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Iman Proposes Boycotting Designers Who Only Use White Models

Image: WENN

Image: WENN

Yesterday, The New York Times ran a big story by Eric Wilson spotlighting the growing concern over fashion's predominantly white runways. It included something of a call to action from supermodel Iman and the legendary agent, Bethann Hardison, who both argue that the time has come for consumers to demand more diversity in fashion, by boycotting designers and rallying against them on social media. (This September, Hardison plans to spearhead a social media campaign calling out designers who have non-diverse casting at their shows.)

Iman: “It feels to me like the times need a real hard line drawn like in the 1960s, by saying if you don’t use black models, then we boycott. If you engage the social media, trust me, it will hurt them in their pockets. If you take it out there, they will feel the uproar.”

Runway shows often have more to do with generating publicity for a brand (which later pays off in, say, handbag or fragrance sales) than selling clothes, so it does seem possible that the threat of so much negative scrutiny could pressure some designers and bookers to cast (ha?) a broader net. ​

Fashion’s Blind Spot [The New York Times]

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In Court, Ex-Staffer Accuses Naeem Khan of Gifting Fake Birkins, (Maybe) Using Cocaine

Image: IMAXtree

Image: IMAXtree

Today in Manhattan's Supreme Court, Naeem Khan faces charges of breach of contract brought against him by ex-staffer Lionel Geneste.

A former Halston apprentice, Naeem Kahn launched his eponymous collection in 2003. Since then, the 55-year-old Indian-born designer's clothes have appeared on Sarah Jessica ParkerBeyonceEva Longoria and more. He became a household name when Michelle Obama wore one of his gowns to a state dinner in 2010; the First Lady also appeared in Naeem Kahn at the 2013 Oscars

Geneste (currently with GCK Partners, a communications firm that names Catherine Malandrino, Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue among its clients) first brought charges against the designer in July 2009, asking for a total of $1.8 million. 

Khan's ex-staffer claims he was unfairly terminated, as he tells the New York Post, for “becoming more associated with the Naeem Khan brand than Mr. Khan himself." Furthermore, Geneste alleges his former employer withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions (the Post reports the figure as $350,000) and defamed him.

From the court documents: "Beginning in July, 2006 and continuing to date, Defendant Naeem Khan has made false and defamatory statements concerning the Plaintiff [Geneste]. … The false and defamatory statements were made to a prospective employer with whom Plaintiff was negotiating for a position… The statements included, but were not limited to, statements that Plaintiff was incompetent, had no 'connections' in the fashion business, was deceitful and should not be permitted to work the fashion industry."

(In January 2007, Fashion Week Daily reported that Geneste had been hired as the EVP of global communication and development at Catherine Malandrino.)

Linda Fargo, Vice President of Visual Merchandising at Bergdorf Goodman, has been named as a prospective witness for Geneste in the court documents. 

WWD has been live-tweeting the drama unfolding in the courtroom:

Ouch! I find it hard to believe that a designer who's reached Khan's level of success would be stupid enough to think he could get away with gifting a fake Birkin to a woman like Fillip, the Couture Evening & Fur Buyer at Neiman Marcus. But who knows?

And there's also this, which WWD deleted shortly after sending:

WWD-CocaineIt's hardly a shocking revelation that someone in the fashion industry might use cocaine at a party, so why even say it? It looks like both men are trying to win this by way of character assassination: For his part, Khan's defense strategy is reportedly to "claim that Geneste has a pattern of dishonesty."

[Update 8/12: Khan and Geneste reportedly settled for $125,000 this morning, well below the $1.8 million the designer's ex-staffer had originally demanded. "I will give Geneste a fraction of what he wants, otherwise I want this thing full-on," Khan told WWD shortly before an agreement was reached.]

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Sophie Lowe Gives a Double Dose of Punch Prints on the TCA Summer Press Tour

sophielowe

images: Getty

As one of the few remaining people in the world who have us reconsidering our stance on ombré, it’s obvious Sophie Lowe is in possession of some serious style chops. The girl knows what works on her – and last weekend it was vibrant prints in graphic neon and blown-up florals.

On Sunday morning, the Australian actress brightened up a panel discussion during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in California, where she’s promoting her upcoming fairy-tale saga Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Lowe faced the mic in a pair of trousers printed with amped up daisies, which seems an appropriate thing to wear when you’re promoting a trippy saga set in a giant garden. She kept things just the right amount of classy with a chic black shirt and patent black shoes.

Lowe then turned it up a bit when things moved over to the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Diane Kruger put her own spin on grey and neon green last month, and if three’s a trend we cant wait to see who goes there next. Sophie accessorized her own graphic dress with an even brighter clutch and black peep-toe platforms.

Which print do you prefer?

