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Lecture Series Growing in Popularity

The French Institute Alliance Francaise, FIT, Newsweek and the Daily Beast are debuting lecture series this month.

CAN WE TALK?: Suddenly everyone has something to say. Lecture series have always been part of the New York life, there seems to be an abundance of newcomers to the roster. Perhaps hoping to poach some of the loyalists to 92Y’s Fashion Icons Series with Fern Mallis, the French Institute Alliance Francaise debuts its Power of Style series April 10 when Rachel Roy and Mary Alice Stephenson sit down for a chat. This afternoon at FIT Michelle Cushnie and Carly Ochs will talk shop and their input to the new Phaidon Press book “Patterns: 10 Curators, 100 Fashion Designers.”


Diane von Furstenberg, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Brown, Angelina Jolie and Hillary Rodham Clinton will be among the heavyhitters at Newsweek’s and the Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit, which gets underway today in New York. Forbes has its own Women’s Summit planned for next month. Lauren Bush and Warby Parker cofounder David Gilboa will be part of the speaker lineup at the New York Ideas Forum May 7 at the New York Historical Society. The Atlantic is even hosting the first annual summit on the State of the Middle Class.


All this conversation is no doubt meant to rake in money, publicity and new fans. As for whether it will subside, that question was put to Alison Riley first designed and started selling business cards that simply read “Stop Talking” in 2004. She said sales for those cards are steadily increasing. Riley got the idea while working in fashion as design director at Barneys New York. “I was forever answering questions and dealing with the nonstop stress and distraction of conversations in my office. I finally made the cards and put them on my desk. They went so quickly I started charging people a quarter,” said Riley who exited Barneys to start Set Editions.


Interestingly, Riley has found another medium. She just finished “Your Name Here” her first novel about a woman who writes correspondences to relay other people’s bad news for them. “It’s the ‘I’m divorcing you,’ ‘I’m gay,’ ‘I’m leaving you,’ ‘I’m moving out’ letters — all of it,” Riley said.

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