>After London and New York, fashionistas flew in to see over 66 designers on show on 76 runways, including an exclusive few who will show off their collections on catwalks in front of the city's towering Gothic cathedral.</p><p>Fashion giants Gucci, Alberta Ferretti and Roccobarocco will open the show on Wednesday, while Thursday's catwalks will star Fendi, D&amp;G and Prada.</p><p>Versace and Etro follow on Friday, with Bottega Veneta, Emporio Armani and Roberto Cavalli on Saturday.</p><p>Sunday and Monday see Dolce&amp;Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani and Just Cavalli on the catwalks.</p><p>Newcomers Carta e Costura, Erhan Coruh and N-U-D-E will be showing on Monday March 1, before buyers, journalists and the fashion set jet off to Paris Fashion Week, which will run until March 9.</p><p>The tiny cobbled streets around Milan's main cathedral square buzzed in the lead up to the first showings, with last-minute attempts to bag an invitation to exclusive after-show parties hosted by Gucci, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.</p><p>Milan's Camera Moda, which organises the week, has also arranged a host of cultural events, including visits to some of the city's museums, exhibition openings and a Duran Duran concert.</p><p>Those unlucky enough not to have been invited to the shows can watch the models shimmy down the catwalks for many of the top designers on large screens set up near the cathedral.</p><p>Roccobarocco, Ermanno Scervino, Frankie Morello, C'N'C Costume National and Emilio Pucci are among those who will be live streaming their shows.</p>?<p>No fewer than 78 fashion houses will show their ready-to-wear collections for spring/summer 2011.</p><p>As the shows move downtown - to the 16th-century Palazzo dei Giureconsulti and three other venues - they will also be broadcast live on big screens at four locations in the northern industrial city.</p><p>The extravaganza that used to be held at an exhibition centre northwest of Milan will cover six days, contrasting with a frantic long weekend in February, when American Vogue editor Anna Wintour threw organisers into a tailspin by indicating that she could spare only three days for Milan.</p><p>Top fashion houses concentrated their shows over those days, leaving smaller outfits in the cold with far less media coverage.</p><p>At the time, Milan mayor Letizia Moratti huffed: &quot;No one, even if her name is Anna Wintour, can make or unmake our fashion calendar.&quot;</p><p>Wintour, the inspiration for the book and subsequent film &quot;The Devil Wears Prada&quot; featuring the fearsome head of a fashion magazine, is regarded by many as the most influential person in the industry.</p><p>&quot;People were fed up with this senseless programme,&quot; said Mario Boselli, head of Italy's Fashion Chamber.</p><p>&quot;For the first time we managed to get all the designers around a table, including three non-members - Armani, Dolce &amp; Gabbana and Marni - and together we worked out a more balanced week,&quot; he said.</p><p>Gucci will kick off the pageant on Wednesday, followed by Fendi and Prada on Thursday, Moschino, Gianfranco Ferre and Versace on Friday, Bottega Veneta and Emporio Armani on Saturday, Dolce &amp; Gabbana and Salvatore Ferragamo on Sunday, and Roberto Cavalli and Giorgio Armani on Monday.</p><p>Organisers have come under fire for excluding collections of lingerie, swimwear and other labels designed for larger women.</p><p>&quot;It was a difficult but necessary decision,&quot; Boselli said. &quot;Some labels just weren't in line with what ready-to-wear week should be. We wanted to champion the values of creativity to reaffirm Milan's role in the world.&quot;</p><p>Notably, Elena Miro has not been invited to repea
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Crow is one of the Signers of the Crimson Dragon and brother to Yusei Fudo and Jack Atlus. Crow was one of the children that grew up without parents after he lost them at a young age. He didn't know how to read, write or do math. He also doesn't know his real name. Crow card. The children told him that the cards make the duelist and so he took on the name Crow from that card. He learned how to read, write and math through dueling and eventually became friends to Yusei and Jack, basically brothers.Years later, the three were apart of a team called, Team Satisfaction, a team dedciated to taking out the duel gangs of Satellite and uniting it for peace. With Kyosuke Kiryu, they achieved their dream, but it all fell to ruin when Kiryu went mad with power. Crow left the team first after Kiryu harmed a child and things became not the way it was. He came back to help save Kiryu, only to have it fail when the man was still arrested. Afterwards, the team broke up and Crow went his seperate way.Later he was known to take care of the children of the Satellite District. However, when a man came to their home and threatened them, Robert Pearson and Bolin came and stopped them. Crow and the children joined in and built Blackbird, a special d wheel that was made of the junk parts found on the island. Crow