KANYE WEST VERSUS THE WORLD: Recent interactions with Kanye West have found him skittish around the media, and his attitude at Wednesday night’s Casio G-Shock party at Cipriani on Wall St. was no exception. The rapper avoided all press, staying true to his statement at last week’s dinner celebrating Hussein Chalayan, when he said, “I don’t do interviews anymore. With anyone. For the rest of my life.”
When introduced to a reporter, West visibly withdrew and ignored all questions, instead opted to tout the achievements of his current squeeze, Amber Rose. “She just did her first shoot for Ford,” he exclaimed proudly, gesturing toward a beaming Rose, who was dressed in a leather corset and leggings not dissimilar to the black bondage-style stage costume sported by West. The rapper didn’t offer any further comments. When he later took to the stage, 90 minutes behind schedule, West interrupted his set with a spontaneous, free-style rant against the press, with such lines as “I’m sorry I broke your arm/I meant to break your camera” and “I could kill a man/I am a man/Don’t forget I could kill a man” regarding his fury at the invasive nature of today’s media. As he stirred the audience into a frenzy, the bevy of invited reporters and photographers at the event (marketed by Casio as a press conference accompanied by a concert), were left to fidget uncomfortably with their press passes.
HELPING SUBKOFF: “Save Tara” is going bicoastal. Friends of Tara Subkoff, the former Imitation of Christ designer who was recently diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, are reprising in Los Angeles the benefit held in her honor last month at Manhattan’s Deitch Projects. E-mail invitations, which featured an illustrated image of what looked like Jesus Christ, to “The Bless-Ed Event” art exhibit, arrived in inboxes Thursday. Among those hosting the event, scheduled for Aug. 13, are Norman Reedus, Mark Maggiori and Shahla Kareen.
VICTORIA’S TURN: Victoria Beckham’s name was blasted all over the Internet Thursday as the replacement for Paula Abdul as a judge on “American Idol.” Well, that’s only partially true. Beckham indeed will appear on the hit reality TV show, but only as a guest judge. Filming is expected to start any day.
And while there was momentary confusion over Beckham’s role on the show, at least one thing is clear: she probably won’t be wearing Emporio Armani underwear. Beckham appeared in the last two Emporio Armani women’s underwear campaigns, but has decided not to renew the one-year contract in order to focus on her own fashion and beauty lines.
PEOPLE ARE OPENING STORES: A few contemporary clothing brands are taking advantage of recession-lowered rents in trendy Los Angeles shopping areas. Kill City, a local label known largely for its denim, has just opened up shop on Melrose Avenue, and U.K.-based brand All Saints is set to join the crowd on Robertson Boulevard soon, in the long-vacant space formerly home to agnès b. The British brand is also said to be opening in Malibu. Apparel brand Splendid will open its first stand-alone store on Robertson in October, where rents are now in the $12 a square foot a month range, down from nearly $25 about two years ago. Beach Bunny Swimwear will also open on the shopping stretch late this summer.
The new additions are among a handful of tenants set to launch. Quirky Norwegian brand Moods of Norway opened its U.S. flagship next door to Kitson on Robertson Boulevard in June, and Gap has just opened a pop-up shop for its 1969 denim line. Designer Lotta Stensson has a new West Third street address to showcase her signature feminine style, having pulled up the stakes on Melrose, where Stensson had her namesake boutique for nearly a decade.
The activity isn’t limited to the west side, either: Local handbag and leather goods designer Alison Burns and business partner Caprice Grey have opened Grey — an accessories boutique — on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake in a shared space with longtime east side retail resident Pull My Daisy.
SURF TRIBE: The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association will honor the late apparel executive Dick Baker, surfer Rob Machado and environmentalist Dave Rastovich at its Waterman’s Ball today. On the 20th anniversary of the annual gala, to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Billabong president Paul Naude, Volcom chief executive officer Richard Woolcott, Hurley founder Bob Hurley and VF Corp.’s Steve Murray will join their peers to recognize Machado as Waterman of the Year and Rastovich, co-founder of advocacy group Surfers for Cetaceans, as environmentalist of the year. Baker, who died in April of cancer, will posthumously receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
HERMES DRESSAGE: Hermès International will return to its equestrian roots with the second annual Galop Hermès on Aug. 22 in Deauville, France. The horse race was created when Hermès walked away from the Prix de Diane, a major social event the luxury brand sponsored from 1982 to 2007. Compared with its predecessor, which boasted 12,000 guests and thematic festivals, the Galop Hermès will be a rather intimate affair with only a private cocktail party to commemorate the event. The winner of the race will receive a miniature replica of a saddle from the workshops of Hermès du Faubourg Saint-Honoré as well as a watch. Hermès will also partner with the international dressage competition Equita’Lyon, held Oct. 8 to Nov. 1 in Lyon, France.