Speidi Suits Up For Swim Season; "The Body" Goes To BabelandS

  • Claire Robinson, a former model and Canadian beauty queen, is suing her former acting agent, Jack Gilardi, and management company, Los Angeles's ICM. Robinson alleges that Gilardi's friend John Rockwell raped her in 2008, and that Gilardi himself touched her inappropriately in the back of a limousine. Robinson's class-action suit also will challenge the legality of an entertainment industry practice known as hip-pocketing — which I actually had to Google, because as it turns out there is an indignity that models are not subjected to — and will seek to designate ICM, one of the world's biggest talent agencies, under the RICO statute. Robinson claims that being hip-pocketed left her and others sexually vulnerable to their agents. She also says Gilardi and ICM sent her on fake auditions, or auditions for jobs for which they knew she was not qualified. In addition to actual damages for what she says is her ruined career, Robinson and any women who join her class action are seeking punitive damages to the tune of 10% of ICM's gross earnings for one year. ICM denied any and all wrongdoing through a spokeswoman. [AP]
  • Calvin Klein finally won approval to tear down his 50,000 square foot castle in the Hamptons. The $5 million beach behemoth was originally built as a much smaller structure in the 1920s, and then renovated and expanded into something that looks like a Disneyland ride you'd take on shrooms by an eccentric junk-bonds billionaire in the 80s. Klein's new home will be a comparatively modest 17,000 square feet. [Newsday]
  • Blind items: "Which unhinged, avant-garde downtown NYC designer is rumored to be in the running for a top job at Escada? Talk about non-traditional casting." And: "Which super-famous European supermodel fired her NYC apartment-sitter when she came home after an international job and found a condom at the foot of her bed?" [Stylelist]
  • Whoa. Marvel Comics is creating a series called Models Inc., featuring some of their more fashionable superheroes — plus a cartoon Tim Gunn. He saves fashion from evildoers. [NY Times]
  • Aboriginal artist Gloria Petyarr has designed a scarf for Hermès. Petyarr, who lives in a remote community 250 km from Alice Springs and has no access to a telephone, was paid a "substantial fee" according to an Australian gallerist known to the artist, and would earn royalties from sales of the scarf for 75 years. Her design features medicinal plants used by Aboriginal peoples. [Reuters]
  • The bankrupt men's wear giant Hartmarx, which owns the brands Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx (Barack Obama's suit brand), may have found a savior in the London-based private investment firm Emerisque. Emerisque is said to be offering to keep the chain in operation and give 80 cents on the dollar to Wells Fargo, Hartmarx's $100 million-plus creditor. Union leaders at Hartmarx's Chicago factory have threatened to sit in if Wells Fargo accepts a buyer who will liquidate the business. Negotiations are ongoing. [NY Times]
  • Ann Taylor is dabbling in a little self-blame for poor sales results. CEO Kay Krill described some of the chain's troubles as "self-inflicted," saying "the product assortment was not compelling or relevant." Beats the old "it's the economy" excuse. And they're revamping their product lines to address it. [WSJ]
  • Limited Brands suffered a 92% plunge in first-quarter earnings. Sales dropped 10% overall, and same-store sales fell 7%, which means that new stores opened in the past year actually did worse than their established counterparts. The company offered little explanation for the disastrous results in its one-page quarterly statement. [The Street]
  • Andreas Ortiz, the man who runs Technical Garment USA, a small garment factory in the fashion district which was raided by the New York State Department of Labor last month, denies his business is a sweatshop. Ortiz is accused of failing to pay overtime and violating legal employee rest times. Two employees interviewed in Ortiz's presence claimed to earn $10 an hour, and to be paid on time. [NY Times]
  • Agyness Deyn, new face of Uniqlo, is in this cute ad spot for the Japanese brand. [Grazia]