A Hollister store in Birmingham, England, is so dark that some customers report getting lost in there — or losing their children. They're bumping into things! They can't read the prices! They even feel like they have vertigo. The Telegraph reports from the front lines:
"I can't see the sizes, I can't see the prices, I can't see the till — I can't see the point," said Nick Bull, 30.
"You can't see the prices and you keep bumping into people or tables," explained Charlotte Peach, a local university student. "My friends all joke about it," added her sister Jenny, 15.
The store wouldn't comment officially, but a sales assistant mentioned Hollister is going for a "club-like" atmosphere. But probably they just don't want anyone to see how crappy the clothes are. [Telegraph]
- Oh. Just yesterday, we were expressing wonder that the news that divorcing J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons is kinda sorta maybe on her way out of the closet was generating so much less bullshit "controversy" than that time she let her son paint his toenails, and all hell broke loose. But it turns out Fox News bobbleheads don't read fashion blogs, is all! Now that someone has informed him of the situation, mail-order expert in medical science "Doctor" Keith Ablow is appropriately outraged. Outraged! See, Toemageddon all along was about how "Lyons was promoting a cultural agenda at her son's expense — and at the expense of all our sons whose masculinity was being downplayed." Doc Ablow is "certain" that this is not a gay thing, okay, so don't even think that — his worry is far more general than mere orientation. What is your worry, Keith? "My worry that Ms. Lyons might be expressing her own discomfort with masculinity and projecting it onto her son — and mine, and yours — seems to have been justified." How would you know that, Doc? "Well, I've never evaluated Lyons psychologically." [Fox]
- The Wal-Mart gender-discrimination lawsuit that the Supreme Court declined to hear in June is back — but more narrowly tailored. Some of the female Wal-Mart employees who allege they were paid less and given fewer promotions than their male colleagues have sued the company again in San Francisco. The plaintiffs' lawyers say it is the first in what will be "an armada" of similar claims, now that they can't file one class-action suit. [WWD]
- Gucci creative director Frida Giannini and C.E.O. Patrizio di Marco have totally been hooking up since 2009, the two have announced. The two became close on a business trip to China, but decided to keep their relationship private in case it made shareholders nervous. (It was 2009, after all. Shareholders everywhere were pretty nervous.) They told their boss, luxury magnate François-Henri Pinault, and most of their direct employees know. Pinault's reaction was, "this is a family business — it was started by my father, and I know how that can feel and seem to the outside world, but I also know how much that makes you be strict with yourself. And I knew them, so I knew if anything this would make them more demanding with themselves." Giannini, for her part, says the announcement comes as a relief — but it "doesn't mean that Patrizio and I will start to kiss in a meeting." [FT]
- Avon has admitted it has again been subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is seeking information regarding company officers' and the C.E.O.'s "contacts and communications with certain financial analysts and other representatives of the financial community during 2010 and 2011." Avon was previously the focus of an SEC probe regarding its activities in China; it was found to have bribed foreign officials, and four executives resigned. The stock is down significantly on the news. [WWD]
- André Leon Talley wants perfume to be pumped through the ventilation system at his new museum show. The Vogue contributor is curating a fashion exhibition at the museum that bears his name at the Savannah College of Art and Design. And later this year, he and Oscar de la Renta will "prepare," to use the Times' vague word, an exhibition of Joaquín Sorolla paintings at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in Manhattan. The show will focus on Sorolla and Spanish dress. If you're into Sorolla and live in New York, the Hispanic Society of America — which also happens to be one of the most under-rated museums in the city — has the entire 14-panel "Visions of Spain" cycle on display in one enormous room. [NYTimes]
- Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte says she rarely designs clothing for herself because it's really hard. "I have before when we go to the Met or something really big. It's the hardest thing in the world to do for me, so I prefer not to. I think it's more work than designing a wedding gown for someone. You know exactly what you want and then you can't think of anything at all." [WWD]
- Michael Bastian sheds some light on what it's like to win a Council of Fashion Designers of America Award: you don't actually get to take the statuette home after the ceremony, for example. "The whole process is such a weird situation, because you go up there, they hand you something, you do your speech, you walk through that gauntlet of press interviews and then this very sweet girl from the CFDA is like, 'Thank you!' and takes it back." Bastian's arrived two months later in the mail. [The Cut]
- Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are releasing a package od two scents called Soul 2 Soul. On Valentine's Day, obviously. [WWD]
- And now, a moment with Jil Sander's Raf Simons, who says that women's relationship to high fashion has changed significantly in the last ten years:
Fashion is not niche anymore like it used to be three decades ago.…Sometimes I think women are more advanced than designers. There has been a strong kind of free self-expression in the last decade of fashion. It's the combination of different worlds, brands and aesthetics from different designers. About a decade ago, that seemed really new, but now it's less so. For me, somebody who would dedicate themselves to one brand, like Audrey Hepburn did with Givenchy, would look very controversial again. I am thinking it over now.