Forget reality TV; nothing has been more mesmerising than the Dolce & Gabbana soap opera of summer. I mean, first they were convicted of tax fraud. Then they appealed. But not content to appeal to the court, they also appealed to the court of public opinion, closing their Milan stores “in indignation,” and announcing they would be bankrupted if they had to pay their fine.  Read more

Is anyone else struck by how much Edward Snowden, in the few pictures that have surfaced and are used again and again, looks like a whistleblower of myth?

White, clammy-looking skin that seems like it hasn’t seen the sun in weeks, either because he has been hiding underground, sleeping in the Moscow airport, or holed-up with his computer (or all of the above); rimless glasses; colourless eyes; stubble; grey, nondescript clothes that throw no light on to the face; mussy hair that sticks up every which way – these are the clichés of the trade, but they also happen to describe his appearance in the image that has been passed round almost ad infinitum. The only other, presumably earlier pic available online – Snowden without glasses and beard, looking even more translucent and pointy – is no better (he looks kind of like an unhealthy Twilight-type).

It’s been an interesting week in fashion reality TV: Grace Coddington solidified her position as one of the industry’s hottest stars by cooking with Elettra Wiedemann, aka Isabella Rossellini’s daughter, on Ms Wiedemann’s YouTube show, and making potatoes Dauphinoise and steak, food that “any Vogue person shouldn’t be making” and John Galliano finally gave his much-anticipated Charlie Rose interview. Together the two revealed a truth about fashion reality TV media execs might want to start noting.

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Moda Operandi’s announcement this morning that it would be selling designer gowns seen on celebrities and society mavens direct from next week’s New York Met Ball has really lifted the veil on the extent of the commercialisation of the 21st century red carpet.

The three-year-old company, which made its name offering high fashion looks straight from the catwalk and has widely been touted as one of the few e-commerce start-ups with a real shot at competing with queen bee of the pack Net-a-Porter, first made waves earlier this year by announcing its sponsorship of the “Punk: Chaos to Couture” themed event. Read more

This weekend marks the opening of designer Marc Jacobs’s first feature film. A “social media thriller” directed by Henry Alex Rubin and entitled “Disconnect”, it stars Jacobs (as well as Jason Bateman, Alexander Skarsgard and Andrea Riseborough) in a supporting role as an sort of e-pimp who provides runaways with shelter and employment doing internet porn. Judging from the trailer he’s pretty good – and really looks the part. In other words, he seems like a legitimate actor, which takes the whole fashion/film thing to a new level. It is a fluke or the future? That si the question. Read more

By David Hayes

With all the ballyhoo of a major Hollywood production, the Gucci-founded charity, Chime for Change, today launched its headline event for 2013, The Sound of Change Live, to be held at Twickenham on June 1.

Hosted at the screening room of a swish central London hotel, the media event didn’t hold back on pizzazz: Salma Hayek Pinault (wife of PPR’s François-Henri Pinault, resplendent in a figure-hugging deep red dress), Oscar winning documentary maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (in a waft of oyster chiffon and satin), Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter John Legend (in sensible leather jacket) and, drum roll, a larger-than-life on-screen Beyoncé delivering a special heart-felt message.

What was all the fuss about? The recently created charity, Chime for Change (say it with a comedic Italian accent and, geddit, it almost sounds like “time for change”), with Gucci’s Frida Giannini, Beyoncé and Salma on the founding committee, is a new global campaign to raise funds and awareness for the empowerment of girls and women in the developing world. Read more

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Are semi-obscure male celebrities the most effective way to sell men’s scents? I have to assume the answer to this question is yes, because otherwise why would brands spend what must be a significant amount of money signing up so-so male celebrities to front their cologne campaigns? (Celebrities do not come cheap these days, as sic Lisa Jacobson at United Talent Agency. They all see “ambassador” roles as a prime source of secondary income).

After all, news comes today that Australian actors Eric Bana, left, and Simon Baker, below are fronting, respectively, the new Bulgari and Givenchy men’s scent campaigns. Recognise them? Read more

Forget clothes; the red carpet is all about the jewellery now. Would be that of an after-awards morning my in-box would be full of who-wore-what emails. Not any more! Now it’s jewels, all the way down (or pretty much). Yet I can’t help feeling that there’s a difference between fine jewellery and clothes, even really expensive clothes, and the “if-it-worked-for-fashion-it-will-work-for-gems” theory is wrong.  Read more

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One of the many purposes of the terribly confusing fashion season known as pre-fall, which began presentations last week and extends until mid-January and which hits stores around June, is — even more confusingly — to feed the voracious maw that is the Hollywood red carpet during awards season. Yesterday the Golden Globe nominations come out, in front of the actual awards in January, and earlier this week the SAG short list was announced. Stylists everywhere are gearing up. Here are my bets on some of their picks.

