Yesterday, a fashion publicist plead guilty to stealing a Salvador Dali painting from an Upper East Side gallery. The Daily Mail reports that he was discovered when the police matched his fingerprints to ones that were on a juice box he'd previously stolen from Whole Foods. By pleading guilty, he's avoiding jail time but will have to pay $9,100 in restitution until he is formally sentenced in March. At that point he'll probably be deported to Greece.
Last year, Phivos Istavrioglou was just an unknown Greek man who security cameras filmed removing a pricy work of art from a gallery wall and stuffing it in a plastic shopping bag. (Which, from what I understand, is a not uncommon way to steal famous paintings. This is all hearsay, but when I was in college, some kid stole a Jasper Johns using the exact same method. He took it home with him on the subway. A few months later, a security guard showed at one of his classes being like, "Hey?")
Our hero fled to Europe, but when he saw that the NYPD was on the hunt (they were sharing screenshots from the security camera which showed him just casually stealing a famous painting with major news outlets all around the world), he removed the Dali from its frame, rolled it up into a poster tube and sent it back to the U.S.
Since he didn't take any measures to prevent himself from fingerprinting all over the tube and the painting before sending it back, police quickly discovered that they were dealing with the same idiot who'd stolen juice from Whole Foods the previous year. (Literally, anyone that's ever seen a police procedural or like, Pretty Little Liars even, would have worn gloves and bypassed the whole fingerprint situation.)
The cops "lured him" back into the U.S. by (true story) posing as an art consultant at a gallery which neighbored the one he stole from. This guy is being such an unbelievable idiot I have to think this is either 1) a weird, poorly calculated guerrilla marketing scheme for either Moncler, the high-end French outerwear brand he's been a publicist for, or the gallery he thieved from (as reported last year by NBC), Venus Over Manhattan, or 2) a performance art piece?
I get that all fashion editors and stylists have spent the past few months obsessed with showing mod-inspired designer spring fashion, because monochrome graphic prints were "all over the runways," but we as fashion consumers are suffering because of this, subject to seeing the same dumb idea rehashed over and over again by a print media that still thinks "We're mad for January Jones" and "5 Super Hot Sex Fantasies" are compelling and original cover lines worthy of a national magazine.
Obviously, everything about the cover is unbearable, from Jones' pose to that floofy side-part bob, but I've got to say that the most insulting aspect is the way the color scheme almost perfectly replicates the collection's ad campaign and runway set, showing an astonishing lack of imagination on the part of Glamour UK's editorial staff. They didn't even try! This is the photo equivalent of reprinting a press release.
"Some people have declared that they have been offended by the publication in Numéro magazine n°141 of March 2013, of an editorial realized by the photographer Sebastian Kim called 'African Queen', featuring the American model Ondria Hardin posing as an 'African queen,' her skin painted in black.
The artistic statement of the photographer Sebastian Kim, author of this editorial, is in line with his previous photographic creations, which insist on the melting pot and the mix of cultures, the exact opposite of any skin color based discrimination. Numéro has always supported the artistic freedom of the talented photographers who work with the magazine to illustrate its pages, and has not took part in the creation process of this editorial.
For its part, Numéro Magazine, which has the utmost respect for this photographer’s creative work, firmly excludes that the latest may have had, at any moment, the intention to hurt readers’ sensitivity, whatever their origin.
Numéro Magazine considers that it has regularly demonstrated its deep attachment to the promotion of different skin-colored models. For instance, the next issue of Numéro for Man on sale on 15th march has the black model Fernando Cabral on the cover page, and the current Russian edition’s cover of our magazine features the black model Naomi Campbell on its cover. This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.
Considering the turmoil caused by this publication, the Management of Numéro Magazine would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this editorial."
Photographer Sebastian Kim sent in his own apology:
"I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding around my recent photos for Numero France. It was never my intention (nor Numero’s) to portray a black woman in this story. Our idea and concept for this fashion shoot was based on 60s characters of Talitha Getty, Verushka and Marissa Berenson with middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration. We at no point attempted to portray an African women [sic] by painting her skin black. We wanted a tanned and golden skin to be showcased as part of the beauty aesthetic of this shoot.
