DRESS CODE: With a near Super Bowl-caliber roster largely intact, a gregarious quote machine of a head coach in Rex Ryan and a hit reality show, the New York Jets football franchise has grown comfortable with being the talk of the city this year. It was again this weekend — just not always for reasons of its choosing. As the team prepared to open its season on Monday night, word broke that the National Football League is investigating accusations that several coaches and players had possibly harassed Inés Sainz, a reporter from the Mexican network TV Azteca, at a team practice on Saturday. According to reports, coaches purposely threw passes in Sainz’s direction so players could get closer to her, and several later offered catcalls when the reporter entered the team’s locker room.
By midday, the story had jumped from the New York tabloids to the national media, thanks in no small part to the fact that Sainz is a former Miss Universe contestant who occasionally pushes the boundaries of on-the-job dress. Thus began the debate over what, exactly, Sainz wore on Saturday while reporting her piece on second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez, and whether it mattered. It should be noted that in subsequent TV appearances Sainz says she didn’t feel attacked or harassed but uncomfortable and she had accepted an apology from Jets owner Woody Johnson. But she also took to Twitter to post a picture of herself in what she said was a representative outfit and asked followers to judge for themselves. The image, shot with her back to the camera, showed the reporter in a white blouse, boots and a curve-hugging pair of jeans.
“It wasn’t anything that was overly revealing or anything like that…She wasn’t really dressed inappropriately,” said New York Daily News sports reporter Kevin Armstrong, who was at the practice. Armstrong, who wouldn’t even venture to call Sainz’s top low cut (“It [had] just kind of loose buttons on the top,” he said), chalked the incident up to players behaving immaturely in the presence of an attractive woman.
“Let’s be clear: Ines Sainz is not your typical reporter.…She’s best known in NFL circles for showing up at the Super Bowl media day, and drawing more attention than the players she’s covering (see photo atop this post),” wrote editor Barry Petchesky on the Gawker Media-owned sports blog Deadspin, who made clear that whatever Sainz was wearing, the players still had no excuse. “She’s doing her job,” Petchesky told WWD. “The players, as working professionals, need to let someone do their job.”
Judy Battista, who covers the National Football League for The New York Times but was not at the practice, said there isn’t much of a dress code for anyone in sports journalism.
“Sports is an odd workplace,” she said. “It’s a very casual environment….You see a pretty wide range of how men and women dress.”
To Battista, those who focused on the matter of appropriateness were missing the point.
“If you dressed inappropriately going to work at Goldman Sachs, you certainly wouldn’t want to be hooted and hollered at, and, if you were, you’d expect Goldman Sachs to step in,” she said. — Matthew Lynch
FLORIO BUTTONED UP: Former Vogue publisher Tom Florio hasn’t lost his taste for fashion. After taking in his friend Carolina Herrera’s fashion show Monday, Florio said he will “soon” have news about his latest venture. His 25-year run at Condé Nast seemed to have taught him how to dodge a question. The Queens native would not reveal the new gig, other than to say it will be in fashion. — Rosemary Feitelberg
GOOD THINGS: Martha Stewart hosted a Fashion Week fete on Saturday to toast Vanessa Holden, who was installed as editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living in December. Held at the newly decorated home of Kevin Sharkey, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s executive editorial director for decorating, the party drew an eclectic mix of notables, including Elie Tahari, Thom Browne, Linda Fargo, Tracee Ellis Ross (in a fire-engine red pantsuit of her own design), Cornelia Guest, Dasha Zhukova, Maya Lin, Matt Tyrnauer, Victor Glemaud and Momofuku chef David Chang and his pal comedian Aziz Ansari.
Stewart, in beaded Lanvin, was eager to talk up her move this month to the Hallmark Channel from former home NBC. The domestic doyenne’s daily homemaking show now airs on the cable channel, along with her daughter Alexis Stewart’s hour-long talk show, “Whatever With Alexis and Jennifer.”
Stewart is also producing a series of prime-time specials under the Martha Stewart Presents banner for Hallmark, with the first focusing on fashion designers Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch and J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons. “It’s the women who dress America. It’s a very nice hour of interviews with them,” said Stewart of the pretaped show, which airs on Sept. 19. Other planned specials in the series include comics and the sexiest young actors in Hollywood, added Stewart.
If that weren’t enough in Marthaville, she’s readying the release of her 76th book, this one on pies and tarts (she hadn’t touched tarts before?), and next year will publish a major tome called “Martha Stewart Entertains.” “It’s my first entertaining book since 1982,” she noted. And, as Stewart only knows, how entertaining has changed in 28 years. — David Lipke
OUT FOR ESSENCE: It may be fashion week, but the women who attended Essence magazine’s 40th anniversary on Monday afternoon were in no hurry to get back to the festivities at Lincoln Center. As Naomi Campbell, Bethann Hardison, Kerry Washington and President Barack Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett sat down to lunch at the Mandarin Oriental, Diahann Carroll took the stage to deliver a memorable speech, wearing a specially created pair of Gucci glasses. “They hide a multitude of sins,” she noted.
The 75-year-old actress, who was introduced by Susan Fales-Hill, managed to turn one of her most desperate moments into one of the biggest laughs of the afternoon. “I called the Plaza Hotel, because it seemed like the right place to take my own life. But then I got to the hotel and they said the suite wasn’t ready. And I decided then: I’m not going to end it all in a single room next to the elevator.” Next up, Gov. David Paterson said that one of his most devastating moments was following Carroll onstage. “Somehow, I feel impudent.” But then he thanked Essence for “giving the brothers a few tips, every now and then.” — Amy Wicks