Analysts at MasterCard are projecting that this year, Americans will for the first time ever spend more than $20 billion on Black Friday — barring extreme weather or other acts of God. And while some retailers' plans to open on the holiday itself have drawn popular ire, customer feedback motivated at least one chain to cut its holiday hours this time around: Sears, which opened on Thanksgiving day in 2010, won't do so again this year. ("There was a sentiment from customers to keep Thanksgiving as a holiday," admitted a sheepish-sounding spokesperson.) But the overall trend is still for longer hours, hence why shopping on Thanksgiving, by the way, now has a name: Brown Thursday. Ewwwwwwwww. [WWD]
Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, by the numbers: total holiday retail sales are expected to top $873 billion this season. 195 million people will shop on Black Friday. Americans say they plan to spend, on average, $704 on holiday gifts this year. Doubtless they will all buy highly necessary things that their intended recipients will treasure forever. [TDB]
- Tom Casey, the former C.F.O. of the bankrupt Blockbuster chain who became acting president of American Apparel last October, has left the company two months shy of the end of his 15-month contract. Dov Charney wouldn't say why. AA will continue to pay Casey a $400,000 salary for the next year. This is the third departure of a senior executive at the company in the past month: AA also just lost its chief business development officer (who apparently lost patience with Charney after only seven months), and its former finance chief and executive vice-president Adrian Kowalewski (he of the "Dude, we almost went bankrupt last Friday" email chain) jumped ship for Kellwood. And American Apparel limps on, owing $51.1 million on its revolving credit line and $89.5 million to private-equity firm Lion Capital. The company lost $20.9 million last quarter. [WWD]
- No doubt in an attempt to distract from the ongoing slow-motion implosion of his employer, American Apparel spokesperson Ryan Holiday tried to plant a story about him selling a "tell-all" book about his time with Charney, in the hope of duping blogs (especially blogs that have been critical of American Apparel and Charney for his sexual-harassment habit, weird obsession with his female employees' eyebrows, general financial irresponsibility, stupid ads, take your pick) into writing about it. But Holiday gave up his own wannabe-Machiavelli game in his book proposal, which was promptly leaked. In said proposal, Holiday writes that he plans "to create a compelling yet fake spectacle about the book" through a variety of means, like issuing lying press releases, seeding fake "leaked" chapters to news outlets, and trying to bait "some of the biggest and highly trafficked sites on the web: Politico, Jeff Jarvis, TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, Ariana Huffington, Mashable, Gawker, Business Insider, Nick Denton and others" into responding to what Holiday vaguely refers to as "direct charges and serious accusations of wrong doing" that he supposedly makes in his book. Oh, lordy. Unsubscribe. [NYObs]
- Vivienne Westwood went to the Occupy London protest this weekend. She talked to the crowd about climate change. [Vogue UK]
- Snooki recommends using cat litter — "Clean! Cat litter" — to exfoliate your face. [Styleite]
- In related (?) news, Joe Zee says the Jersey Shore character won't be considered for an Elle cover anytime soon. "I don't know about Snooki. I'm going to have to pass on that one," he says. "We put Lauren Conrad on the cover of our anniversary issue and she did very well. Listen, Kim [Kardashian] is a big cover star out there and if Kim had something going on in her life right now — Kim's very quiet; I just wish that she would do something, but she's not doing anything. If she actually did something, we would actually think about Kim for the cover." If she actually did something. Consider that for a moment, Kim. [HuffPo]
- Valentino Garavani is readying the launch of an online archive and a desktop app called the Valentino Virtual Museum. [WWD]
- The Wall Street Journal reviews all 72 of this fall's new and new-ish Coco Chanel biographies, and finds that ultimately, "Chanel was never as free as the new woman her designs inspired." Also, "Coco Chanel ended in bitterness. In her 80s, she said she'd 'never known happiness.' After nightly morphine injections, she was tied to her bed so that she couldn't walk the halls of the Ritz in delirium, searching for sex." Did the Journal just slut-shame an elderly morphine addict? Classy. [WSJ]
- Gap had another terrible quarter: net income declined from $303 million one year ago to $193 million, and same-store sales fell 5%. Overall sales decreased 2%, to $3.59 billion. [WWD]
- Ten employees of the Italian department store La Rinascente allegedly formed a ring of thieves, and relieved the store of over $135,000 worth of merchandise in less than a year. [WWD]
- Meanwhile, in Ukraine, this insane oligarch's ex-wife is trying to bring the other 0.00001% cultural salvation, in the form of Alexander Wang dresses. "I understood that people were dressed awfully. They were very low-cultured. But they wanted to change," says the lady who looked at downtown Kiev and thought the main problem was the lack of cute boutiques. "I saw how they looked at me, how they tried to mirror me." [T]
- Millions of people worldwide — particularly those in third-world countries — are being slowly poisoned by the fashion industry, according to a new study from Green Cross Switzerland and the U.S.-based Blacksmith Institute. Most of them do not even work in fashion, although garment workers are particularly at risk — they just live in regions whose groundwater is polluted by toxic runoff from apparel production. The study looked particularly at tanneries. Leather tanning uses numerous chemicals, including known human carcinogens, and is very water-intensive. In one Bangladeshi region, the report estimates that some 300 tanneries together generate 7.7 million liters of waste water and 88 million tons of solid waste each year. [WWD]
- How. Many. Times. Will. This. Stupid. Story. Get. Written. Folks, there is no link between lipstick sales and the performance of the overall U.S. economy, nail polish sales and the economy, hemline height and the economy, tie width and the economy, or heel height and the economy. This shit is dumb, under-reported, thinly sourced conjecture-slash-planted "news" from the makers of the above products — received wisdom based, in the case of the heel hypothesis, on the notion that platform heels were invented in the 1930s (which they weren't). High heels are not the "new" economic indicator. In fact they are no economic indicator at all. You know what is an economic indicator? Fucking unemployment. The Consumer Price Index. Retail sales. Sales of durable goods. New home construction. Not fucking neckties or lipstick or ladies' shoes, you idiot business reporters who will evidently take any excuse to write a ladies-be-shopping headline and who apparently don't know how to Nexis and are therefore unaware that this story has been done to death and is not and never has been in any way true. [CS Monitor]
- In other news of bullshit fashion-economic speculation that has somehow been inserted into otherwise reputable newspapers, someone noticed that companies that have hired Gisele Bündchen are performing, on average, better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Could it be that Gisele is the modern-day Midas of fashion? Or, wait — maybe companies that are successful already are hiring Gisele. Hmm. Which seems more likely to you? [Telegraph]
- There now exists a website called The Odd Slipper, which sells exclusively women's shoes in sizes 3-5.5. It offers the ModCloth-ish innovation of letting browsers vote on potential new shoe styles, some of which then go into production. [Fashionista]
- And now, a moment with Carine Roitfeld, who says she will never again depict a cigarette in any fashion photo she styles — and as everyone knows, cancer sticks have long been one of her style mainstays.
"My husband is trying to quit smoking so I'm never going to use a cigarette again in a picture. It's a new decision."
The former editor of Vogue Paris also says:
"I know a lot of models who keep thin with a cup of coffee and a cigarette but I don't think it's wise because I have kids. I try not to show in a picture something that's not good for them. At Vogue I never took an anorexic girl."
Whatever you say, Carine. [Observer]