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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The front rows of the Ralph Lauren show on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 17 were, as usual, separated by magazine: From Vogue, there was Anna, Grace, Sally, Tonne; from Elle, there was Robbie Myers and Kate Lanphear; from New York, there was Adam Moss, Harriet Mays Powell, and Observer alumna Amy Larocca; from Marie Claire, there was Joanna Coles, Nina Garcia, and Zanna Roberts; and from Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter and Amy Fine Collins. But then there was the designer's 'family row.' 'There sat mom Ricky, daughter Dylan of Dylan's Candy Bar, sons Andrew (a film producer) and David (who works for his father), and David's girlfriend, model and designer Lauren Bush. Shortly before the show began, Janet Jackson, wearing a black pencil skirt, a white blouse and gray sweater, all of this neatly belted together, was brought out and seated between Andrew and Dylan. He appeared shy, but Ms. Lauren seemed excited by the pop-star's presence." (Observer)



"Maan al-Sanea, one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men, operates his corporate empire barricaded behind a four-foot high concrete wall, painted in bright red stripes. A second, higher wall is topped with barbed wire, a reminder of the terrorist attack on his company’s nearby residential compound five years ago that killed 22 people. Now al-Sanea is under a different kind of siege, this time from the family he married into and helped make him wealthy. In a region where business disputes are routinely settled in private, the family feud between the two most prominent names in the Saudi oil city of Al-Khobar -- Algosaibi and al-Sanea -- has erupted into public and curbed lending across the Gulf. Eighty banks, including BNP Paribas SA and Citigroup Inc., are owed at least $15.7 billion, sparking a flurry of litigation. The battle has increased pressure for more transparency among the region’s family-run firms and less reliance on name lending, or borrowing based on reputation. 'With Maan al-Sanea or the Algosaibi family, the perception was that they would never go bust or never default,' Yazan Abdeen, a Dubai fund manager at ING Investment Management, said. 'Facts are showing that this can happen. The banks in Saudi, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates will get a hit, and this will make the banks alter their own lending models. It’s like a black swan event, something no one saw coming.'" (Bloomberg)



"Pakistani intelligence officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said Thursday that that two top al-Qaeda-linked commanders were killed in recent U.S. missile strikes. The drone attacks in North Waziristan, Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, are said to have killed Ilyas Kashmiri and Uzbek terrorist leader Nazimuddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov. US officials said they were "almost certain" Jalolov was killed on September 14th." (AirAmerica)



"Partygoers came by the baker's dozen to celebrate T, The New York Times Style Magazine's 5th anniversary. Editors, designers and celebrities hit the Meatpacking District, still riding high off the thrills of Fashion Week. Editor of T Magazine, Stefano Tonchi played host of the evening, along with Jeff Koons, who created the special commemorative T anniversary cover ...Friends included Phillip Lim, Calvin Klein, Hamish Bowles, Thakoon Panichgul, Courtney Love, Josh Hartnett, Sean Lennon, Catherine Malandrino, Tory Burch, Suzy Menkes, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, among others. Everyone gushed about the stunning venue. Suzy Menkes thought the view from the top was beautiful, but feared she might fall as she was walking down the stairs ... The soiree teemed with smartly-dressed people, and security was air-tight. Helena Chistenson even had a difficult time getting in." (Fashionweekdaily)



"After (the Oscar de la Renta show), I walked over to Madison Avenue, on my way to an appointment with Ken Rendell at his shop on Madison and 77th, next to Vera Wang. At 70th Street, while I was waiting for the light, a cab pulled up and out came Graham Arader, the clever and enterprising (and entrepreneurial) purveyor of ancient and antique maps and prints, etc. He stopped to talk and then we chatted on our way up the avenue (he was going to his shop on 72nd and Madison). Graham held an auction at Sotheby’s a couple of months ago which he advertised for a few days here on the NYSD. It was unusual in that he had committed himself to donating 20% of the sale price of each item to the buyer’s favorite charity. That is the first time I’ve heard of a dealer adding the philanthropic addendum to a sale. So I asked him yesterday afternoon on the corner of Madison and 70th how the sale went. 'We did three and a half million and we gave seven hundred thousand to charity,' he said proudly." (NYSocialDiary)



"You know all those reports about audience erosion and plummeting ratings? They don't apply to CBS -- at least not lately. Last year, while all of its rivals watched their numbers go down, the Eye experienced gains in both overall viewers (+11%) and adults 18-49 (+3%). It launched the biggest hit of the year ('The Mentalist') and just generally kicked everybody else's butt (Fox sill won in the demo race). As a result of last year's dream season, CBS begins the 2009-10 campaign with few holes and just a handful of new shows. Nina Tassler, the network's entertainment president, hardly seems relaxed, however. 'I start every season on pins and needles,' Tassler insists. 'We never take anything for granted.' Probably a good philosophy, especially since there are some potential bumps ahead for CBS. Some of the network's biggest guns -- the 'CSI' franchise, 'Survivor' -- have been showing their age lately." (TheWrap)



