Valentino Scorches His Fellow Designers on the Way OutNobody 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]
video look book
California Visitor Actually a Displaced New Yorker
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 Delee
in other news
Suze Orman Will Be the Last Celebrity Living in ManhattanAs 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]
early and often
Bloomberg: Primary? What Primary?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.
Judith Regan: At What Price, America?MEDIA
• 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: Cashing In on His Big YearFINANCE
• 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]
Topshop Signs a Lease in NYC?FASHION
• Breaking rumor alert: After months of hinting, Topshop has possibly, maybe signed a New York lease. Anglophiles and Kate Moss–ophiles, rejoice! [Fashionista]
• First he’s out as the designer of Dior Homme. Now, Hedi Slimane’s been replaced by none other than BFF Karl Lagerfeld as the photographer of the ad campaigns. Oh, cruel fashion world! [WWD]
• Giorgio Armani’s raking in the dough. The designer sold back a 5 percent stake in his company to Giorgio Armani SpA for about $110 million. [British Vogue]
in other news
Norman Hsu, Who ARE You?The story of Norman Hsu, the Democratic fund-raiser whose recent arrest created a whole heck of a mess for politicos like Hillary Clinton, gets ever more awesome. For those just tuning in, Hsu was supposed to go to prison for three years back in 1992 for grand theft, but he instead decided to blow off the sentence and fashion a life for himself as a supposed apparel executive and big-time political donor with a flashy Soho apartment and connections to all the right people. And he totally got away with it for fifteen years, until he was arrested last week on an Amtrak. We find Hsu intriguing, not only because of his amazing forehead but because it is just so interesting when people get away with big-ass crimes for a long time. We can’t even, like, jaywalk without getting a ticket. Anyway! Hsu had his court date today, wherein he was extradited back to California, and perhaps in honor of that, WWD has a big story that fills in some of the questions about his background. Before he became a big-time political donor and “apparel executive” for, he told people, luxury brands like Prada, Hsu spent a chunk of the eighties importing menswear, “driving a sportscar,” and generally yupping it up out in L.A. Though much of his life is still a mystery, WWD did manage to dig up some interesting details. After the jump, a few Norman Hsu Fun Facts.
the morning line
Mike Goes Green
• After a long and suspenseful run-up, Mayor Bloomberg finally revealed his 25-year plan for “the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city.” On tap: enclosed highways, more green space, river cleanup — and $8 congestion charge. [NYT]
• Four Brooklyn policewoman have filed complaints against three of their superiors for allegedly calling them — you’re not going to believe this — “nappy-headed ho’s.” (As in: “Don’t give me no lip before I have to call you [one].”) Great: postmodernist slur use. [NYDN]
• A Mets fan is pleading not guilty to “interfering with a professional sporting event”; he has allegedly tried to blind two Atlanta Braves players with a flashlight. He’s represented by Legal Aid, which can always use a diversion, and faces a year in jail. [WNBC]
• Dina Matos McGreevey claims she had learned of her husband’s sexuality early on, perhaps by 2000. Also: The Post should really stop calling McGreevey “McG” lest Charlie’s Angels director McG sue. [NYP]
• And The Producers ended its Broadway run yesterday after 2,502 performances, leaving behind only fond memories. Well, and two movies. [amNY]