It saddens me that people would interpret this as a mockery of race. I believe that the very unfortunate title 'African Queen' (which I was not aware of prior to publication) did a lot to further people’s misconceptions about these images. It was certainly never my intention to mock or offend anyone and I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone who was offended.
The two statements above are a study in contrasts. Kim's short and direct response articulates his original concept and makes a convincing case that the controversy was the result of a misunderstanding. His apology seems sincere, and I can see how he envisioned the editorial as a story about a Maria Berenson or Talitha Getty-type glamour girl. And yes: like him, I believe that it didn't read that way because of how it was framed by the publication.
Numero's defensive, drawn-out comment is less sympathetic: If Kim's original concept was for the most part inoffensive, the glossy's packaging of the editorial is another story. Numero not only ran the feature under the title "African Queen," the publication also truly believed that the pictures showed a white girl with her skin painted black posing as an 'African queen,' and didn't think that was a problem. I understand that in France, sensitivity to questions of racial justice might not be as sophisticated as what we're used to in the U.S., but as HuffPo pointed out, Numero's made this mistake before: in 2010, the French publication ran an editorial set in something resembling a savanna, featuring an "overbronzed" Constance Jablonski styled with an Afro, posing with a black baby.
Despite its willingness to, as Numero points out in its statement above, hire some black models sometimes (the references to its Fernando Cabraland Naomi Campbell covers are the magazine equivalent of being like, "I'm not racist — I have black friends!"), the publication clearly has a race problem. It's incredible that, thinking he'd deliberately styled Hardin in blackface, no one at Numero reached out to Kim to at least be like, "Hey, some people might find this offensive and that's totally fine with us (we're all about making fashion statements with blackface!), but just checking in — That's what you're going for, right?" Still more remarkable: after seeing how people responded to the editorial, Numero did what looks like zero soul-searching, releasing a statement which reads like they think we're the ones that should be apologizing for being offended in the first place.
Izzy Camilleri, one of Canada's top fashion designers, creative directors and pioneers, will open World Mastercard Fashion Week with a runway show featuring her brand new line, MIZ by Izzy Camilleri, on March 18. I call this fabulous woman a pioneer because she's renowned for being the creator and founder of IZ Adaptive Clothing, a clothing store providing adaptive apparel for the physically disabled, on which she collaborated with fashion journalist Adrian Mainella.
For her next trick, Izzy is launching the MIZ Fall/Winter 2013 collection, a ready-to-wear line designed for the stylish, sophisticated and mature woman; the confident woman who doesn't want to look like who she was, but who wants to look like the woman she is. Sexy, yet comfortable, it will be comprised of sleek separates including jackets, dresses, blouses, leggings and skirts using materials like jersey,stretch wool twill and faux leather in rich blacks, greys and browns with strong patterns like houndstooth and animal-print.
“I created the MIZ collection because I feel there is a void in truly fashionable apparel that is made specifically for boomer-aged women,” said Camilleri. “Being 50 or 60 isn't the same as it was 40 years ago; these women are sexy, beautiful and stylish – they don’t try to look 25. They are happy and confident so I designed a line with these women in mind with pieces that are really well-made and affordable.”
The breadth of Izzy's portfolio is astounding having, not only dressed wheelchair users and now stylish baby boomers, but also a range of A-list celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis and Kelly Clarkson. Her designs have further been featured in television and film, including the Izzy Camilleri red fur coat worn by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.
Izzy hasn't shown at Toronto since her IZMA Fall 2011 collection, a collaborative fur line she also designed with Adrian Mainella, almost two years ago. I'm sure many of you Izzy passionistas will be excited to see this new MIZ line, images of which will be available after the show, and the fruit of which will be available for purchase online in August. And if you ever happen to be strolling along Toronto's Dundas Street West (2995B to be exact), I highly recommend checking out her innovative IZ Adaptive Clothing showroom, which offers so much more than the small selection of clothing I'm including below.
This morning David Bowie released the video for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," a single off his new album The Next Day, and 1) it stars all your favorite people — specifically Tilda Swinton, Andrej Pejic and Saskia De Brauw and 2) it's fantastic, a reminder of how awesome it is that we live in a world where people make stuff.
Directed by Floria Sigismondi, shot by Jeff Cronenweth, embedded below: