Friday, April 28, 2006

Whay They Say vs. What They Mean

Are you a reader of David Lebovitz's Food Blog from France?

When they say, "Non", they mean, "Convince me."

When they say, "We do not take returns", they mean,"Convince me."

When they say,"It's not broken", they mean,"Convince me."

When they say, "You need a prescription for that", they mean,"Convince me."

When they say,"The restaurant is completely full", they mean,"Please come up with a better story."

When they say,"The restaurant is completely full", they mean,"We already have enough Americans in here."

When they say,"Do you mind if I smoke?", they mean,"Don't answer 'yes', or we're going to pout and scowl while you try to enjoy your dinner."

When they say,"It does not exist", they mean, "It does exists...just not for you."

When they walk right into you on the street and say nothing, they mean,"I'm Parisian."

When they say,"I don't have change", they mean,"I want a tip."

When they say,"Do you want directions?" they mean, "I look forward to telling you what to do for the next five minutes."

When they say, "I'd like the practice my English", they mean,"For the next 20 minutes, you'll idiot while I speak perfect English and demonstrate a far better understanding of world affairs than you do."

When they say, "They're up on the seventh floor", they mean, "They're right around the corner from where you're standing."

When they say, "We don't have any more", they mean, "We have lots more, but they're in the back."

When they say, "It's not my fault", they mean, "It is my fault...but I'm not taking the blame."

When they say, "That is not possible", they mean, "Loser."

When they say, "I am a Socialist", they mean, "I'm not responsible for picking up my dog's poop."

When they say, "You package hasn't arrived", they mean, "I'm just about to go on break. Come back and wait in line for 30 minutes again tomorrow."

When they say, "The fat's the best part!" , they mean, "I'm under 40."

When they say, "The cheeses in France are the best in the world", they mean, "We are indeed a superior culture."

When they say, "America is culturally-deprived", they mean,"Please don't show us Sharon Stone's vagina again."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

At Prada, a Grand Premise Comes Unhemmed

April 27, 2006
Critical Shopper
By ALEX KUCZYNSKI

An architect once told me a story that illustrated the futility and impermanence of all grandly conceived construction projects. A wealthy client had commissioned a complicated living room that required the labor of a dozen workers skilled in hand-set stonework. After a year of work it was clear to the architect that the workers were fiercely proud of the project and considered it not just a room in a house, but also a piece of art in which their souls were invested.

When the client saw his new room, he told the architect it was all wrong; they were to knock it down and start over, to new dimensions the client was just then sketching on a napkin and which he would gladly pay for over and over again until it met his requirements. The architect went back to his workers: the project was perfect, their work done. The next day he hired a new crew to demolish everything and start over.

I was reminded of this story as I toured the Prada store in SoHo, a grand and theatrical space that stands in the footprint of the Guggenheim Museum's former downtown location. Designed by Rem Koolhaus and erected at great expense in late 2001, the Prada "epicenter," as the company refers to it, could have become a blackly comic joke, a paean to extravagance and consumerism that opened three delicate months after 9/11. Instead, critics praised it for its ambitious interior design, technological innovations and daring architecture.

In January, a fire damaged the store, and it reopened only two weeks ago with an exhibition called "Waist Down: Skirts by Miuccia Prada." The skirts, designed for previous collections, twirl from the ceiling on motors or hang on the wall, their flounces animated by windshield wipers. Each is accompanied by a piece of explicative literature.

These disquisitions, in a crude blend of English and artspeak, resemble in miniature the essays one might find in a museum, but succeed in illustrating the commerce at the heart of Prada. One skirt "exudes a luxuriant grace," while the cut of another is "a clever way to show off how gorgeous it is inside and out." Thanks. I wouldn't have noticed the luxuriant grace. Really.

Several skirts are homages to arte povera, the school of conceptual art that celebrates ephemerality and decay: one skirt is dyed in such a way as "to create a damaged effect," while another assumes "a dirtied look of almost destroyed beauty." Another is "painted with shadows to obtain a dirtied effect in a cancellation of beauty." Sharp-edged miniature mirrors, which plate the hem of another, can render the garment "somewhat uncomfortable when walking."

Clothing designed to facilitate self-mortification. Now I know what I'm wearing to the premiere of "The Da Vinci Code."

For the duration of the show, the women's clothes for sale are mostly downstairs, underneath the zebrawood half-pipe that takes up the center space. It's as if Mr. Koolhaas and Ms. Prada decided to thumb their noses at the enterprise of shopping, creating a showroom for clothes that hardly has room to show clothes, a place where the grandiosity of the architecture takes a premium over the merchandise. At its heart this store seems almost ashamed of the fact that it is a store, veiling its commercial intentions beneath an apologetic veneer of art.

But there is a history of ambivalence here. Ms. Prada herself is a former Communist, according to past iterations of the company's literature. Yet she has adapted herself quite fluently to the world of high-end fashion, and its prices. Often I found myself wondering if I was reading a price tag or bar code. A hand-beaded bolero jacket in navy-blue duchesse satin costs a bit more than $20,000. An elaborately embroidered skirt in orange taffeta is $11,515.

