Gianvito Rossi is pushing back against claims of racism and prejudice toward a black former employee and black customers, including tennis star Serena Williams.Whitney Wilburn told a New York Supreme Court on Thursday that while she worked for the luxury shoe brand as a buyer and retail manager in Manhattan for about two years she was subject to hostile treatment “based on her race and age” from her manager, Grace Mazzilli, who is white.A Gianvito Rossi spokeswoman based in Milan on Friday took issue with media outlets reporting on Wilburn’s complaint “without investigation and without even awaiting any reply” from the company, calling such actions “a mere hit job.”“Even worse, the reporting impugned baselessly and carelessly the integrity of our incredible caring and diverse staff,” the spokeswoman said. “At the appropriate time and in the appropriate context Gianvito Rossi will reply [to the complaint] and be vindicated.”After being recruited in 2015 to start a Gianvito Rossi boutique on Madison Avenue, Wilburn said when Mazzilli was brought in last spring as her superior, she was stripped of her buyer duties “for no legitimate business reason” without being directly informed.In January, Wilburn claims she was terminated by Mazzilli “without providing any warning or formal evaluation” and then replaced by a “far less qualified and much younger white manager” who was also handed buyer duties.“Only race and age bias accounted for this action, not any legitimate business reason,” Wilburn alleged in her complaint. “Wilburn’s experience with Mazzilli left no doubt about Mazzilli’s racial animosity towards African-Americans, and indeed no doubt that this animosity was approved of and ratified by other Gianvito Rossi managers.”To support these claims, Wilburn recounted an instance where staff of Serena Williams asked for a discount on her “extensive purchases,” and claimed the Gianvito Rossi managers “responded with racially disparaging comments” like calling Williams “disgusting” and refused any discount.Wilburn claims that it was only after a Vogue contact “pressured” the company that it offered a discount to Williams, but the discount was allegedly “only a fraction of the discount that white celebrities typically receive.”Of this claim, the Gianvito spokeswoman said the brand “regrets that this former employee chose to conflate her own claims with allegations about our relationship with Ms. Serena Williams,” whom she referred to as an existing client.“Gianvito Rossi has the pleasure of having relationships with international celebrities without any distinction,” the spokeswoman added.A representative of Williams could not be immediately reached for comment.Outside of the alleged Williams incident, Wilburn claimed Mazzilli generally tried to sabotage her work by not ensuring the same level of support staff given to white managers and blaming her for buying mistakes, while saying there are “many other examples” of improper and racially motivated conduct by Gianvito Rossi employees.Although Wilburn claims to have protested and complained of the actions, “no corrective action was ever taken” and she claims she was terminated in retaliation.Wilburn is seeking unspecified damages, including front and back pay and for emotional distress.For More, See:Macy’s, Amazon, Other Retailers Dodge Claims of Fabric CopyingKardashian Beauty Licensee Seeks to Sell Product Amid Trademark RowAsics Wants Adidas Suit Over Fitness Tracking Tech Nixed
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.