>> After nine seasons of color-saturated Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott-shot ad campaigns, Miu Miu is going in a new direction, courtesy of Bruce Weber, who shot the latest Miu Miu muse — 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld — for the label's Fall 2011 campaign. Steinfeld first began a relationship with Miuccia Prada at the beginning of the year, when she wore Prada to the SAG Awards, according to her stylist, Karla Welch: “Miu Miu is such a perfect fit for her. Throughout awards season, they were the dresses she wanted to wear.” She went on to attend the Miu Miu show in March as a special guest of Miuccia Prada. [TFS]
>> Not a day after the Financial Times's Vanessa Friedman predicted a return by John Galliano to the fashion industry — "People love a redemption story," she noted — Cathy Horyn reports that LVMH is considering re-hiring the designer:
"On Thursday, I ran into a number of executives who work with LVMH, and they would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of their close dealings. One individual said there had been casual discussions among LVMH executives about the feasibility of Mr. Galliano returning to his own label. Would the media and the public accept his return? This individual said he thought so. Another executive with whom I spoke had the same view. He cited the appeal of Mr. Galliano’s ultrafeminine fashion and added that in recent years the designer had lost touch with that sensibility (and indeed reality). 'It became a kind of Lady Gaga show, and he’s more talented than this,' the executive said."
Horyn, too, wants to see "what in time will be the rehabilitation of Mr. Galliano’s career. I hope he continues to get treatment. He should have a second chance."
>> Although it has been rumored for some time — and denied by her rep as recently as March — Natalia Vodianova has confirmed that she and husband Justin Portman, whom she married in 2001 (and with whom she has three children), are separated: "It's really sad. It has been a while. We didn't want to talk about it. We still don't. Our children are very much aware of it. It's OK. We're still in a very sensitive position right now, and trying to do things as amicably as possible, so I wouldn't want to talk about it at all. I don't think I ever will want to, because it's strictly between my husband and me."
When asked if she was currently seeing someone else, Vodianova replied: "This is not really something to discuss at the moment. It's sensitive." However, when prodded about whether she was in love, the model said: "Mmm-hmm. Yes, definitely." She would not, however, divulge an identity. Vodianova has recently been snapped with and linked to British financier Sasha Pesko, who used to date Eugenia Silva.
>> Tiny earrings, serious style. Grown-up gold meets unconventional shapes for the perfect mix of elevated playfulness. From softly abstract flowers to whimsically ferocious beasts, these unexpected little statement studs go way beyond the basic pair. Click through for our selects from Bing Bang, Melissa Joy Manning, Elizabeth Cole (left) and more.
>> An elegant kind of effortless permeated the 42 looks designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri turned out for Valentino's 2012 Resort collection. “If you’re not comfortable, you don’t look chic,” Piccioli stated. To his point, shirtdresses, suits, shifts and jumpsuits were cut in flattering lines around the body, resulting in loosely cinched waists, a-line skirts, and drapey, fluttery sleeves. Ivory lace and soft floral chiffon played easily amongst the feminine — and sometimes flirty— silhouettes, while silk, cotton, and leather in olive, navy, and ochre provided a playful sleekness. “This is about joyfulness and prettiness,” Chiuri explained.
>> After his menswear show Tuesday in Milan, Giorgio Armani denounced the fashion industry for being "in the hands of" high finance rather than the fashion houses themselves. "I’ve wanted to say something about this for awhile, and now’s the time: Fashion is in the in the hands of the banks [and] the stock market," Armani told reporters. "It no longer belongs to the owners, but to those above them. I still haven’t been able to understand how the banks influence our line of work — it’s a mystery."
When he was asked whether his comments were a reference to Prada's recent IPO, Armani replied: "I don’t have debts. Instead, Prada’s problem is that they have to pay back the money that the banks spent to build up the brand." He noted that he preferred independence and had no plans to sell his company. "There are thousands of ways to make money. But for me, I don’t want to wind up having to knock on the door of some Thai managers to explain myself."
Armani also suggested that houses like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana make men look ridiculous, and blamed the press for not being more critical about clownish runway styles that men don't wear. Prada is "ingenious" for her "irony," he said, "and bad taste that becomes chic." But, certain Prada collections are "sometimes ugly," he noted, and stil always get positive coverage in the press. "You know why . . . " His clothes, meanwhile, he said make men look more handsome and elegant.
Both Prada and Dolce & Gabbana declined to comment.
>> A fusion of military details, Edwardian silhouettes, and the idea of "romantic utility" characterized Sarah Burton's Resort 2012 outing for Alexander McQueen. While staying true to plenty of classic McQueen elements — high necks, cinched waistlines, gold-embellished gowns — the collection also featured an injection of Burton's now-signature sense of softness. Corsetless tulle gowns, fitted lace dresses, and soft-ruffled peplums in elongated cuts portrayed a new, easier wearability. African-inspired leopard prints, colorful embroidery, and mirrored appliques added intrigue to the otherwise neutral palette of khaki, navy, ivory and black.
>> 16-year-old Zimbabwean model Nyasha Matonhodze majorly hit the model radar upon bagging a slot in the Fall 2011 Louis Vuitton ad campaign, and it looks like Vuitton show stylist Katie Grand is helping her perpetuate her rise. Matonhodze is featured on the latest issue (likely the first cover of many for the issue) of the Grand-edited LOVE magazine. [@THELOVEMAGAZINE]
>> After a three-year run with Uniqlo, Jil Sander's Fall 2011 +J collection will be her last, the company announced today in a release: "With the recent completion of the design of the . . . Fall and Winter collection, Ms. Sander and [Uniqlo] agreed that they had fully explored the possibilities of their creative collaboration and accomplished what they had set out to do. Consequently, the two parties have decided to wrap up their design consulting agreement with this collection."
Uniqlo has never disclosed revenue for the +J line, and although Sander is notoriously difficult to work with, her relations with the company seemed to be going well as recently as February. According to an interview dated Feb. 1 with Tadashi Yanai, CEO and founder of Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing, Yanai said: “Jil’s attitude towards clothing creation is truly incredible. She is particularly masterful when it comes to garment shape and style. She will recreate and refresh her designs until she is completely satisfied — even when it comes to the minutest detail. That is why customers feel so satisfied with the fit of collection clothes the instant they try them on. Uniqlo must embrace this fundamental attitude, as well as the passion and attention to detail that Jil brings to creating clothes.”
A Fast Retailing spokesman confirmed today that the company's team of 100 designers “learned a lot” while working with Sander, including her famed attention to detail in selection of raw materials.
>> It's Summertime, and the dressing's easy. To make it that much breezier, we've rounded up 15 crave-worthy dresses in this season's chicest length — and compiled the best accessories to pair with them. From the sweetest floral-prints for day to the sleekest silks for night, these ankle-grazing ensembles will take you everywhere you need to go — in style. Click through to see all the looks.
At left: Lanvin Spring 2011 backstage, photo by Greg Kessler