Downstairs, two young women, their eyes ringed in kohl, pawed the clothes. "I can't believe they let us touch this stuff," said one, pointing out the beautifully unfinished hem on a short evening jacket. It was the most finished-looking unfinished hem I have ever seen. A row of subtle drop-waist dresses in chalk, pink and gray looked wearable, as did a cotton dress with elaborate wooden beading. I liked the sandals teetering not on wedge soles but cantilevered up on bamboo stilts, like a Balinese beach shack, and the jeweled wedge sandals ($850). I didn't like the espadrilles with a big Prada nameplate on the front ($460), which look too logo-conscious to me, in a way that suggests a Chanel logo — circa 1986.

Some of the practical machinery at work in the store is fascinating, like the wheels that can be turned to change the perimeters of the lower-level rooms, much like the rolling bookshelves in libraries. The men's clothing is now on display upstairs, at the Mercer Street end of the store; boxes and cases hang from a complex metal gridwork overhead and can be switched easily to change the layout.

But the most heralded technological promises fail to deliver. The round elevator, which was constructed at a cost of $1 million, didn't work during my two recent visits. And even if it did, it (theoretically) travels only between the ground floor and the basement floor, a distance shoppers can travel in about four seconds by foot.

In 2001 the dressing rooms were heralded as techno-wizardry: touch a button, and the glass enclosing each room is supposed to go opaque. But they were not working either (there are conventional dressing rooms at the back). So much hard work has gone into this place, and yet it has succumbed to the insults of time and the colloquial nuisances of city life, like the fire that, adding insult to injury, started in American Eagle Outfitters next door. The interior is such a major structural statement, and so impractically suited to most ventures, that whoever the next tenant is will be forced to destroy it and rebuild it.

I also suspect that the store has not fully recovered from the fire's water damage. In one room on the lower level, dimly lit and quite cool, I inhaled and was suddenly seized by an attack of homesickness. I missed my parents terribly and craved a Snickers bar. And then I realized: the room was damp, and I was remembering summer camp. It smelled, unhappily, of mildew.

Prada SoHo
575 Broadway (Prince Street); (212) 334-8888
ATMOSPHERE Squint your eyes and you could be in a contemporary art museum in a chic small city in, say, Spain or Switzerland.
SERVICE Generally quite friendly.
PRICES Plastic aviator sunglasses, $220; trolley suitcase in bronze leather, $2,095; men's suede car shoes, $370.
source: nytimes.com

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On Newsstands Today $1.99
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W Korea May 2006
Karolina Kurkova
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Trench Coats
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Kate Moss to Attend Anglomania Gala!

Kate to arrive as guest of Burberry
Tuesday, April 25, 2006(NEW YORK) What better way for Kate Moss to celebrate her return as the face of Burberry then by attending the upcoming Anglomania-themed Costume Institute Gala? The supermodel will be attending Monday night’s party of the year as a guest of the British fashion house (who is sponsoring this year’s exhibition of British fashion) and will sit at the table of its creative director, Christopher Bailey. Burberry is taking its newly strengthened relationship with Moss one step further by creating a custom, one-of-a-kind gown for her to wear while she vamps it up for the dozens of red-carpet photographers. But while the designer label is no secret, the style, color, and even length of the dress are all being kept under lock and key, as according to a source, “it’s going to be a big surprise.”

source: fwd

Paris Vogue May 2006 / The Anna Mariya Moment

Since her opening and closing turns at the FW 06 Prada show, modelwatchers have been waiting for the first editorial bursts from IMG’s chic newcomer, Anna Mariya. Appropriately enough, it’s French Vogue first on the case with this classically gorgeous cover snap of the new beauty in town. Very 80’s Avedon circa his Revlon “Unforgettable” campaign, no?

Friday, April 21, 2006


Vogue Spain May 2006 w/Supplement
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Being Bad: The Career Move

It would probably require a stopwatch to clock the lag time between sin and redemption lately, as media disgrace is transformed into a bargaining chip in a celebrity's career often before a bad boy or girl has stumbled home from the crime scene and showered off the taint of shame.
What seems evident is that public humiliation has lost its barb. There might have been a time when being caught on camera in flagrante delicto or hoovering up lines of coke would have ended a career. But as Paris Hilton proved, being videotaped by one's boyfriend in a zonked-out state and naked on all fours does not put a hitch in one's five-year plan. If anything, the bubble-gum divinity apotheosized on the basis of a homemade pornography loop, a moronic catchphrase and a mental vacancy cavernous enough for storing yellowcake appears set to enjoy a media half-life about as long as that of a spent plutonium rod.

And this odd realization goes a long way toward explaining recent events in the life of another creature of the age: the model Kate Moss.

The recent career arc of this British model, style emblem, rocker's moll and anointed reprobate of the fashion world could be found unexpected only by those whose attention has strayed from the celebrity mosh pit that now crams the main stage of pop culture. Readers whose Star subscriptions have lapsed may not recall that it was just seven months ago, on Sept. 15, that The Daily Mirror of London ran front page photographs that, it claimed, showed Ms. Moss cutting and snorting cocaine in a London photo studio where Babyshambles, the band of her boyfriend, Pete Doherty, was in the middle of a recording session.

The pictures looked gritty, candid and sufficiently libel-proof that both images and coke-snorting allegations were soon plastered like sleazy wallpaper across the blogosphere. The immediate effect on Ms. Moss's career was less than promising. She was booted by a group of the clients who had made her one of the richest women in her industry, with estimated annual earnings of $9 million. The Swedish retailer H&M, Europe's largest clothing chain, led the charge, dropping her from an advertising campaign showcasing clothes designed by Stella McCartney after first coming to Ms. Moss's defense.

