LOS ANGELES — The threat of war with Iraq had its first Oscar-related impact Tuesday when the Rodeo Drive Committee decided to postpone its inaugural induction gala for the Walk of Style honoring Giorgio Armani.
And the Walk of Style might not be the only thing canceled. As rumors of war grow, so does nervousness over whether America will want to watch Hollywood stars on the red carpet if U.S. troops are battling in Baghdad. While Academy Award officials insist the Oscars will go on, there are reports that contingency plans for possible cancellation are being developed just in case.
Although an Armani spokesman in Milan said the designer at the moment plans to go ahead with his trip to Los Angeles next week to take part in a slew of social events scheduled around his visit and the Oscars, sources say it was the likelihood of his being a no-show at the March 19 event due to the potential of war that prompted the event’s cancellation.
"Mr. Armani didn’t want to travel at this time," said a high-ranking source here close to the event.
Armani’s camp, however, was adamant Tuesday that is not the case. "There are still two other significant events happening that week," noted the company’s West Coast spokeswoman, referring to the dinner Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is throwing in honor of director Martin Scorcese and Armani Wednesday night at Mr. Chow, as well as the Thursday evening party at Emporio Armani for People columnist Steven Cojocaru and his new book "Red Carpet Diaries: Confessions of a Glamour Boy."
Those events will be much smaller and much more low-key than the induction ceremony, continued the spokeswoman. "It seemed inappropriate to have such a large-scale festivity at this time when it can stand on its own at a later date."
Some 600 guests, including many of Armani’s celebrity friends, local politicians and other VIPs, were expected to turn out for the induction, the first in what the Rodeo Drive Committee hopes will be dozens honoring style icons along its tony thoroughfare.
The 200 block was set to be roadblocked for the sunset festivities, hosted by Mercedes-Benz USA and W magazine (owned by WWD’s parent company, Fairchild Publications) and the unveiling of artist Robert Graham’s 14-foot "Torso" sculpture on the street median. Graham’s sculpture also served as the model for the ceremonial trophy. The event, including the public viewing of the statue, is now indefinitely postponed."In light of what’s going on in the political arena right now, it's just not the time to celebrate this beautiful statue Robert made and celebrate the Walk of Style," Rodeo Drive Association president Peri Ellen Berne reiterated Tuesday. "We really wanted this to be a joyous time, but not when lives are at stake."
Despite no official word that the 75th Academy Awards or any of the more than two dozen teas, dinner galas or promotional suites slated during the seven days leading up to Oscar Sunday have been shelved, the question of whether to go forward with business as normal looms large. Services surrounding the Oscars, from beauty treatments to hotel rooms, are estimated to bring $61 million into the regional economy. Global revenues — from film attendance boosts to take-out business the night of the televised event —surpass the $600 million mark, according to industry estimates.
Yet the political climate is throwing a shadow over whether this is a time for glamour or not. Although it didn’t appear to dissuade starlets at last Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards — considered one of the best-dressed and most colorful fashion turnouts ever for the event — the after-parties were reportedly less exuberant than in previous years.
As of Monday, Gil Cates, producer of this year’s Academy Awards show on March 23, told the Los Angeles Times that war or no war, "the show will go on."
Still, it’s widely believed that a contingency plan is in place or in development should a military strike occur. After Sept. 11, the 2001 Emmys were postponed for a month to Oct. 7, the date the U.S. government decided on its surprise strike in Afghanistan. After a second postponement, the show, albeit a markedly scaled-back and more somber version, finally took place on Nov. 4.
Calls Tuesday into European houses heading to Hollywood for Academy Awards week indicated no changes in current plans.
The Valentino team confirmed it will be in town to lunch with stylists and tend to actresses through Sunday. Matthew Williamson remains set to arrive early next week, as is Elie Saab, according to both designers’ Los Angeles publicist. Garrard creative director Jade Jagger is still intending on moving into the Beverly Hills Hotel to meet with celebrity clients through the week, according to a spokeswoman. And Stella McCartney, who will host a lunch at the W suite, remains onboard.Echoing other publicists, however, the Armani spokesman added: "We are reviewing the situation day-by-day. I spoke with the publishers of Vanity Fair and In Style, as well as the public relations people at Versace, on Monday to get a sense of where their heads are and the sense I got is that we are all waiting to see what happens. It’s really now up to Mr. Bush or the United Nations to make a decision."
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion