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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres





Patrick Morgan's illustration of Grace Coddington


"Lunch can be an illuminating experience – at least when it comes to establishing one’s place in the pecking order. On arriving at Café Un Deux Trois, for example, the regular Manhattan dining establishment of American Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington, I give my name and am shown to a table for two in the middle of the noisy restaurant, next to a giant pillar.  It’s not what anyone would think of as a good table, and just as I am debating whether I should make a fuss, the maître d’ rushes over and says, somewhat breathlessly, 'Are you meeting Ms Coddington?' 'Yes,' I respond. 'Oh, come with me,' he says with great concern, and leads me to a round corner booth. 'This is her table,' he says confidingly. It is probably the nicest, most sheltered spot in the restaurant. Coddington, 73, became an accidental celebrity in 2009 thanks to RJ Cutler’s film The September Issue, which was nominally about the making of the September 2007 edition of American Vogue but turned out to be a portrait of the complicated alliance between the analytic and creative sides of the business, as embodied respectively by editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Coddington.Now Coddington gets recognised at least once a day when she is on the way to the subway from her home in Chelsea, where she lives with her partner, hairstylist Didier Malige and their two cats, to her office on Times Square. After sliding into the booth, she says with a laugh: 'People come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I love you!’ It’s kind of wonderful; it really cheers you up if you are having a bad day. Or even a good day.' Coddington is in her usual uniform of navy Céline crewneck sweater, black trousers, and bright orange Céline Vans shoes; for as long as I have been going to the shows and seeing her across the runway, this, with a few variations and different brands – a white shirt here, a black dress there – is what she has worn. Her cloud of bright red hair is pulled up on one side in a barrette, two diamond studs are in her ears, and some dark red lipstick has partly migrated to her teeth; otherwise, her face seems bare. In the world of street style and cosmetic surgery, she is notable for opting out, which has had the effect of making her even more noticeable." (FT)























"French beauty Carla Bruni performed music from her latest album in her first live New York show — and even sang about her husband, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, with lyrics such as, 'He’s the boss.' With a beaming Sarkozy in the audience, Bruni took to the stage at Town Hall on Thursday night to sing in French to a packed house. Introducing her song 'Mon Raymond,' she said,'This song is about my man. I had to change his name and give him a nickname.'The translated lyrics include, 'My Raymond is the big gun, he is the atomic bomb/When he lets loose . . . the air turns electric,” and, “Though he wears a necktie, my Raymond is a pirate . . . He storms aboard for his prize . . . Whatever fools may say, Raymond is dynamite.' Before the show, Sarkozy, wearing a suit and tie, was practically mobbed by concertgoers demanding selfies as he took his seat for the show. According to an onlooker, 'He was friendly and posed for pictures with everyone, but he smiled and remained coy when a few people encouraged him to run again for office.' Sarkozy, 59, who was the French leader from 2007 to 2012, is rumored to be preparing for a comeback, and could defeat scandal-rocked president François Hollande in 2017." (P6)






Death Out of Season



"The poet was right, April is the cruelest month. We at the Spectator lost Clarissa Tan, my good friend Bob Geldof’s 25-year-old daughter Peaches died, and my oldest friend from prep school buried his son, one of the greatest athletes of his time, at age 42. There is something obscene about surviving the young, something only politicians like Tony Blair can do and still smile, and A.E. Housman got it right in his 'To An Athlete Dying Young.' We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness and the pursuit of it. Thousands of books are published about it every year. Arianna Huffington’s opus on how to thrive is number one on the best-seller list. (More about this later). Eliot also wrote that humankind could not bear very much reality, but is there anything more real than death?I didn’t know Clarissa well, but whenever I met her at Speccie parties and pulled her leg about her teaching me strange Oriental sexual rituals she would crinkle up her face, blush, and laugh. She never once hinted that all was not well, that she was ill. Talk about profiles in courage. Bob Geldof’s Peaches I had met only at parties and she was swell. Friendly and very polite, she had her father’s nous, and that means she had a lot of brainpower. For those of us who know Bob Geldof well, he may use the F-word more than necessary at times, but he’s an extraordinary man. A rock star who neither drinks nor smokes, he’s a walking encyclopedia and has read more serious books than all the rock stars put together have had one-night stands." (Taki)






"IF you read my friend David Patrick Columbia in his New York Social Diary yesterday when he covered the Maria Droste charity, you know we had a big success. I was interviewing the former Times drama critic Frank Rich and his equally well-known wife, Times ace Alex Witchel. And the paying audience for this little annual event had none other than Barbara Walters sitting at the first table near the stage. She was joined by Lesley Stahl, Marie Brenner and others equally brilliant and I had to comment that it took a lot of nerve for me to do an interview in front of such pros. The audience seemed enchanted to see Barbara, in person, and when I closed the proceedings, I asked for two questions from the audience. Before hands went up, Barbara said emphatically that she had several questions so the audience roared and I said, 'Be my guest!' Naturally, Barbara asked some trenchant ones and she was delightful. And the star of TV stars looks great these days and seems to have come to terms with her so-called 'retirement.'" (NYSD)














"Signs of Russia’s growing economic distress became even clearer today, as the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates for the second time since March, while Standard & Poor’s cut the country’s debt rating to one notch above junk.In lifting the benchmark borrowing rate from 7 percent to 7.5 percent, the bank said it was acting to cool inflation that’s now running above 7 percent. But, says economist Tim Ash of Standard Bank in London, 'it has nothing to do with inflation. It’s all about signaling that the central bank is shoring up its defenses' to strengthen the ruble and stem the flight of capital from the country.Whether the bank can achieve those goals looks doubtful. The ruble, the second-worst-performing currency among developing countries this year, continued to lose ground today, trading above 36.01 against the dollar. And, as S&P noted in its downgrade announcement, the standoff over Ukraine could spur capital outflows, which already exceeded $50 billion during the first three months of the year. Ash predicts the total could reach as much as $200 billion by yearend." (BusinessWeek)



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