"If someone is going to be the face of H&M," a spokeswoman said at the time, "it is important that they be healthy, wholesome and sound."

Ms. Moss simultaneously discovered that lucrative contracts with longstanding clients like Burberry and Chanel were not renewed or else dropped. And while she stopped short of admitting to drug use, Ms. Moss did what spin doctors always advise troubled clients to do in a pinch: issue an apology and head for the hills. In Ms. Moss's case, the hills surrounded an Arizona clinic where she went to treat "the various personal issues I need to address," as she said in a prepared public statement, "and to take the difficult yet necessary steps to resolve them."

Yet a strange thing happened to Kate Moss on the way to rehab. Far from becoming a pariah or experiencing a serious fall from public grace, she developed an unexpected level of luster. The 32-year-old woman who has been the subject of controversial press since she was discovered at 14, the onetime waif, the person pilloried for allegedly promoting anorexia, the freewheeling seductress of the British tabloids, the tempestuous destroyer of hotel rooms, the confidante and bosom buddy of Anita Pallenberg and other rock chick survivors from the heyday of hard drugs, found herself bumped up a notch to the status of that most nebulous of beings, the cultural avatar.

And even before the model had checked out of the drying-out clinic, she was inundated in attention and work. W magazine ran a cover story on Kate Moss in November 2005. Vanity Fair made her its cover subject the following month. An issue of the influential fashion magazine French Vogue was dedicated to Ms. Moss, who also served as guest editor.

If her notoriety was bad for the brand, it is hard to see how. Even as the London police were questioning Ms. Moss in January, clients were clamoring for her services. Already by early 2006 she had booked campaigns with Virgin Mobile, Dior, Roberto Cavalli and CK Jeans. She had renewed her contracts with the leather and accessories company Longchamp and, it was rumored in the industry, also with Burberry, whose runway show in Milan she attended in February as the front-row guest of Rose Marie Bravo, the company's chief executive. "It shows how relevant she is," Jenn Ramey, Ms. Moss's American agent, said this week, just days after Nikon introduced a new campaign for its Coolpix S6 digital camera built around a series of photographs of a mostly naked Ms. Moss.

"Kate is the height of style and sophistication," said Bill Oberlander, the executive creative director of McCann Worldwide, the agency that created the Nikon ads, for which Ms. Moss is reputedly being paid several million dollars. "She has this almost superhuman quality."

For Anna Marie Bakker, the director of communications at Nikon, Ms. Moss seemed an obvious choice to promote a brand aggressively trying to shed its fusty image and seduce the notoriously fickle imaginations of young consumers. "Part of the appeal is that she is truly an enduring style icon," Ms. Bakker said. "But most importantly, she appeals to Nikon as we try to move our product forward, because she has an edge."

Doctoral dissertations could be written on the layered meanings of "edge," the most overused marketing term of the last decade and one most often deployed to lend freshness to ideas and objects whose use-by date has clearly expired. Yet Kate Moss, whose cool not only fueled an 18-year career at the top of her profession, but also attracted the attention of artists from Lucien Freud to the British sculptor Marc Quinn, can now fairly be said to have added "edge" to her résumé, largely on the basis of her sporadic relationship with the unregenerate bad boy, Mr. Doherty, and the resulting brouhaha about a druggy night spent in a London studio.

"She's ubiquitous, she never speaks publicly and so she's someone who has this muteness, this silence that allows people to project onto her image," said Mr. Quinn, whose painted bronze sculpture of Ms. Moss, in an elaborate yoga posture and with her feet behind her ears, will be the centerpiece of a show opening in May at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York. "Her image has a life of its own. What was interesting when she had all those troubles with the tabloid press about her drug-taking was that the image and the drug-taking didn't fit and people couldn't take that."

Yet just as likely the reverse is true; Ms. Moss's tabloid adventures added to the nest of magpie details that, wittingly or not, we all now seem to accumulate about celebrities and then mold into specious narratives about people we've never met. "And that, after all, is what a brand is," said James Twitchell, an author and professor of English and advertising at the University of Florida.
"Celebrities are these extraordinary characters who have no plot, but who are in many ways the easiest characters to follow. They don't violate expectations because there really are none."

And so Ms. Moss's cool — the historical cool of bad boys and girls doing things that most of us, being properly middle class, might wish to do but will never get around to, explained Dr. Michael Brody, chairman of the media committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — becomes something different and better in a marketing sense when one adds a dollop of scandal or edge.

"Edge denotes shame," said Dr. Brody, the kind invoked when, for example, one is caught by a camera huddled over a mound of white powder, neatly chopping lines. "People use cameras to take all kinds of pictures now," he added, alluding to the proliferation of too-intimate images widely available on sites like Craigslist.com or MySpace.com. "If you're selling a camera in our celebrity-obsessed culture, why not use a celebrity and one who was captured at the scene of a crime?" he said.

The idea is not just sexy, in a dubious but distinctly transgressive fashion. It is also a shrewd exploitation of brand. "From the minute her name came up, we loved the idea of Kate endorsing a camera," said Mr. Oberlander, the McCann Worldwide executive. What could be better, Mr. Oberlander said, than giving a camera to the woman who has spent her life as the focus of its gaze and letting her "take the lens and turn it on the audience?"
source: nytimes.com

People of the World....We Give You Moses!

