NEW YORK — Too many shows. Everybody tired. Everybody stressed. Constant pushing and shoving.
And now physical assault to boot.
This story first appeared in the September 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
About 30 minutes before Zac Posen’s scheduled start, fire marshals decided to pull 60 seats from the designer’s mostly front-row Avery Fisher Hall venue. It caused quite some confusion and a headache for Posen’s public relations firm, HL Group. That, and the 40-minute delay said to have been caused by Naomi Campbell’s late arrival, must have been too much for at least one French publishing executive and her team, namely Marie-José Susskind-Jalou, president of Jalou publishing house, and her daughters, Jennifer Eymere and Vanessa Bellugeon of Jalouse and L’Officiel magazines, respectively.
Witnesses said Susskind-Jalou didn’t have a seat, and HL Group cofounder Lynn Tesoro was trying to find her one. Impatient with the situation, the quartet left the terrace venue, when, according to reports, the trio started screaming at the p.r. veteran — which somehow ended with Tesoro being slapped in the face. Tesoro confirmed the incident happened, but declined to comment further.
Some say it was Susskind-Jalou who did the smacking, though Eymere, when reached in her hotel Monday, took full credit for it (and not without pride in her action). She claimed Tesoro was being inappropriate to her mother, saying that she first had to seat other people. “I said, ‘Don’t speak to my mom like this. You have to stop to speak like that.’ I said, ‘Be careful, I am going to slap you,’ and she kept doing it, and it just happened.
“I am sorry, I know it’s bad to do that,” she added. “It was a small slap. It was not strong. I didn’t hurt her, it was just to humiliate her. She humiliated my mom, and I humiliated her in front of her crew. Voilà. I just said at the end, ‘Now you know you don’t f–k with French people.’”
Later in the day, Eymere said she had received a note from Posen apologizing for the melee. Posen did not respond for a request for comment.
No word on whether Tesoro intends to press charges.