Are you the kind of person who hears the words "economy" or "emerging markets" and immediately thinks, Economy eshmonomy, emerging markets cookie whatever? If so, and you care about fashion, now is the time to change your tune. The economy does indeed affect what you wear (crap), because designers create their wares based on what you're in a position to buy.
You know what? We're just going to go ahead and say it: Clearly some Europeans are hinting at war with Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Yesterday we learned Giorgio Armani said he was "indifferent" to her Bobness while he was standing onstage right next to her during a press conference for the Costume Institute Gala's "Superheroes" exhibit.
This morning in Milan, the Met's Costume Institute held a press conference on its upcoming … oh, whatever, doesn't matter, it's something about superheroes. What matters is that Her Vogueness Anna Wintour attended, wearing the bright little Prada number pictured above. Cute, but is that not the exact same Prada dress she wore twice in weeks past at Armani Privé and Peter Som? Why, yes, yes, it is. If it works for Anna, then we suppose Anna can work it all she wants.
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]
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California legal secretary Colleen Delee took a break from shopping on Rodeo Drive to wear her Fendi fur in New York, where it’s actually cold enough for animal skins. But is that the only difference between New York and Los Angeles? Of course not. Delee shares her insights (and her recommendations on custom shoes) in this week’s Video Look Book.
Video Look Book: Colleen DeleeREAD MORE »
As the year closes, we're pondering our future in New York City. Here we sit, in our once unassuming Brooklyn coffee shop, which has recently begun being frequented by Keri Russell from Felicity and the guy from Basquiat. As we watch them talking shop over their laptops, we are, once again, getting the creeping feeling that soon, we're going to be priced out of our neighborhood by celebrities. But can we really blame them? As Hilary Swank said recently, real-estate prices "have just skyrocketed!"; and even the celebrities themselves have been displaced Manhattan by the bankers. (Have you been to the West Village lately? Salman Rushdie and Julian Schnabel are like the last old hippies there. Other than that it's like fucking Logan's Run, all buff young dudes from UBS.) But according to Jim Cramer in yesterday's Times, it's the foreign buyers, those wielders of yuan and dirham, who are going to own New York City in the future. "The rest of us can live in Schenectady or Plattsburgh," he wrote. "We can come here on the weekends and stay at a nice hotel in Astoria." But not Suze Orman! This past weekend, Savings Diva Suze did not have nightmares about the credit-card bills she was going to receive after overextending herself on Christmas. This past weekend, the Observer tells us, she closed on an apartment at the Plaza. An apartment with "100-year-old mosaic tile patterns in the bathroom, walnut-bordered herringbone parquet in the living room" which she paid for in … cash. $3,610,886 and 34 cents, to be exact. There you have it. Suze Orman will outlast us all. Because only she has the Courage to be Rich.
The World of Tomorrow [NYT]
TV's Finance Maharishi, Buys $3.6 M. Plaza Spread [NYO]
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The saga of Bouillabaisse 126, described here last summer, seems to have had a happy ending. The Carroll Gardens restaurant, a French bistro formerly haunted by the ejection of partner Neil Ganic, has quietly become one of the city's most interesting French-African fusion restaurants. Under former Les Enfants Terribles chef Abdhul Traore, it's now Korhogo 126, and attempting to convey the flavors of the Ivory Coast via the refinements of French technique. Escargot are pressure-stewed and served with star anis and tomato under puff pastry, African honey sweetens an endive-and-pear salad, and the ratatouille is “served with West African, Wolof-inspired rice infused with tomato, onion, and Senegalese spices and sautéed vegetables.”
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Just in time for the Iowa caucus, Mayor Bloomberg has firmly planted himself in the headlines again as a possible presidential candidate. After a Washington Post report about his attendance at a gathering of bipartisan political leaders yesterday, the New York daily papers have competing stories about how this indicates his continued interest in a White House run. The University of Oklahoma conference will be hosted by "well-connected Democrats and Republicans who could help launch him as an independent presidential candidate," reports the New York Post, and will give Bloomberg "a potential launching pad for a presidential bid," according to the News. Which sounds like speculation, basically, except the Times assures us that "Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run." Wow. We assumed he was at least titillated with the idea. But enchanted? This must be serious.
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• Jeff Bercovici wants to know: "What's Regan's price for selling out her country?" After all, if Regan's info on Giuliani is that damaging, shouldn't she divulge it in any case, no matter how much Uncle Murdoch is willing to offer? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• Dan Rather's lawyers are getting fed up with CBS nondisclosure agreements. "Who do these guys think they are? The National Security Agency?" [NYO]
• Intrepid Observer reporter spends 45 minutes staring through a window just to see who showed up to a lame Times party. Now that's journalism! [Media Mob/NYO]
• Al Gore, venture capitalist? The Nobel laureate and Apple board member is taking a hands-on role at Kleiner Perkins, the leading Silicon Valley venture firm. His goal: Save the world. And annoy GE's Jeff Immelt as much as possible. [Fortune]
• Harvard picked Robert S. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman, as the new steward for the $35 billion endowment. Something tells us his kids won't have any trouble getting in. [Reuters via NYT]
• A few management consultants with nothing better to do gave the Times its newest buzzword: CEO version 3.0. With the departures of Stan O'Neal, Chuck Prince, and Richard Parsons, it's now time for leaders "who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet." Because, as James Cayne showed, the old CEOs were way too bebop. [NYT]