What a little cutie. And...we're over it. Yeah, yeah, sorry Gwynnie but nobody really gives a shit anymore. We have Suri and baby Jesus Jolie-Pitt to preoccupy our biological brains. But don't feel too bad. At least he's not Brooke Shields' kid.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why Stars Name Babies Moxie, Moses & Apple

source: nytimes.com
It's a measure of what we have come to expect from celebrities to consider that if Henry Fonda were alive and having children today, it would seem as likely for him to name his daughter, say, Hanoi, as simply to call her Jane.

It seems almost unimaginable for any 21st-century movie star to send his children out among the Hollywood elite equipped with ordinary names like Michael, Eric, Joel and Peter, as Kirk Douglas once did.

This point was driven home again last week, when Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, the frontman of the band Coldplay, named their newborn son Moses. It was an unlikely enough name for a baby boy born in 2006, but perhaps less startling than the much discussed (and mocked) handle his sister, Apple, born two years ago, will carry through life.

Not that a name like Apple Martin stands out among celebrity children anymore. The director Peter Farrelly plucked that very name for his daughter before Apple Martin came along. Even that name seems drab compared with Hollywood baby names like Pilot Inspektor, cooked up by Jason Lee, the star of "My Name Is Earl," or Banjo, the inspiration of the "Six Feet Under" star Rachel Griffiths, or Moxie CrimeFighter, a name chosen last year by the comedian and magician Penn Jillette for his daughter.

Skeptics scoff at the mad rush by stars to come up with exotic baby names as another means for the attention-hungry to grab headlines. But psychologists and others who have worked with high-profile performers say that the naming of children can function as a window into a psyche. Perhaps subconsciously, they say, stars seize the opportunity of parenthood to express their obsessions, ambitions and inner quirks in a way that is, for a change, unscripted and not stage-managed by publicists.

Mr. Jillette, for example, managed to satisfy a number of interests and objectives when he and his wife, Emily, gave their daughter her highly individual name.

"You're likely to be the only one in any normal-size group with that name," Mr. Jillette said by e-mail, adding, " 'Moxie' is a name that was created by an American for the first national soft drink and then went on to mean 'chutzpah,' and that's nice."

Besides, Moxie CrimeFighter fits right into the creative world.

"Everyone I know with an unusual name loves it," he wrote. "It's only the losers named Dave that think having an unusual name is bad, and who cares what they think. They're named Dave."

Not all performers present their decisions in such terms.

"Apples are so sweet, and they're wholesome, and it's biblical," Ms. Paltrow said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2004. "And I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean." ("Moses" meanwhile is a song that Mr. Martin wrote for Ms. Paltrow in 2003.)

But while middle-class parents increasingly trade in standard names like Karen and Joseph for fancier ones like Madison and Caleb, movie stars seem compelled to push the baby naming further. The names may be merely distinctive (say, Maddox, Angelina Jolie's Cambodian-born adopted son) or bizarre, like Makena'lei Gordon, Helen Hunt's daughter, inspired by a place name in Hawaii. Celebrities may not so subtly be saying that for them ordinary rules need not apply.

If celebrities are the new American aristocracy, the exotic baby name can sometimes function as the equivalent of a royal title, a way for a privileged caste to bestow the power of its legacy on future generations.

"There's a sense of 'I'm special, I'm different, and therefore my child is special and different,' " said Jenn Berman, a clinical psychologist in Beverly Hills, who has worked with actors. "It's unconscious, but they think, 'We're a creative family, you have the potential to be creative, so here, I bestow you with the name 'Joaquin,' " Dr. Berman said.

As artists, actors often consider it their duty to shake up assumptions, defy conventions and push the frontiers of the possible. To settle for a tedious name for the child would almost be a form of spiritual surrender, said Stuart Fischoff, a psychologist, who has also worked with Hollywood clients.

"They're expressing their creativity, and they're also expressing their fear," Dr. Fischoff said. "It would be very embarrassing for people to think of them as normal."

The unusual celebrity baby name is not new. Decades ago, Anthony Perkins named his sons Osgood and Elvis, and Marlon Brando named his daughter Cheyenne. And Ms. Paltrow, the daughter of the actress Blythe Danner and the director and producer Bruce Paltrow, is named Gwyneth, after all.

But those who track the popularity of baby names say that the pressure for stars to come up with creative names for their children has grown in recent years, particularly as Hollywood members of Generations X and Y have moved into their peak years of child rearing, carrying with them their generation's taste for obscure pop cultural references, iconoclasm and smirky irony.

Just as Frank Zappa proved himself the classic hippie prankster by naming his children Moon Unit and Dweezil in the 1960's, the actress Shannyn Sossamon, 26, established herself as a proud product of her times by naming her son, born in 2003, Audio Science.

"A name is free, it is something that everyone has, so if you are a celebrity, you are going to have to work that much harder to set yourself apart as a person with a specialized knowledge or a rarefied taste," said Pamela Redmond Satran, who has written baby-name books with Linda Rosenkrantz, including "Beyond Jennifer and Jason" (St. Martin's). She said a competitive impulse among stars seems to account for the recent bonanza of unlikely baby names.

"In a weird way, it's like anorexia" in Hollywood, Ms. Satran said. "Anyone can be thin. The famous have to be thinner."

They also have a traditional role as tastemakers. It's hardly a coincidence that the name Ryder, which was the 901st most popular boy's name in the country in 2001, according to Social Security Administration statistics, jumped to 341 in 2004, the year Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson chose it for their newborn son.

