With Chloé cornering the market in airbrushed and silk-screened T-shirts, arts-and-crafts-inspired designers are moving on to photography. Tufi Duek has stenciled summery signifiers (Popsicles, flip-flops, cherry sodas) across his bright-colored shells ($87, Neiman Marcus catalogue, 888-884-6136). Markus Lupfer opted for abstract shots (a crowd, rooftops, the ocean) on A-line silk skirts and matching tops ($400-$635 at Kirna Zabête). And Anya Hindmarch's handbags (available at her boutique, 29 East 60th Street), which feature images like John Waters-esque suburban streets and oversize goldfish, command up to $500 -- without a single Swarovski crystal bead.
Coal Burns Hot
You might think twice about placing a Burning Relic piece on that white mohair rug: Jim Zivic and Warner Wada's furniture is fashioned from anthracite. The collection originated when they saw a nineteenth-century English table carved from coal on the British Antiques Roadshow. After learning that waxing and polishing made the crude surface as smooth as mahogany, they found a Pennsylvania mine to supply the coal. The new line has found fans in interior designers Bill Sofield and Thierry Despont, who recently ordered two 1,000-pound "Monolith" tables. Lou Reed owns a few pieces, including the "Prairie" table, and even interrupted a rehearsal for his upcoming tour to check out prototypes of the latest designs in the back of Zivic's pickup truck.
To the Point
"I thought I looked like a wicked witch," says publicist Lizzie Grubman, who wears a size 8. "I thought I would trip on the extra inches. But now I have a bunch of Jimmy Choos with the points." After some hesitation, fashion's front line is head over heels for this season's needle-nosed shoe. "They're excruciatingly uncomfortable," admits Kirna Zabête co-owner Sarah Hailes of her size-10 Alain Tondowski heels. "But they look fabulous. I stick to darker colors because they make your feet look smaller." Sigerson Morrison merchandise director Nanni Froehlich wears a size 11, the line's largest size. "I'm tall, so my feet are in proportion," she says nonchalantly. "Besides, square-toed shoes are out."
While LVMH, Prada, and Gucci continue to battle for the luxury brands of Europe, Pegasus, an American fashion-financing group, is attempting to stake its claim Stateside. Headed by Stephen Ruzow, a former Donna Karan executive, the company is eyeing names like Matt Nye, John Bartlett, Pamela Dennis, Cynthia Rowley, and designer-of-the-moment Miguel Adrover to build the empire. Some industry experts, however, are slightly puzzled by the selection of talent. "Everyone claims they are talking with Miguel because he is such a hot commodity," hisses one fashion buyer. "Cynthia Rowley? Who is interested in her besides teenage girls going to the prom?" Another fashion flack was genuinely stumped, remarking, "Pamela Dennis? This group sounds like a bad CFDA cocktail party!" Matt Nye, who is in preliminary talks with Pegasus, defends his potential future boss, noting that "this is only the initial stage. In ten years, we may all think he is a genius."