A DATE WITH KATE: At Thursday night’s 7th on Sale gala, Donna Karan and Kate Moss were seen huddled together in a lengthy tête-à-tête, leading some inquisitive types to wonder what the two could be chatting about. Turns out they had lots to discuss: Moss had just been photographed for Karan’s spring Collection campaign. Although Moss has walked on Karan’s runway plenty of times, this marks the first occasion she will appear in the designer’s ads. “We went cinematographic,” Karan explained. “We wanted to tell a story, and we wanted somebody who had energy, passion, sophistication and cool. You put it all together and it says ‘Kate.'”
Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot shot the campaign in Los Angeles Nov. 12, and Karan said the images will take their cues from the “Nueva York” theme that also inspired the collection. “[She’s] wild and sexy and somebody who has the energy to hang out in the streets, to dance…a woman who would have lived in that rawness but with a polish at the same time,” Karan said. “The clothes don’t wear her, she wears the clothes.” — Marc Karimzadeh
BRITNEY’S IN TROUBLE AGAIN: Oops! Britney Spears has run afoul with Louis Vuitton. The French luxury brand was granted a court injunction Friday barring the European broadcast of her 2005 video “Do Something,” which depicts the singer driving a pink Hummer outfitted with a counterfeit Vuitton “cherry blossom” monogram dashboard.
The suit was first reported on French wire services. According to market sources, Spears is not named in the action, but rather the singer’s record label Jive Records; the Zomba Label Group, its parent corporation; Sony BMG, and MTV Online, which has run the clip.
The third chamber of Paris’ civil court also ordered the producer to pay 80,000 euros, or $117,600, to Vuitton for damages to the brand’s luxury image. The ruling also set an additional penalty of 1,000 euros, or $1,470, a day if the offending material is not removed from the Internet. Vuitton declined all comment on Friday. A rep for Spears and Jive did not respond to a request for comment.
Vuitton has launched multiple suits against counterfeiters, including Chinatown landlords in Manhattan and the Web site Google for misleading advertising, unfair competition and trademark counterfeiting. It is understood a suit launched last year against eBay, charging it with allowing sale of counterfeit luxury goods on its site, is ongoing. — Miles Socha
TRUTH OR DARE: Lululemon Athletica Inc. is fighting back to preserve its reputation as a socially and health conscious company — and The New York Times is sticking by its story last week, headlined “‘Seaweed’ Clothing Has None, Tests Show.”
The yogawear company has commissioned its own test confirming that its VitaSea product does in fact contain seaweed — contradicting tests conducted by the Times and an investor shorting Lululemon stock who tipped the paper off, which alleged that the product’s labeling falsely advertised its fabric contents.
Following the Times’ article Wednesday, which caused Lululemon’s stock to fall as much as 9 percent during the day before recovering to close slightly up, the Vancouver-based firm blasted back Thursday, saying it always does a comprehensive fabric verification process at the beginning of each season using Switzerland-based certifiers SGS Group.
“Product quality and authenticity are of the utmost importance to Lululemon,” Bob Meers, chief executive officer of Lululemon, said in a statement. “Integrity goes to the core of everything we do and is at the heart of our relationship with our guests. For this reason, we test our products for content using a leading testing facility. We absolutely stand behind our products, our processes and refute any claims in recent press reports to the contrary.”
Lululemon is offering an exchange on VitaSea products for dissatisfied customers.
According to Lululemon, last December, Smartfibre AG, the developer of the SeaCell Pure used in Lululemon’s VitaSea line, conducted independent tests confirming the presence of vitamins, minerals and amino acids in the fabric that it sold to Lululemon’s manufacturers, according to Lululemon. In June, SGS’s Hong Kong lab confirmed those results. Then Wednesday, both SGS and Smartfibre AG retested to confirm the presence of SeaCell, it said.
The Times said it received a tip from a Lululemon investor shorting the stock that a lab test found little difference in the mineral levels of a shirt from Lululemon’s VitaSea line and a plain cotton T-shirt.
But the Times story puzzled some media observers. “If a short seller came to our editor with a tip, with the intention of driving down the price of a stock, he would either tell her to take a hike or look at her claim awfully carefully. The New York Times appears to have done neither in their ‘investigation’ of Lululemon,” said eco-friendly blog Treehugger.com, which goes on to cite its own reporting that proves the clothing does, in fact, contain seaweed.
Though the Times did give a disclaimer on the source of the information, should the paper have run the story knowing that the unnamed investor would have made money once the negative story about Lululemon was published? Times business and finance editor Lawrence Ingrassia said absolutely. “We don’t, and can’t, consider what will happen to the price of a company’s stock, or who will make or lose money, in deciding whether to write a story. Our coverage has to be determined by the news value of a story, and the facts that the reporter finds. It is, basically, not our business to be concerned about how a stock might move, because that would impair our news judgment. We don’t tell anyone when a story will run, or what the story will say when it runs. We give a company of a story full opportunity to comment and provide the subject’s perspective. Ditto for the critics or skeptics of a company that we’re writing about.”
Then should the paper have waited until this investor sold his shares, thus divesting the paper from any financial impact on the tipster’s portfolio? “We would never ask the executive of a company, or an investor whom we quoted, to divest the stock before the story ran. If pertinent, we would disclose that the investor owned the stock, so that readers could make a judgment,” continued Ingrassia. — Whitney Beckett and Stephanie D. Smith
MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE: Portfolio has taken considerable heat for its cover strategies — eschewing portraits, experimenting with landscapes and, most recently, a concept cover. This week will bring another one for dissection, this time featuring a photograph of a chimpanzee taking a bite out of the Financial Times, sources said, pegged to a Michael Lewis story. The photographer, Jill Greenberg, also shot the November cover, and has been shooting primates for years, as seen in her book “Monkey Portraits.” As to whether there was any significance to using the Financial Times instead of the bigger and better known (in the U.S.) Wall Street Journal — where Portfolio editor in chief Joanne Lipman and many of her staff made their careers — a spokeswoman declined to comment, nor would she discuss or confirm the cover photo. — Irin Carmon
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: “The Fashionista Diaries” ended in September, but the gossip surrounding the show lives on. Last weekend’s issue of Page Six Magazine had a piece on the unabashed head of Seventh House PR, Mandie Erickson, called, “Is this the most hated woman in New York?” And Fashionista.com recently blogged about the whereabouts of former Seventh House intern Bridget Helene. It turns out Helene worked as a temp for Vogue, for 7th on Sale, but that was only for a week and now she’s no longer at the magazine, said a spokesman. Rachel Jacoby, who had started as an intern at Jane and then Cosmogirl, has a piece in the Dec./Jan. issue of the magazine, “I fell apart behind the cameras,” but has moved on to In Style, working as an editorial assistant to editor In Style special issues Rosie Amodio.
Janjay Sherman appears to be the only intern who actually still works for the same company she started with, Flirt! Cosmetics. She is now the international publicity assistant for BeautyBank. Tina Patient, who was not offered a job at Flirt!, has landed at Bratskeir & Co. in the fragrance division, and Laurie Hugill, who also was not offered a job at Seventh House, is now at Alison Brod Public Relations. Hugill replaced Queens native Nicole Amendolare, who left the show during production but now is doing some plus-size modeling and working with her boyfriend on their own fashion line. Finally, the lone boy, Andrew Kanakis, recently started his own business and is developing a line of jewelry. A spokeswoman for Soapnet said a second season has not been confirmed yet, making reference to the writers’ strike. Wait, isn’t this a reality TV show? — Amy Wicks