VERSACE IS ROSY: A few days after unveiling ambassador Hyunjin from Stray Kids is fronting the 2023 holiday ad campaign, Versace looked again to the Far East, naming Chinese actress Rosy Zhao its new global brand ambassador.

The Chinese personality who turns 25 Thursday has frequently sported Versace gear on her public appearances and attended the luxury brand’s runway show for spring 2024 in Milan last September. There, she donned an A-line spaghetti dress bearing a baby blue checkerboard pattern with rhinestones and crystals framing the neckline, accessorized with satin black platform pumps and leather tote bag.

“I am thrilled Rosy is joining our Versace family. I love her style, her energy and her spirit. She is a powerful Versace woman,” said chief creative officer Donatella Versace.

The ambassador-tapping game is getting increasingly hotter, especially for celebrities in China and South Korea, with brands rushing to secure deals with personalities in a bid to expand their awareness and footprint in the region. Zhao counts about 87.7 million followers across Weibo, Red, Instagram and Douyin.

“The power of Versace is clear to see in the perfectly designed clothes and stunning Italian craftsmanship, but for me, the real power of Versace is how it makes me feel my personal strength when I wear it. Thank you Donatella, I can’t wait to start this exciting chapter together,” Zhao said.

The actress, whose original name is Zhao Lusi but who is internationally known as Rosy, debuted as a host to variety show “Mars Intelligence Agency” in 2016 and landed her first actress job a year later, starring in a supporting role in the web drama “Cinderella Chef.” Her popularity increased with the release of the historical romantic series “Untouchable Lovers” in 2018 and by playing her first leading role in historical drama “Oh! My Emperor.” In 2019 she won her first prize, the Newcomer Award, at the Golden Bud — The Third Network Film and Television Festival, followed in 2020 by the Best Leading Actress prize at the Wenrong Awards.

Starring in leading roles in Chinese television dramas and series, including “The Long Ballas,” “Who Rules The World,” and “Love Like the Galaxy,” Zhao gained huge international acclaim this year by starring in “Hidden Love,” a drama series  based on the Chinese novel “Secretly, Secretly; But Unable to Hide It” by Zhu Yi, which is centered on the blossoming love affair between a young girl and her older brother’s best friend. The series landed on Netflix last June and was a hit for the streaming platform.

In her role, Zhao joins the likes of Chinese singer, actress and model Chris Lee, who fronted the Versace Icons campaign alongside Anne Hathaway, as well as Hyunjin. — MARTINO CARRERA

KNIGHT TIME: Burberry is taking its Streets project to New York, opening the Knight Bar, a temporary takeover of Temple Bar in NoHo, and recreating a small, quiet corner of London in the city that never sleeps.

For seven days, from Friday to next Thursday, the bar will be decorated in a new Burberry red check and serve a special menu curated by Norman’s, the North London café famous for its English muffins, scrambled eggs, sausages, battered fish and hash browns.

Burberry will also host a special evening event at the bar on Thursday. Next door to the Knight Bar there will be a window installation that draws inspiration from a London street. It will also be decorated in the brand’s new red check.

The Knight Bar takes inspiration from designer Daniel Lee’s Knight bag for fall 2023, and the refreshed Equestrian Knight design, which has been part of the house’s archives since 1901.

“We are thrilled to announce the fourth installment of Burberry Streets, landing in New York for the holidays. Following successful events in London, Seoul and Shanghai, we’re looking forward to celebrating the season as well as the launch of the Knight bag at Knight Bar,” said Rod Manley, chief marketing officer at Burberry.

A first look at Burberry's Streets installation in New York City.

A first look at Burberry’s Streets installation in New York City.

Streets started in London in September, and later traveled to Seoul, where it offered fashion, food, and special retail experiences showcasing Daniel Lee’s first collection for the brand. It later moved to Shanghai. 

As reported, Burberry Streets is meant to draw attention to the fall collections; the brand’s British heritage, and its signature designs, which include the famed check in a new shade of cobalt blue; the English rose print, and the leaping Equestrian Knight.

During London Fashion Week, a traveling Norman’s food truck was park on The Strand in central London and on Duke of York Square on the King’s Road serving snacks and British breakfast classics to show goers and members of the public.

There was even a little Norman’s food truck parked outside Burberry’s fashion show tent in Highbury Fields, north London.

Flags with Burberry’s new rose print were hoisted above Bond Street while the mega-screens at Piccadilly Circus showed videos from the brand’s fall 2023 campaign.

The brand turned the Bond Street tube station into Burberry Street, wrapping it in the new blue branding and Equestrian Knight design. 

In Seoul, Burberry launched a project called Seongsu Rose, which ran until Nov. 5.

The Seongsu Rose hub, at 73 Yeonmujang-gil Seongdong-gu, was located in a vast former factory space. At its center was the Petal Maze, an installation inspired by the English rose, a new motif that features big in Lee’s collections.

The interactive maze featured handcrafted, sculpted shapes such as petals, stems and leaves. They served as a backdrop for Burberry’s fall 2023 collection, with areas dedicated to shoes, bags and ready-to-wear.

Outside the main space there were two smaller pop-ups: Seongsu Shoe and Seongsu Bottle, offering footwear and hot water bottles, respectively, from the fall 2023 collection.

