Were you looking for a story that involved a $120 million estate, marital infidelity, a prominent fashion designer, a lawsuit, international flights to see the dying, and a deathbed breakup contract? If so, you're in luck. The estate of C.C. Wang, Vera Wang's oil-millionaire dad, has prevailed in a lawsuit with Wang père's mistress of 30 years, Betty Phillips. Phillips and Wang met in 1980, and during their relationship they did typical rich-guy/mistress-to-rich-guy things: he flew her around the world, gave her an AmEx, told her he loved her, and hid her from his kids whenever she happened to visit one of his five homes. This was all well and good until Wang's wife (and Vera Wang's mother) died in 2004, when Phillips began hinting that she would now like to legally marry the man she'd spent half her life boning. But Wang wasn't having any of it. And when he suffered a stroke, Phillips rushed out to Southampton to be by his side — only to be served with a sternly worded letter drawn up with the help of Wang's lawyers, setting forth "my understanding of...our long-term friendship." It continued:
[B]y this letter I am making it absolutely clear to you as I did in the past, that I have no intention of marrying you and that under no circumstance whatsoever will we ever be married to each other. [...]
Further, I have already adequately provided for you financially and there will be no further financial transfers from me to you. Please confirm that you waive any claim of any kind or nature against me, my family or my estate. [...]
Please do not take the formality of this letter as an affront to you but only as a way of preserving the memories we have of our friendship over the years.
Ice. Cold. The letter closed with a friendly, "I would appreciate your signing the copy of this letter indicating your agreement to the foregoing."
Well, C.C. Wang died in 2006. And Betty Phillips sued for a $10 million portion of the estate anyway. But the fact that she signed the letter — she claimed she'd done so under emotional duress, what with her partner lying in his deathbed and all — was enough to convince the judge that her suit had no merit. The estate will now pass to those named in C.C. Wang's will. And not Betty Phillips. [NYDN]
- Roberto Cavalli stopped by the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan to showcase his line of furniture and homewares (which includes a rotating bed). While there, he had this to say about Anna Wintour and American fashion: "I see young people coming out of design schools and they are too minimalist...Just look at American fashion, which is a quasi-fashion. It's terrible and you almost can't even look at it, but it has been driven by a great journalist, Anna Wintour, who wants all women to be like her and to dress the way she does." [D]
- Heidi Klum is reportedly putting her finely honed blow-job skills to work with a new fellah: New York-based advertising executive and fellow Germany's Next Top Model judge Thomas Hayo. [HuffPo]
- Why do you use Twitter, Victoria Beckham? "To build an engaged audience through both personal and brand messaging." Eh. We generally use Twitter "to tell everyone who follows us how drunk we are, weeeee, awesomefuntimes." [WWD]
- Bernard Arnault might not have picked young French designer Maxime Simoens for the top gig at Christian Dior — that position ultimately went to Raf Simons — but he did decide to make a big investment in Simoens' label, allowing him to leave his position at Leonard to work on Maxime Simoens full time. The purchase price and the size of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy's stake are currently unknown; the last time LVMH invested in a smaller brand was 2009, when it acquired a 49% stake in the socially conscious, Bono-involved brand Edun. [WWD]
- Brooklyn Decker: "I have a top-five list, and Gisele is my number one. So she can do no wrong in my eyes. Well, everyone has a top-five list of their biggest crushes, you know? Usually, it's guys on my list, but Gisele is just so perfect in every way." [GQ]
- Project Runway Season 4 alum and bridal wear designer Rami Kashou says that the show was a great launching pad for his business. "But it's a game show, it's nothing more to me. It's produced." Kashou just unveiled a line with Bebe. [Fashionista]
- Tim Gunn's talk show, The Revolution, was canceled last week and nobody even noticed. [Styleite]
- Macy's top brass talked about The Future at a conference on retailing. And that future involves Macy's collecting reams of data on you, the customer, and contacting you through "the cloud" when it sees fit:
Macy's has even bolder long-term technology plans. [Chief stores officer Peter] Sachse disclosed it has more than 100 million records stored via cloud computing that, down the road with customers who permit Macy's to use their cell phone numbers, will make it possible for the retailer to "literally communicate with them at the point of purchase."
"The cloud will know what you browsed," he said, and can recommend products or showcase promotions based on what's been searched or bought.
Macy's thinks all this constant contact will stop customers from using their smart phones to do the one shopping-related thing that is actually worth the data charges: searching for an item online before purchase to see if it's being sold elsewhere more cheaply. [WWD]
- Bloomingdale's — which is owned by Macy's — is in the middle of contract negotiations with its 2,000 unionized workers in New York City. Yesterday, the workers rallied outside the department store flagship to draw attention to Bloomingdale's C.E.O.'s $17.7 million 2011 pay package. The union says many regular employees are struggling, and wants a general wage increase plus a profit-sharing program. [WWD]
- Journalist Valentine Uhovski is Tumblr's new "Fashion Evangelist." (You may recall that the company's last "Fashion Director," Rich Tong, was laughed out of his job after coming up with an insane fashion week proposal that offered brands a menu for Tumblr coverage and a corresponding pricelist — like $100,000 to get "select bloggers" to cover your show. "Someone is out of his damn mind," commented one PR.) Tong memorably went into a meeting with Net-A-Porter's PR firm of record without knowing what Net-A-Porter was; Uhovski, in contrast, has covered fashion and the collections for years for such venues at the Daily Front Row, the Wall Street Journal, and he was head-hunted by Aliona Doletskaya to help with the launch of Interview Russia. He says, "I think that this community of millions of fashion folks on Tumblr creates the world's largest, most exciting, and regularly updated magazine and it just keeps getting better." [Fashionista]
- Kenzo is launching a collaboration with Vans. For €90, you too can own a pair of slip-ons in one of Kenzo's bright spring prints. [WWD]
- Jezebel friend Marisa Meltzer has a piece in this week's Times Style section about breaking up with clothing brands. [NYTimes]
- Julian Schnabel is reportedly dating May Anderson, the Danish model and assistant director of the gallery Hole. Anderson also appears on the cover of this month's Playboy. [P6]
- If you've ever dreamed of being a plus-size model, Ford + is holding its first open call in over a decade on May 5 in New York. [Ford]
- Bankrupt British label Aquascutum is shutting down its production facility in Northamptonshire. Meanwhile, the brand may continue on as a licensing operation, since a Hong Kong company already owns the rights to Aquascutum's intellectual property in 42 Asian territories. [WWD]