Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls made the cover of Vogue Italia, which she called evidence that "dreams do come true" on Twitter. Smalls was the top black model at New York fashion week this season, and is the current face of Chanel. The cover editorial, which the magazine has been hyping with animated GIFs, looks like a typical Steven Meisel OTT-extravaganza — peep those green and tiger-stripe acrylic nails. Smalls is the first black model to grace the cover of Vogue Italia since the magazine's famous all-black issue of July, 2008. [@JoanSmalls1]
Stefano Pilati is out at Yves Saint Laurent. Rumors of the designer having fallen from favor at the house have been circulating for several seasons; accessories were said to be selling better than Pilati's actual clothes, which were sometimes received with rave reviews (and other times...not so much; Anna Wintour was giving Pilati withering assessments for his reliance on the color black as far back as the filming of The September Issue documentary). Executives at PPR, YSL's parent company, say they wish Pilati well. Earlier this month, Pilati spoke frankly to Vice magazine about the difficulties he'd faced "putting all the bullshit aside" in taking over the creative direction of such an esteemed brand:
"YSL — unfortunately for me — is already strongly defined in people's imaginations. Pretty much everyone has an opinion about it. You make flounced skirts, they ask for capes; you do capes, they ask for tuxedos; you do the tuxedo, they want it more 1970s; if you go 1960s, no, you should have gone to the 1980s."
Hedi Slimane, the erstwhile Dior Homme designer who threw fashion over for photography in the early 2000s, is said to be a frontrunner to replace Pilati. [WWD]
Jil Sander is officially coming back to lead the company she founded in 1968 — for a third time. Sander sold a controlling stake in her namesake label to Prada, then infamously clashed with company C.E.O. Patrizio Bertelli, who fired her, asked her back, then fired her once again. Now that Prada no longer owns the label, and now that Raf Simons is leaving, Sander is free to return. [WWD]
The industry reaction to the move seems mostly positive. Speaking of Sander's recently ended Uniqlo collaboration, the editor of Vogue Germany says, "I think the lines of people waiting outside Uniqlo showed there's still a fascination for fashion from Jil Sander." [WWD]
Marcel Nars, François Nars' pet bulldog and occasional makeup model/mascot, has died. [BS]
This is (a grainy cell-phone photo of) one of Carla Bruni's old modeling comp cards. [Fashionista]
- Suzy Menkes has been watching fashion designers get fired, take each other's jobs, and make comebacks after years-long leaves of absence and, you guys, she is just so sick of it all. The news that Raf Simons is leaving Jil Sander (reportedly for Christian Dior), Jil Sander is returning to Jil Sander, Stefano Pilati is leaving Yves Saint Laurent, and Hedi Slimane is returning to Yves Saint Laurent, has given ol' Suze a case of the vapors:
The drama that started almost exactly a year ago with the breakdown and departure of John Galliano from Dior has spread across the fashion universe. [...]
Caught in this maelstrom are the designers. By their nature artistic and fragile people, they see themselves treated like commodities, bought and dispensed with as the corporate house pleases.
- Menkes lays the blame for this "toxic" situation of people (gasp) changing jobs at the feet of, in order: "corporate conglomerates" that see fashion brands as of a piece with their ice-cream or yogurt holdings, the fashion media that are too distracted by Twitter, or something, and designers who
Are too used to a lifestyle that has brought them fabulous apartments filled with contemporary art and photography to break out of this lush gilded cage, where they are obliged to dance again and again: fashion show, store opening, midseason presentation, second line, media interviews, team meeting, ad shoots, global travel. Smile, smile, smile — and rock until you drop.
- Oy vey. We know it's week four of Fashion Month and perspective is in shorter supply than good coke, but this seems an unusually grim view ("We Are All Guilty For This Mess" reads the headline) to take of three talented people who got exciting new jobs and one person who got fired after having a good run. For good measure, Menkes buries a piece of potentially juicy gossip deep in the piece — that Christopher Kane might be under consideration for the job at Christian Dior, an eventuality poor Menkes can't bear to contemplate, because it would mean "another round of musical chairs." [IHT]
- Makeup artists Tom Pecheux and Pat McGrath have apparently been treating the fall 2012 season as a behind-the-scenes duel to the death — over eyebrows. McGrath is favoring bleached brows for most of the shows that she's keying — including Calvin Klein, Gucci, and Prada. Pecheux, well, he thinks bleached brows look dumb, and he wants the models at his shows — including Moschino — to have full, natural looking eyebrows. "I like women with eyebrows," he says, simply. Because there are only so many times a single model's brows can be bleached and dyed back in a single season, the two rivals have had to come to a sort of eyebrow ceasefire: because it's easier to draw brows back on than to cover them with makeup, models doing McGrath's shows will stay bleached, and if they do Pecheux's, their eyebrows will be filled in temporarily with makeup. "I keep telling the girls, ‘Don't color your brows back,'" says McGrath. "It's better to just keep them then to have to bleach them three times in one day." Pecheux says, "I'm not dying them back, because I know [they will be bleached] again." [Style.com]
- Bam: and then McGrath had the Versace models dye their brows back, because, "With Sicilian women, the framing of the brow is everything." Shots fired. At this rate, there are going to be some models with no eyebrows left to dye or bleach by the end of the season. [Style.com]
- Natasha Poly nabbed a major cosmetics contract, her first: the Russian model will now be a face of L'Oréal. [Style.com]
- J. C. Penney lost $152 million in 2011, the bulk of that ($87 million) in the fourth quarter. Same-store sales fell 1.8%. But the company says it is already seeing a turnaround under its new C.E.O., a former Apple executive who has announced a raft of changes in everything from the company logo to its advertising strategy to its catalog circulation and design to its pricing structure. [WWD]
- Jason Wu subsists on "a (nearly) liquid diet" before and during fashion week, reports WSJ. magazine. During one of his recent monthly juice cleanses, the designer accidentally ate a cookie. Heh. "Accidentally." [WSJ.]
- "Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations," the upcoming Met Costume Institute show, was previewed in Milan. Prada said nice things about it, even though in January she told the press that she wasn't too happy with the curation. "They are focused on similarities, comparing feather with feather, ethnic with ethnic," said Prada at the time, "but they are not taking into consideration that we are talking about two different eras, and that [Schiaparelli and I] are total opposite. I told them, but they don't care." At the preview, Bertelli was more tactful: "This is a distinction, but we must continue our work and go on." [WWD, Previously]
- Duro Olowu says that designing one wildly popular (and widely knocked off) dress in 2004 was a defining moment in his career. The "Duro dress" — you remember the one; kimono sleeves, bright print, contrasting V neckline and waistband, with ties in the back, slightly empire line — made a name for the Nigerian-born designer. "Spotting the dress on real women in different cities in the world and seeing all the copies it sparked made me realize how successful it was." [Exposed Zippers]
- Aimee Mullins has 13 pairs of prosthetic legs of varying types and heights. [V, via The Cut]
- Punny billboarder Kenneth Cole wants to buy all the outstanding shares of his namesake company that he doesn't already own for $15 a pop, which would value his name at some $280 million. That represents a sharp decline from the $850 million market cap the company enjoyed at its peak in 2000. [WWD]
- A group of young feminists protested outside the Versace show in Milan. Many were topless, and had written slogans on their bodies, including "Fashion = Fascism," "Anorexia," and "Models do not go to brothels." [The Cut]