Lanvin took its fall ads in an unusual direction, for a high-fashion brand: it cast non-models — people who are beautiful recreationally, as opposed to professionally — in its ads and had them shot by Steven Meisel. The subjects are (apparently — it's hard to tell for sure because not all the ads have been published yet) diverse in race, age, and body size, and include a waiter, a milliner, a recent U.S. immigrant, and an 80-year-old former dancer (pictured above).
The dancer told Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz at the shoot that when she was 18, she had wanted to come to Paris and be a model, "but she was a showgirl at the Apollo," says Elbaz. (Elbaz doesn't name her, but this back story suggests that the woman depicted is Jacquie Tajah Murdock, a former dancer at the Apollo Theater who's been shot before by Advanced Style). It's definitely not every day that you get to see an 80-year-old woman of color become the face of a major fashion company. [WWD]
- Heidi Klum is still apologizing for Gretchen Jones' Project Runway Season 8 triumph over Mondo Guerra. When Klum disagrees with another judge, "I really will fight with them to get who I love until the bitter end. Sometimes I don't succeed, like with Mondo for example," she says. "I really wanted him to win, but I got overruled. Jessica Simpson and I, we wanted Mondo, and Nina and Michael wanted Gretchen. Then all the sudden they got Jessica on their side, so then it was three against one." Klum also says that when she and Michael Kors have lunch, "he talks about his anorexic cat who loves to eat tissue paper!" [WWD]
- BryanBoy, who is a judge on the next season of America's Next Top Model, says he never really thought about being on television and turned down offers to do reality shows in the past. "It's never something I imagined doing. But for the past two years I've received a lot of offers from production companies interested in doing some kind of reality show based on me. I said no to everything because I feel like I haven't really done so much in order to open up my life that much. I don't think my life is interesting! On my blog I only share what I feel like sharing whereas on television you're really a public figure." He says he waited "until the very last minute" to say yes to ANTM. "I thought why not give it a shot. It's a contract for one season." [Fashionista]
- Women's Wear Daily reports on one challenge for Western companies doing business in China: corruption. Avon is still under investigation for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in China, and Wal-Mart has drawn regulators' scrutiny for alleged bribery in Mexico and other countries.
As a general rule, Beijing-based lawyer Ronan Diot, who works with the firm Norton Rose, said that foreign companies should not engage in any commercial behavior that would be unacceptable in the West, even if they see other companies getting away with it.
"The difficulty is that some people within companies tend to see corruption as inevitable, and that when they are in Rome, they should do as the Romans," said Diot. "Too many foreign companies run afoul of the local rules because they think, ‘most companies are doing it,' or ‘there is no other way.'"
If American companies operating in other countries are hoping to escape the scrutiny of the authorities back home, they are unlikely to succeed. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Department of Justice, which investigates FCPA violations, have been working overtime in the wake of recent allegations against Wal-Mart Stores.
- Giorgio Armani says it was an honor to make some suits for Christian Bale's character in the new Batman movie. "In the lexicon of superheroes, it's an honour to be associated with such an intriguing character as Bruce Wayne," says the designer. [Vogue UK]
- Dion Lee is the Australian regional winner of this year's Woolmark Prize. He will compete in London this February for the $100,000 international prize. [WWD]
- The private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, which earlier this year acquired 50% of Alexis Bittar and a minority stake in Rebecca Minkoff, has made another investment in a fashion property: a majority stake in Paige Denim. [WWD]