Yes, an anonymous bidder paid $203,150 at auction for a purse. Well, not just any purse, a Birkin, the hard-to-get handbag fetish of celebrities and needy rich ladies the world over. And not just any Birkin, a Hermès Exceptional Collection Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile 30 cm Birkin Bag with Solid 18K White Gold & Diamond Hardware. Oh, obviously that is worth as much as a house or a college education. Surely!
Kim Kardashian and fiance Kris Humphries went shopping for their wedding registry at Gearys yesterday, a store that specializes in severe lampshades and angry-looking napkin rings. Come, let us tour the online registry for their Wedding of the Century. We seem to have a Wedding of the Century every month now, no? [Image via Bauer-Griffin]
• The September Issue debuted at the Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday night and the fashion set turned out en masse, not surprisingly. Just a few bits from the big event: Anna Wintour couldn't stop talking up Fashion's Night Out; Thakoon gushed that Anna is now "bigger than Madonna"; the film's unlikely star, Grace Coddington, emphasized that she really never wanted to take part in it; everyone ignored Tom Florio; Diddy claimed Anna as his fashion "godmother"; and Marc Jacobs, who insisted on putting on a French accent when speaking to reporters, argued that contrary to what most people think, Anna's really very "maternal and caring."
• Speaking of Jacobs, rumor has it his wedding to Lorenzo Martone will go down this weekend in Provincetown. And his big Fashion Week after-party, which was canceled last year, will return this fall.
• Christian Lacroix saved? Possibly! Although Lacroix is keeping mum, a bidder for the struggling fashion house may have emerged. [WWD, Reuters]
• More depressing news about the state of the retail: Manhattan's vacancy rate is 6.5% and rising. [NYT]
• Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are on the list of the 31 new inductees into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Like, congrats! [FWD, Cut]
• Hermès reports sales were up 12% during the second quarter. If you've continued to shop there despite the downturn, don't pat yourself on the back. Credit the strong sales of Kelly purses in Asia. [BN]
• It's bad news all around for fashion magazines this September. Ad pages in W are down 53% from last year; Allure has witnessed a 52% drop-off; Vogue is down 37%; and Elle has experienced a 21% decline. [AdAge]
• Rumor has it reality TV star/train wreck Susan Boyle is posing for a Harper's Bazaar photo shoot. The good news? She won't be on the cover. [DM]
• Here's a sign that people are shopping again (or else Victoria Beckham has gone on another shopping spree): Hermès says it's experiencing such "massive over-demand" for its handbags, it's been forced to set up its own crocodile breeding operation in Australia just to keep up. [Reuters via Cut]
• Esteban Cortazar appears to be parting ways with Emanuel Ungaro. It appears he plans to sue Ungaro, too. [WWD]
• Do you control a major luxury brand? Are you a fan of Chloe Sevigny? If you answered yes to both questions, give her a ring. She's willing to talk. [SF]
• A "couture" tattoo shop has opened in the Flatiron district. [W]
• The DKNY mural at Houston and Broadway is officially gone. [BB]
So you've probably been hearing that the recession has eased a bit, and there are signs the U.S. economy is finally turning the corner. Fewer people are losing their jobs! The stock market had its best April in years! People are spending money again! We have absolutely no idea if this is true or it's all part of some plot by Ben Bernanke to use the power of positive thinking to improve the economic outlook—and if that's the case, we're really screwed—but here's a sign that our darkest days are behind us: Someone actually spent $6 million buying the first-ever Hermès-designed helicopter (or "l'Hélicoptère par Hermès," as they like to refer to it). Okay, so the buyer is in Abu Dhabi and "signature Hermès orange accents" and "natural-grained Hermès calf leather upholstery" never really goes out of style there, but still! We're totally taking this as a positive sign regardless. [Luxist]
• Kelly Cutrone's forthcoming reality show has a name: Kell on Earth will be a "no-holds-barred look into the life of one of America's most legitimate tastemakers," according to Bravo. [Fashionista]
• Project Runway is looking for contestants for the show's seventh season. Unfortunately if you make the cut, you'll be appearing on Lifetime. [NYM]
• Emma Watson is the new face of Burberry. [SW]
• What's Arden Wohl up to? Posing for a lookbook, for one thing. [Nylon]
• Eccentric fashion on NYC social scene: the hits and misses. [WWD]
• A woman who sold four fake Birkin bags has been fined $7.5 million. It went down in Taiwan, though, so the ladies of Canal Street are safe for now. [NYM]
• At long last, Karl Lagerfeld has his very own Ken doll "complete with matching black suit, high white collar, white ponytail, silver leather gloves." The doll-like photo to your left? That's the genuine article. [Racked]
• Either Adele suddenly dropped a ton of weight before her Annie Leibovitz photo shoot or Vogue's art department has been working overtime. [Jezebel]
• French officials are considering a law that would require magazines to disclose the fact they've manipulated a photo. That sound you just heard was Pascal Dangin shudder with disgust. [BI]
• The fashion world has "slowed down and sobered up," but "the recession could turn out to make designers better designers," says Cathy Horyn. [NYT]
Not that Padma Lakshmi needed any help in ensnaring her next billionaire boyfriend, but this can't hurt: Indian models are apparently the next big thing in the modeling world, an industry that is finally recognizing "their potential and versatility in selling high fashion," reports ABC News. Willowy Brazilians Gisele Bundchen and Adriana Lima? They're so five minutes ago as advertisers and editors book new faces from the subcontinent like September Harper's Bazaar cover girl Kangana Dutta and Ford model Lakshmi Menon, who's been in recent campaigns for Hermes and Givenchy.
♦ Pat Field's debuted her line for HSN today. The Carrie-like dresses cost $150 a pop and each order comes with a subscription to Vogue. "If only Anna Wintour would go on the air and shill along with Pat Field." [The Cut]
♦ Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen might be feuding, their neighbors might hate them, but their fashion empire keeps expanding: They've just signed a deal with Steve Madden to create a shoe line under their Elizabeth and James brand. [WWD]
♦ The first painting of Kate Moss ever to be sold at auction—"a self-portrait in lipstick marked with her own lip prints and stains of her former boyfriend Pete Doherty's blood"—is expected to go for between £30,000 and £40,000 in London on Saturday. Meanwhile the subject of an upcoming show at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris will be "the Kate Moss myth" in advertising. [Telegraph, WWD]
♦ Video of the new Prada collection (and models falling on the runway) from the show in Milan earlier this evening. [NYT]
In "Deluxe," Dana Thomas, Newsweek's culture and fashion writer in Paris, writes about how the luxury market went mass market. In this little excerpt, she looks at the swelling and obsessive handbag market—and takes a trip to an Hermes workshop. (By the way, the book is blurbed by both Fareed Zakaria and Richard Johnson! Crazy.) "Deluxe," published by The Penguin Press, arrives August 16th.