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Doutzen Kroes Covers the Vogue Netherlands September 2013 Issue (Forum Buzz)

Doutzen Kroes photographed by Paul Bellaart for Vogue Netherlands

Doutzen Kroes photographed by Paul Bellaart for Vogue Netherlands

Dutch favorite Doutzen Kroes landed this year’s Vogue Netherlands September issue cover, and though the cover shot for me is just kind of okay, I’m still glad to see her there. This cover isn’t about to win any “best of the year” accolades (except maybe from Bobby153, who called it “easily one of my favorite Vogue covers of the year”), but the accompanying editorial shots by Paul Bellaart aren't too bad. Doutzen sprawled naked in some sort of milk bath with strategically hidden naughty bits? That just may be the best of the bunch. 

On the cover, Miss Dalloway noted, “The masthead bothers me, the pose is strange, it’s just not a cover image to me.”

Justaguy seemed ambivalent. “Hmmmm, it's a great shot of Doutzen, but the pose, although quintessential in modeling, is so overused and doesn't work for this cover… Overall it looks like they tried to do a Vogue Paris–type cover, but didn't succeed.”

Tigerrouge wasn’t a fan either. “I'd make everyone stay behind in the office and try even harder, before I'd ever allow a cover like that to see the light of day,” she shared.

And now that we’ve effectively buried this cover, let’s just go ahead and enjoy Doutzen’s milk bath. 

Paul Bellaart for Vogue Netherlands

All images: Paul Bellaart for Vogue Netherlands

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Iekeline Stange Gets Weird (in a Good Way) With Vivienne Westwood for Fall 2013 (Forum Buzz)

Vivienne-Westwood-1

Iekeline Stange has always been an unusual sort of otherworldly model. And it turns out, that works perfectly for Vivienne Westwood. Westwood commissioned photographer Jack Pierson to shoot her brand’s Fall 2013 campaign (instead of the usual Juergen Teller) in Kew Gardens near London, and the resulting images are these lush, fantastical peeks into Westwood’s quirky, wonderfully weird world. Forum members were justifiably entranced.

Vivienne-Westwood-2

“Words can't describe how happy I am to see Iekeliene back and with a campaign like VW!!” teaars gushed. “I always kind of love Vivienne's campaigns by default,” he added as a bit of a disclaimer.

AlbertNoir called it, “One of the best Westwood campaigns in years! Iekeliene looks perfect!”

Vivienne-Westwood-3

Nepenthes described the campaign as “a definite hit!”

“This is brilliant and Iekeliene is amazing here!” justaguy wrote.

Enough said, right? The images kind of speak for themselves. (See the rest of the campaign, with an even bigger cast of characters, here.)

Vivienne-Westwood-5

All images via Vivienne Westwood

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H&M Offends Aboriginals With Feathered Headdresses

HandM Loves Music

Today I was about to write about H&M's new recycling programme, where you bring in used clothing of any brand and, in exchange, you’ll be given $5 off a purchase of $30 or more. Like I said, I WAS going to write about that, until I saw this story from The National Post: "H&M faux feather headdress pulled from shelves after complaints items are offensive to aboriginals."

No joke. H&M, the fast fashion megalodon, was shilling a $15 native American-style feather headdress to its hipster customers. As per the Post, Kim Wheeler, an Ojibwa-Mohawk from Winnipeg, first brought the accessory to the company's attention in a letter that read, "Headdresses are worn by chiefs in some of our communities … It is a symbol of respect and honour and should not be for sale as some sort of cute accessory. It is not honourable nor flattering. People in my community have kind of been fighting that whole 'hipster headdressing' for awhile now."

I've been chasing butterflies trying to find a photo of the offending head piece — could it be this EBay item? — but not a store to become entangled in Urban Outfitter-style scandals, H&M has now removed it from its 61 Canadian stores.

Emily Scarlett, a Toronto-based spokeswoman for the Swedish fashion chain, said the hair pieces were part of the company's summer music festival collection called "H&M Loves Music" and flowered wreaths in honour of the Sixties were also part of the line. She also told the Post"Music festivals these days are really about experimenting with fashion and dressing your personality. And they're very heavily based on accessories, really accessorizing your look. Of course we never want to offend anybody or come off as insensitive. We're always about being there for our customers."

Kudos to H&M for acting so swiftly, but not everyone is finding the fashion fix that offensive. One commenter wrote, "Enough already, Canadian aboriginals were and are not the only people in history to use feathers for headdresses. I am offended by the fact that H&M caved in here."

This culture clash between fashion and tradition is kind of reminding me of the recent scandal over Selena Gomez wearing bindis, so what do you think Fashion Spotters? Is H&M right to remove the headbands or do you think this is PC madness and people are taking unnecessary offense? Just to add some more fuel to the fire, have you seen what's available on ASOS marketplace lately? Now head south to sound off…

Images via HM.com

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