"We in Pakistan constantly hear that our country is a hopeless mess, an ungovernable shamble of a state whose military and intelligence services are more or less on the side of global terrorists and local insurgents. But few observers seem to have noticed that, over the last five months or so, Pakistan has made an astonishing turnaround. In fact, it's time for cautious optimism about my country's fate. For one thing, the militants are reeling from a series of significant blows. The dramatic capture of Muslim Khan and four other Taliban militants in a Sept. 3 military-intelligence sting operation is just the latest deadly strike against the embattled Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). It represents the third major setback for the dreaded outfit since Aug. 5, when a CIA-operated drone missile took out Baitullah Mehsud, TTP's founder and chief." (ForeignPolicy)



"Some of you might have read an op-ed by Prince Turki bin Faisal in the Sunday Times 'Week In Review.' Who is this royal? He is a nephew of the present monarch, Abdullah; a son of the late King Faisal (hence Turki's patronymic 'bin Faisal'); and a brother of the current foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal. There are around seven thousand princes in the country (and only God knows how many princesses). Not all of them are important and not all of that are that rich. But, then, there are more princes in the country then taxi-drivers. Faisal is an important prince. For a quarter of a century, he was the director general of the Saudi Al Mukhabarat, a name that strikes certainly more fear in the hearts of dissenters and terrorists alike than the C.I.A. ever did. As head of royal intelligence agency, Faisal 'ran' the Taliban account. (Saudi Arabia was one of three countries to recognize the Taliban regime, the others being the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Very appropriate company.) For more on Turki, see Steven Coll's book Ghost Wars. And then for just a year he was ambassador to the United States, succeeding Prince Bandar who served for years and years...and years. Although in the last period he was more than a bit out of sorts. The family of Bush one still loved him. But they love all Saudis: they've certainly made enough money from these intimacies. You see, the Saudis love the Bushes in return. But back to Turki. He was bounced by his uncle for well, conduct unbecoming. Whatever. He had volunteered a brigade on the foreign front. The question arises: Is there really a brigade that could fight?" (Marty Peretz/TNR)



"Lawmakers in the Massachusetts House expect to vote Thursday on a bill to change state law and allow appointment of a temporary U.S. senator. If Gov. Deval Patrick is given that power, an appointee would fill the vacancy created by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy until after a Jan. 19 special election. The 'hopeful time frame' for final passage is Sept. 24, said state Sen. Stephen J. Buoniconti. Kennedy himself had asked that the governor be given the power to name an interim successor. The move to schedule to vote shows that leaders of the Democratic-controlled legislature believe they have the votes necessary to pass the bill." (CQPolitics)

"'The movies up here are so uneven...I actually like The Road, even though it's dirty people and frighteningly thin Viggo.....The Ricky Gervais movie is painful. Very long torture time at 90 minutes. I had to run to pee--and I didn't have to pee--ten minutes before the end because it's so stupid. Jennifer's Body was a bore, loud, gory and not much else. And the Michael Moore while v sincere just doesn't fly. Everyone is raving about Up in the Air--Jason Reitman is a new god in Hollywood--and Men Who Stare at Goats is all true and v off the wall. In person, Damon was in top form, Viggo funny, Moore quotable, Megan Fox suprisingly vulnerable and not dumb, the Coens fine, Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen here in an Irish movie looking to be picked up, charming and sweet.'" (Notes From The Toronto Film Festival via Musto)



"The book party for Amy Sohn's new novel Prospect Park West (Simon & Schuster), held on the evening of Wednesday, September 16th, was not a place for children. Although the novel narrates the lives of four Park Slope women with dysfunctions galore and young children with names like Orion, Mance, and Darby, the Ochre Store on Broome Street may be the least baby-proof shop in Manhattan. The massive chandeliers, $4,000 tables, and and collection of wooden and ceramic goods looked as if they might crumble into dust at the faintest touch of a toddler. The event was co-hosted by Alexandra Posen, the sister of designer Zac Posen and a Carroll Gardens mother of two, and Liz Lange, the maternity-wear mogul (both, like Ms. Sohn, alumna of Brown)." (Observer)



"The jet-set alighted last night for the opening of 'Richard Hambleton New York', exhibiting this pioneering street-artist's striking and dark images curated by Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld (son of Carine, editor at French Vogue) and Andy Valmorbida in collaboration with Giorgio Armani. Accents and languages from all over the globe were welcome but micro-mini black dresses and impossible stilettos were de rigeur. At the gallery, a warehouse-like space, at 560 Washington Street, the likes of Lily Donaldson, Ciara, Carine Roitfeld and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, and Stavros Niarchos were mingling as aspiring model cater-waiters weaved through the crowd with limitless flutes of Roederer champagne." (Papermag)

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