Gisele, Michelle, And The Armani/Dolce Fashion Faceoff

  • In non-Michelle Obama fashion news of the day, Gisele's Craig McDean Dior campaign is out. She looks sort of like she's Morris dancing. With bangs. [Fashionologie]
  • Armani accused Dolce & Gabbana of copying one of his mens designs this season. Both labels apparently showed quilted silk pants on the runway in Milan this weekend — although I did look through the pictures of the Emporio show on Men.style.com, and while there were plenty of merely ugly trousers, I only saw quilted snowsuits — and Armani sniffed: "Now they copy, later they will learn." Domenico and Stefano shot back "Surely we still have much to learn, but definitely not from him," and claimed they haven't even watched Armani's shows for "years." [ShoppingBlog]
  • Armani, in a separate interview, claims that unlike fellow Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, who confirmed plans to sell a minority stake in his company to a private equity firm yesterday, his business is financially strong, with no need for outside investment. [WWD]
  • Not so Burberry. Although the British brand has seen strong sales — up 30% in the fourth quarter of 2008 — it is implementing sharp cost-cutting moves, in part no doubt because it's publicly traded and therefore vulnerable to shareholder pressure for constant returns. Two hundred and ninety jobs are to be shed in the UK, and up to 250 additional positions are on the line in Spain. [WSJ]
  • Here begins your Michelle Obama tranche of Rag Trade. (Remember, we go back to wondering about what the Yale-educated lawyer is thinking and doing, as opposed to wearing, tomorrow.) First up: MSNBC thinks Diane von Furstenberg is out of the running for designing Michelle's inaugural ball gown because she was kinda grumpy at a party. [MSNBC]
  • Mediabistro has an interesting breakdown of the three Obama fashion stories you meet in transition: The breathless speculation as to what the new first lady will wear, the filler about Inaugural Gowns Of History or how the Obamas will bring back "style" to the White House, and the coattail-rider pieces, like stories about which label this or that appointee is "announcing" they will wear. [Mediabistro]
  • Also the endless street style stories about how Obama has "inspired" t-shirt hawkers to bedazzle his name on their wares. [StyleFile]
  • And the stories that are a breathless play-by-play of her fashion choices. This was cute six months ago when we were all amazed she knew who Thakoon Panichgul was; it's not so cute now. [StyleFile]
  • However, speaking of Thakoon, I'd as soon keep the adorable interviews he gives about how much he respects Michelle Obama and how nervous he was to see her wear his dress, lest she reveal some kind of overlooked flaw in his design. [Allure]
  • And, OK, we can keep the think pieces from good fashion writers about the tricky politics of 'style' in the broader sense. [WWD]
  • Now, for something completely different: Is Renee Zellweger angling for Jennifer Love Hewitt's endorsement deal? Zellweger filmed parts of New In Town in Winnipeg, Canada — a town where, the actress reports, "It's just commonplace that your face freezes within two seconds of stepping outside of the door." Hanes tights saved her life, three or four pairs at a time. "I would not be here today were it not for the Hanes," she humbly reports. [Daily Express]
  • Serena Williams has signed on to be the newest face of Mission Skincare. [WWD]
  • Sadly, Victoria Beckham thinks she looks all right in her Emporio Armani ads only because Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott obligingly elided her worst body parts. According to unnamed sources, Posh — who admitted having suffered from anorexia in her memoir, Learning to Fly — is still deeply uncomfortable with her body, and was grateful her stomach was "reworked with make-up and lighting" to hide her C-section scars and loose skin. Of course, a casual observer might imagine there was more than a little Photoshop reworking, too, and that it might help Posh's young, female fan base for the star to speak openly, honestly, and not through back channels, about that fact. [Daily Express]
  • One sector doing almost too well through this season: apparel liquidators. Discount stores like Loehmann's and T.J. Maxx are unable to absorb the bales of unsold gear from the major department stores, who have of course been trying to move units themselves with up to 85% off sales all through the holiday period. There's simply too much supply in the liquidation pipeline. Solution: Ship the lot to Siberia. No, seriously. [WSJ]