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No Matter What He Might Have Told You, Philippe Starck Isn’t Designing a Product for Apple

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The internet was suddenly abuzz late last week, just before the weekend, when everyone’s favorite French designer Philippe Starck told a newspaper that he was working with Apple on a revolutionary product that would be out in the next few months. That certainly would be exciting, given that the internet nearly implodes when there’s even a hint of something Apple related in the works, and due to Starck’s long legacy in product design. Unfortunately, Starck also sometimes seems to mangle his words a touch, or exclaim lofty ambitions that maybe aren’t so grounded in reality. Over the weekend, Apple released a statement saying that no, they weren’t working with Starck on anything. Shortly thereafter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the designer laid everything out a bit more clearly, explaining that he’s working with Steve Jobs’ family on building a yacht. All of this, of course, makes much more sense, given that Apple generally keeps their product design very in-house (and certainly away from chatterboxes) and Starck now has something of a history building eco-friendly mega-yachts. We liked these couple of sentences the WSJ put together, summing up this recent there-and-gone story:

This episode has proved two things. Anything said about Apple provokes a huge buzz among the company’s followers. And Mr. Starck, who has waved his minimalist magic wand over everything from a toothbrush to a lemon squeezer to a mineral water bottle to penknives to hotels, likes to talk about himself.

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Brad Goreski Sets the Record Straight on His Relationship with Rachel Zoe

Fans of The Rachel Zoe Project may have noticed that the star stylist doesn’t take kindly to staff members striking out on their own (and isn’t above launching smear campaigns when they do so). Her former protégé, Brad Goreski, found this out the hard way. He appeared to part with Zoe on good terms toward the end of season three of her reality series, but by season four, she was lobbing criticisms and allegations of client-stealing at her once-beloved style director. In this second segment of our Media Beat interview with Goreski, he opens up about his relationship with Zoe—or lack thereof. “It’s strange that it turned into this whole thing, because to me, it’s a very logical thing to assist somebody and then, after a certain amount of time, choose to leave ad go go off and do your own thing,” says the star of the new Bravo series It’s a Brad Brad World. “I think that’s a really natural progression.” As for the alleged client swiping, Goreski sees this as a non-issue. “Can you really steal people, and especially people who are celebrities?” He asks. “They choose who they want to work with.”

Part 1: Breakout Styling Star Brad Goreski Takes Us Inside His Brad, Brad World
Part 3: How Brad Goreski Got an Internship at Vogue

First Banksy of 2012 Spotted in What Might be the Artist’s Most Prolific Year

You may have considered either 2010 or 2011 to have been the year(s) that popular street artist Banksy possibly hit his career high, becoming a near-household name with his documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop and then, later, its Oscar nomination. However, with the 2012 Olympics soon arriving in his native England, some are speculating that this could be Banksy’s most prolific year. As such, spotters are on the lookout and they have recently found perhaps the first piece by the artist this year. Though it’s certainly difficult to verify such things, given that the artist is keen to maintain his mysterious recluse mystique, most it seems are considering this to be the first real deal of the year. Here are some details:

It appears to have all of the hallmarks of a real painting by the artist and would be the first new year offering by Banksy. 2012 the Olympic year is expected to be a big year for the artist as all eyes are now focused on the capital.. The stencil turned up on the corner of an office building on Oval Street in Kentish Town (near Camden Town) and many followers of the street artist have already identified the painting as a Banksy. It possesses all of the his irreverent stencil features including a distinctly political statement.

Raf Simons to Replace Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent?


Looks from the spring 2012 Jil Sander collection, shown Saturday in Milan.

So suggests the sizzling lead of Suzy Menkes’ latest International Herald Tribune dispatch from the Milan runways. “If Raf Simons ultimately takes over the helm at Yves Saint Laurent—as those familiar with the situation in Paris suggest—the designer will have found a sweet spot for his meticulous modernism,” she wrote before showering praise on Simons’ spring 2012 Jil Sander collection, “a master class in couture rigor” inspired by midcentury modernism. Later in the article, Menkes noted that while Simons “was traveling back to his native Belgium and could not be reached for comment on the subject of YSL, he certainly has earned an audition for that position.”

The rumor adds PPR-owned YSL to a closely watched list of fashion houses whose creative helms may be up for a grabs. LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault and co’s decision about who will fill John Galliano‘s shoes (or pirate boots, as the case my be) at floundering Christian Dior is expected to set off a domino effect of designer moves, but Stefano Pilati, creative director at YSL since Tom Ford’s departure in 2004, wasn’t viewed as vulnerable—until now. In a statement issued this morning, YSL called the rumor of a Pilati ouster “unfounded,” but we think the deal may have been sealed by the spring 2011 collections. Last year at this time, Simons offered up the crisp, boldly colored, maxi-length breath of fresh air that set the tone for the season, while Pilati’s sublimely edited evolution of some of Saint Laurent’s greatest hits didn’t garner nearly as much acclaim (or, it would seem, sell-through).

