"Raf Simonsto leave Jil Sander. Show on Saturday to be his last." So Tweeted New York Times critic Cathy Horyn this morning at 8:53. By 9:04, the official statement was out and Horyn's post was up: Simons, the popular and critically acclaimed Jil Sander designer would leave the house on Monday, just after presenting the fall Jil Sander women's wear collection. This breaking news bombshell has already spawned to two parallel lines of speculation: that Simons is leaving to take the top job at Christian Dior, and that Jil Sander — the German who founded, built, sold, was fired from, returned to, and was again fired from her namesake line (after giving up a controlling stake to Prada) — might return to lead the house that bears her name a third time. It's a triple-whammy fashion job-go-round rumor, friends! Simons' name has been bandied about with regard to Dior (which memorably lost its longtime creative director John "I love Hitler" Galliano almost exactly one year ago, after he was filmed berating strangers in a Paris café with a racist tirade) since December. The Jil rumor has been reported by the German celebrity magazine Gala and by the British Telegraph; the label is no longer owned by Prada, whose C.E.O. Patrizio Bertelli Sander so famously clashed with. Sander also returned to the world of fashion via a multi-year collaboration with the Japanese mass retailer Uniqlo. Her recently ended line there was well-received. Simons, if he is in fact going to Dior, would be a marked departure from Galliano's theatrical aesthetic: his clothing for Jil Sander has been minimalist, but feminine. Dior collections produced under the supervision of Bill Gaytten, Galliano's former studio head, have been pretty poorly received (but the house says they have sold well). [@CathyHorynNYT, On The Runway, Telegraph]
Horyn has a long and insightful profile of Stella McCartney — her family background, career trajectory, business strategy, marriage — on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. Interestingly, McCartney managed to negotiate 50% ownership when she started her own line with backing from luxury conglomerate PPR; the usual arrangement is for the backers to take a controlling stake. Her company employs a mostly female design team, and Horyn observes that the atmosphere is not mean-girl-y: "You know, the fashion industry has got some funny personalities," says McCartney. "We don't. We like a nice atmosphere. We don't see the point in too much ego or competition. We just want to get on with it." There's also an interesting exchange when McCartney mentions that her friend Tom Ford tried to recruit her to Gucci when he left for Yves Saint Laurent, in 2001:
"He said: ‘Just come to my studio and look at everything. Maybe you'll do it,'" she recalled, shaking her head. "As if all those exotic skins and corduroy hamster fur were going to turn me on and make me change my entire ethic."
Ford says now that it never happened but that, "I think she might have interpreted that at a certain point." Horyn put that to McCartney:
"Oh, he's a lying, cheating...what?" McCartney exclaimed, when I repeated his comment. "That's the weirdest thing. Why would he take me into an office and show me every dead animal? Oops!" She laughed and, frowning, said to me: "How are you going to handle that? ‘Stella says she got offered Gucci but she didn't...LOSER!'" She continued to chuckle.
Here's a better look at the upcoming Mad Men tie-in collection from Banana Republic, modeled by Shalom Harlow and David Gandy. [Fashionista]
Joan Rivers gives a tour of her closet in this video. "Fashion should make you feel happy," she says.
