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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres







An illustration of Dries Van Noten




"In the fashion world, where power is often expressed in relation to time (the more important you are, the later you can be, or the later your show can start – unless you are Anna Wintour, in which case you demand everyone be prompt to the minute), Van Noten has reached the point where he can make people wait. Yet here is the 55-year-old standing patiently outside the Sir Anthony Van Dijck restaurant in Antwerp, in a blue chalk-striped jacket and navy crew neck over khaki trousers and brown shoes, a black scarf twisted around his neck just so – despite the fact that I arrive 15 minutes early. 'I didn’t want you to get lost,' he shrugs. 'Besides, I was working anyway. I am very nervous.' He is talking about his exhibition, not our interview, but it doesn’t really matter. In his approach to a lunch date, as in his approach to many things, (Dries) Van Noten is an anomaly. He is, for example, the only big fashion name not to do pre-collections, those non-catwalk inter-seasonal lines that now make up the bulk of most brands’ sales: he does four collections a year, two women’s, two men’s, because 'it would be impossible to develop any sort of interesting fabrics if I did more'. He does not sell his collection during the main shows in New York and Paris, but from his showroom in Antwerp, a good two weeks before, and many miles from, the official show circuit. Van Noten is both chief executive and creative director of his eponymous company, one of the few major designers to hold both roles (last October’s announcement that Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer, would also take the corporate reins this year was greeted with shock in the industry). He does not advertise, or really play the celebrity/red carpet game, or have much of an ecommerce presence, or engage in any of the marketing strategies that are now considered de rigueur for a fashion brand. He has not even succumbed to the pressures to make himself into a brand – with his short grey hair, perennial jacket and clean-cut mien, Van Noten resembles a banker on casual Friday more than any stereotype of a fashion person. So you might think (or I might think) that the Louvre exhibition is a vindication of such outsider behaviour. Or that our meeting place – a restaurant named after one of the great Flemish master painters – is a subtle hint of the same idea. But if you thought that then you, like I, would be wrong. " (FT)


Swedish monarchs arrive in NY to meet newborn grandchild


"King Carl and Queen Sylvia of Sweden arrived here Friday to visit their new granddaughter, born to Princess Madeleine and banker hubby Christopher O’Neill. We’re told Madeleine and Christopher, who was showing off a tiny footprint on his arm, are 'beyond happy and emotional,' and were visited by the king and queen at New York­Presbyterian Hospital. Madeleine, fourth in line to the throne, and Chris wed in Stockholm on June 8 and live on the Upper East Side." (P6)




















"On Saturday, as Ukraine's tumultuous week drew to a close, protesters seized President Viktor Yanukovych's office and took control of Kiev. In a televised statement from the country’s Russian-speaking East (where he fled after signing the new, restored constitution on Friday), Yanukovych called the events a coup and annouced that he would not step down, even as parliament voted to oust him by holding an early election in May. 'Everything that is happening today is, to a greater degree, vandalism and bandits and a coup d'etat,’ he said.From the Associated Press: '[Yanukovych] said decisions made by parliament Friday and Saturday 'are all illegal' and compared the situation to the rise of Nazis in the 1930s. He said he would not sign any of the measures passed by parliament, which include trimming his powers and releasing his jailed arch-rival, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.' (Tymoshenko, who spent two years behind bars, left a prison hospital on Saturday morning. She gave an interview and was seen boarding a plane to Kiev.) Meanwhile, outside the capital, members of the opposition and some journalists paid a visit to Yanukovych's suburban home, Mezhyhirya." (NYMag)















"Elaine Stritch, the unmitigated queen of Broadway, evoked this Bette Davis saying more than once in her night at the Paley Center in the East 50's. Stritchie was back in town from her 'retirement' in Birmingham, Michigan, to celebrate the kick-off of the coming HBO documentary on her life and times, made by the popular Chiemi Karasawa. It's called 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' and the audience, crammedinto an over-flowing little auditorium (they needed Lincoln Center for the phenomenon that is my longtime friend Elaine) went wild over and over for the film clips — past and present — of their favorite. THE audience boasted at least two of theater's greatest directors, George C. Wolfe and Jack O'Brien, and there may have been more. Hard to tell in the crush but there were also talents galore who all glory in Elaine's fame and longevity. HBO airs this in the spring. To add luster to this enterprise, one of the producers — named Alec Baldwin — was there in person to open things up. (Need I add that Mr. Baldwin is the paparazzi-gossip column's favorite target these days and an actor of note himself. Elaine won an Emmy playing his horrible mother in TV's late lamented '30 Rock.'  Also noteworthy was an appearance in the film of the late James Gandolfini, speaking and showing his amused and sexy appreciation of Elaine. The film also offers Tina Fey, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Paul Iacono, Cherry Jones, Nathan Lane, Ramona Mallory, Tracy Morgan, John Turturro and the great producer Hal Prince." (NYSD)




Lord Edward Somerset




"'On ne touché pas une femme, meme avec une fleur,' says an old French dictum, one not always adhered to in the land of cheese or anywhere else, for that matter. However hackneyed it may sound—don’t you hate it when a hack declares an interest in order to gain Brownie points for honesty?—I nevertheless will declare one. I’ve been a friend of the Somerset family for about fifty years, starting with the father, David Beaufort, whom I met sailing around the Med back in 1963. He was then David Somerset and is now the Duke of Beaufort, and his four children are all close friends. His second son, Edward Somerset, was recently sentenced to two years in jail for mentally and physically abusing his wife of thirty years. Now, after I went bonkers over Saatchi grabbing his wife by the throat, it might sound a bit hypocritical defending Eddie Somerset, so hear me out first and then make your decision." (Taki)

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