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For Ilan Hall, a Taco Shack of One’s Own

Ilan Hall
It’s a far cry from helming a Ken Friedman restaurant, as he was previously rumored to be doing, but now the word, via the Gluttoness, is that former Top Chef Ilan Hall is said to be opening a taco shack in Los Angeles. We suspect, as the Gluttoness does as well, that the hire is a way to buy cheap publicity for the taco shack in question. Still, is this what being a Top Chef has come to? Somewhere, Sam Talbot must be sniggering. Rumor Mill [Gluttoness] Related: Will Ken Friedman Open a Restaurant With Ilan Hall?

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Model Eats, Obviously Sent Home From Paris

Here's a good one from Paris: It's not as if the scant body mass indexes on runways are good things. But the absurdity marches on, and still some strong-headed young things refuse to accept the conventions of modeling's narrow vision.

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The New Face of ‘Hell's Kitchen’ Not So Hellish Anymore

Marco Pierre White
Gordon Ramsay is a cruel, profane, rampaging jerk — which is why the world loves him. (It can’t be his food, which most critics consider by-the-book classic French.) So how can you replace a guy like that? That’s the problem the producers of Hell’s Kitchen faced, and they solved it by bringing in Marco Pierre White, Ramsay’s former mentor, then enemy. The problem is that, by all reports, White is a changed man, calm and peaceful in his middle age. Even in his prime, he was never as outrageously abusive as Ramsay. We don’t think he’ll be nearly as entertaining. Hell’s Kitchen (Review) [Sydney Morning Herald]

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Citigroup Trader Andrew J. Hall Has Castle, Is Schnabulous

Castle
Every once in a while, The Wall Street Journal renews our faith in the Street and, indeed, humanity by profiling one of the few eccentric and wonderful folks who float among or above the wretched, amoral meatheads, and Andrew J. Hall is such a man. The British-born commodities trader and head of a "secretive unit" at Citigroup known as Phibro, 57-year-old Hall has made a killing in the last few years off long-term oil futures, the Journal tells us, and this is despite the fact that, most afternoons, he leaves the office to row or practice calisthenics with a ballet teacher. He's also one of the world's top collectors of contemporary art — not that his neighbors in Southport, Connecticut, were particularly impressed by that when he tried to install an 80-foot-long concrete sculpture on the lawn of his Greek Revival home. Hall ended up giving Etroits sont les Vaisseaux to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which is too bad because it would have looked nice on the lawn at Schloss Dernberg, the nearly 1,000-year-old castle he owns in Germany. But his material possessions aren't the only reason we would like Hall to procure the necessary papers to adult-adopt us. According to the Journal, "He recently staged a lavish exhibit in his German castle of works by U.S. artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel." In the book accompanying the show, Hall opined that "many in the art world have tried to ignore" Mr. Schnabel, despite his obvious awesomeness. See? He's a man after our own heart. Trader Hits Jackpot in Oil, As Commodity Boom Roars On [WSJ]

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Americans Don't Want Luxury, But the World Still Loves Gucci

Gucci wins the fabulous contest! According to a Nielsen Group survey, it's the world's most coveted luxury brand. WWD reports:

In an online poll of 25,000 consumers in 48 countries … one in five respondents said they would choose to buy Gucci over any other luxury brand if money were no object.

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Some Claiming Hussein- and Race-Baiting Strengthen Obama

Obama church
The last few days have brought back discussion of Barack Obama's race and heritage in a way not seen since South Carolina. On Monday, of course, a photo of Obama trying on traditional Somali clothing circulated. Then, in the Cleveland debate two days ago, Tim Russert grilled Obama over the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan and the praise lavished on Farrakhan by Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. Finally, John McCain has been trying to disassociate himself from the fearmongering tactic of dropping Obama’s Muslim-sounding middle name, Hussein, carried out separately by talk-radio host Bill Cunningham and, in a press release yesterday, the Tennessee Republican Party. Into this burgeoning mess wade our pundits.

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Catch the Red Eye

Our eyes may be red this week from lack of sleep, but the girls on the runway have turned scarlet on purpose. The smoky eye is reinvented this season in shades of cherry. Halston styled a sheer rosy tint to accent a natural makeup look, while Badgley Mischka splashed the crimson color from lid to cheek. Meanwhile, Ports 1961 sent out Jessica Stam in a matte ruby shadow, which has us seeing red all over. In a good way, of course. Related: Learn to do your own smoky eye! Watch this "Backstage at Tracey Reese" video for smoky secrets from makeup artist Mally Roncal.

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