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This morning at the Holmes & Yang presentation at Lincoln Center — the brand’s first on the official schedule — co-designer Katie Holmes looked kind of nervous, standing next to her partner, Jeanne Yang. Presumably this was partly due to all the people around them passing judgement on their work. But partly it probably also had to do with the knowledge of the same people passing judgement on their tabloid value. It’s a weird position to be in: wanting people to come see the clothes, and wanting to push some away at the same time.
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Vanity Fair has released its annual international best-dressed list a few days earlier than the September issue where it appears, and though it is rife with the usual suspects (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Jay-Z; Diane Kruger) what’s really interesting is who is NOT on it.Michelle Obama, for example, who was on it for the last few years. Christine Lagarde, who made it in 2011. And any titan of business or banking other than super-social hedge fund czar Arki Busson, and Matteo Marzotto, who owns Vionnet, a fashion brand. This strike anyone else as implausible? Read more

Just days after returning from styling Madonna on her MDNA tour – a certain wardrobe slip-up in Istanbul notwithstanding – Arianne Phillips visited the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, to see her work celebrated in a new exhibition. ‘Magnificent Obsessions: 30 stories of craftsmanship in film’, sponsored by Italian sunglasses brand Persol, brings together actors, directors and designers deemed by curator Michael Connor to demonstrate “the fierce passion behind cinema”.

Many of the items on display might never have been discovered if Connor hadn’t tracked down the artists and gained their trust. Pages ripped from the diary of actor Ed Harris explain the emotional cost of his transformation into Jackson Pollock for the 2000 movie ‘Pollock’, and complex sketches by Alfred Hitchcock map the camera angles in the desert scene in ‘North By Northwest’. A series of colour charts created by director Todd Haynes to guide the actors in ‘Far From Heaven’ had to be rescued from a box in his basement. Read more

I was struck yesterday, watching the Duchess of Cambridge at the culminating jubilee ceremonies in her cream lace Alexander McQueen dress, that had I not gotten a zillion emails telling me it was an Alexander McQueen, I never would have guessed it – and that this what-you-see-versus-what-you-assume-gap may become something of a problem for the brand. Read more

Can fashion save publishing and can publishing save fashion? So did I wonder when news of a new coffee table book from Rizzoli entitled “Celebrities in Dior” with Dior ambassadoress Charlize Theron on the cover arrived. Before you roll your eyes and say “big whoop,” know this: I think this is a lot more than a thinly disguised star-fashion-tome. In fact, I think it’s very revealing, both of a new publishing reality and a super-smart and subtle Dior strategy.
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Years in fashion have taught me never to use the phrase “You can’t be serious”. I’ve learned, for example, that saying, “Patrick Thomas, chief executive of Hermès, you can’t seriously expect someone to buy that €1.5m diamond-covered gold handbag?” will prompt both a pleased grin and the perplexed response, “Yes, of course, why not?” And I’ve learnt that noting how all the models in a catwalk show have been reimagined as birds and transformed with moulded headpieces, and how the designer can’t be serious about expecting any woman to wear that, only means that said look is more than likely to appear on Rihanna a few weeks later.

Fashion and satire have never been easy partners. The problem is that although fashion seems like a world ripe for mockery, its very absurdity – the extremity of appearance and, values and language that makes outsiders think it should be a perfect subject of satire – actually makes it impossible.

Most fashion houses are understandably cagey about who they are dressing for the Oscars, the most lucrative red carpet marketing event of the year, which takes place this Sunday in Los Angeles. However, as I’ve been making the rounds of the Milan shows, some bits and bobs of information have come leaking out. The fear, of course, in spilling the beans is that in the end you are proved wrong (see post on Adele at the Grammys). The dressing game isn’t over until the celebrity actually exits the limo, but a few designers were willing to go on the record. Read more

So far the hands-down best moment of New York fashion week (for me, of course) has been the Miguel Adrover show, a mad romp back in time to the days when there was an actual underground in this city’s designers, and men and women existed who just Had to Make Fashion, with nary a care for a commercial component. Read more

The freezing winter winds are now upon us, which means fashion’s spring/summer ad campaigns are about to launch, and the excited sneak peek emails have been coming thick and fast. The most recent comes from the house of Dior, who have signed Mila Kunis, the 28 year old actress from Black Swan, as their new “face.” Here’s my first reaction (and I liked her as an actress): groan.

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