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2010 March 24

The Spring Lecture Awakening

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Kimora Lee Simmons Kimora Lee Simmons
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(NEW YORK) The advent of spring used to signal the beginning of press trip season---and the return of the two-hour "business" lunch---but for some strange reason, Spring 2010 is all about clogs and...lectures. From Boston to Brooklyn to Moscow, fashion's luminaries are hankering for some face time with a moderator and a captive audience.

Just this week, Michael Kors, Anna Wintour, and Natalia Vodianova were chauffeured all the way to Massachusetts for a panel discussion on models and anorexia at Harvard Business School. Because you know---the students at HBS are losing sleep at night over the fact that Kors won’t cast anyone younger than 16 at his fashion shows. Wintour will, of course, continue her democratic speaking series on April 19 by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge for an engagement at Pratt.

Wintour’s Russian counterpart, Aliona Doletskaya, will host a public lecture of her own this week at Moscow’s Baibakov Art Projects space (which is housed at Red October Chocolate Factory). This Friday, Doletskaya will share the stage with Debora Spar, president of Barnard College, for a discussion very elaborately entitled Women and Power: The Evolving State of Women’s Leadership in the 21st Century.

Gilles Mendel, Tommy Hilfiger, and most recently, Marc Jacobs starred in French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) public sessions while FIT planned a nice little program of its own for spring. Thom Browne got his turn at the microphone on Monday, and Prabal Gurung will follow him on April 12. Rodarte duo Kate and Laura Mulleavy will have a conversation with Valerie Steele on May 4 (they’ll be in town for the Met Gala) while Vogue’s André Leon Talley will chat with Steele on May 6.

But if you don't have a phobia of public spectacles, you can still purchase tickets for TimesTalks' two hour conversation between Lynn Hirschberg and Zoolander 2 star Ben Stiller on April 6 for $30. And if you really want to learn something, how about this gem from Learning Annex: a fashion industry boot camp from Kimora Lee Simmons on April 20. It will set you back $44.95 (!) but the two hour rant on something called ‘fabulosity’ at the Hilton may be worth the price of admission.

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