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Birkin or Beckham or Both?... Mariah Carey's Designs...

Victoria Beckham denies saying her handbags are the new Birkin.

Victoria Beckham at Tsum Moscow

Victoria Beckham at Tsum Moscow.

Photo By Miguel

BIRKIN OR BECKHAM OR BOTH?: The Web was awash with reports Thursday that Victoria Beckham isso proud of her new line of handbags launching this holiday that she is ready to take on one of the icons in the category: Hermès. Various blogs and Web sites reported Beckham as saying “Beckham is the new Birkin.” The problem is, like so much with the Internet, she never said it. “Silly stories, where do they come from?” Beckham told WWD. “I have enormous respect and admiration for Hermès so to read ‘Beckham is the new Birkin’ is yet another totally ridiculous tabloid fabrication. I will not be trading in my Birkin! However, I will be carrying my own line of handbags as well!”

MARIAH’S DESIGNS: Mariah Carey is joining the ranks of celebrity designers but, unlike some of her colleagues who staged full-blown runway shows at New York Fashion Week, Carey is sticking to a medium she knows well — television. She’s partnering with HSN, and will launch a lifestyle collection that will feature jewelry, including pieces featuring her favored butterfly motif, footwear and a limited edition version of her Luscious Pink fragrance, with a butterfly-cap bottle and a personal note from the songstress. The shoes will be priced from $69.90 to $169.90, while the jewelry will be available from $39.99 to $199.95. Few other details are available, and Carey’s followers will have to wait until Nov. 29, when the line will make its debut on HSN and hsn.com.

FASHION’S MASTER CLASS: The topic at hand at the MAC & Milk Panel Wednesday was “How to Start a Business in Fashion,” but the subtext might have been all about taking one to the next level. Lesson number one: Play it cool when you’re speaking on a panel with someone who might write a big check to acquire at least a large part of your baby.

Shirley Cook, chief executive officer of Proenza Schouler, who together with designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez owns 55 percent of the company, with private equity firm Permira holding the balance, talked about the early days, when the odds were stacked against the brand and profit margins were “so small.” “Our friend’s father said to us, ‘Make your mistakes with other people’s money,’” she said.

Just the other side of the panel from Ed Filipowski of KCD, Zanna Roberts Rassi of Marie Claire and Darcy Penick of Shopbop sat Andrew Rosen, president and founder of Theory, who is said to be inching closer to doing a deal with Proenza Schouler, perhaps even buying the brand.

There was no mention of any wheeling and dealing, but Rosen did stress the importance of working at more established businesses before venturing out on one’s own. He also said work should be more than, well, work. “The company has to have a culture,” he said. “It has to have a soul. People have to want to come to work everyday.”

And maybe that’s because fashion can be such a slog, especially when collections are under way.

“You have to love it like there’s no tomorrow because it’s lots and lots of work,” said designer Peter Som, who noted designing was just a small part of the job. “One thing you really need to know going into the business is the business. Humility goes a long way.”

NEW TIE-UP: J. Crew is at it again. The retailer has teamed up with Larry McKaughan of Heller’s Café and Japanese cult denim brand Warehouse to offer its customers an extremely limited collection of one-of-a-kind vintage-inspired items. Extremely limited as in 20 pieces only. Each item is a reproduction from Heller’s archive, designed by Warehouse, with fits that have been updated to fit today’s customer. Items include turn-of-the-century U.S. Army work pants and a Fifties-era Boy Scout T-shirt. The inaugural capsule collection was offered on the company’s Web site from Thursday.

EXITING: Sandy Neiman has resigned as director of marketing for Paul Stuart. In an e-mail message sent late Thursday, Neiman said his last day at the store is today. He will be succeeded by Shahriar Shahandeh, whom Neiman said “has a strong background in branding.”

Neiman joined the specialty store in 2005 to help update the image of the company, introduce a new suit model and complementary products to appeal to a younger customer. He also worked to revitalize the store’s image, in-store presentation and e-commerce strategies. His prior experience had included Izod, Gant, Palm Beach, PBM, Ballin and Peerless.