We can't believe we're about to say this about an actor, but perhaps Samuel L. Jackson should have been born a fashion designer. Apparently he's been mouthing off to the Armani people for years about how they should do their thing.
Sarah Jessica Parker is not confident that her unreleased movie, Spinning Into Butter, will ever see the light of day. Barack Obama and his wife are slated to attend the opening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Oprah on Thursday. Cosmetics heir Olivia Chantecaille got engaged to banker boyfriend Ren Grady. Gossip Girl's Blake Lively took a bunch of friends shopping to Armani Exchange on Fifth Avenue. Shake Shack is opening a location on the Upper West Side! Sting, Diddy, and Josh Hartnett all hung out at Half Nelson producer Charlie Corwin's birthday at Socialista, which is now back open after the hepatitis scare. Michael Musto will appear on the cover of The Village Voice spoofing this magazine's Lindsay Lohan shoot.
Nobody knows how to burn bridges like a fashion designer on the way out. Valentino, the Italian womenswear legend who retires this month after 45 years in the industry, decided to go right for the toiles in an interview with reporters this week. "I certainly won't miss the fashion world. It's ruined! Everybody's doing the same things. What's missing is challenge, creativity, cheerfulness. These days it's all about numbers! To continue working in an environment which says nothing in particular to me would be a bore," he sniffed. "This environment is no longer stimulating." In case that criticism wasn't specific enough for you, the 77-year-old took aim at some of his longtime colleagues in the industry.
On Miuccia Prada: "[She] knows what she wants … even if we don't share ideas about clothes."
On Giorgio Armani: "In the course of 40 years, he has created a great style — but vulgar."
On Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana: "[They were] shy at the beginning — now arrogant."
On Donatella Versace: "[Her brother] Gianni's talent was unique — but what grit she has!"
Valentino will be replaced at his eponymous company by former Gucci designer Alessandra Facchinetti as the company tries to expand. Asked about her talent, Valentino turned generous. "I've met her," he said. "She's pretty."
Valentino takes parting shot at 'ruined' industry [London Independent]
• The newest Citigroup rumors suggest a "tag team at the top": Financial whiz Vikram Pandit will take over as CEO, while the more socially astute Robert Willumstad handles chairman duties. We're just not sure "tag team" means the same thing for us as it does the Times? [DealBook/NYT]
• Morgan Stanley issued a full recession alert for the U.S. economy today in the oh-so-subtly titled "Recession Coming." Meanwhile, a recent Journal poll of top economists puts the risk of recession at 38 percent. [Telegraph, WSJ]
• Thirtysomething Blackstone real-estate guru Jonathan Gray is getting rather comfortable in the top tier of the young establishment. [DealBook/NYT]
Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn picked up her Birkin bag and went to New Haven yesterday to address Yale students about her writing and the business of clothes. “I have tremendous amounts of freedom,” Horyn told them of her position at the Gray Lady. “If Armani pulls his ads, no one blames me and I don’t have to worry about it — so I don’t." (And yet, she regularly orgasms over the Italian designer.) Horyn dug deeply into the intricacies of the business, even letting students in on a little secret: “The Internet is where the action is,” she said. “People are out there who love fashion who aren’t coming from the front row.” Oh! That's what she must have been doing by going to a college to address some lowly scholars. Bringing fashion to the masses! The Yale Daily News asked junior Michael Huang how she did. “I think that a lot of what people said might have gone over people’s heads," he said. Oh, dear. Maybe she started with the wrong masses.
Horyn Snubs Fawning Fashion Reviews [Yale Daily News]
Today, Giorgio Armani ventures deeper into the world of online fashion by offering the entire Emporio Armani line at emporioarmani.com for the first time. The designer spoke with New York Magazine fashion director Harriet Mays Powell via e-mail.
• Over the iPhone? Get the Armani phone this October. [Fashionista]
• Need something to wear with that wrap dress? DVF is launching a shoe collection this fall. [British Vogue]
• Thom Browne has put together a 25-piece womenswear collection available this fall at Barneys, Bergdorf, Jeffrey, and Colette. [WWD]
Beyoncé will be the face of Giorgio Armani's new fragrance. Former West Wing star Allison Janney confused George Bush and playwright Charles Busch. Lindsay Lohan made out with British scenester Callum Best at a club. Rosario Dawson sang karaoke in Times Square for her 28th birthday. Denise Richards claims she had to hire bodyguards to keep the paparazzi away during her divorce from Charlie Sheen.
• Sullivan & Cromwell lost about 30 percent of its associates in 2004 and 2005. It might take more than a raise to fix that. [WSJ]
• Don't despair, associates! Where Simpson Thacher goes, Milbank Tweed, Sullivan & Cromwell, Paul Weiss, Cleary Gottlieb, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft are sure to follow. [Above the Law]
• Long Island lawyer Gary Berenholtz, who once exposed a corrupt Brooklyn judge, stole money from clients and his partner's widow to fund fine dining and finer vacations. [NYP]
• The New York Stock Exchange will trade almost exclusively electronically by the end of today; investment firms will continue to lay off floor traders. [WSJ]
• The New York City employees' pension fund is the lead plaintiff in a suit against Apple Computer Inc. for overcompensating executives with illegal stock options. [Reuters]
Stalkers and shoppers, take note: According to well-dressed and equally well-informed sources, Beyoncé will arrive at the Armani store on Madison Avenue sometime between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. today. She'll pull double duty, promoting both the Bono-hyped AIDS charity, Project RED it's World AIDS Day today and, naturally, promoting her new movie, Dreamgirls. Will the style icon wear one of Armani's chari-tees to her photo op? The odds are good, if she shows up at all though Miss Knowles is lauded for many things (star power, grace, lip gloss), party punctuality isn't one of them. She famously held up a Marc Jacobs show for two hours and often arrives to her own events only as they're ending. Or sometimes she doesn't show at all panicked, perhaps, that her hair just isn't shiny enough. —Faran Alexis Krentcil