Last night at the White House state dinner honoring British prime minister David Cameron, Michelle Obama wore Marchesa — a fashion line designed by two Brits, headquartered in New York, and boosted into the consciousness by Hollywood. Samantha Cameron wore the British designer Alessandra Rich. Anna Wintour dusted off a perfectly good black-and-white Chanel haute couture gown she was last spotted wearing to the Met Ball in 2009. [Grazia]
Model Chrissy Teigen was invited, and she live-Tweeted the whole thing. Including what the guests ate for dinner, how quickly her fiancé John Legend stained his shirt, and the time she accidentally pulled an extension out of her head in Michelle Obama's office. [@ChrissyTeigen]
Here is a Chanel ad directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar. The brand hired pro surfer Danny Fuller to be the face of its latest men's fragrance. Fuller managed to wear RVCA board shorts and ride a non-Chanel board. For his efforts he was paid "a lot more than $40,000. My kids are going to private school now." [Stab]
Karl Lagerfeld listed his Gramercy Park apartment — again — for $5.2 million this time. Though the designer has owned it since 2006, it is not clear from the listing description and pictures whether he ever moved in. [Curbed]
Time's Style & Design supplement is back after being suspended in 2009. And its first new cover features Emily Blunt wearing the Balenciaga Darth Vader visor. An interesting choice. [WWD]
The Kardashians are still advertising their Sears lingerie line. [E]
- The nominees for this year's Council of Fashion Designers of America awards have been announced. Johnny Depp will be given the Fashion Icon award, which the Times calls "a surprise choice if not a particularly inspired one." Those fucking hats, man. Rei Kawakubo will win the international design award and Scott Schuman and Garance Doré will take home the media award.
For the best women's designer of the year, the nominees are Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of The Row, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs. For men's wear, the nominees are Billy Reid, Patrik Ervell and Simon Spurr. For accessories, they are Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler and Reed Krakoff.
- For emerging designers, the nominated women's wear designers are Chris Peters and Shane Gabier of Creatures of the Wind, Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty of Suno, and Joseph Altuzarra. [On The Runway]
- Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, and Emma Bunton are all going to guest-star on a very special episode of Absolutely Fabulous. Bolli-Stolis for all! [Vogue UK]
- With $80 million in new financing at effectively double the interest rate of the $75 million loan it replaces, and existing debt of $116 million (owed at 18% interest, or a worse rate than our favorite credit card), American Apparel is in a tricky spot. Here are a few choice quotes from Wall Streeters and retail analysts Women's Wear Daily talked to for more information: "Dov doesn't care about debt. He just wants to buy more time to keep the company afloat." "I think at some point, this all comes to a breaking point. The company's debt load is too high and the interest rates are too high to be manageable." "These guys are lenders of last resort and American Apparel is in dire straits, which gives them few choices." "Charney is digging himself into a hole he won't be able to get out of. Given the history of the company, it's apparent there are fewer and fewer people who want to lend to these guys. People have been willing to give them a pass in the past, but at some point, nobody is going to want to play with these guys." "I've never seen a company get so many lifelines. Dov must be very charming." The troubled company still lacks experienced senior management — a slew of executives have left — and sources say all key decisions still go through founder Dov Charney. [WWD]
- Gap has been targeting the 18-34 demographic — but those people are all fucking broke.
In 2009, households led by those younger than 35 had 68 percent less wealth than such households in 1984, according to a November Pew Research Center report. The share of employed 18-to 24-year-olds was 54 percent, the lowest since the government began collecting data in 1948, according to a separate report from Pew released last month.
- This — along with poor product assortment — might also explain in part the troubles of Urban Outfitters and the generally soft sales of H&M and Zara. [BusinessWeek]
- Plastic surgeons will now give you hand jobs. [NYTimes]
- Here is a month-old rumor from the launch of the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition. It features models saying moderately mean things to one another, allegedly.
Sources said when the 18 SI models, including Izabel Goulart, Irina Shayk, Chrissy Teigen, Anne V., Genevieve Morton and Julie Henderson lined up for a photo, [Kate] Upton, standing on one side, was asked to move to the middle of the group by a producer. Upton, at first, was hesitant but moved after further prompting. But some of the ladies at the shoot weren't pleased at making space — an onlooker said one model rolled her eyes while another mumbled under her breath. When Upton asked what she said, the model snapped, "Don't worry about me, honey, cause I'm not worrying about you!"
- Amanda Brooks has abruptly resigned her position as fashion director and vice-president of Barneys New York. Although she was appearing at Barneys events as recently as this week, Brooks released a statement saying she was moving to England temporarily to "pursue other opportunities." Brooks, the author of I Love Your Style, was one of new C.E.O. Mark Lee's first major hires. [WWD]
- War Paint, a book chronicling the rivalry between Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, has been optioned for adaptation as a Broadway musical. [Telegraph]
- The Observer traces the origins and outlines of fashion's baby bang trend, as typified by a) Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander b) the Calvin Klein fall show c) a musician named Grimes d) stylist/writer Laia Garcia.
[U]nlike last year's "Bettie" bang, the baby bang ends before the middle point of the forehead, Louise Brooks length or shorter. While Bettie bangs lend the wearer a touch of childlike surprise, alarm is often in the eye of the beholder of baby bangs. When coupled with a little eyebrow modification-the lines penciled on Mariacarla Boscono in Yves St Laurent's spring print campaign or Die Antwoord rapper Yolandi Visser's bleached brows, for example — it's downright freakish.
- Fashion critic Colin McDowell is made increasingly anxious by the situation at Christian Dior, which has now lacked a creative director for more than a year.
And so we come to the tragic case of Dior. And it is tragic on more levels than one: that a label needs a designer and that a man, for all his transgressions, needs a job. Fashion needs that man. To insert Bill Gaytten — an undisputedly brilliant technician, but not a designer — into the gap at Dior can be nothing but a temporary solution. It's high time this gap was closed. But why not with somebody young and untested, as Yves Saint Laurent was when he took over the reins at Dior at the tender age of twenty-one and went on to revolutionise women's clothes?
- Uniqlo is opening its biggest store in Japan — 53,000 square feet — in Tokyo's Ginza district. [WWD]
- Same-store sales at H&M rose a modest 2% during the month of February. Overall sales rose 13%. [WWD]
- The Times finally devoted some attention to the question of fashion's appropriation of Native American textiles and jewelry, a topic we have covered here extensively and repeatedly. [NYTimes]