In addition, a purple rose print flew on flags and buildings on the streets of Seongsu, while Burberry symbols popped up in multiple locations across the capital. — SAMANTHA CONTI

BLEU ROYAL: A 17.61-carat fancy vivid blue diamond sold Tuesday for $44 million — a high price, but short of its highest estimate.

An anonymous bidder scooped up the stone, dubbed Bleu Royal, in just seven minutes over the phone, according to AFP.

Blue Royal Christie's

The Blue Royal fancy vivid blue diamond is set in a ring with two white diamonds.

Estimated to sell between $35 million and $50 million ahead of the sale, the pear-shaped stone — which is set in a ring with two white diamond flankers — went under the hammer during Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction in Geneva.

During a Paris preview ahead of the auction, Christie’s Europe’s chairman François Curiel lauded the richness and depth of the stone’s blue hue, deeming it “one of the most beautiful [the auction house] have ever had.” The stone had been held in a private collection for some five decades.

While not the priciest specimen to have gone on the block in recent years, Bleu Royal certainly tops the scales in terms of size and is internally flawless.

Only a handful of blue diamonds over 10 carats have been sold at auction in recent years, including the 15.10-carat De Beers Blue, which sold for $57.4 million in 2022; the 14.62-carat emerald-cut Oppenheimer Blue, which went for $57.5 million in 2016 and remains the priciest stone on record; the 13.22-carat Winston blue at $23.8 million in 2013, and an 11.28-carat stone went for $25.3 million in Hong Kong a month ago.

But the record per carat is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine sold at Sotheby’s in 2015.

This fancy vivid cushion-shaped stone went for $48.4 million, or just over $4 million per carat, to controversial Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung, who set near-simultaneously another price record — with a pink diamond at Christie’s.

Blue diamonds are exceedingly rare, with industry experts estimating they only account for one carat out of every 25,000 carats mined. — LILY TEMPLETON

MOVING ON: Timberland global brand president Susie Mulder is exiting the company.

Mulder, who assumed the role in April 2021, revealed her departure internally this week. Nina Flood, the vice president and general manager of Timberland EMEA, will step in to take the helm of the brand on an interim basis, the company confirmed.

“After two-and-a-half years, Susie has announced she will be leaving VF to pursue a new opportunity. Susie made many contributions during her time with the brand, and leaves a strong foundation, strategy and leadership team to move the brand and business forward,” Colin Wheeler, vice president of corporate affairs and communications at VF Corp., said in an emailed statement.

Susie Mulder

Susie Mulder

Wheeler added that Flood is the right person to take the interim role. “Nina has been a successful leader at VF for 20 years, within various leadership roles including president of Global Packs [Eastpak, JanSport and Kipling] before taking the helm at Timberland EMEA earlier this year,” Wheeler said.

Prior to Mulder joining Timberland in April 2021, the company’s global brand president role had been vacant since January 2020, when Jim Pisani stepped down.

Mulder was the chief executive officer of Nic + Zoe for almost a decade prior to Timberland, and before that, she was a partner at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

The executive’s departure comes at a time of struggle for parent VF Corp., which is facing pressure from two activist investors. Amid a weak fiscal second-quarter earnings report and forecast, Timberland sales fell 7 percent during the period (10 percent on a constant currency basis). WWD reported that investors could be interested in snapping up Timberland as VF spins off some labels.

Mulder’s exit is the latest of several leadership departures for the challenged company. Longtime VF veteran Steve Rendle announced his decision to retire from his position as chairman, president and CEO in December 2022. (Bracken Darrell was announced as president and CEO in June.)

As for other VF brands, the company announced last month that Vans global brand president Kevin Bailey — who joined in 2002 and returned to the helm last year after holding other roles at the parent company — was stepping down.

Under Bracken, the company last month launched a transformation plan called “Reinvent.” It focuses on strengthening the North American business, overhauling Vans and cutting costs. — PETER VERRY

FUR’S CYCLE: The International Fur Federation, the global organization that represents every element of the supply chain — farmers, trappers, manufacturers, dressers, dyers and retailers among them — has unveiled its latest effort in sustainability: Furcycle, a labeling system that authenticates vintage and pre-owned fur items.

The system identifies fur items that are aged 20 years and above as vintage fur, and those made at least three years ago as pre-owned fur.

IFF said each piece carrying the label will undergo “a meticulous inspection process by a certified professional furrier, ensuring it meets the highest standards of quality and authenticity.”

The information on the type of fur used, its origin, the manufacturer, the place of manufacture, and an estimation of the year it was manufactured, will be available on IFF’s “Trace Now” platform. Any history about a piece being repaired, cleaned or remodeled, will also be logged into the system.

Mark Oaten, chief executive officer of the IFF, said the organization remains “dedicated to empowering consumers to make informed and conscious decisions when purchasing natural fur.”

“The Furcycle label allows us to emotionally connect the customer with the pre-loved item they are purchasing and providing them the assurance when shopping beautiful and timeless pre-loved and vintage fur,” he added.

The introduction of Furcycle comes a year after IFF unveiled Furmark, a single certification and traceability framework for natural fur that meets animal welfare and environmental standards. — TIANWEI ZHANG

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