Carey Mulligan is on the cover of Vogue, in character as Daisy Buchanan. Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby is finally set to premiere on May 15. Mulligan tells the magazine that she based her characterization of Daisy on two real women from F. Scott Fitzgerald's life: his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald, and a girl named Ginevra King whom he wooed as a teenager. Princeton, where Fitzgerald's papers are archived, provided copies of the writer's correspondence with King for Mulligan to read. King once wrote to Fitzgerald, "‘There’s so little to me that I’m not hard to forget quickly." Zelda said, "I seem always curiously interested in myself, and it’s so much fun to stand off and look at me." Mulligan says of Daisy:
"It’s that kind of feeling: I’m-so-little-and-there’s-nothing-to-me, watch-me-have-nothing-to-me. She feels like she’s living in a movie of her own life. She’s constantly on show, performing all the time. Nothing bad can happen in a dream. You can’t die in a dream. She’s in her own TV show. She’s like a Kardashian."
Beyoncé's H&M ads are out. [Vogue UK]
The photographer behind Humans of New York was asked by Vogue's Web site to share daily images of people in New York whom he feels embody the ideals of punk ahead of the May 6 opening of the Met Costume Institute show, "Punk: From Chaos to Couture." [Vogue.com]
Hedi is obviously just doing whatever the fuck he wants now. [YSL]
• Just how white are the casts at Calvin Klein's shows, you ask? Business of Fashion crunched the numbers and found that the brand's casting directors, Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes, and found that the brand rarely books black models, and never books Asian or Latina models:
Calvin Klein, in particular, just this past season was entirely Caucasian. And here’s where it gets even worse: in the last eight years there have been only six different black models and zero models of other ethnicities, other than Caucasian, featured in their shows, according to an analysis of imagery on Style.com.
Boina and Fernandes also cast the shows for Jil Sander and The Row, both of which are heavily white. [Bof]
• J. Crew's comeback, 2003-present, is the focus of a new piece in Fast Company. Here, Jenna Lyons describes her intense first meeting with Mickey Drexler, who became the company C.E.O. in 2003 after being fired by Gap Inc.:
On Drexler's first day, recalls Lyons, "he sat down, pushed his chair back, put his foot up on the table, and he looked around and he's like, 'You're all interviewing for your jobs.'" On his second day, he asked Lyons to run through the women's collection in front of the entire team, a roomful of 50 people. She presented three pairs of skinny stretch pants. Drexler asked what she thought of them. "At that point I was like, I have to be honest," recalls Lyons. "I can't lie to him because this is sort of a do-or-die situation." She said except for one pair, she didn't think the others fit the brand. Drexler told her to throw them on the floor. Then they got to a boucle sweater, which looked like poodle fur. Lyons said she hated it, but it was a million-dollar seller. Drexler told her to drop it on the floor. Then came the cheap cashmere T-shirts, made in China. Onto the floor. "I didn't know if I was going to be fired," says Lyons. "I was so confused, and I was scared, but I was also a little bit excited, because all the things that I liked and that I thought were brand-right he was leaving up on the wall. And I was like, Is that good, is that bad? I don't know."
She kept her job. (Many of her colleagues did not.) After two days of reviewing the entire product line, Drexler told Lyons to get on a plane to Hong Kong and design new pieces to fill all the holes. He also asked her where she wanted to source the company's cashmere. A more expensive mill, she said. He told her to call them. This move marked the beginning of Drexler's turnaround strategy—a bet on quality. "You cannot copy high quality, and it takes a long time to get a reputation for quality," he says. Lyons credits this first encounter as both formative and telling of their future together. "Honestly, I think it was because I didn't bullshit him," says Lyons. "His bullshit-dar is insane."
• Condé Nast's College of Fashion and Design has now welcomed its first students in London. The unaccredited college charges over $30,000 for a year-long Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma course. [WWD]
• Prada is now paying more than $1,000 per square foot in rent for its 10,000-square-foot SoHo flagship store, which was designed by Rem Koolhaas. Average commercial rent in the neighborhood is $423/sq. ft. [Crain's]
• Swedish model Tilda Lindstam says her favorite look from the 76 shows she walked in this past season was "Alexander McQueen, but when am I going to wear that? I was so honored to walk in that show. It takes an hour to get dressed and it’s the most painful thing ever. You wear these corsets that are so tight and these giant hip cages — they bring a drill and drill it onto you. It’s insane. It’s the most painful show, but it’s also the most beautiful show." [WWD]
• The director of the upcoming documentary about Carine Roitfeld says he has lots of footage of Kanye West "chatting up models." [Fashionista]
• J.C. Penney won a temporary reprieve in its ongoing legal battle with Macy's over the right to sell Martha Stewart-designed homewares. The judge in the case ruled that J.C. Penney, for now, can sell all the Martha Stewart spatulas and oven mitts it wants, provided it rebrands them as J.C. Penney's own homewares label. The trial continues today. [NYTimes]
• Perhaps the best part of Women's Wear Daily's long, new interview with Miuccia Prada is this passage, where Prada discusses feminism:
WWD: Why is there a need [for greater femininity now in fashion]?
M.P.: This is a very complicated question. We are losing the old power and not really knowing what is the new power. I think that you shouldn’t throw away anything, so I always want to keep our power as women or our deep identity that comes from all our history of women.
WWD: What old power are women losing?
M.P.: It’s the side that pleases men. It’s not a direct power but a power through men, which I hate but we have so much in ourselves. It’s all the feminist discourse.
WWD: Does every collection have a window into feminist discourse?
M.P.: In a way, always. I’m always trying to do something that is…never to please men in the most banal way.