August 30 2014

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Moonlighting Models Bring Their Wares To Colette


Colette faithfully adheres to the mosh-pit school of event promotion: Position a bunch of people with interesting new ventures on the store’s upstairs fashion and art floor at bustling evening hours, have them invite all their friends, turn up the music, and watch the elbows fly to get in.

Monaco-based jeweler Gaia Repossi and her new best friend, the lovely model-cum-jewelry designer Anouck Lepère, can at least say their melée was in the service of a good cause. The two joined forces to benefit the children of Rwanda, whose plight Lepère saw firsthand when she visited the country two years ago. She and Repossi commissioned Rwandan villagers to braid rope for bracelets, cuffs, and armbands, which Repossi then embellishes with silver and gold chains and sells to benefit the nonprofit Kageno (“a place of hope” in Kenyan dialect). The pieces will be available at Colette this summer and more venues in the future. And to hear the ladies talk about it, it seems like the collaboration may not be the last. “This is my first time working for a charity and what I enjoyed was producing pieces with the people,” said Lepère, who traveled with photographer Dana Lixenberg to document the project (above).

Meanwhile, in another section of the store, Claudia Schiffer (above, with Carine Roitfeld) was on her own mission for quality. Schiffer’s cashmere knits launch this fall. “I’ve wanted to do something in fashion for a long time,” says the supermodel, who was escorted by Mario Testino. “But I didn’t want it to be the usual celebrity clothing license. I wanted this to be something to be proud of.” The line came about after Schiffer was invited by Suzy Menkes to speak at the International Herald Tribune‘s annual luxury conference, held that year in her native Germany. After Schiffer spoke about what she looks for in a fine brand, she was approached by the son of the founder of Iris von Arnim, the Hamburg-based cashmere house founded in the 1960′s. The supe was smitten, and the collection was born—eventually. “It has taken nearly two years to perfect the look,” says Schiffer of the black, white, and gray classics—think stripey cardigans and easy pullovers—”and now we’re on Net-a-Porter.” The label boasts no involved backstory, just a good match between a woman, a brand, and a longtime favorite. “I’ve loved [cashmere] since I was a little girl,” Schiffer said, “when I used to go into my mother’s closet and steal her sweaters.”

Photos: Courtesy of Claudia Schiffer / Courtesy of Gaia Repossi

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