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J. Crew Signs a 10-Year Lease in Brooklyn (Would Have Been Better to Buy)

Jenna Lyons of J. Crew

Image: Alberto Reyes/

J.Crew has just signed a ten-year lease for a two-level retail space at 151 Court Street in Brooklyn, its New York City location outside of the island of Manhattan. 

Perhaps you've heard of Brooklyn: It is NYC's most populous borough, a historical haven for immigrant communities and kids playing stickball. Woody Allen grew up there; Lena Dunham may have visited once. Today's Brooklyn residents are best known for their hilarious idiosyncrasies, like eating organic food (because obviously it's much tastier to stuff your body full of pesticides and caged chicken tears) and procreating.

The retailer's expansion to Brooklyn shouldn't come as a surprise. Gentrification and an influx of capital has been homogenizing the borough's diverse population in certain neighborhoods (like Cobble Hill, J.Crew's future digs), which attracts mass-market chains and disrupts the mythologized mom-and-pop retail landscape.  

In a conversation with J.Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler, WWD wondered if the company was waiting for the "demographics to improve" (that's the publication's elitist language, not Drexler's) before moving to Brooklyn. His response: “We were not necessarily waiting for the demographics [to change] [note: WWD's brackets, not ours]. It’s been quite clear over last few years that a lot of our customers live there. In fact, a fair amount of our headquarters team members live there, and we knew it pretty well.” (Yes: J.Crew creative director and Brooklyn style mascot Jenna Lyons recently sold her Park Slope townhouse.)

A sampling of what you might find in the blocks surrounding the store location: American Apparel, Barney's Co-Op, Radioshack, Trader Joe's, Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, Brooklyn Industries (which now has a location in Manhattan), Chase Bank, Barnes & Noble, Gamestop. 

Depending on your perspective, J.Crew is either a corporate pioneer or a pock on a pure retail landscape. 

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Gabby Dover Does Underground Glamour for Russia’s SNC Magazine


Rural NSW export Gabby Dover isn’t so much a face to watch as she is a face to stare at, drool over and wish you could graft onto your own. In April (which was actually only two months ago), she was on the innermost circles of our radar ahead of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, her first runway appearance on home turf despite having walked for Christopher Kane and Victoria Beckham in February.

Now she’s catching on below ground too, at least in this subterranean editorial shot by Nikolay Biryukov for Russia’s SNC magazine. Gabby looks every bit the Lou Doillon/Patti Smith mash-up in goth-couture dresses and pantsuits by Akris, Dries Van Noten and Lanvin, and makes a good start paving the way to offbeat It Girl status in the requisite Acne and Diesel Black Gold.

The shoot was styled by Stella Gosteva, with Marina Keri and Ernesto Montenovo creating equally bold beauty and hair looks respectively. There’s a bit of a Cruella DeVille thing happening here too, which we’re more than okay with. 


Images: Fashion Gone Rogue

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Louis Vuitton Wants to Appear More Exclusive Again

Khloe Kardashian Louis Vuitton

Khloe Kardashian carrying Louis Vuitton bag / via Getty

China's luxury market is changing. After years of logo mania, Chinese shoppers are turning away from conspicuously branded goods in favor of products that are more understated and sophisticated, projecting an aura of refinement and exclusivity. That might sound like good news to champions of classic French style, which is more about simplicity and quality than ostentatious displays of wealth, but one French luxury company is scrambling to catch up. 

Louis Vuitton was one of the first big brands to pursue Chinese expansion, but after enjoying a period of immense popularity, it's seeing demand in the country shift to niche labels like Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent

Because the fashion and leather goods label accounts for nearly half of parent company LVMH's operating profits, the company's approach to addressing lagging sales has been the subject of intense scrutiny for months. The booming Chinese luxury market has changed the fashion industry into a global behemoth, and Louis Vuitton and LVMH were crucial to the transformation. (LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault's recent confession — and the subsequent court battle — that he secretly acquired a 22.6% stake in Hermès, one of the last big independent European luxury brands, doesn't detract from curiosity about the conglomerate's next steps.)

Arnault quashed rumors that Louis Vuitton was developing logo-free products (specifically handbags) and advertising exclusively for China, but the company is planning to slow down its expansion in the region, cutting down the number of planned yearly store openings from 10-15 down to merely two. 

The conglomerate will make up the difference in dwindling handbag sales with cosmetics, skincare and fragrance: LVMH also owns Sephora

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John Galliano in Vanity Fair: “Even Now I’m Still Learning Every Day How Many People I Hurt.”

John Galliano for Vanity Fair

John Galliano / Image via

John Galliano's first public interview since his firing from Dior has just been posted to the Vanity Fair website (the full article is included in the publication's July 2013 issue). Responses to his remarks will vary depending on the reader's prior opinions on a variety of subjects, including but not limited to Galliano himself, Christian Dior, luxury conglomerates, the film Zoolander, alcoholism, Judaism and Jewish people, clothing, theatrical runway shows, the Holocaust, Raf Simons, typical behavior while blackout drinking, racism, the definition of art, mental health. 

(My opinions go like this: [redacted*], a legacy worth preserving, evil, funny, insidious disease, identify, it goes on our bodies and is linked to shame in Judeo-Christian cultures, they last like five seconds and are staged for the purpose of promoting a brand, a horrible multinational tragedy that happened in Europe only seventy years ago, nice-seeming talented man who makes pretty clothes and has an endearing mole, one time this guy I was dating got blackout drunk and told me he loved me but then we broke up like three weeks later, should be one of the only taboos on speech and mental reasoning, unfettered creative expression, complicated but if people deserve anything they deserve our compassion.)

