>> Megan Fox, who replaced Victoria Beckham as the face of Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans in October 2009, is now stepping aside to make way for new Armani face Rihanna, who was spotted meeting with Roberta Armani in Milan in May. The singer's first campaign was shot on location in New York and is set to launch worldwide in September; expect to see her wearing Armani more often on the red carpet, as well.
>> Giorgio Armani, who says that he has always admired “the captivating culture and the refined sense of aesthetic” of Japan, and was “profoundly moved by the tragic events unleashed by the earthquake last March,” deemed his Fall 2011 Prive collection a homage to the country. Printed floral silk patterns graced skirts, bow belts emulated the obi, stiff headdresses — into some of which Philip Treacy snuck chopsticks — suggested the sculpted hair of a geisha, and the primarily black collection stuck to a pin-thin silhouette.
Charlene Wittstock, who is now the princess of Monaco, wore an Armani gown as she walked down the aisle at the Prince's Palace in Monaco today. Charlene and Prince Albert were married in a civil ceremony yesterday, and they celebrated their newlywed status with a concert that evening. Today marked their religious ceremony, which was attended by A-list guests, including Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Karolina Kurkova, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Naomi Campbell. Naomi arrived with longtime boyfriend, Vlad Doronin, fresh from pal Kate Moss's nuptials that got started on Friday as well. Charlene and Prince Albert will continue the festivities tonight with a lavish dinner for 450 guests to be prepared by Chef Alain Ducasse.
Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert of Monaco's royal religious wedding ceremony has begun. For the momentous event, Wittstock wore a beautiful off-shoulder beaded gown by Giorgio Armani paired with a long veil. More pictures of her wedding dress in the slideshow, plus photos of guests, including Karl Lagerfeld, Naomi Campbell, and Karolina Kurkova.
>> After his menswear show Tuesday in Milan, Giorgio Armani denounced the fashion industry for being "in the hands of" high finance rather than the fashion houses themselves. "I’ve wanted to say something about this for awhile, and now’s the time: Fashion is in the in the hands of the banks [and] the stock market," Armani told reporters. "It no longer belongs to the owners, but to those above them. I still haven’t been able to understand how the banks influence our line of work — it’s a mystery."
When he was asked whether his comments were a reference to Prada's recent IPO, Armani replied: "I don’t have debts. Instead, Prada’s problem is that they have to pay back the money that the banks spent to build up the brand." He noted that he preferred independence and had no plans to sell his company. "There are thousands of ways to make money. But for me, I don’t want to wind up having to knock on the door of some Thai managers to explain myself."
Armani also suggested that houses like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana make men look ridiculous, and blamed the press for not being more critical about clownish runway styles that men don't wear. Prada is "ingenious" for her "irony," he said, "and bad taste that becomes chic." But, certain Prada collections are "sometimes ugly," he noted, and stil always get positive coverage in the press. "You know why . . . " His clothes, meanwhile, he said make men look more handsome and elegant.
Both Prada and Dolce & Gabbana declined to comment.
>> This year's Cannes Film Festival came to a close yesterday; French though it may be, aside from Chanel, it was the Italian brands who reigned supreme amongst this red carpet bunch: Giorgio Armani, Emilio Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli, in particular. But that's not to say there weren't one-off sightings of Alaia, Louis Vuitton, and Chloe — and even Melanie Laurent in her second Dior couture gown, providing another preview of what's to come from the house's design studio in July. Giovanna Battaglia's vintage Versace get-up, Kirsten Dunst's Rodarte look, and more in the slideshow.
Galliano Aftermath — Will Anyone Stick By the Designer? The Industry (and Natalie Portman) Comment on John Galliano's Scandal
>> The Christian Dior show will go on, but who will be there to see it? Hilary Alexander reports: "Many international buyers and press feel uneasy about attending the show, leaving Dior in the double predicament of being without a creative director, and the strong possibility of disappointing sales of a collection which many feel is now tainted by the scandal."
So is Galliano's scandal a career destroyer? Kate Moss's cocaine scandal in 2005 did not have any longterm effects on her career, her agent said last year — in fact, her earnings doubled in the five years after. Of course, Moss's scandal and Galliano's scandal broach two vastly different subjects — drugs versus racism and/or anti-Semitism. But as The New Yorker's Judith Thurman wrote yesterday: "Galliano seems to have disgraced himself (and perhaps ended his career) by delivering a drunken, anti-Semitic rant to several fellow patrons at a Paris restaurant . . . But Chanel liked Nazis, too."
So will Moss, who is said to have enlisted Galliano to do her wedding dress, stand by the designer? What about any of the rest of the industry?
We know where Christian Dior face Natalie Portman stands — last night, before Galliano was let go, she released a statement: "I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way. I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful."
After Galliano's dismissal, British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman said: "I think Galliano made a terrible mistake and such offensive behaviour could not be ignored. It is all the same true that he has a huge talent and has contributed enormously to the resurrection of the house of Dior. Who can predict what the future will bring?"
Jessica Stam tweeted: "I'll miss you John, you're so talented. I love the Jews and what he said is awful, but also sad to watch him leave Dior." And Chanel Iman said this morning: "I love John Galliano. I’ve been working with him for years and he is one of the most amazing, genius men in this business. He is one of the most creative, genius designers that I’ve worked with and he’s so open to all types of people. He’s loving and he’s caring and I wish him all the best."
But before this morning's announcement that Galliano was fired, many other industry folk spoke out on the scandal.
Stefano Gabbana tweeted last Saturday (pre video release): "I'm so sorry for John Galliano!!!"
Franca Sozzani, said on camera last Friday (pre video release): "I'm so against anyone who could say something anti-Semitic or against any religion. I understand that [Galliano] was drunk. I can understand, for sure, because he's not a bad guy. But I do not accept that anyone can touch the religion of someone else . . . either you fire or you keep [him], I don't see anything in between . . . [Dior without Galliano] would be a real pity . . . I wasn't there, you weren't there, nobody was there, so who knows the truth. But you know . . . it's John Galliano, it's very easy to say he said something like that, because it's doing a big mess. If he was no one, nobody could tell about him, so we are to be suspicious about that. If it's really true, if it really went as they're describing, it's terrible news for [not only Galliano but] the human being."
Roberto Cavalli, on camera last Saturday (pre video release): "I don't believe [it]. Because I know John since many years, he's such a wonderful person. I can't believe that he makes some racist [comments] toward somebody, because he's so international . . . I think that somebody wants to try to be bad with him. I think la Maison Dior should make [for] him [a] big red carpet because he helped Maison Dior to be what it is today. I don't want to judge anybody, but I love John and John, I am with you."
Giorgio Armani, on camera Monday: "I'm very very sorry for him. It's obviously a difficult time for him. I am also very sorry that they videotaped him without him knowing."
Olivier Zahm wrote last Saturday (pre video release): "I know that you [Galliano] are not at all racist —whatever you said, drunk or not, to them! Your multi-ethnic shows, celebrating the beauty of nomadic worlds, and looking into visual languages of forgotten minorities (from everywhere on this planet), has brilliantly proved it to everyone from collection to collection since years. We are living in a dark world where the fashion system can celebrate talented people like you, use them as long as they want and fire them from a day to the next — exploiting an unfortunate private incident (and thusfar unproved anti-Semitic allegations), to get rid of an artist. Letting the international media suspect that you could be a racist, is not acceptable!"
And Hilary Alexander wrote yesterday: "What devils possessed Galliano we may never know. What private hell he is living through is equally unknowable. But one thing is certain: he needs help. I am not for a moment excusing his behaviour. There will come a time when he must confront the viper in his breast. But, right now, this is a moment in his life when he needs support and love from the industry he has given his life to."
>> Yesterday, Yves Saint Laurent took to Twitter to dispel rumors of Stefano Pilati's imminent exit, and when reached for comment Thursday, PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault also firmly denied any plans to discharge the designer. In fact, he credited Pilati with helping Saint Laurent back to profitability in 2010, and just last week praised Pilati at PPR's results presentation for Saint Laurent's current momentum, and teasing him good-naturedly about filling all the upcoming new YSL stores with merchandise. As for the rumors of Pilati heading to Armani after Giorgio Armani's retirement, a house spokesperson replied: "The rumors are untrue." [WWD, Vogue UK]
>> For the better part of a year now, Stefano Pilati's standing at Yves Saint Laurent has been under intense scrutiny. After reports circulated that he had renewed his contract at the house for three more years in October, the rumors of his imminent departure subsided — until Saint Laurent CEO Valerie Hermann, who with Pilati restored the house to profitability, announced last week she was stepping down to become CEO of Reed Krakoff on April 1. She helped recruit her successor at YSL, former Lanvin CEO Paul Deneve.
Then, a couple of days ago, someone tweeted under Kenzo's PR handle: "Just heard BIG news about this being a certain designer at an established French house's last season and being replaced by someone major!!" and "CEO has just left and now the designer replaced by someone who has moved away from design the last couple of yrs but stayed in fashion." The tweets — which seem to point to Pilati as the deposed and Hedi Slimane as the successor — have since been taken down (Note that YSL is under the PPR umbrella, whereas Kenzo is part of LVMH).
Now, Hint is reporting that according to sources, Hermann didn't leave her post last week, but rather was let go because of low sales volume. And Slimane — who designed for Saint Laurent before Dior Homme — has been chosen as Pilati's replacement, partially due to his friendship (read: ability to get along) with Pierre Berge. Word is, one way or another, the matter will be addressed by a spokesperson around Paris Fashion Week.
And in the aftermath? There's already been suggestions that Carine Roitfeld with consult for Slimane at the brand, and of course, there's the rumor that Pilati is set to take over at Giorgio Armani after the designer's retirement.