But as regular people — the sort who wait in line at restaurants and pay for their own clothing — try to catch up, the stars are pushed further into the realms of obscure names, in an effort to stay ahead of this particular fashion curve. So stars troll deeper into the Old Testament for name ideas (both Bono and Wynonna Judd have an Elijah, and Cynthia Nixon has a Charles Ezekiel), into world geography (David and Victoria Beckham have a Brooklyn, and Summer Phoenix and Casey Affleck have an Indiana) or even into Grandmother's attic. (Jude Law dusted off the name Iris for his daughter, and Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams exhumed the name Matilda for their first child last fall.)

Some therapists said the celebrity impulse to foist odd names on their children amounts to simple narcissism by the parents, and the resulting status comes at the child's expense. The children, after all, are the ones who will have to raise their hands every time a teacher calls out "Coco" or "Eulala."

"It's like having a mini me," said Robert R. Butterworth, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, who has had actors on his patient roster. "The child is a part of them, not an individual. It's an appendage."

The burden of celebrity falls even on the unborn. The child Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are expecting has already been a cover subject for magazines.

Other psychologists, however, believe fears for the child's well-being are overblown. If, for example, Harvey Keitel's son, born in 2004, feels a bit conspicuous being named Roman, he will at least have company. Both Cate Blanchett and Debra Messing named sons Roman that year.
Besides, the offspring of the Hollywood elite have other matters to discuss in therapy, said Dr. Berman, who said she has counseled several: "With kids of celebrities, in all honesty, the other issues are so big this one pales in comparison."

Cat has Heart Eyes!

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Tomkitten Est Arrivée!

Welcome to Earth, Suri Cruise! Us lifeforms are called humans. Huuuuuu-maaaaaans. [Waves hello] Your journey was unexpectedly long but your parents, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, are proud to welcome you into this world as their first child, a bouncing baby girl. You weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz and your name Suri means "princess" in Hebrew or "red rose" in Persian. You have two siblings from your father's previous marriage to Nicole Kidman (she's also an actress) -- Isabella, 13, and Connor, 11, who were adopted as infants. This news comes the same exact day that your daddy's sworn enemy, Brooke Shields, gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Grier Hammond Henchy. You can look forward to your daddy setting up many playdates for the two of you. Be excited! Congrats to you and your parents! TOM 'N' KATIE 4EVA!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Teen Vogue May 2006
Mandy Moore
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Helena Christensen

It's not easy being a superannuated supermodel. You can sponsor an animal sanctuary. You can become a UN goodwill ambassador. Or - like Helena Christensen - you can open a boutique.

Promptly at noon, as scheduled, Helena Christensen strides, long-legged and efficient, into Butik, her shop in the West Village, New York. Before she's even taken off her coat, she's sat down at a computer, sent an email, made a call and calmly rearranged a conflicting appointment, a model of professionalism and problem-solving in action.

If it weren't for her still-stunning looks - at 37, a bare-faced Helena displays the dewy skin and perfectly full lips found only on the most genetically blessed - it would be hard to imagine that this whirlwind presence ever spent as much time as she did in the relatively passive life of a model. She absent-mindedly clips her brownish-auburn hair into a bun as she sits down to talk, as if doing the female equivalent of rolling up her sleeves for a bit of work.

'I thought, when I stopped modelling and slowed down, I'd want to find peace and settle down somewhere,' she says, talking about this new phase of her life, her accent a blend of American and Scandinavian influences (Christensen's mother is Peruvian; her father, Danish). 'But that didn't happen. I just became more manic about experiencing everything.'

Although she's probably still best known for her work in front of the camera, posing for the likes of Herb Ritts and Peter Lindbergh and Bruce Weber, in recent years Christensen has been revealing much more of herself. No, not the body that Gianni Versace once decreed the most beautiful in the world, but the considerable talent and creativity that happened to come with that perfectly formed package.

She has established herself as a serious photographer in her own right, with shows in Paris, London and New York, as well as regular work shooting for prestigious fashion magazines.
All the while raising her son, Mingus, who's now six, and last year opening Butik, which sells a whimsical mix of fashion, antiques and desirable objets reflecting Christensen's love of the granny chic aesthetic both in decor and clothing.

'I would describe Helena's style as bohemian,' says Leif Sigersen, the Danish friend and flatmate with whom Christensen opened the shop. 'She can take something very expensive and make it look casual, or she can buy something for $2 at a flea market and make it look a million dollars.'
When Christensen walks in, Sigersen gives a quick approving appraisal of her sweater: a Jane Mayle royal-blue cardigan, a chunky knit that looks streamlined thanks to a belt at the waist. She wears it over jeans by Edun - the socially conscious clothing line created by Bono's wife, one of her many rocker friends - with a delicately sexy, brown peasant blouse under the sweater, open just enough at the collar to show a span of tanned décolletage.

And is the shirt also Jane Mayle? 'It's H&M,' says Christensen. 'A lot of things there, once you wash them, they get better and better.' Everything in the shop has that quality, though heaven forbid it should be mass-produced. A late 19th-century wicker rocker, one of Christensen's favourite finds, purchased at an estate sale in upstate New York, is proudly displayed on a ledge. Elsewhere, a century-old Bulgarian wedding dress, all organza and embroidery, hangs as if it were a piece of art.