Internet Abuzz Over Karl Lagerfeld, Snoop Dogg Collaboration, Even If It Never Happened

If it feels like coming back to the daily grind after a long, relaxing holiday weekend has destroyed all forms of hope and joy, then we have just the remedy for you: the vaguely possible news that fashion design legend Karl Lagerfeld has collaborated with the rapper Snoop Dogg. Unfortunately, to what that degree of collaboration was, if any at all, is still unknown. Late last week, Women’s Wear Daily reported that the designer was in Saint-Tropez, directing a music video for nightclub owner-turned-musician Jean-Roch. Very quickly, WWD mentioned that “The track also features Snoop Dogg.” Whether or not Messrs. Lagerfeld and Dogg were in the same room together, or even in the same city, was not revealed. However, that didn’t stop the internet from exploding over the weekend with headlines like “Karl Lagerfeld and Snoop Dogg Are Working on a Music Video” and “The Collaboration We’ve Been Waiting For: Karl Lagerfeld and Snoop Dogg,” writing as though it were a sure thing. As far as we’re concerned, given that WWD was the only outlet to have the story and simply reported, again, that “The track also features Snoop Dogg,” we’re going to hold off believing that they’ve gotten together to make magic. If it does wind up being true, we’ll expect the finished product, judging from Lagerfeld’s previous film work, to either be bizarre and plotless or meandering with just a hint of plot. If it doesn’t wind up being true, that will mean that we can continue to pull for for our preferred design-based collaboration for the rapper: Droog and Dogg, together at last.

Marc Jacobs to take Top Design Job at Dior?

The rumor mill reached a fever pitch yesterday over who will succeed John Galliano as creative director of the fashion empire that is Dior, after the designer was cast out earlier this year when he was caught on camera screaming a drunken slew of anti-Semitic slurs. As of yesterday, all points seem to be focused on Marc Jacobs, with Women’s Wear Daily leading the charge by reporting that their sources have revealed that the designer is in “serious” talks with Dior and its parent company, LVMH. With his current contract at Louis Vuitton ending soon, should Jacobs be offered and take the job, this of course has led to more speculation on whether or not his longtime business partner Robert Duffy would make the move with him, and also who should take over at Vuitton once he’s made his exit (the current best bet rumor is Pheobe Philo). However, before you set any of this to memory, know that there are also a number of other candidates vying for the Dior job. Here’s a bit from New York:

Other potential candidates for the job, according to WWD, were Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz and Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquière, both of whom felt they couldn’t leave behind their jobs and equity stakes in their respective labels. LVMH also made advances toward Alexander McQueen‘s successor Sarah Burton, but she “is said to have rebuffed overtures.” Haicker Ackermann and Hedi Slimane were also approached, with no deals made. Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci is still a candidate.

Is Daniel Libeskind’s Los Angeles Tower No More?

With the American Institute of Architects‘ Architecture Billings Index still sinking into the red, if you thought the era of starchitects seeing their buildings getting canceled well before any ground had been broken, think again. The good folks at Curbed LA are reporting that the land underneath a planned Daniel Libeskind-designed tower near Los Angeles’ convention center has just appeared in this commercial real estate listing. While said listing makes mention that one could “Utilize this lot to build based on existing plans for a 43 story luxury high-rise mixed-use condominium,” with “plans [and] renderings have been completed by world famous architect Daniel Libeskind” at the ready for a buyer to take a crack at, it also mentions another option: “or collect current steady revenue from the event parking lot until commencement of development.” Curbed believes it’s time to “get out your coffin nails” as it’s never a good sign when a former developer is suddenly selling off the plot of land they were once eager to start building a tower designed by a “world famous architect” on.

