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Fashion/Beauty

Panty Raid on North Korea by Swedish Lingerie Company

panty raidAh, remember the days, fellas? You go to camp, sneak out of the cabin and find that one unsuspecting cabin off in the distance. The next morning, there they are — bloomers hanging on the flagpole rippling in the wind. God bless America, indeed.

Well, thanks to a story in Time magazine, this stunt of prepubescent immaturity could start World War III.

Ripped from the press release: A Swedish underwear company announced Tuesday that it recently “love bombed” North Korea with “weapons of mass seduction” in the form of 450 pairs of hot pink underwear, a move that is ever-so-slightly tone deaf given the country’s escalating issues with sex trafficking.

Yes, kids. That’s real.

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Top Fashion Journalist Says the Hack/Flack Game Has Changed

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“Whenever John Fairchild, the legendary god of Fairchild Publications, was asked for his own job description, his answer proved quick and succinct: ‘I’m a reporter.’”

It’s not like that anymore, though—at least not according to this WWD report on publicists behaving…differently.

Fashion journalist Bridget Foley writes that brands in her space have increased their efforts to actively control the narrative, becoming a little less human in the process.

Foley’s biggest irritation came from an encounter with a rep who insisted that a writerly icon take his seat (before being directed to do so) at an awards show rather than spend a minute speaking to another WWD reporter covering the event.

But she has several other key points:

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Prada’s Suit Against ‘Too Ugly’ Whistleblower Proceeds

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Rina Bovrisse has been a thorn in Prada‘s side for some time—four years, to be exact. In 2009 the former employee of Prada Tokyo filed suit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination, and the United Nations backed her up earlier this year. Her allegations reveal some serious problems with gender relations in the workplace in Japan:

“Prada Japan CEO David Sesia reportedly demoted or dismissed female staff members who he deemed were ‘old, fat, ugly, disgusting, or did not have the Prada look’”

Bovrisse also told stories about employees being forced to buy expensive Prada products and pressured into sex by their superiors. But when she finally decided to make some noise on the topic, she got a visit from someone in HR who told her:

“You will have to change your hairstyle. And you will have to lose weight. The CEO is so ashamed of your ugliness that he won’t introduce you to any visitors from Milan.”

It gets worse after the jump:

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So No One Saw Anything Wrong With This? Sephora Pulls Kat von D Lipstick Called ‘Celebutard’ After Backlash

kat von dFile this under “Really? No one saw anything amiss? No one? Not a single, solitary person?”

Sephora has pulled off its shelves a lipstick shade from LA Ink star Kat von D’s line called Painted Love called “Celebutard.” For the few who don’t know, it’s a term that sprung into being after the Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians of the world started to become far more rich and famous than their talents would indicate they should. But it also incorporates the word “retard,” which caused offense to advocates for the developmentally challenged.

“It should have never been on the shelves to begin with,” said Faith Bodnar, the executive director of nonprofit Inclusion BC. And she wasn’t the only one. Other families and Glee star Lauren Potter (she plays Becky Jackson), also expressed outrage.

“I could not believe that a successful company in 2013 would use such a derogatory and mocking name for their lipstick,” said Emily Norman, mother of two children ages two and four, one with a developmental delays and the other with Down syndrome.

When a tube of this lipstick hit the desk of someone in marketing, there should’ve been a quick thumbs down and renaming.

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Should Instagram Let Fashion Bloggers Link to Sales Sites?

shutterstock_158730779Just as the first Instagram ad hit us in the form of a Michael Kors watch, many of the fashion bloggers who provide so much of the platform’s content asked “Wait, why can’t I do that?

PR may be asking the same question: why does Instagram still prohibit users from including links so followers can buy the products they highlight? It would make the give-and-take between designers and bloggers even more significant.

CEO Kevin Systrom told London Fashion Week attendees that he could see his company becoming a fashion commerce platform at some point, nothing that it’s already a great marketing tool for fashion brands—but then he waffled a bit. Here’s a key quote:

“If Instagram were full of commerce and there were ‘Buy now!’ links everywhere and that’s all you ever had, I don’t think it would get to the true spirit of communication.”