Children's clothing and mittens are spread on a white couch; when swept away, they reveal that the couch, which Christensen calls 'the life of the store', also serves as a kind of scrapbook.
'Today I am a star,' someone called Michael has scrawled on the couch - Christensen's friend Michael 'REM' Stipe, it turns out. 'Helena and Leif, it's magic here!' someone called Maggie has written (the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, that is). Meanwhile, Liv (Tyler) writes that she thinks the shop is beautiful.

Similar sentiments come courtesy of Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore. The couch seems to embody the shop's ethos: lovely objects are also playthings, made to be used, not put behind glass. 'I like the feeling that the pieces are filled with soul,' Christensen says. 'It makes you feel closer to life and nature.'

Christensen herself has never been one to hide behind glass. While other supermodels were too scared to go to the Paris shows in 1991 because of the imminent first Gulf War, Christensen got herself on a plane and landed a great season. 'Of course the designers were happy to see me,' she has said of that successful run. 'I was the only one on the plane.'

Christensen is one of the few supers of her generation not to have attracted tabloid attention for her partying or her attitude problems. But nor has she opted for a safe and staid private life with some billionaire hedge-fund manager or minor royal. She was drawn instead to the INXS star Michael Hutchence, whom she dated for five years. (They broke up in 1995, five years before Hutchence's death.)

In 1999 she met, through Herb Ritts - possibly the world's most glamorous matchmaker - the former Prada model and actor Norman Reedus, with whom she had Mingus. The two have since separated, but live around the corner from each other and remain friends.
As for why the romance ended, Christensen is vague. 'You couldn't say whether it was one thing or another,' she says. It's seems, though, that the pressures of child-rearing might have played their part.

Asked how couples can stay close throughout that first difficult year of parenting, Christensen looks weary. 'It's something everyone has to work out for themselves, and all I can say is good luck.' Christensen has primary custody of Mingus, although Reedus steps in when she's away with work. If they're both working, her mother, who has already taught Mingus to speak Spanish, flies in to help out.

Mingus is now old enough to have his own opinions about fashion, to his mother's pride and dismay. 'I like to put him in beautiful old-fashioned children's clothing, but he goes, "You've got to be kidding!"

'He wants to wear the sporty, hip-hop look. I'm like, "What do you mean you don't want braces any more, they're so cute!" And he says, "They're for a baby." And I say, "You are a baby! You shouldn't even be able to form the sentence to tell me you don't want to wear it!"'

Not that Christensen is in a position to complain: she herself was an early starter in experimental fashion. At high school, a typical outfit would consist of a vintage dress worn over a hospital gown worn over long underwear - with sneakers.

'The boys would say to me, "Maybe you should get up a little bit earlier so you don't come to school in your pyjamas,"' she says, laughing. But her mother never stopped her as she walked out of the door. 'She might not have said, "That looks beautiful," but she might have said, "That's really interesting."'

These days, Christensen travels for three months of the year, and spends four with Mingus in Copenhagen, where he was raised for the first two years of his life. Although she divides her time between New York, Copenhagen and her home in Monaco, she's also a frequent visitor to London, usually squeezing in a trip to Topshop, where no one so much as asks for her autograph, let alone an opinion on the stock. 'I don't get stopped, because everyone is so manically shopping.

No one gives a shit who's next to them - all they care about is who's going to get to that piece first,' she says. 'It's very hectic - the music is pumping, you really feel they are all teenagers, and you're not. But I like wearing new things. I'm not talking about expensive new things, but there's just something joyful about putting on something new, walking out of Topshop with ten things.'

Christensen says she looks for straight, clean lines, rather than tight, fitted skirts or trousers. 'There's a lot of man in me,' she adds, mentioning a Dior men's suit she recently had lightly tailored to fit. 'Or maybe it's that I don't want to wear anything too tight because I need to feel
like I can eat. Food is the most important thing to me.'


As Christensen is talking, the photographer gears up for the shoot and a make-up artist applies the lightest of touches to her face.

'I like it to look natural,' she says. 'I'm always telling young models to take all that shit off their faces. They're so much more beautiful without it.' Some shimmer on her eyes, a little mascara that she applies herself, a touch of lip stain, and the striking, 37-year-old beauty suddenly gives way to a full-blown supermodel, her green-blue eyes emphasised so they take on an otherworldly quality.

For the first of the shots she puts on a dress and jacket by one of her favourite Danish labels, Rützou, which she stocks in the shop. It's a springy, loose-flowing look with a bit of spangle at the waist, a combination typical of the designers at Butik: even the chunky-knit sweaters have a bit of glitter woven through them, giving a girlish influence to the otherwise faded, sea-worn colours Christensen favours.

Although she clearly loves the freshness of the Danish designer's work, it is a delicate vintage dress in taupe that gets Christensen most excited. Tightly fitted above the waist and flowing below, it's sheer enough that it needs to be positioned just-so for the embroidered flowers to cover her decently.

The dress hangs on display in her home and every six months, she says, she takes it down to make sure it still fits (it does, thanks to a fast metabolism and a recent interest in boxing). 'I keep thinking it has to be worn at the most exquisite event ever. If I was going to get married, I'd wear it, but that probably means I'll keep it for ever. Or I'll probably get married when I'm 92, and then the dress won't fit me any more.'

