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Friday, September 09, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Five years ago, questioning the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency was confined to abstruse think-tank musings. How times have changed. The 2008 financial meltdown of the U.S. subprime mortgage market pushed debates about the dollar into the public eye. In September 2009, World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned, 'The United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar's place as the world's predominant reserve currency. Looking forward, there will increasingly be other options to the dollar.' This year's political meltdown in Washington has only exacerbated the issue. HSBC now predicts that China's currency will rival the dollar sometime this decade.  The obstacles to a shift away from the dollar are still formidable. A useful global currency provides three necessary functions: It should serve as a medium of exchange for cross-border transactions, a unit of account to determine prices, and a store of valuefor those wishing to hold liquid assets. Measures like official currency reserves, invoiced international transactions, and international debt securities confirm that the dollar still surpasses any other currency in providing a unit of account and a medium of exchange. As a store of value, however, the dollar has become more suspect. Gyrations in the price of gold and the exchange rates of the Australian dollar and Swiss franc suggest at least a modest effort to diversify away from the greenback." (ForeignPolicy)


"AIX-EN-PROVENCE—I attended a young friend’s wedding to a celebrity DJ in a beautiful tent in an olive grove. Had a short chat with the beautiful Kate Moss and her hubby, followed by some heavy boozing under the disapproving eyes of my two children and their mother. Aix is a beautiful old town with many parts still unspoiled, but it gets crowded over the weekend. I stayed on my boat in Marseilles and really enjoyed myself because of the kids being around. Fun is fun, but September promises not to be so, what with the euro about to collapse along with Greece and the rest of the pigs. Papa Hemingway described going broke as 'slowly at first, then all of a sudden.' Today the international system is in dangerous turmoil. The politicians, economists, and CEOs in whose hands our fate lies have all studied at the same Western universities. They remind me of those wise men who ran the communist system some thirty years ago. They were educated and intelligent people who should have been able to diagnose that their ship was headed for the rocks decades before it crashed. But they didn’t because they had all studied at the same universities and had been taught the same 'truths,' as it were, about the economy." (Taki Theodoracopulos)
"Nobody wants to go on the record saying negative things about TechCrunch, arguably the most powerful news blog in tech, for obvious reasons. Entrepreneurs and investors in the startup scene tend to be very cagey when making public statements about anyone else in the same scene, with the rare exceptions of bomb-throwers and those who have succeeded past the point of caring. It’s also never smart to trash-talk the hose that feeds you users. Sources even refused to go on record with New York Times media bulldog David Carr for fear of 'editorial retribution.' First, everyone’s shaking in their bootstraps in fear of Mr. Arrington; now that he may have been fired, according to Fortune, hands are wringing over what will happen to the blog. But come on, we thought. People read TechCrunch, but it’s not that influential. Is it? But TechCrunch, as the de facto trade publication in Silicon Valley, commands a special reverence. Sure, Mr. Arrington has a temper. He’s notorious for taking things personally and holding a grudge–a scary prospect for young entrepreneurs who consider the blog crucial to getting exposure to the right users and validation from the right people. But the devotion stems from the fact that insiders feel that TechCrunch is important. TechCrunch gets it. TechCrunch has prestige." (BetaBeat)

"So Fashion's Night Out on Madison Avenue is kinda like a block party. Manhattan-style. I started out on 79th Street, walking south (Carolina Herrera on the corner of 75th where the guests were quaffing the champagne and taking in Carolina’s fabulous clothes. Carolina is glamour, no matter what. Moving south, the sidewalks got busier. Until they were packed. I stopped in to the new David Webb where Samantha Boardman Rosen and Lizzie Tisch were hosting a cocktail party on the second floor which is also where the workshops are. I’d never seen a jeweler’s workshop, and Mark Emanuel, one of the new owners of the business, gave me a tour. The workrooms at David Webb are lit by crystal chandeliers, which seems very appropriate, considering the creations blazing forth.Mark showed me one of the largest sapphires in the world. It is astounding – there’s no other word for it -- just to see because of its size and extraordinary beauty. It will be set in a David Webb design held up by a wave of diamonds. It’s not completed, so I’m guessing here. The workrooms are equally as fascinating with the craftsman and artisans at work at their desks (a courtesy extended by them, no doubt, for the evening). My lifelong imagination’s picture of a jeweler’s workroom was been transformed by this white and crystal state-of-the-art modern environment. For art is what is produced here." (NYSocialDiary)