As Problems Continue to Plague RMJM, Architect Will Alsop Dismisses Rumors That He’s Leaving

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Save for a brief respite of good news about some awards won, the bad seems to be piling up again for RMJM, one of the largest architecture firms in the world. You might recall that all this negative press seemed to start toward the end of last year, when it was reported that Stirling Prize-winning architect Will Alsop, who joined the firm back in 2009 after pulling a fast one on the industry by claiming he was quitting architecture for good, hadn’t yet landed any of the big commissions he was brought in to win. This week, Architects Journal reported that they’d received word that Alsop was preparing to make his exit from RMJM, jumping ship after less than two years and starting a new firm with a fellow RMJM architect. Building Design, on the other hand, spoke to Alsop, who said these were all mere rumors. “I don’t have any plans to leave at all,” he told BD. “I am aware of these rumours – it is like rumours on rumours.” However, if we’ve learned anything from politics or the entertainment industry, isn’t it that first you deny until you have your story in place and then a week later, you come out and fess up? And since we’ve been duped by Alsop before, should we believe his explanation? Whatever the case with this sole architect in a company who employs quite a few of them, the firm itself has continued to suffer rocky terrain. Elsewhere in Building Design, they report that RMJM has now found itself in another courtroom battle, this time in a suit filed against them by the German firm Muller BBM, who are claiming they are owed roughly $140,000 in unpaid fees for their contributions to RMJM’s Gazprom Tower in St. Petersburg, which still hasn’t begun construction.

Post-Galliano, Lars von Trier and 2014 Sochi Olympics Campaign Accused of Harboring Nazi Sympathies

In a bizarre turn of events, it feels like we’ve suddenly been thrust into a world where the situation with John Galliano, who heads to court next month in Paris for his racial slurs and claims to love Adolph Hitler, never happened. First, and making the rounds like wildfire this week, was director Lars von Trier at Cannes, who didn’t seem to be able to control his babbling as he stumbled through an awkward few minutes of a press conference, wherein he said things like, “[Hitler] is not what you would call a good guy, but, yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him a little bit” and ended with a what-have-I-done, “Ok, I am a Nazi.” He was flanked by actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst, who both appear in his latest film, both of whom seemed understandably uncomfortable (here’s video of the scene and for more careful review, a great page full of animated gifs of Dunst’s reactions as the horror show played out). Second, the organizers behind the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are catching some heat this week after rolling out a new campaign featuring illustrations that critics have described as “neo-Hitlerite” and “like something from a Leni Riefenstahl film” due to its use of “an Aryan-looking snowboarder and an ice-skater gazing into the middle distance.” While certainly one could argue that old fascist and communist era iconography has long been used to ironic effect (see: Shepard Fairey, the multi-million dollar industry of Che Guevara merchandise, etc.), the Guardian reports this particular instance is a bit different, in that the design firm behind the campaign, the St. Petersburg-based Doping-Pong, has used swastikas and Nazi flags in some of their work, and have frequently collaborated with the artist Katya Zashtopik, “who is known for her sympathies with the ultra-right” and who recently wished Hitler a happy birthday on her blog. The firm is now playing defense, claiming they had no intention to support Nazism through the ads, nor did they work with Zashtopik on them. They’ve also claimed that the press is itching to read more into this than is there (and upon seeing their site and the context for which things are used, particularly the Guardian‘s aforementioned, seemingly very devious claim that they’ve used “a swastika as one of its online ‘banners’” we’re inclined to agree with their defense to some extent, because once you see what they’ve done, it makes more sense than just that one, evil-sounding sentence). But in the end, it’s all up for you to decide: Did von Trier just get tongue tied or did he spill a bit more than he should have? And is this campaign a nod to Nazism or just the media trying to dig a story out that might not really be there?

Quote of Note | Tim Gunn

“My sister and I used to take the FBI tour once a year. It was a big deal in D.C., and we never missed it. One year, 1961, when I was eight, I was on the tour and my father [FBI agent George William Gunn, who worked as J. Edgar Hoover's ghostwriter] asked me if I’d like to meet Vivian Vance. According to Helen Gandy, Hoover’s secretary, Vance was visiting Hoover, and she said she’d be happy to meet us. I was a rabid I Love Lucy fan and was beside myself with excitement. ‘Ethel Mertz is here?’ I screamed. My father smiled and took my sister and me into Hoover’s office, where I shook Vivian Vance’s hand and chatted with her. I was thrilled.

Years later, I was reminiscing with my sister about the meeting and suddenly I realized something. ‘Does it seem odd to you,’ I asked her, ‘that when we met Vivian Vance in Hoover’s office, Hoover wasn’t there?’ I’ve since looked at photos of both Hoover and Vivian Vance from that period of time, and the similarities are rather eerie… I’ve called some Vivian Vance experts, including Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg, who wrote Meet the Mertzes: The Life Stories of I Love Lucy’s Other Couple; none of them knew of any meeting between Vance and Hoover. I’m not saying at the age of eight I definitely met J. Edgar Hoover at his office in the FBI wearing a dress and makeup, only that I strongly suspect it. My mother says I’m crazy, but she wasn’t there.”

-Project Runway mentor and chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne Inc. Tim Gunn in his latest bestselling book, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work.

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