The Fashion Month is a round up of fashion news as reported in the best newspapers and magazines. We've ploughed through every interview, business story, photo-shoot and scrap of fashion copy to give you an overview of what happened in April. The Big Story is an analysis of the main happening(s) in fashion... Who Shot What looks at fashion pages... Bits 'n' Bobs is a compilation of news snippets and gossip... Oxygen scoops quotable quotes... and Business News covers fashion finance. All British magazines referred to are May issues (out in early to mid-April); all overseas magazines are April issues

Stella's big adventure

STELLA MCCARTNEY, aged 25, designer and daughter of someone famous, was appointed chief designer at Chloe in Paris, a move (with a rumoured salary of pounds 100,000) which caused a massive outcry in the fashion world. "The criteria was talent," said Mounir Mouffaridge, Chloe's president, who saw 41 other candidates for the job. Others accused him of going for a "name" as a cheap publicity stunt.

Stella will take over from Karl Lagerfeld, who has held the position for 23 years in total (from 1965 to 1983 and then from 1992 to 1997). Lagerfeld is massively experienced and also designs his own KL line, ready- to-wear and couture collections for Chanel and Fendi. Stella's own label is 18 months old and she has just three commercial collections under her belt.

The moment the news broke, Stella was in all the papers. "Stella hits back at snipers", said the Evening Standard; "She'll get by (with a little help from her friends)", said the Daily Mail one day, and "Can't buy me jobs" the next. Hello! went for a non-judgemental splash: "Stella McCartney replaces Karl Lagerfeld as Chloe's Chief Designer."

Some were kind, some were not. Hilary Alexander at the Daily Telegraph found Stella cleaning and worrying who would look after her fish when she went to Paris. Dina Rabinovich of the Guardian seemed impressed, finding Phoebe (Stella's assistant) happy to go to the loo in front of her, and reporting on how Stella opened the doors to journalists herself, carried a bag of rubbish, and rushed to put make-up on before being photographed. She concluded, "She's working, and succeeding. How many rock star's children could you say that about?"

Tamsin Blanchard of the Independent (with pics taken by Stella's sister Mary) noted Stella drinks Diet Coke, just like Karl, wears a "Stella" necklace and has SNM monographed on shirts in her collection (her middle name is Nina). Stella also plans to introduce culottes to her collection "in the way someone not old enough to have worn them when they flapped their way through the Seventies could." Mimi Spencer of the Evening Standard got her first post-Chloe interview. Spencer described Stella as the "archetypal Portobello girl. If anyone can do that [rejuvenate Chloe] Stella can." She describes Lagerfeld's last collection for Chloe as being "about as current as an old newspaper."

No matter, the Daily Mail's Angela Mollard and Christian Gysin don't seem too impressed, reminding us that, "To the piercing scream of 'Stella' - recorded from Brando's performance in A Streetcar Named Desire - she upstaged her fellow college students and announced herself as the girl to watch." (Stella studied at St Martin's and Yasmin, Naomi and Kate modelled at her graduation show.) Wendy Dagworthy, Stella's course director, was reported as saying that Stella was a "very hardworking girl but I would say that she did not really stand out". A former student is not so kind. "Stella completely took over," they recall of her graduation show. "She totally took the spotlight off everybody else."

Vicky Ward and Annabel Cole of the Daily Mail tried on some of Stella's designs, noting that they don't come above a size 12. "A lot of women can't fit into them," a saleswoman tells them in Tokio (one of the two stockists of Stella's clothes). "You have to have a certain kind of figure," the sales girl continued. Ward and Cole concluded that Stella should go back to the classroom. Oh dear, criticism, says Rabinovitch in the Guardian, makes Stella's "chiffon blue eyes momentarily pale". But joy! Alexander in the Daily Telegraph disagrees with this clothes-don't-fit nonsense. When sent to interview Stella, Alexander tries on a window-pane checked tweed overcoat. "I'd buy it on the spot were it not for the fact that it belongs to Stella," says Alexander. "And I'm a short pear with swimmer's shoulders."

Business News

Ralph Lauren's company - which last year made a profit of $100 million - is going public. Lauren owns 78 per cent of the company and the share sale value has been put at around $3 billion. He is also launching a new line, Polo Jeans, later this year and will open a 45,000 sq ft flagship store in London's New Bond Street in 1998. Sources: Evening Standard, Sunday Express

Kookai, owned by Forminster, is set to expand. It will open another 10 outlets this year, bringing the total to 39. Kookai came to the UK in 1991, but initially went into receivership. This year's profits are expected to be pounds 2 million. Sources: Sunday Telegraph, Evening Standard

The clothing manufacturer Martin International, whose biggest customer is Marks & Spencer, made pre-tax profits of pounds 1.25 million. Source: Daily Telegraph

Bits 'n' Bobs

After the New York shows, Jeremy Langmead of the Sunday Times complained that "the same ideas were served up again and again". Isaac Mizrahi removed the partition separating audience and backstage, a move that "easily eclipsed a muted show", reported Mimi Spencer in the Evening Standard. Iain R Webb, reporting for the Times raved about the "just great" Marc Jacobs and called Richard Tyler "a clever chap".

The designer Valentino has been ordered to pay a boutique owner pounds 11,000 damages for also selling to another store in the boutique's area after they were promised exclusivity. The victory was described as that of "David over Goliath".

Tescos started selling cut-price Levi's jeans this month for pounds 30 - pounds 20 less than what most others charge. Levi's weren't best pleased. Tescos plan to get more pairs in soon.

Quiz

Can you guess which of these is Stella's famous dad? (See The Big Story.) Is it a) Karl LAGERfeld, b) a can of Stella Artois LAGER or c) Paul of The Beatles. Ask for permission before looking upside down for the answer.

Who shot what

Courteney Cox of Friends was the cover girl of the month, appearing on the covers of Tatler and Elle, with more pics of her inside. However, the top stories, were asymmetric and Chinese/ Eastern wear. As a refresher from asymmetric and its harsh lines, all things ruffly, frilly and pretty came a close second in terms of media coverage. "Are you a minimalist or a romantic?" probes Iain R Webb in British Elle.

"Travel wear" was also popular. British Vogue explains the importance of choosing simple shapes in monochrome, which will keep you "cool and elegant in the heat", and reveals secrets of jet-set travel (Donna Karan takes one of her travel candles, so make sure never to be on a plane with her). Dazed And Confused proffers "Elizabeth the Irish salmon", which seems to show what to wear when holding a salmon. Also in Dazed is a shoot entitled "Going Down" - let's just say it isn't what to wear in a lift. The Face forgoes clothes to show people and their scars in "Tissue", a portfolio of scars.

Profiles of designer Alberta Ferretti appear in the Guardian and this newspaper - she opened a shop in London's Sloane Street this month. US Vogue, however, profiles Ann Demeulemeester. Dazed shows clothes by Enrique Massei, and Harpers & Queen explains the face behind Erickson Beamon jewellery.

Celebrity modelling: Tatler uses Lady Victoria Hervy to model "threatrical looks for formal occasions" and Princess Beatrice von Preussen to wear asymmetrical. Marie Claire has actress Valentina Gervi in dresses.

Shoes are wedgy, strappy, spindly heeled, thonged or desert booted. US Vogue deems stillettoes in and round-toe shoes out. The Sunday Times shows green accessories and indigo clothes. Arena likes sky blue, British Marie Claire pink, the Times black and white and white with flesh colours and the Observer blue. British Vogue, however, recommends navy blue, black and white "but the details - a slit here, a plunging neckline there" make the difference.

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