"It is, of course, easy to criticize without offering useful suggestions. So here -- again -- are mine for improving the economy, getting the Federal Reserve out of its jam and creating jobs.First, change the rules so that people can use retirement-plan money to buy houses. This will help the banking and real-estate industries, two of the most damaged parts of our economy. Without this, the real-estate recession could last a generation.Second, allow international corporations to repatriot overseas profits in exchange for creating jobs. Let’s say that one-quarter of whatever profits are brought back into the US must be used to create jobs. Set a short time frame for this, so it will create jobs quickly. And third, restrict who can trade in oil-futures contracts. There’s no need for educational institutions, retirement funds and unions to speculate in the price of oil. It just hurts people they are trying to represent. Do this, and consumers’ weekly budgets will be helped quickly." (John Crudele)


"Valentino’s longtime partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, showed off his flashy new penthouse in the Bloomberg building on Lexington Avenue by hosting a cocktail party for the Italian designer Wednesday night to toast his FIT Couture Council Award, presented earlier in the day. Guests included Stavros Niarchos, Georgina Brandolini, Andrea Dellal, Carlos Souza, Bob Colacello, Susan Gutfreund, Marisa Berenson, Graydon Carter, Tobias Mayer, Jennifer Creel, Valesca Guerrand-Hermes and Architectural Digest’s Peggy Russell (with her eye out for a feature spread). Also there were Zani Gugelmann, Andre Balazs, Carlos Mota and Shala Monroque. A source told us, 'Giancarlo wanted to show off the views, but the apartment was in the clouds due to the bad weather, so everyone will be invited back soon.' The group went to dinner at Le Cirque before heading for some late-night fun at the Boom Boom Room." (PageSix)


"Equally resilient to foul weather and the march of time, the Standard's Boom Boom Room kicked off its third year last night—an eon, by New York nightlife standards. Based on the number of would-be revelers willing to wait outside in the rain, the place can still whip up a little storm of its own when it wants to. On this particular occasion, the 18th floor had some help from Fendi O', the luxury brand's starry music series, which has made stops (and booked acts including Kanye West and Duran Duran) in Milan, Paris, Beijing, and Tokyo. The New York edition featured Lykke Li onstage, James Murphy on the DJ decks, and as serious a bottleneck around the Boom's big oval bar as this reporter, in two years of covering the club's comings and goings, has ever seen. Paul Haggis (who's friends with the Fendis—they've dressed him for Cannes) was alone in a corner, avoiding the crush. 'I'm starting to wonder, really, if it's worth it,' he confessed. Others, though, were happy to push on through, or head next door to the Belvedere bar at Le Bain. The hotel's owner, AndrĂ© Balazs, took up a comfortable post in the foyer between the two bars to greet passing traffic." (Style)


"Ask a regular person to name a fashion movie, and they will probably say Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Funny Face. Ask a fashion designer the same question, and you are more likely to get the name of a long-forgotten, freaky, cinematic gem. The more obscure and deranged the better.We fashion folk are constantly on the lookout for new and improbable sources of inspiration. Whether we are designing an ad campaign, a display window, a new handbag, or a line of luscious frocks, we love nothing more than to truffle up some oblique, little-known movie moment and extract a strange mood or a quirky visual. It’s almost like a competition: the designer or creative director who can unearth the most obscure stuff wins the prize. When the folks at Vanity Fair asked me to co-curate their upcoming Fashion in Film fĂȘte, I plotzed. Here was a splendid opportunity to unfurl the repertoire of eccentric movies that have provided me with style inspiration and propelled my fashion mojo. The weekend kicks off with Qui Etes-Vous Polly McGoo?, a fashion fantasy by the legendary photographer/movie director William Klein. I chose this movie to open the series for two main reasons: First, it’s utterly gorgeous. It might just be the most beautiful black-and-white movie ever made. Every shot has the explosive power of a classic Klein photograph. The movie also topped my list because it contains a very important message: FASHION IS FREAKY. High Fashion is strange, sometimes alienating, and often bizarre." (Simon Doonan)

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