Two new lawsuits are rocking the New York modeling industry today. First, a model named Louisa Raske (not pictured) is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against a sheaf of New York City's top modeling agencies that alleges agencies conspired to defraud their model clients. The suit alleges that agencies regularly give inaccurate financial statements, conceal funds received intended for models, and improperly used money that belonged to models. Raske's suit puts the total value of New York models' losses to their agencies at $20 million.
Meanwhile, the Ford agency is suing two top models, Karolina Waz and Alanna Zimmer, for leaving their contracts and going to the competing agency Women. Ford is also suing Women for allegedly offering Zimmer and Waz improper enticements. Ford is seeking $1 million each in damages from Waz and Zimmer and $2 million from Women. Nearly all lawsuits over the contract disputes arising from agency switches are settled out of court or dismissed.
The class-action suit is a little different. In a statement, Fordham law professor and expert in the field of fashion law Susan Scafidi called Raske's suit "quite dramatic" in its scope. "Many models have raised concerns about lack of financial transparency," said Scafidi. "In the long term, this case has the potential to change industry accounting practices. Models' bodies are in effect small businesses — with the potential for big profits — and should be managed accordingly." A class-action lawsuit against New York agencies filed in the 1990s over accounting standards was eventually resolved in the models' favor in 2005 — but the $22 million in damages the models won went mostly unclaimed. After the claim period had expired, a judge ordered that the remaining millions be donated to an eating-disorder charity. This story is developing. [NYPost, Vogue UK]
- Martha Stewart paints the soles of her Christian Louboutin shoes black. "I don't like them red, even though they're his trademark," she says. "But he doesn't mind. He said it's okay if I do that — I asked him!" [InStyle]
- Kate Gosselin says she hasn't had a facelift, she just ages backwards. "I am probably one of the rare few who de-age," she told Andy Cohen. [E!]
- A lot has been written in recent years about the Garment District of Manhattan as the city and private developers consider its future. Some context: while the fashion industry employs more than 170,000 people in New York City, only 7,100 of those jobs are in the Garment District proper. The Garment District contributes around $2 billion a year to the local economy; the fashion industry overall, $9 billion. According to a new three-year study by the Design Trust for Public Space, "unleashing the neighborhood's real estate value" would have "an incremental annual economic impact of $340 million." This latest report is the usual mix of boring-but-meaningful urban planning recommendations (tax incentives for manufacturers, wider sidewalks, dedicated vehicular lanes for fashion-related delivery traffic to improve traffic) and headline-grabbing fun stuff (holding runway shows on city streets, making loading docks into locations for pop-up stores, roof gardens). [WWD]
- Newlywed Agyness Deyn is officially retired from modeling. [Independent]
- The Hudson Bay Co. IPO could value it at $2.55 billion and raise nearly $400 million for company. HBC's biggest U.S. holding is the Lord & Taylor department store chain. [WWD]
- Prada forced a McDonalds store out of the tony Milanese arcade the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (that's the fancy one next to the Duomo) and now McDonalds — which had been in the location for more than 20 years — is suing the city of Milan for allowing it to happen. McDonalds says it was the only business in the mall to not be given first right of refusal on a new lease. Prada opened its very first store in the Galleria in 1913. Why it decided it needs a second is anyone's guess. [Vogue UK]
- Macy's knows that you Millennials have an estimated $65 billion annual spending power for products at Macy's price point and it wants a piece of your money, okay? This fall and spring, the department store plans to launch 13 new brands and expand another 10 in order to court shoppers ages 13-30. [WWD]
- Poppy Delevingne says she wants to try her hand at acting and will move to Los Angeles. [Daily Mail]
- WSJ. has named Deborah Needleman's successor — and it's an internal promotion. Ruth Altchek, formerly the editor of Journal's Saturday style section, is now in the newly created position of editorial director of WSJ Weekend, where she will oversee both WSJ. the magazine and the style section. Kristina O'Neill, executive editor of Harper's Bazaar, has been named editor of WSJ. and will report to Altchek. As for who interviewed and didn't get the job, both Elle's Kate Lanphear and Anne Slowey plus Glamour's Anne Christensen are on the list. [WWD]
- Robyn Lawley:
"That heroin chic look isn't my cup of tea. It isn't for a lot of people out of the fashion world. That starvation look isn't for everybody, why not have someone who is a little bit bigger?"
- Richemont has acquired the luxury mall below the St. Regis hotel in Manhattan for $375 million. The property last changed hands in 2009 for just $117 million. [WWD]
- Christian Dior is opening a new boutique in Dallas, its first in Texas. [WWD]
- And now, a moment with J. Crew's Mickey Drexler. Mickey, how do you personally feel about the world?
"My personal opinion about the world is that it's homogenized," he said. Drexler said he just returned from an overseas trip and found the "same look, the same goods and the same brands" everywhere. The "ubiquity" of products throughout the world means nothing is special anymore. "Today, there's no aspiration because every high school kid has it."
Drexler furthermore claimed, reports WWD, that because he believes "good taste should never cost more," he does everything he can to keep prices affordable at J. Crew. HA! Mickey "the customer will pay more" Drexler got that bullshit into the rag trade paper of record. You old jokester, you! [WWD]