"We're all our own Barbie doll. Anyone who takes fashion seriously is a fool. What's the worst that's going to happen? You're going to go out somewhere, and you're going to put something on, and you're going to look like an idiot. So what? You can take it off, and it doesn't matter." On her purse shelf, Rivers has her mother's Hermès bags and a $49 clutch from her own QVC line. She also says her favorite shoes are by Payless. "They are so...damn...comfortable," she stresses. [TONY]
It's hard to tell whether the stumbling Italian economy (not to mention the ongoing Euro crisis) influenced Gucci's designs for fall, or whether the stumbling Italian economy and the Euro crisis influenced how the Telegraph critic Luke Leitch perceived Gucci's designs for fall — perhaps it was a little from Column A, a little from Column B. In any case, Leitch turned in a review that casts everything from Gucci's choice of a deep burgundy carpeted runway to its use of black chiffon (which he called "rich women's armor") as a function of the economy. We are on the fence; yes, the collection is dark, and so is the economic outlook — but it's fall for Chrissakes. Fall collections are often dark. And forgive us, but we expect even our metaphorical "armor" to be, you know, hard. Anyway, whatever their inspiration, the clothes are quite beautiful. [Telegraph]
Top models Natasha Poly, Anja Rubik, and Jessica Hart and their respective beaux got into a fight at a Manhattan nightclub that ended with one arrest and the broken jaw of a European prince. And you thought your Saturday night was dramatic! Apparently, Poly and Rubik were drinking at a table with club owner Adam Hock and Dutch businessman Peter Bakker (who is Poly's husband). Australian Hart and her boyfriend, shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, were socializing nearby with prince Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco. Something happened when someone from Hart's party went over to the table to talk and had a drink from a $500 bottle of vodka; a new $500 bottle of vodka that the prince's party had sent over was unwelcome; and then Hock started "swinging roundhouse punches" and Casiraghi went "flying" across the room with blood streaming from his face. Hock was arrested. Outside the club, Hart apparently yelled at Poly, "Your husband is a loser! Fuck you!" Which is probably not quite the clever comeback she thought it was at the time. Wit of the staircase, Jess, wit of the staircase. [Daily Mail]
Of the three Cambodian garment workers who were shot by an unidentified private security contractor or police officer outside their factory gates on Monday, one remains in hospital in serious but stable condition. She is 21, and the bullet lodged in her lung. Around 3,000 garment workers in a special economic zone are on strike for better pay and conditions. The companies they work for — suppliers of international brands like Puma — pay no import and export duties, and the Cambodian government waives their other taxes for nine years. The minimum wage for garment workers, meanwhile, is $66 per month. Labor organizers say a living wage in Cambodia would be closer to $281 per month. No arrests have been made in the shooting. [WWD]
Speaking of sneakers made by children in the Third World, Nike made something called a Foamposite Galaxy sneaker and seemingly normal Americans lined up to spend $220 on them. [TLF]
Charlotte Gainsbourg is on the cover of the new issue of WSJ. She tells the magazine, "I like wearing the same sweater over and over again, then taking it off when it's smelly." A woman after our own hearts. [The Cut]
Alexis Bittar says that when he came out as gay in his teens, it was a shock to his Syrian Christian father and Irish Catholic mother. He'd been sneaking out to clubs, which led to a confrontation. "My dad pulled me off the dance floor at Danceteria one night, saying, ‘You are never, ever going there again.' It was humiliating." Bittar began abusing drugs — "I nearly died several times" — and entered recovery aged 19. Now, of course, he's known for the jewelry he designs — and for casting women like Lauren Hutton, Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders. "Every ad features models age 16 to 22 with a blank stare, when the real consumer in luxury fashion stores is more like 35 to 65," he says. "I hate when a woman says she's 45 as if it's a bad thing." [NYTimes]
Milliner Eugenia Kim and hat brand Stetson are doing a collaboration. [Lucky]
Speaking of collaborations, Manolo Blahnik — who has spurned high-low, mass-tige mash-ups — says he was surprised to learn that he's engaging in one with J. Crew. "I have been approached so many times to do one, but I don't want to work for a big company where I'll have to have lots of meetings where I'm told what I can and can't do," says the shoe designer. "My niece, Kristina, handles that sort of thing for me — it's just not for me. I was recently contacted by J. Crew to do something with them, so I sent them over 45 pairs of shoes, and they announced we were doing a collaboration. I had no idea about it!" To be fair, J. Crew presented the deal more as "Manolos in exclusive colorways being sold at J. Crew," rather than as a true collab. [Vogue UK]
Limited Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, and Henri Bendel, among other chains, reported positive 2011 results: net income rose 5.7%, to $850 million for the full year, but the company noted declines in the fourth quarter. [WWD]
In preliminary 2011 results, Roberto Cavalli is reporting a modest 1.1% increase in total sales. Just Cavalli, the company's lower-priced licensed line, is seen as under-performing. [WWD]
And Sears has just reported a $2.4 billion loss for the fourth quarter. Ouch. [WWD]
And now, a moment with Janice Dickinson — supermodel, serial reality TV personality, memoirist, and recent star of Celebrity Rehab. She says she's now clean and sober and attending daily meetings. She even has two sponsees. Janice, what made you want to kick prescription drugs and alcohol?
"It wasn't really a TV show that got me sober. I was 56 years old and just done. I was spiritually bankrupt and really needed help. I was going back and forth to Europe a lot for work so to manage the time change and still sleep, I was taking, and eventually becoming addicted to, Ambien, Ativan and Xanax. I had stopped going to AA meetings for eight years and had been in and out of the program since 1982. I just had this inability to say no. There was a part of me that couldn't shut off and it made me feel empty. I had lost conscious contact with the God of my understanding."