Hurricane Irene, despite blowing over New York City with little damage, took a heavy toll on the city's retailers. Major department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale's boarded up their doors in anticipation of the storm. Women's Wear Daily reports: "the hurricane resulted in millions of dollars in lost business at retail in the next-to-last weekend of the critical back-to-school shopping season. Peter Morici, professor at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, estimated about $20 billion in direct damage plus another $20 billion to $25 billion in associated losses." But business might pick up in the coming days. Explains one mall manager, "Believe it or not, a lot of folks that lose power find the mall a safe haven and head over to it." [WWD]
Diane von Furstenberg canceled a fancy party she had planned for this weekend because of the hurricane. The designer called up Mayor Bloomberg himself for advice about the Southampton shindig, and when the mayor said to call the whole thing off, she did. [P6]
Two Ways Of Looking At A $39,000 Crocodile Skin Backpack
What is the mechanism that will inform the new generation of overconsumers have heard about this aspirational opportunity? Gossip sites, and the daily browses thereof. It's ingenuous, actually. And I'm not making the argument that handbags should not cost so much money. I'm not a luxury goods fellow myself, but that doesn't mean no one gets to be. I gave a recent issue of The Robb Report a peruse, and was shocked by the number of full-page ads for wristwatches. It struck me as funny, as a mundane object to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on. But it's a signifier, denoting that the wearer is truly a successful man. Same goes for handbags. And if these signifiers are popular, whether watches or knapsacks, it's not anybody's business but customer zero.
Colin T. McDonald, a professional stylist based in New York, is trying to buy one of the Olsen Row backpacks on behalf of a client who is, he said, marrying into "a very prominent and affluent Russian family" in New York. So far, he's stuck on the waiting list.
- Pippa Middleton is allegedly responsible for a rise in the sales of ballet flats in the U.K. [This Is London]
- Gemma Ward is said to have earned a role in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby. It's not known which character she will play — the three biggest female roles, Daisy Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson, and Jordan Baker are already cast — but the part is said to be "significant." Maybe Ward's been cast as Nick Carraway's "demoniac Finn"? That would certainly be playing against type. [Herald Sun]
- Max Azria, whose company has been in financial turmoil, will not show his namesake line at New York fashion week this season. The other lines that Azria designs for, BCBG Max Azria and Hervé Leger, will show as usual. And Vena Cava is downsizing from a runway show to a "friends and family" presentation — Tom Ford-style, the brand will release photos of the collection at a later date. [The Cut]
- Rag & Bone has announced some details of its next seasonal campaign. It asked models to arrange their own shoots, and style themselves, so Helena Christensen ended up photographing Karolina Kurkova on holiday in Ischia, Italy, Carolyn Murphy was shot by her daughter, and Miranda Kerr turned in photographs by Lily Aldridge. The ads aren't out yet, but this actually sounds kind of cool. [WWD]
- "Think pink but don't wear it," says Karl Lagerfeld in this video about his new Macy's collection. Coco Rocha appears in the clip, too. Lagerfeld says working with Macy's was a breeze. "I sketch, they make the choice, they make the clothes." [YouTube]
- Speaking of videos, we're kind of into how exuberant Anna Dello Russo is here, dancing on her own to Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" inside a gilded cage. Find your happy place, Anna. [YouTube]
- Tiffany's raised its prices, because gold and diamonds are really expensive right now, and because it's Tiffany's, and it can. The company was rewarded with a quarter where profits rose by one-third, to $90 million. [WWD]