Ann Romney's "style" gets the full Times tea-leaves reading today. How does the rich lady dress? In "breezy wrap dresses, form-fitting sheaths or mismatched prints that cautiously flirt with runway trends." What does it mean? A political analyst says that when Romney wore that $990 Reed Krakoff bird shirt on morning television, "I really think she was saying: ‘This is who I am. I like this shirt. So take your best shot.'" An image consultant says everything she wears is a deliberate attempt to counteract Mitt Romney's robot-member-of-the-1% quality. "She balances him out because he's such a stiff thing." A stylist says, "She is all over the map." Meanwhile, "Requests for interviews about her look were declined, or ignored, by Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Oscar de la Renta and Michael Kors, among others." [NYTimes]
- Here's something you don't see every day: Narciso Rodriguez is doing a collaboration with Kohl's this fall. That means Rodriguez is finally on par with such eminent designers as Lauren Conrad. [WWD]
- Meanwhile, emerging London designer JW Anderson will be doing a limited-edition line for Topshop. [Guardian]
- There's a random rumor that Michael Jackson will be the subject of the Met Costume Institute's 2014 show. [Hintmag]
- None other than Lorelai Gilmore will be joining Patricia Field as a guest judge on the next season of Project Runway. [WWD]
- Ricky's — the New York-area beauty-supply store where you can find just about anything — is expanding. It recently opened a store in Miami Beach, and last summer was said to be scouting locations in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Orlando. What can customers in those places expect?
Ricky's was an instant hit with the downtown creative set. The photographer Steven Meisel was an early customer, as were other fashion insiders who relied on [founder Ricky] Kenig to stock products that big chains deemed too niche. When Mr. Meisel wanted bobby pins with a matte black finish, Mr. Kenig used sandpaper to create the desired look.
That kind of customer feedback led Mr. Kenig to produce his own line of Rickycare products, which includes such seemingly esoteric products as a magnetic wristband for hairpins, a three-finger heat-resistant glove for handling hair irons and a dizzying assortment of bottles, jars and applicators.
His No-Crease clips were inspired by trips backstage at fashion shows, where he noticed that hairstylists were tucking tissue paper under bobby pins to avoid creasing the hair. He designed a clip with extra padding.
"Guido Palau has taken a liking to them," Mr. Kenig said.
Oh, and also pretty much everything there is competitively priced. [NYTimes]
- Tyra Banks will soon have a new New York office — in a building that will also house the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Banks wants to call her space the TZONE (are teenage girls, the group that the Lower Eastside Girls Club targets for social services, really going to want to be reminded of acne's favorite place?) and the building will also house "a bakery, studio space, a wellness center and a planetarium," because why not. [On The Runway]
- Spain's economy may be troubled by the ongoing banking crisis, but one prominent Spanish company is doing very well: Inditex, the parent company of Zara and by some measures the largest apparel retail chain in the world, just reported quarterly results that include a 30% year-on-year rise in profits, to $570 million. Total sales increased by 15%. [WWD]
- 50 Shades of Grey licensed merchandise is coming, inevitably. Products under consideration reportedly include lingerie, apparel, perfume, and bedding. Hello, missed opportunity for sex toys and rope? [THR]
- Esprit is still in trouble, especially in the U.S. The company C.E.O. just resigned, quickly followed by the chairman, sending shares plummeting. [WWD]
- Oscar de la Renta is doubling the size of its New York flagship store and opening a London flagship. [WWD]