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RUSSIAN FEVER: Irfe, which presented an homage to its roots during couture week, will be following with a ready-to-wear show in Paris in October. The brand was originally founded by exiled aristocrats Prince Felix Yusupov and his wife, Princess Irina Youssoupov, née Romanov, in Paris in 1924. Designer Olga Sorokina is behind the resurrection, with the blessing of the Yusupovs' granddaughter, Xenia Sfiris. The pair will decorate the brand's first store on Moscow's Stoleshnikov Lane, to open in December. "It will have the same spirit as the original [store's] decor," said Sorokina of the space, which will feature paintings by Alexander Yakovlev. Openings are also planned for Paris, Milan, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Shanghai.
WINNING WOOL DESIGNER: "I'm coming to Paris," declared Qui Hao, winner of the inaugural Australian Merino Woolmark Prize, presented at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris on Thursday night. The 30-year-old Chinese designer's entries included a white tube dress encircled with knitted orbs of Merino wool, inspired by a series of cave photos by Wang Gang. Hao said he plans to use the award, that represents 100,000 euros, or $158,000 at current exchange, in funding, to transfer to Paris. A limited edition design by Hao will also be carried at Colette as an exclusive.
"I'm looking to move to the next stage," said the designer, who currently works from a Forties high-ceilinged studio in Shanghai where he coowns four stores.
"It's the first time that we've worked with young designers and it presented many interesting challenges," said Daniella Sterni, head of collections for Italian knitwear producer Jupiter, which worked on five out of the 10 finalists' designs, including that of Louise Goldin. Sterni said the firm, which produces knitwear for the likes of Balenciaga, Jil Sander and Givenchy, is now considering producing the next runway collection for co-finalists Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann.