Hailey Clauson's lawsuit against Urban Outfitters for allegedly printing her image on t-shirts without authorization will proceed. Clauson's lawsuit against photographer Jason Lee Parry was dismissed on procedural grounds, but where Urban Outfitters is concerned the judge found that there is a case to answer for the unauthorized use of her image. Clauson and her parents sued the retailer for $28 million after shots taken for an obscure German fashion magazine called Qvest somehow came to adorn t-shirts that were sold at Urban Outfitters stores and online. Clauson turned 15 the month the highly sexualized photos were taken. Clauson, who celebrated her 17th birthday a few days ago, was most recently seen in the pages of Pop, being strangled [NSFW]. [WWD]
- Diane von Furstenberg says meeting Diana Vreeland — the legendary editor of Vogue was intimidating. The designer was 23 years old and pregnant with her second child, and had recently launched the dress line that would grow into the DVF mega-brand. "I was very, very nervous and intimidated in this office.…Everyone was so glamorous and I was so unattractive and fat," says von Furstenberg. "I brought in this rack and started to show the clothes I had brought and heard her coming into the office.…There she was with her red nail polish and big cigarette holder. ‘Chin up, chin up, chin up,' she told me and then said, ‘Oh, wonderful,' and then I was out of the office." She also says that the late 1980s and early 90s — after her dress line had gone bankrupt and she had lost control of her own brand name — it was hard to get back into fashion. "It was horrible. The brand was distributed all over the place and the product had lost its point of view. I tried to meet with the licensees and they would just look at me like ‘Who the hell is she?'" A proposed deal to do a private-label line with Federated Department Stores (later Macy's) fell through because of "something about a focus group in New Jersey that wouldn't pay more for products by Diane von Furstenberg." [WWD]
- A company affiliated with billionaire investor and Democratic fundraiser George Soros is said to be interested in paying off $75 million of American Apparel's debt, which the troubled retailer is too cash-strapped to repay. At issue is a revolving line of credit extended by Bank of America, which is set to mature in July, and which American Apparel is still in too parlous a financial state to pay back. Soros' Crystal Financial is apparently offering to take over the debt and extend American Apparel an $80 million loan, albeit at a higher interest rate than Bank of America was charging.
"Dov has dodged a very big bullet this time," said a financial source, noting that the retailer missed internal targets for 2011 profitability, and has been bleeding cash since the start of the year.
- On NBC's new fashion reality show, Fashion Star, the judges are retailers who bid against each other to carry the contestants' lines exclusively. The ultimate prize is a $6 million contract with Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and H&M. [WWD]
- Ann Inc. says it is lowering its retail prices at Ann Taylor. The company reported a 73% year-on-year drop in earnings during the fourth quarter, due primarily to discounting and 11% lower sales at Ann Taylor. LOFT, the company's other brand, is apparently doing comparatively okay. [WSJ]
- Model Lara Mullen shares a diary of career highlights (and yoghurt-related mishaps) so far with the Telegraph. She writes of her first show season:
After London I find out I have been optioned for a Prada exclusive. It basically means that Mrs Prada herself has given you her seal of approval. Landing an exclusive can make a model's career, so it's a major deal. But I nearly miss the casting because a yogurt explodes in my bag on the way to the airport and obscures my passport photo. Customs at Birmingham won't let me through, so we drive like maniacs to Luton to fly with a different airline whose yogurt/face policy isn't quite as strict! The Prada casting lasts for almost two full days, most of which is spent waiting in the foyer of their building with about 40 other girls. Half an hour before the show, at 5.30pm, I am finally confirmed and thrust into hair and make-up.
And adds, "I've had a total overhaul of my diet and exercise routine over the past few months. I'm 17 so my body is changing and I need to keep an eye on my shape so that I'm ready for the shows in February." [Telegraph]
- Agyness Deyn is "collaborating" on a line with Dr. Martens. [WWD]
- Models Ana Beatriz Barros and Jeisa Chiminazzo were among guests who celebrated some real-estate dude's birthday at a Meatpacking club the other night — so far, so standard, except that stationed at the door were two baby tigers and their handlers. Guests could pet the cats, but not hold them. [P6]
- Vera Wang is launching a cosmetics line at Kohl's. [WWD]
- Under newish editor Hugo Lindgren, the New York Times Magazine is down 24% in ad pages, year-on-year. Lindgren blames T, which was launched as a separate magazine covering fashion and style back in 2004, and which Lindgren says has siphoned off most of "his" luxury ads. "They do some interesting stuff there, but they're not going to do a story about a famine in Africa next to the Chanel ads," says Lindgren. "It's an environment that the luxury advertisers feel comfortable in." But do you want to hear something really, deeply concerning? When the audience of around 70 Columbia J-school students was asked if anyone had heard of John Hersey's 1946 New Yorker story "Hiroshima" — a foundational text of the New Journalism, and perhaps the best piece of reportage published during the 20th Century — just one person raised a hand. [CapitalNY]
- Venus Williams is rumored to be launching a lifestyle brand, which will include apparel, this fall. [P6]
- Stylist Katie Grand says that it took over a month to build the train in the Louvre that served as the set for Louis Vuitton's show. "It was a huge production. At first, we had tried to get a real train in to the Louvre, but it was too heavy so it had to be built. They started work about a month ago. We'd looked at great train films like Murder On The Orient Express, Some Like It Hot and Strangers On A Train for reference, and in the end, she was quite like the Orient Express." [Grazia]
- Michael Kors' company share price has doubled since December, when the brand had its IPO. So Michael Kors, along with other top executives, are selling another 25 million shares. [WWD]
- And now, a moment with Tommy Hilfiger. Tommy, why did you go bankrupt way back when?
"Studio 54 opened in New York, and we thought we should go to Studio 54 rather than watch the business. We basically let the business slide through our fingers. That was my master's degree. We had to reboot, start over, and that was a tremendous learning experience. What it taught me was you have to really mind the business. You have to take care of the business. So when people ask me if I am a designer or a businessperson, I say both."