Summer 2010 — the hottest on record in New York City, according to the National Weather Service — is over and what’s to show for it? As the long-standing theory goes, when the temperature rises, so does the crime rate. Applying the same logic to the rules of pop culture might be the only explanation for some of the season’s biggest and most absurd story lines.
1. Paris Hilton being sued by HairTech International to the tune of $35 million for fraud and breach of contract. (She was paid between $1.7 million and $1.8 million a year since 2007 to wear HairTech’s DreamCatchers extensions.) Ironically, after Hilton’s Aug. 27 coke bust in Las Vegas she was subsequently applauded ’round the Internet for her latest flattering mug shot, complete with good hair.
2. Where to begin with “Jersey Shore”? First, there was Jenni “JWoww” Farley’s collection of microscopic club attire, aptly named Filthy Couture. Then Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino unveiled plans for his Ed Hardy-esque T-shirt line DILLIGAF (that’s “Do I Look Like I Give a F***”) just before reports surfaced that, between his MTV salary, appearance fees and hawking random products, the Situation is on track to pull in $5 million this year. Next, in her analysis of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s “strange appeal” the Times’ Cathy Horyn compared the reality star with “a turnip turned on its tip,” and then Elizabeth Taylor. Perhaps more illuminating was Simon Doonan’s report that luxury companies were allegedly gifting their competition’s goods to Snooki.
3. Bedbugs. In July they staged a massive infestation in shirtless-man mecca Hollister, forcing the store to close for three days. Then, Hollister’s sibling store, Abercrombie & Fitch at the South Street Seaport, closed for bedbug fumigation, followed by Victoria’s Secret in midtown. In fashion, three is a trend, but in pest control, there’s never just one, a truism that prompted a WWD inquiry into several New York retailers’ bedbug policy/prevention plan. Most declined comment, but Bergdorf Goodman manned up in August and implemented a regular precautionary patrol of bug-sniffing dogs. That didn’t make the problem disappear. Just ask the editors at Elle.
4. Fans of the New Jersey series of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise owe a special thanks to Teresa Giudice and her oily beau-hunk husband, Joe, for providing an alternative plotline to the show’s oppressive Danielle drama. In June the New York Post reported that the Giudices had filed for bankruptcy, with a reported debt of nearly $11 million and multiple homes, including the 10,500-square-foot gauchefest of a mansion featured on the show, being foreclosed upon. Yet that didn’t stop the couple from indulging in a $60,000 post-bankruptcy spending spree, which came to light during a courtroom plea to stop the fire sale of their personal belongings. Nor did such conspicuous consumption incur the ire of the judge. “It’s not for this court to tell people how to spend their money,” he said, according to the New York Post, agreeing to postpone the auction. Still, $11 million in debt amounts to solid schadenfreude gold on reality TV.
5. The sight of Naomi Campbell in court is a familiar one, but taking the stand at a Hague war crimes trial was a stretch even for her. On Aug. 5 Campbell, decked in Alaïa, testified against former Liberian president Charles Taylor, up on 11 counts (rape, murder, mutilation, etc.), who allegedly gave the supermodel blood diamonds in 1997. Which was more surreal, that Mia Farrow was the one who tattled on Campbell, or Campbell’s attempt to play dumb? “They were dirty-looking pebbles,” she told the court. “I’m used to seeing diamonds [that are] shiny and in a box.”
6. Dina Lohan’s interview with Matt Lauer on Aug. 13, with which she intended to set the record straight about her daughter Lindsay. Among Dina’s most memorable statements were those about her daughter’s stay in jail: “Lindsay was in with alleged murderers and she’s become friends with a lot of them.” And her plans for after: “She’ll be focusing on charity…and save the next victim of the tabloids.”
7. After Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant turned ambassador for disgruntled employees, liberated himself from his day job, the next step was a reality show. The Post sought out Slater’s ex-wife Cynthia Niethamer, who met her former husband when they worked at J.C. Penney as teenagers. According to Niethamer, “He’d love his own fashion line. He’s a brilliant merchandiser.” If only the title “Project Runway” were available.
8. Chelsea Clinton has kept a low profile since her adolescent awkward phase. So why the media day of the locust for Clinton’s July 31 wedding? Sure, the veil of secrecy surrounding the event baited press intrigue, this publication included, but a six-mile backup for a relatively traditional Vera Wang dress?
9. In the September issue of Elle, Justin Bieber, 16, was photographed frolicking seaside with Kim Kardashian, 29, in what was supposed to be a riff on “The Graduate.” Bill O’Reilly didn’t get it. “If a 16-year-old girl was pictured with a 29-year-old in any of that, there’d be big trouble.” After telling George Lopez she would date Bieber “if he was legal age,” Kardashian backpedaled. “I’m almost 30, this is illegal, this is disgusting,” she told Jay Leno.” “He’s a cute kid and that’s it.”
10. Ke$ha wearing this.