Letting her favourite vintage fashion finds go to the shop has been a bit of a struggle, she admits. 'Sometimes Leif comes home, and he seems really quiet, and he'll say, "You know that dress you loved? Well, I'm sorry to tell you it was sold today." And we'll both be like, "Oooh." And it will be a really sombre evening.'

source: Telegraph
Minkoff @ Flickr
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Monday, April 17, 2006

For Kate



Keira Knightley US Vogue May 2006

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Friday, April 14, 2006

US Vogue May 2006
Keira Knightley
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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Will Lohan Pose for Versace?

Lindsay to "spend time with Donatella on her boat..."
Thursday, April 13, 2006 source: fwd

(NEW YORK) First Marc, now Donatella—Lindsay Lohan as certainly been getting around lately. At the Calvin Klein Jeans dinner honoring Kate Moss Monday night, Lohan disclosed that she was in talks to be the face of Versace for the upcoming fall season. “I’m going to spend time with Donatella on her boat,” Lohan said, adding however that no contract had been signed. A Versace spokesperson also said “nothing has been decided yet.”

If Lohan were to score the coveted fashion campaign, she would join the ranks of Halle Berry, Madonna, and Demi Moore as the youngest Versace icon ever. So what is Lohan doing in the fashion realm these days? “I’m holding out for Karl [Lagerfeld] and Ingrid [Sischy],” said Lohan, perhaps referring to an editorial in Interview magazine. Ah, the fickle ways of the new Youth Quake. Only this February La Lohan told friends she was walking in Marc Jacobs show, and had WWD run the info on its venerable pages. But the teen goddess sat in the front row instead.

What is concrete for Lohan this week is her plans to be photographed for an upcoming cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Jacquetta Wheeler’s photographer beau, Alexi Lubomirski, will do the honors.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Memoirs of a Muse


In Lara Vapnyar's amusing first novel, a young Russian immigrant strives to emulate Dostoevski's mistress and become a great man's inspiration.

"Memoirs of a Muse," Lara Vapnyar's first novel (after the 2003 story collection "There Are Jews in My House"), is a little bit of many things: an immigrant novel, a literary satire, a bildungsroman. But most of all, it's a cautionary tale for that particular sort of young woman who yearns to attach herself to a man of genius. Vapnyar's narrator, Tanya, gets this notion into her head during her teenage years in Russia, and she tries to pattern her career as a muse after that of Apollinaria "Polina" Suslova, the mistress of Dostoevski. It almost goes without saying that both women end up disappointed with the muse's lot, but if Vapnyar goes on to say it anyway, she does so in an amusingly rueful way.

Tanya -- raised by a harried single mother and twice deserted by a father who left the family and then promptly died -- grows up feeling frustratingly unexceptional. She's neither especially pretty nor especially smart. She can do several things passably well. She longs to "become somebody accomplished, a luminary," but "that long-anticipated extraordinary talent still hadn't emerged. My many gifts rattled about like cheap jewelry in a sequined bag -- there wasn't a single gemstone." A lecherous schoolteacher insists that she is destined to become "the companion to a great man," and this, combined with the photographs of famous Russian writers her mother hangs on the walls of their Moscow apartment, persuades her that she is a born muse.

source: salon.com
Harper's Bazaar Russia May 2006
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Discuss

Will Sofia guest-edit for Anna? (source: fashionweekdaily)

Carine Roitfeld may be rumored to be taking Glenda Bailey’s top position at Harper’s Bazaar, and now it looks like Anna Wintour might be drawing inspiration from the French Vogue editor as well. According to sources at several rival magazines that have been lobbying to photograph Kirsten Dunst for their fall issues—ideally September and October to coincide with the Oct. 13 release of Marie Antoinette—publicists for the actress have been holding out for Vogue. What’s more interesting is that sources are saying Wintour is said to be asking director Sofia Coppola to guest edit the issue. Sound familiar? That’s because Coppola edited the December/January issue of French Vogue in 2004. A Vogue spokesman said he could not comment, and a representative for Dunst did not return calls.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why the French Don't Suck!

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A Man, A Plan & A Food Blog

Wonderful Story
Read it at Orangette!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nigella Coming to US Food Network Fall 2006

Nigella Feasts
"The interesting thing about food is that it's both reality and escape. …Before you know it, you have made something that seduces people."

Seducing people with food comes easily for Nigella Lawson. Beautiful and talented, she has forged an empire by demonstrating that, in the right hands, food is eminently sensual.

Hard on the heels of her recent bestseller, Nigella Feasts brings London's "domestic goddess" to Food Network viewers for the first time. Presented with the same sensuality and flare that made Nigella Bites a phenomenon, Nigella Feasts is about celebrating family, public holidays and private passions with dishes that stir the senses and delight the palate. From dinner with in-laws to breakfast in bed, Nigella Feasts declares our newest star's passion for food—and life.
British Vogue May 2006
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Vogue China May 2006
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Friday, April 07, 2006

Kinky Boots

Director Julian Jarrold kicks up the kink quotient in Kinky Boots, a silly/sweet story of a young man's efforts to save his father's shoe factory with a little help from a transvestite cabaret queen named Lola.
Vanity Fair US May 2006
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Easy Living UK May 2006
Iman
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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Anna Piaggi: An editor with h-attitude

By Suzy Menkes International Herald Tribune
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2006

LONDON It was "hats off!" to Anna Piaggi, as the legendary Italian editor was in conversation with the milliner Stephen Jones at the Victoria and Albert Museum last week. Piaggi, with a tottering tower of a hat standing out from the surreal black-and-white set, changed headgear as she spoke, from shiny metallic top hat to newspaper- print confection, perched above her signature smoke-blue kiss curl and Clara Bow lips."

