Photographer of young naked people Bruce Weber announced on his official Facebook page that he'd completed four new "Web films" for Abercrombie & Fitch — all of them were wrestling-themed, and one ended with two wrestlers looking into each other's eyes and leaning in for...a full-on dude-on-dude forehead kiss, bro. Abercrombie & Fitch, which uses Weber to shoot all of its advertising, has always profited from the frisson of homoeroticism in the photographer's work (that and all the "edgy" nudity that tells kids that Abercrombie is cool and pisses off your parents, and without which the retailer would only ever make headlines for its discriminatory hiring practices and exceedingly whiffy stores).
Because the films were by Weber, because he presented them as work done for the company, because all the male models featured wear (very little) Abercrombie clothing, and because Weber has made wrestling-themed Abercrombie ads before, many people assumed that the clips were in fact Abercrombie ads. Even the really gay one, which is embedded above — the kiss occurs at around 1:20. But apparently the lips-to-forehead same-sex contact was too much for the retailer, which disavowed the films and said they were not part of any advertising campaign.
The four clips remain on Weber's Web site, where you can see young, hard-bodied men wearing Abercrombie & Fitch to do stuff like wrestling together in an outdoor shower, wrestling in slow-motion underwater, jumping rope so fast their Abercrombie shorts fall down, wrestling on top of a lifeguard tower, and talking about trying to lose 4 lbs in one hour to make weight (which is actually pretty disturbing). It looks like Abercrombie will need a little more coaxing to come out of its glass closet. [YouTube, Bruce Weber, Facebook]
- In news that will surprise no-one, Shanina Shaik says that her boyfriend Tyson Beckford is "in the dog house." Shaik says she didn't take Beckford's creepy comments claiming credit for her modeling success seriously, but did say for the record, "He has always supported me. But he did not 'make me.' My mother made me." [GlobalGrind]
- André Leon Talley is getting a reality show of his own. On Bravo, he will reportedly serve as host/mentor to four emerging designers as they put together their first collections. The show is titled Fashion Stories of NYC. [THR]
- Macy's C.E.O. Terry Lundgren made over $17 million in 2011, an 18% rise from 2010. His compensation totaled
$17.7 million, [up] from $14.9 million in 2010. That includes a base salary of $1.5 million, $4.6 million in stock awards, $3.1 million in option awards, $5.1 million from a nonequity incentive plan bonus and other compensation perks, which includes the value of $69,611 for aircraft usage.
- When you're the official marketing and tourism agency for New York City, which happens to host a fashion industry that is both culturally influential and economically crucial to the city, an industry which is headquartered in the shrinking but still substantial urban manufacturing zone that is the Garment District, and you're in charge of getting some t-shirts made to promote New York City through a special retail partnership with Aéropostale, it might, just might, behoove you to manufacture those New York City-promoting t-shirts in, gee, the Garment District of New York City? Instead of Central America? Call us crazy, but if you're selling t-shirts to "support" New York, shouldn't they, well, support New York? [DNAInfo]
- H&M confirmed it is indeed planning to launch a new chain of stores under a different name, but did not provide any details of the price of its offerings. The Swedish fast-fashion company is rumored to be planning an expansion into "luxury" goods. [WWD]
- Joseph Altuzarra: "The fashion industry has a tendency to embrace someone and drop them. You don't want to be the It boy, the flash in the pan, which is why I'm really concerned and try not to be too exposed. I don't go to too many parties or do too much press." [WaPo]
- Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana make a cameo as theater-goers in Woody Allen's new film, To Rome With Love. [WWD]
- Ivanka Trump, who showed her licensed collection of women's wear at Lord & Taylor last night, is reportedly the most-searched designer name on the department store's Web site. [The Cut]
- Jean-Paul Guerlain, who is an heir to the Guerlain cosmetics fortune but is no longer affiliated with the company that bears his name, has been convicted of hate speech and fined €6,000 by a French court. In a televised interview in 2010, Guerlain said that when he was formulating one of his most famous perfumes, "I worked like a n——. I don't know if n——s ever even worked that hard." (His exact quote was, "Je me suis mis à travailler comme un nègre. Je ne sais pas si les nègres ont toujours tellement travaillé, mais enfin." In French, "nègre" is a serious ethnic slur, often translated into English as "negro" or "nigger.") Guerlain apologized for his remarks (which the Guerlain company called "intolerable") in 2010, and again during the trial. [WaPo]
- Manolo Blahnik publicly shames women he sees wearing knock-offs of his shoes.
Recently in Milan, he says he saw two Chinese women sporting shoes that were unmistakably of his design, "but in a wonderful colour I had never seen before. So I asked: 'Where did you get your shoes?' 'Manolo Blahnik.' I said: 'No, my dear: these are not Manolo, these are plastic! With a horrid little plastic buckle!'"
Blahnik also has little patience for idiots, like a fashion editor who had never heard of La Dolce Vita. "I said: 'Fellini'? and she said: 'No idea.' Oh, the poor things. I mean, they're young, but the reason they don't know is all this nonsense about technology." [Telegraph]
- New York governor Andrew Cuomo's longtime girlfriend, Kwanzaa-cake-inventing T.V. chef Sandra Lee, is reportedly looking to forge more ties with the fashion industry in order to give herself a more "upscale" public image. Lee reportedly courted Anna Wintour prior to Cuomo's inauguration, and even finagled a Teen Vogue internship for Cuomo's 13-year-old daughter last summer, so this isn't exactly a new development. But she is said to be attending this year's Met Ball, and a "source" says, "She realizes first ladies leverage the fashion industry for press." [P6]
- Ansel Elgort, the 18-year-old son of photographer Arthur Elgort and opera director Grethe Holby, stars in a new off-Broadway play called Regrets with Alexis Bledel and Adriane Lenox. He bought the suit he wore to the opening party on Gilt. [Vogue]
- Prada's profits during 2011, the year the company went public via an IPO in Hong Kong, rose 72% over the previous year. Total profits topped $600 million, making 2011 Prada's "best year ever," according to Patrizio Bertelli. [WWD]
- This is interesting: Neiman Marcus paid a dividend of some $442.6 million, or $435 per share, to investors yesterday. It borrowed $150 million to pay it. Why? Because Neiman's parent company is said to be planning an IPO, and a willingness to pay dividends apparently wins over investors. [WWD]
- Model-with-a-temper Jessica White had a car waiting to pick her and her friends up from a SoHo night club, but she wanted to smoke and that's illegal so the driver wasn't having it. So she (illegally) street-hailed a black car and told the driver she'd give him more money if he let her smoke. And the driver did. And then this made the news. [P6]