So Systrom sees Instagram as a comms tool rather than a sales tool but clearly allows for some flexibility on what he calls “the balance” between art and commerce. We get it, but we have a feeling that all four parties involved in the fashion chain would disagree: the shoppers, the bloggers, the brands and the firms representing them.

And yes, the guy is already rich—but don’t tell us he’s not jealous of Pinterest‘s ability to separate people from their money…

Thank McFly, JCPenney is Going Back to the Future

And how's that working out?

And how’s that working out?

For those who believe Apple, or anything that hails from it, can do wrong, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Ron Johnson.

He (pictured in this picture showing how long his career was at JCP) is an ousted, former CEO of JCPenney and an unscrupulous hack who believed his deified worship of smarmy hipsters who worked at his beloved Apple genius retail stores would work even better at the home of the Soccer Mom.

Only not so much. His sorely miscalculated ideas of removing all sales items, misreading what customers wanted, not testing his epiphanies in advance and inept acuity to understand the promise and premise of a brand cost him more than his job — it cost him his reputation and just about cost JCPenney its entire existence.

I think what was most telling of the Johnson era was he was rumored to be given a lovely severance package that he by no means deserved. Yet, his golden parachute ran out of the same strings he tried to puppeteer the JCPenney staff while he was there. Fitting for a…um, Johnson.

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Not So Suave: Unilever Sued for a Product That Allegedly Caused Hair Damage

via Facebook

via Facebook

Unilever is on the wrong end of a class action lawsuit over a now-discontinued Suave Keratin product that the plaintiffs allege caused hair breakage, hair loss and other kinds of hair damage.

The big problem, according to the plaintiffs lawyer, is that the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit marketed itself as “formaldehyde free” when it actually contained another chemical that they say “is mainly synthesized from formaldehyde.” Unilever tried to have the lawsuit tossed, but a judge rejected that motion and now they’re going to trial. Eeek.

But as I said, the chemical contents are just one of the problems Unilever and Suave face in this case. The others are a weak recall and a social media program that continued long after the product did. Double eeek.

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Which Beauty Brands Have the Best Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaigns?

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while the NFL might not be as generous as we’d hope in donating to related causes, some beauty brands are. We’ve gathered a few dedicated companies listed by different publications to see which ones are going above and beyond on the breast cancer PR front.

The New York Times lists:

Lucille Roberts adds a few more:

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Fashion and Instagram: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

An industry driven by the power of instant visual impressions has found a natural partner in the app that’s all about capturing the moment and passing it along to the rest of the world.

The growing partnership between fashion and Instagram almost makes too much sense: for example, a quick search for #NYFW on the network yields an endless bounty of shots taken by users who range from schooled photographers to gawkers and lucky gatecrashers. It’s the perfect tool not just for fashion followers but for designers themselves, who cop to co-opting others’ shots for both inspirational and promotional purposes. What better way to see what everyone’s wearing without dirtying your brand new shoes on the streets of New York or Paris?

Nanette Lepore, for example, tells The New York Times that she regularly scrolls through her fans’ Instagram clips, where the themes that emerge from a never-ending sea of shots give her ideas for upcoming collections (someone must have been wearing a lot of white and beige last year):

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Kenneth Cole Says Controversial Tweets Are Great for Business

One man’s PR fail is another man’s business plan…if that other man happens to be “designer with a conscience“ Kenneth Cole.

In case you thought some clueless intern was responsible for what seemed like a tactless marketing message playing off the possibility of war in Syria, you’re wrong: Cole writes these controversial tweets himself, and he does it all on purpose. Cue maniacal laugh.

When the designer responded to his latest manufactured controversy by stating that he intended to start a dialogue, he apparently meant “dialogue” as in “a conversation that will help promote my own company.”

So…the joke’s on you!

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