IDENTITY THEFT: By the time you read this, the Condé Nast impostor may have been caught. Corporate security agents for Condé Nast Publications (parent of WWD) were dispatched to the Bridgehampton Polo Club over the weekend for a sting operation, designed to nab the “Indian or Middle Eastern” man who has been making the New York party circuit rounds, claiming to be a variety of Condé Nast editors.
“He’s no newcomer to law enforcement,” said a Condé Nast security source. “He’s been in jail numerous times, though I don’t think he’s ever served a lengthy sentence.” The source said he did not believe the “petty scam artist,” whose real name appears to be Priyantha De Silva or Di Silva, was dangerous.
The suspected con man spent last week attempting to gain entrance to a Polo Club event on July 22 and sent the following e-mail to a publicist working on the guest list: “Could you please include Cindi Leive, editor in chief, Glamour Magazine, and a guest, Lisa Frazier, for the New York premiere of ‘Mercedes-Benz Bridgehampton Polo Challenge’ event on Saturday.” He signed his e-mail Adam Cohen, special events manager for Glamour. There is no such person on staff at the magazine. The telephone number he gave was for the Self reception desk.
“We saw your e-mail exchange with ‘Adam Cohen,'” a Glamour employee told the publicist when he attempted to verify the con man’s identity. “He’s an impostor who is not associated with Cindi Leive’s office or Glamour. We have a district attorney investigating his movements.”
An assistant district attorney is consulting on the case.
“It’s hard to convince people that what he’s doing is illegal, when all he’s getting out of it seems to be free tickets,” said the CNP security source.
The suspect, who in the past few months has claimed to be or to be associated with Jane fashion director Kusum Lynn and Vogue senior editor of special projects Alexandra Kotur, also operates under the aliases Janice Simpson and Mark Rosen. Additionally, he has been known to say he’s a producer with Red Wagon Films.
A Lancôme employee said he recently used that ruse to try to get free products. He told her they were for placement in a movie, and sent over scripts, one titled “Mermaids Singing.”
As elaborate as his scam tactics often seem, he can also be quite sloppy. Last Wednesday, he was ejected from a party at Soho House for designer Erin Fetherston, not because bouncers discovered his true identity, but because “he got so drunk he was falling asleep in a chair,” according to an editor who witnessed the scene.
Too bad CNP security wasn’t on his tail that night.
— Sara James
DANCE PARTNERS: Hoping to capitalize on the success of “Project Runway,” the Sundance Channel is trying its hand at fashion programming. The channel just purchased “Signé Chanel,” a five-part Loïc Prigent documentary on the making of the house’s 2004-2006 couture collection, to air during next fall’s fashion week.
“We realized there was a place for a serious and artful look at fashion on the channel that’s not business-oriented, but rather about the art and process of fashion,” said Christian Vesper, vice president of acquisitions.
After picking up the Vogue-produced documentary “Seamless” in October, Sundance upped the ante in late June with “House of Boateng,” a commissioned series on British men’s wear designer Ozwald Boateng‘s attempt at trans-Atlantic crossover. Vesper’s boss, recent Canadian transplant Laura Michalchyshyn, credits him with the new focus, describing Vesper as the “in-house fashionista, a natty New Yorker.” New York hasn’t left Michalchyshyn unaffected: “It’s changed my view and emptied my wallet,” she said wryly.
— Irin Carmon