The old Anna-Wintour-for-ambassador rumor is back. You may recall that in 2009, following superlative service to the Obama campaign as a fundraiser and amidst rumors that her contract renewal negotiations at Condé Nast had stalled (remember when people actually thought non-Anglophone Carine Roitfeld was going to get her job?), the Vogue editor's name was bandied about as a candidate for ambassador to France. By Page Six magazine. And people nonetheless took this rumor seriously for about one (very heady) day. Well: Wintour is still a topObama fundraiser — she's bundled over $500,000 at last count, and endured rabid criticism from the right wing media for daring to step out of her frivolous, silly, fashion-lady box. And the post of U.S. ambassador to the U.K. is expected to be open later this year. The rest of this rumor goes something like "And isn't Anna Wintour, like, from Europe or something? She'd be perfect!" Think about it, folks. Please. [Guardian]
One reason why the above rumor will never come true: Vogue's decision to print a glowing profile of Asma al-Assad in March, 2011 — just as the nascent Syrian uprising was being met with brutality by the forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad — is back in the news today, thanks to its enduring value as a symbol of editorial stupidity. (Which is doubtless why Vogue deleted from its Web site all references to the infamous story and the Norman Rockwell-style Assad family portraits, shot by famed photojournalist and war correspondent James Nachtwey, that accompanied it.) Anna Wintour released the following statement when pressed for comment by the New York Times:
"Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society. Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue. The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms."
Riiiiiight. Meanwhile, the story's author, former Vogue Paris editor Joan Juliet Buck, said she regretted the headline that Vogue had given the piece ("A Rose In The Desert") but that Asma al-Assad was "extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue." As previously reported, the Assad regime secured the profile with the help of a $5,000-a-month Washington, D.C., P.R. firm. The death toll from the Syrian uprising currently stands at over 14,000. Most recently, journalists and U.N. monitors who finally reached the burned-out homes of the town of Qubair, where the Syrian armed forces allegedly perpetrated a massacre last week, are reporting finding "appalling terrors," including pools of blood and body parts. According to the BBC's Paul Danaher, "The stench of burnt flesh was still hanging in the air." [NYTimes]
- Kelly Cutrone thinks Janice Dickinson is a bitch. "Janice is a bitch. You can quote me on that. She's an erratic, unpredictable bitch. Last time I saw her on TV she was on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab, so I'm not really going to take her as a credible source against Tyra Banks," says Cutrone, of Dickinson (who called the supermodel "heartless and cold.") "I mean, what's her fucking beef with Tyra? I think Janice Dickinson just needs to talk shit about Tyra to get her name in the papers." [Fashionista]
- The National Football League, looking to up its brand recognition among women, shot an ad campaign that will break in the August ladymags. Starring such football fans as Condoleezza Rice, Peta Murgatroyd, Kym Johnson, DJ Kiss, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson's wife Suzanne Johnson, and Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, the ads depict their subjects wearing team apparel — mixed with high-end designer goods. Suzanne Johnson brought her Birkin. "I am an Hermès girl," she explained, "so my bag will be in the shot. This is what I would actually wear to the stadium." Is anyone else thinking the obvious: that rather than sending a "Football! It's for women, too!" message, this sends a "Football! It's for rich people!" message? [WWD]
- A French court has ruled in favor of Zara's right to sell footwear with red soles, in part because it found that Christian Louboutin's trademark on the use of red soles was too broad. Christian Louboutin has already applied for a narrower French trademark covering only the Pantone shade known as China Red. (Pantone numbers are an international standard reference for different colors used in the design industries.) [WWD]
- Says intellectual property expert Susan Scafidi, "Louboutin's claim to red is far from dead," noting that the French decision has no legal impact on the American courts, where Louboutin is engaged in a similar legal defense of its red-sole trademark (against competing luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent). [Jezebel Inbox]
- We know the overall employment situation in the U.S. remains a tad bleak, but how are workers faring in the fashion industry? Women's Wear Daily commissioned a survey of the American fashion workforce and found that job satisfaction fell from 60% last year to 51% this year. Reports the survey, "just one in four Baby Boomers and one in 10 Millennials indicated they are 'highly satisfied' with their current work circumstances." Salaries rose by an average of 3.9%, to a median of $70,000, but 90% of respondents say they would entertain job offers. Interestingly, freelancers report higher levels of satisfaction than employees, and fewer than 7.8% would consider returning to the traditional workforce. [WWD]
- "We believe that we will make AIDS history. We have come far, but we are still amfAR from where we need to be." Kenneth Cole makes corny puns IRL, too. (WWD reports that this line, delivered at the amfAR gala, was greeted with "audible groans.") [WWD]
- Tavi Gevinson and Iris Apfel will be interviewed by the New Yorker's Judith Thurman as part of a talk titled "Good Taste/Bad Taste: The Evolution of Contemporary Chic" at the Met. It's a tie-in for the museum's current Costume Institute show, "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations." [Fashionista]
- Ferragamo's runway show at the Louvre — which unprecedented venue the brand secured by exclusively sponsoring a new exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's cartoons and sketches — takes place on Tuesday. Ferragamo paid an undisclosed sum to sponsor the show. The creative director of the brand assures that "having a runway show inside the Louvre has a meaning that goes beyond the simple concept of fashion. It is a statement, a continuation of a long tradition of beauty and sensibility, of passion and a love of art." [IHT]
- Tory Burch is taking over InStyle's "Ask a Designer" column from Rachel Roy. What is she writing?
To a 35-year-old woman with two kids looking for a timeless bag, Burch recommends Celine's $3,250 Trapeze.
How sensible, timeless, and thrifty. [WWD]
- Advanced Style's Ari Seth Cohen and filmmaker Lina Plioplyte have reached their Kickstarter goal of $35,000 to fund the documentary they are planning about some of the blog's favorite stylish subjects of a certain age. [Velvet Roper]
- Maison Martin Margiela is rumored to be the next in line to do a designer collaboration with H&M. [WWD]
- The Council of Fashion Designers of America welcomed 27 new members, including Rachel Zoe, Joseph Altuzarra, Vince Camuto, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, Tabitha Simmons, and Pamela Love. The trade organization also granted Diane von Furstenberg a fourth two-year term as president. [WWD]
- Marc Jacobs was good-humored when asked about Seth Meyers wearing his black lace Met Ball dress on stage at the CFDA awards.
"I thought Seth was amazing. He was so great. He's super funny and gave me a real run for my money in that dress. It was definitely the high point in the night."
But, added the designer, "I think I wore it better." [InStyle]
- J. Crew wants to gain a foothold in Asia, so it's partnering with Lane Crawford. From October, the Hong Kong-based department store will offer a selection of men's and women's J. Crew clothing in stores and online. [WWD]
- Some people are upset that newish J.C. Penney C.E.O. Ron Johnson is on a mission to de-frumpify the chain. These people, including 46-year-old Michigander Donna Jones, like frump.
"He's working hard to 'de-frump' the store without considering that many if not most of its customers might have shopped there precisely because they like the more conservative frumpy look," said Jones about Johnson. "Am I frumpy? Probably. Does that bother me? No, not at all."
Donna: You'll always have Dress Barn. [HuffPo]
- And now, a moment with Vivienne Westwood. According to reporter Marion Hume, this is how the designer renegotiated a deal with the Kenyan women who do beading piecework on some of her accessories:
We are in Kenya, mid afternoon. After a long drive, there is a longer march to a squatter village, as the community we are visiting have lost their ancestral home to a land grab. The singing of Maasai women acts as an aural navigator.
The matriarch appears first, having donned her finery, adding a towering beaded headdress to her usual daywear collars and cuffs. Vivienne Westwood also dresses for the occasion, ducking into a goat-pen to slip on sky-high rocking horse shoes. Thus do two stylish women utterly "get" one another, then get down to business.