Finally, in Galliano's own words, the narrative we've been hearing from his loyal supporters ever since the former Dior designer was fired from the famed French couture house and his eponymous label: he had an alcohol problem spurred by the intense pressures and isolating factors of his job; he was not himself when he made the statements which led to his downfall; Galliano does not believe the things he himself said. 

On whether he's an anti-Semite:

“It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it. . . . I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.”

This is a familiar idea. American writer James Baldwin observed that the reason racism is so damaging and dangerous is because it's an expression of self-hatred; basically the entire first part of The Fire Next Time, Baldwin's famous 1963 book, is written on this subject, that “whoever debases others is debasing himself.”

On his alcoholism:

“I never drank in order to be creative, or to do the research. I didn’t need alcohol for any of that. At first alcohol was like a crutch outside of Dior. Then I would use it to crash after the collections. I’d take a couple of days to get over it, like everyone. But with more collections, the crash happened more often, and then I was a slave to it. Then the pills kicked in because I couldn’t sleep. Then the other pills kicked in because I couldn’t stop shaking. I would also have these huge bottles of liquor that people got for me. Towards the end, it was whatever I could get my hands on. Vodka, or vodka-and-tonic. Wine, in the belief it would help me sleep. Wrong. I did manage to stop the voices. I had all these voices in my head, asking so many questions, but I never for one second would admit I was an alcoholic. I thought I could control it.”

On his conversation with Bill Gaytten, his temporary successor and longtime colleague at Dior, after he was fired:

“Bill said, ‘Do you realize what you’ve fucking done?' And I said, ‘Kind of.’ But I still didn’t. I couldn’t say yes. I just couldn’t. And those were the last words we shared. That’s someone I’ve known for 30 years. Even now I’m still learning every day how many people I hurt.”

Galliano's comments to Vanity Fair seem exceedingly honest and heartfelt. I don't think you can read through his account without feeling sympathy for him, but there's surely a PR angle. I wonder what he might say differently if he weren't seeking professional rehabilitation (he has apparently already reached out to retailers in an effort to make amends). Whether or not he was drunk out of his mind, Galliano committed a literal crime — he was found guilty of hate speech in French court. The designer has always been exceptionally creative, but at Dior, he was also an employee of a giant corporation (LVMH, which owns the label, is one of the largest companies in the world) which has a vested interest in people buying their products and is not in the business of nurturing Galliano's wounded inner child. Fashion is a commercial endeavor and I bet many people would rather not buy marked-up handbags and sunglasses from a company represented by someone who is so publically disgraced. 

I hope Galliano finds friendship and support throughout his continued recovery; I hope he finds a way to lead a meaningful, healthy life filled with love and art and everything that matters to him. But I'm not sure that I believe he deserves to, or will, find another position as head designer at a major label. Fashion is a business, designers are brand ambassadors; runway fashion is publicity, not product. John Galliano might be an artist, but he is not a publicist, not an aspirational figure. 

*Just kidding. Incapable of keeping my opinion about John Galliano to myself.

[via VanityFair]

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Jourdan Dunn Covers the June/July 2013 Issue of Russh (Forum Buzz)

Jourdan Dunn on the June/July 2013 cover of Russh. Photographed by Benny Horne. Image via Russh Magazine.

Jourdan Dunn on the June/July 2013 cover of Russh. Photographed by Benny Horne. Image via Russh Magazine.

It’s a shame that Jourdan Dunn isn’t on the cover of more magazines. Seriously. Styled in straightforward black and white on the cover of Aussie mag Russh’s June/July 2013 issue, the text “So Beautiful” is splashed across her image. And there’s really no arguing with that statement. Jourdan’s got a great look and a great smile, and as the first black model to feature on this magazine’s cover, she does the honor justice.

“Loving this. She looks happy, classy and very beautiful,” UpperEchelon wrote. “Her smile is making me want to smile too.”

Jeremydante called Jourdan’s cover “classic supermodel,” and Urban Stylin agreed, describing it as “beautiful and so vintage.”

Luxx drew another comparison. “The styling reminds me a great deal of Sade; the red lips, the simple styling, the slicked back hair – simply beautiful.” Spot on, right?

Jourdan Dunn on the June/July 2013 cover of Russh. Photographed by Benny Horne. Image via Russh Magazine.

Jourdan Dunn on the June/July 2013 cover of Russh. Photographed by Benny Horne. Image via Russh Magazine.

To see more of Jourdan's Benny Horne–photographed editorial from this issue, click here.

The Buzz Latest News

Link Buzz: Everything CFDA Awards Tonight; Someone Doesn’t Like Kate Moss

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour at the CFDA Awards 2005 / via Getty

  • Confirmed: famous people will attend the CFDA Awards tonight. [FabSugar]
  • But some will leave early to attend Henry Kissinger's 90th birthday. [Fashionologie]
  • This DIY yogurt/honey face mask is making me hungry. [BellaSugar]
  • Does your skirt twist around when you walk? You can start breathing again, someone found a solution. [SheFinds]
  • "Whenever there are rumblings about Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s engagement being on the rocks, Miley takes to twitter to make vague non-statements about the state of their relationship." [SBTeen]
  • Is Kate Moss the WORST ROLE MODEL OF THE CENTURY or is that petty grudge-holding nonsense? [DailyMail]
  • Zac Posen: What's his deal? [NYTimes]

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