Nicki Minaj's manager may have told the Times that the star was "in talks" to do a Vogue cover — but what has emerged from the depths of the feature well is a brief profile, written by Lynn Yaeger, for which the magazine painted Minaj's body Smurf blue. Alternative reference: the Miss Argentina character in Beetlejuice. Kids, this is what happens when you run your mouth in the press about Anna and her cover choices. [Vogue, @blamberr]
- A garment workers' strike in Cambodia turned violent on Monday when three female employees of a Puma supplier were shot outside the factory gates. One of the workers is in critical condition; the shooter is unidentified, but eyewitnesses say he was either a private security contractor or a police officer. The Cambodian garment industry is rife with labor abuses including child labor, unpaid forced overtime, and no breaks, and union organizers there have been subjected to intimidation and violence. The Puma factory strike is part of an ongoing wave of strikes involving around 3,000 workers in a Cambodian special economic zone; businesses in the zone pay no import or export duties, and pay no taxes for nine years. The Cambodian minimum wage for garment workers — who are mostly young women — is currently $66 a month. [WWD]
- In other news of children working in the fashion industry: you will be shocked — shocked, we say! — to learn that many New York casting agents and designers take an attitude of complacency towards hiring 14- and 15-year-old models. "I wasn't really paying attention," said designer Kimberly Ovitz when asked if all her models were over 16. "I really, honestly, worry about other things." A 21-year-old model admitted she hadn't been carded at a single New York fashion week casting. New York state law requires all children under age 16 to have a valid work permit before taking any job — something virtually every underaged model lacks — and the Council of Fashion Designers of America has lately been pushing designers to use models only aged 16 and above. Of course, Marc Jacobs just used two 14-year-olds for his runway show, and he's on the CFDA board. So. [Fashionista]
- Publisher Carol Smith says that Elle magazine ended its relationship with Project Runway — judge Nina Garcia now represents Marie Claire magazine on the show — because the Weinstein company wanted Elle to pay $1 million for the privilege of being included in the show. "When it went to Lifetime, [producer] Harvey Weinstein came back and said, 'Now it's a million dollars you're going to have to pay for it.' And we said, you know we did this for five years," says Smith. "And Lifetime didn't seem right for Elle." [The Cut]
- You may have noticed the Dow hit 13,000 (briefly) again yesterday. Well, Saks and Macy's happen to have reported positive results for 2011, and each saw its stock rally. Not so Wal-Mart, which had bad results, and a stock that sank 3.9% in the day's trading. At Saks, earnings for 2011 increased 56.3%, to $74.8 million, from $47.8 million in 2010. Sales were up 8.2%, to $3.01 billion — and perhaps most importantly, same-store sales for the year rose a whopping 9.5%. At Macy's, reports Women's Wear Daily,
Net income rose to $1.26 billion from $847 million, while sales reached $26.4 billion from $25 billion the year before. Comparable-store sales rose 5.2 percent.
- Vogue Italia is presenting three GIF previews of its upcoming cover. GIFs by Steven Meisel! Coco Rocha in a hat made of Twix wrappers! Abbey Lee eating Cheetos! [Vogue.it]
- Here is an important update on the Oscars underwear plans of two top actors. "I want to be comfortable and look good and have fun," says Octavia Spencer, who will not be wearing three pairs of Spanx this time. "So I'm just going to do the normal one here, one there. Here a Spank, there a Spank, everywhere a Spank-Spank." Bérénice Bejo says she won't be wearing any Spanx. "You mean Spank or no Spank? I don't think so." This has been an important update on the Oscars underwear plans of two top actors. [AP]
- Mel Gibson came to a party in Los Angeles to fête the Marni for H&M collection even though he didn't know what Marni was. "Everyone outside was asking me, ‘You mean you don't know about Marni?' I don't know what Marni is," said the actor/sugar-tits-yeller/unreconstructed Australian. Gibson had come to the party to hear Bryan Ferry perform. [WWD]
- "Sources" say that androgynous male model Andrej Pejic has been cast as the face of Jean Paul Gaultier's new men's fragrance, Kokorico. That would be Pejic's first major perfume contract. [WWD]
- Other "sources" say that Kanye West has been working with designer Mark Fast to produce the former's second seasonal collection, which is set to walk in Paris next week. Last season, the rapper worked with Louise Goldin (and the results were...strange and confusing). West's only London Fashion Week appearance was at Fast's show. [Fashionista]
- Prada gave D, the weekly style magazine of La Repubblica newspaper, a tour of its headquarters a few days out from its much-anticipated women's wear show. Though the reporter hints there may be spoilers, the video is basically a montage of runway file footage and extreme close-ups of pins and pattern drafting materials that reveals such earth-shattering truths as...proof that Prada uses mannequins. The voiceover intones koans like, "Every pattern is a question, that is written in fabric," and "Every piece of embroidery is a provocation that nestles between the wefts of cloth like an insinuation." Presumably some of that makes sense in Italian. [La Repubblica]
- Your skinny jeans are killing you. Also, your tight tutu. [WSJ]
- Today in the Hollywood death drive: MAC is working on a licensed collection of makeup inspired by Marilyn Monroe. [WWD]
- And Estée Lauder is doing a Mad Men tie-in collection of makeup. [Style.com]
- Prints: here to stay, if you believe the trend sages at the Times. [NYTimes]
- Chinese designer Guo Pei, known for her elaborate evening wear that approaches couture in the quality of its construction, says there are advantages to having married a Taiwanese textile magnate. "When we got engaged, he asked me whether I wanted a rock on my finger or 50,000 yards of free fabric. I took the fabric." [WWD]
- The flash sale site Fab.com is getting into fashion — but it won't be selling "last season's Tory Burch inventory," says the site co-founder. Instead, it'll focus on little-known indie designers. Sounds interesting. At up to 70% off. Sounds very interesting. [Racked]
- And now, a moment with Maayan Zilberman and Nikki Dekker, the co-founders of the small-and-delightful lingerie brand The Lake & Stars. We dig their unconventional casting — breast-cancer survivors, plus-size models, straight-size models, non-white models, one memorable mother-daughter pair — as much as we dig the underwear they make. Zilberman and Dekker grew up on an Israeli kibbutz and on a North Dakota farm, respectively. How has that influenced their designs? Nikki:
"Growing up on a farm, there was a lot of alone time where we (my sisters and I) had to be creative to fill the time. Whether that was making up games or collecting components found outside and making art with them, it made for an early base finding inspiration everywhere you looked, and with what you had. It also made me a tomboy — I loved putting things together and building in my grandpa's workshop. It makes sense that I ended up in something as technical as lingerie."
"Making lingerie was a cool challenge, because it forced me to consider my ideas in a very small piece of real estate, with set parameters and tons of room for innovation. Where I came from there was emphasis on form and function, be it military uniforms or outdoor gear, so this aesthetic carries through to The Lake & Stars."