respected Robert for what all that he had done for the children. Giving them hope and a dream. However, the dream was shattered when Bolin, wanting money and power, tried to take Blackbird/Robert's deck and set the place on fire. Robert gave Blackbird and the Blackfeather deck to Crow before he burned in the flames. Crow took them and still took care of the children.Years later, Crow is still stealing decks and things for the children like Robin Hood when Yusei returns back. The two teamed up when Kiryu came back as a Dark Signer. However, Yusei failed the duel and nearly died had it not been for Crow taking him to Martha's home for surgery. He found Jeager coming out of a pit and tried to duel him, even with his fear of clowns. However, the duel was interrupted by the black smoke that consumed Satellite and made people disappear. Crow was lucky to have escape by falling into an abandoned refridgerator. He later finds out that the children were taken away and Crow sets out for revenge. He finds Bommer as a Dark Signer and duels him. He almost loses if Yusei hadn't come in and reminded him what he was doing. Crow was able to defeat Bommer and free some souls. During the duel again Rudger Godwin, the 'leader' of the Dark Signers, he discovers parts of Yusei's past including a picture of Yusei and his family. When Rex Godwin, the real leader of the Dark Signers, attacked, Crow joined in the three on one duel that he almost looses with 1 life point left. Yusei was able to break the marks from Rex and Crow gains his old mark, the Tail. By synchro summoning, Crow's monsters went in to power up Savior Star Dragon to attack the condor Earthbound and finally defeat it and save the world.Months later; Crow, Jack and Yusei all live in an apartment in Neo Domino under a clock tower called, Poppo Time. He owns his own delivery service called, Blackbird Deliveries, to help pay for the rent with Yusei while Jack is being lazy. Bolin returns in search of Blackbird and Black Feather Dragon and reveals to Crow that he was Robert's killer. They dueled and Crow was able to retrieve the dragon from the D wheel and use it to defeat and avenge Robert and the children's dreams.Crow's shoulder becomes dislocated in a sabotage run before the WRGP and became grief stricken about it because the children were depending on him. He turns that grief into motivation as he trained Aki Izayoi to duel on D wheels more. Later, he competes in the secound round against Team Catrosphe to get his revenge for sabotage. He was able to stop them. Crow knows the situation is getting worse with the Ghosts and Illiaster, but that doesn't stop him.Life on IriphosEditThe Bio Gate: Arc 1EditFor Arc 1, Crow was played by a different player who almost ran over Yugi Mutou. The player soon left and Crow was left in the dark. It's implied that during the three month time skip between Arcs, he actually traveled out to the world to search for his friends.The Bio Gate: Arc 2EditWelcome to ZaphiasEditCrow at the start of Arc 2 arrives at the rebuilding Zaphias. He was insearch for more clues about Yusei and Aki since this was the last known place they were seen. He hoped for more information, but ended up with some free bread given to him by Princess Zelda. He was soon joined by Flynn Scifo, Commandant of the Zaphian Knights. Rainbow Dash and Apple Jack (played by a different player, not to be confused with the current one) arrived on the world, confused as anything and so did Gabrelle. While they were making camp, a Kuwagamon attacked, but they took it out quick. Not wanting to deal with more, they moved their camp site alittle further and spent the night. They decided to try and head for Neo Domino as Robot Unicorn came into their camp. After getting it tamed via Zelda, the group headed off, as Apple Jack disappeared. Then they ran into two people on Chocobos. They were Yuri and Estelle, the two that Flynn was looking for.The Arcana Shadows: The Death of ZeldaEditThey followed after, however, the Chariot/Justice Arcanas in the form a tank, blew apart a fake Flynn that was leanding the Zaphian knights to them. Knowing they were in a fight, the group prepared with Crow summoning Black Feather Dragon. During the fight, he got poisoned but luckily, the dragon started to use his ability to stop it and reverse it to a debuff towards the shadows. However, Crow was nearly taken out by it's attack and witnessed Zelda's death. Angry for what had happened, he had the dragon fired a powerful blast with Flynn's Mystic Arte. However, it wasn't enough until Rainbow Dash used a Sonic Rainboom to destory it.Autobots and Zero ReverseEditDuring the recovery with the Zaphian Knights, Yuri appeared as Crow was speaking to Flynn about what had happened. He punched out the man and accused him for the things that had happened three months ago. At the same time, Optimus Prime and Arcee came in to the campsite. Crow tired his best to explain what had happened as Flynn and Yuri had an exhibition match to which the signer allowed, figuring out what Flynn wanted to do. 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