English hatmakers for me are really the best - and I feel better if I have a good hat on," said Piaggi, whose work is drawing 4,000 visitors a week to the V & A. "Fashion-ology" (until April 23), devoted to the visual image maker and stylist extraordinaire, is curated by Judith Clark, who presented the Piaggi seminar in conjunction with Jones.

"It is all about the hats - but we are very good friends and really trust each other," said Jones, as the conversation was punctuated with slides of the milliner's creations for Piaggi over 25 years."

But her style is all about Anna - not about the hat," he said. Piaggi proved his point by explaining how she had layered a white work shirt, cream knitted cape and zebra-patterned Manolo Blahnik boots.

Piaggi's wardrobe has become a perambulating treasure of fashion history, and even her scarlet Olivetti Valentine typewriter, designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1969, has become iconic.

By the time she was snapped by her current photographer, Bardo Fabiani, in a field of yellow sunflowers in a vivid pink vintage Simonetta cloak in 1994, Piaggi had acquired the objects on the list that opens the show. It makes compelling reading: 265 pairs of shoes, 29 fans, 932 hats, 2,865 dresses, 24 aprons, 31 feather boas - and so much more. The list includes "six Christmas cards from Manolo Blahnik," the haute shoemaker who was at the seminar and whom Piaggi also considers a close friend.

Looking at a wall of images of Piaggi and her theatrical get-ups, it is easy to imagine her as some exotic bird perched on the outpost of fashion. In fact, she has been at its epicenter for nearly 50 years, as a Vogue fashion editor; as editor of Vanity, the avant-garde magazine in which she worked with the illustrator Antonio Lopez in the 1980s; and for the last 18 years in her "Doppie Pagine" or double pages, for Italian Vogue. They are a collage of visual and cultural references sweeping around a current trend.

The fascination of Piaggi the personage is captured in Karl Lagerfeld's sketches of the woman who was part of his tight-knit band in Paris throughout the 1970s. Piaggi's roots go further back to her husband of 30 years, the late photographer Alfa Castaldi, and to her friend and soul mate Vern Lambert. The Australian fashion historian first introduced her to London and to the joy of antique clothing. Vintage finds such as the Simonetta cape are on display, as well as Jean Paul Gaultier's black velvet cornet-breasted dress of 1985.

Piaggi's essence is in that well-worn phrase: "It is all in the mix." A black- and-white 3-D tableau by Richard Gray, who also made the seminar's set, creates a "habitat" for animal-print clothes, while outfits Piaggi wears juxtapose a Vivienne Westwood naughty- school-girl blazer from 1985 with Rifat Ozbek lacy bloomers and a corset- shaped hat by Jones. Her writing - even the press sheets she wrote for Prada and Missoni - contain a mélange of "roses, revers, relief, reversible - and other "fashion with an 'r'." In 7,000 editorial pages and with her warmth, wit and deep culture, Piaggi defines fashion with a piquant "p".
Necklace Expressions F/W 2006
clockwise from top left...Bottega Veneta...Donna Karen...Vuitton...Dior
Vogue Australia May 2006
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Vogue Italia April 2006
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Kate Back with Calvin

LONDON, England (UPI) -- British supermodel Kate Moss has signed a new 500,000 pound ($876,000) contract with Calvin Klein, it was reported Wednesday.

Moss, 32, has successfully rebuilt her career since photos were published last year in a British tabloid of her snorting a substance alleged to be cocaine, Sky News reported Wednesday.
Scotland Yard has been investigating her alleged drug use, but legal sources predicted there would not be enough evidence to charge Moss with anything.

Although she lost several contracts when the scandal broke, Moss has been working steadily since spending a month in an Arizona treatment center, Sky News noted.

The new contract with Calvin Klein boosts her estimated annual earnings to 9 million pounds (about $15.7 million), which is nearly twice the amount she was making before the scandal.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cooking blog-turned-book wins Blooker Prize


An amateur chef's diary of her attempt to cook all 524 recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking has won the first literary prize devoted to books based on blogs.

Julie Powell, a secretarial temp from Queens, N.Y., told the story with such charm and humour on her weblog, or blog, that it eventually became a book, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

On Monday, the book was chosen ahead of 89 others for the $2,000 US Blooker Prize, a new award for books based on blogs sponsored by Lulu, a U.S. digital publishing house.

"The community aspect of blogging and the interaction with others kept me honest and kept me writing," Powell said, according to Reuters.

Her blog was published in book form by Warner Book Group's Little, Brown imprint, and went on to sell more than 100,000 copies.

Judges hailed the book for making the difficult transition from blog to book. "Powell's heartfelt, funny, and occasionally obscene tell-all about her journey of self-discovery and cholesterol is by turns funny, shocking and delicious. Those who dismiss blogging as 'mere' confessional writing and complaining about one's day job fail to appreciate just how engrossing those genres can be when handled by a talented writer like Julie Powell," said Cory Doctorow, Canadian editor of the blog BoingBoing and chair of the judging panel.

"It does the thing that all great non-fiction needs to do - makes a subject interesting because of how it's covered, not because of the subject itself," Doctorow said. "I don't care about French food but I loved this book."
Spring Table
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