Pictured above is Dasha Zhukova, the 32-year-old wife of a Russian oil billionaire and BFF of Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife Wendi Deng, lounging on a “fetish chair” featuring a contorted dummy made to look like a half-naked black woman. A Russian fashion magazine posted the photo on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but quickly deleted it from its website and Instagram.
• Guy Metcalfe sold his apartment at 15 Central Park West last May for $11 million. Now the co-head of Morgan Stanley's real estate investment banking group and his wife, Lisa, have picked up a new, slightly more modest abode. The couple has paid $6.125 million for a 12th-floor, four-bedroom apartment at 90 Riverside Drive. [Cityfile, Corcoran]
• Iris Marden, the ex-wife of retail heir James Marden and a broker at Stribling, has sold her penthouse at 7 Hubert Street. The three-bedroom apartment, which once appeared on the cover of Architectural Digest and first went on the market for $14.5 million in January 2009, sold for $11.5 million. [Cityfile]
The baby boy that just emerged from the womb of Gisele Bundchen isn't the only lucky little tot today. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and his girlfriend, globe-trotting fashion/art princess Dasha Zhukova, had a son in LA late last week. Welcome to the world, Aaron Alexander Abramovich. And remember to child-proof your missile defense system, Roman. [Fashionologie]
Nello Balan is the owner of Nello, the exceedingly mediocre Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. He's also one of the city's most shameless—and most notorious—publicity hounds. Balan's latest attempt at drumming up attention, however, now appears to be exploding in his face. Last week, a receipt "surfaced" indicating that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich had spent $52,000 on lunch. (The bill was for $47,000, but TMZ, which first reported the story, said the billionaire had tacked on a $5,000 tip.) But a spokesman for Abramovich tells us the bill wasn't his and the mogul may pursue legal action against Balan for suggesting otherwise.
Kate Winslet picking up son Alfie from school ... Roman Abramovich and girlfriend Dasha Zhukova leaving Nello's after lunch ... Ed Burns taking his son trick or treating on Halloween ... Sandra Bernhard walking her dog ... Mark Ronson and sister Samantha leaving Bar Pitti on a Vespa ... Michelle Williams taking daughter Matilda to school ... Matt Damon and Emily Blunt filming scenes for The Adjustment Bureau in Chelsea ... Dustin Hoffman and son Jake attending a Knicks game ... Rachel Hunter standing on the set of Gravity ... Jude Law talking to his son on a stoop in the West Village ... Jimmy Fallon leaving last week's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert... Gabriel Aubry getting out of a taxi with his daughter ... and Sienna Miller walking her dog in SoHo.
• When you first heard the Olsen twins were breaking into fashion, you had a good laugh, didn't you? Well, it's been a few years since then and now "their success in a field as competitive as fashion is impossible to deny," says an enthusiastic Cathy Horyn today. Of course, it hasn't hurt that they're super-famous and worth a gazillion dollars either. [NYT]
• Things you didn't know about Vogue's André Leon Talley: He's partial to Juice Couture shorts at home, loves Uggs ("it's a cozy shoe"), and says The Golden Girls is his fave show on TV. [TONY]
• Agyness Deyn isn't bidding goodbye to NYC, after all. But her little sister's moved in with her. [Grazia]
• Just before he died, Michael Jackson was supposedly in talks to launch a clothing line with Christian Audigier. Naturally, the slight turn of events isn't putting Audigier off from moving ahead with a Jackson-themed line. [MSNBC, SW]
• In news that will be of precious little value to you, Rachel Zoe's QVC collection is hitting Fashion Week this year; Kenny Chesney is launching a line of clothing; and some company is under the impression the public wants a collection of Desperate Housewives-inspired perfumes.
• Betsey Johnson chats with PlumTV about her retirement plans. [PlumTV]
• Marc Jacobs' wedding to Lorenzo Martone, which the designer says will happen "soon," is going to have a ridiculously exclusive guest list. Not a single friend or family member will be getting an invite, since it's just going to be the two of them. [Cut]
• Project Runway finally returns to the air on Thursday evening. So will the Lifetime iteration be the same show you remember from its run on Bravo? Not so much, it seems. [NYDN]
• Meanwhile, Nina Garcia will be making an appearance this fall on the new CW series, The Beautiful Life. [FWD]
• The website and schedule for Fashion's Night Out is now online. The retail pep rally, which goes down on Sept. 10, will include Anna Wintour and Michael Kors signing t-shirts at a Macy's in Queens, believe it or not.
• George Michael is back in the news and, as usual, it has nothing to do with his music. The singer was arrested on Friday for driving drunk when he crashed his car into a truck. Michael, however, is insisting he was sober at the time. So maybe he's just a bad driver? [NYDN, E!]
• Is Joe Simpson trying to push the producers of American Idol to hire Jessica Simpson to replace Paula Abdul? That's the rumor. [P6]
• Amy Winehouse's soon-to-be ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil says the singer has been "begging him to get back together." Uh oh. [DM]
• Beyoncé has been brushing up on her dance skills by "secretly" enrolling in ballet lessons at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance. [NYDN]
• Madonna's "secret weapon" to looking good, at least according to her longtime makeup artist? Her eyelids are dusted with "a mixture of white shadow and flawless, crushed rose-cut diamonds." Certainly sounds expensive! [SW]
• Is Vogue about to undergo a makeover with "a new circle of models" and "an influx of fresh, young photographers"? One blogger says yes; the magazine, however, says no. [Cut]
• Rachel Roy is partnering with Estelle to create a jewelry line. [WWD]
• Coach president Reed Krakoff has confirmed plans to launch an eponymous "lifestyle brand" for the company, as rumored. [FWD]
• Kate Moss is teaming up with Topshop boss Philip Green and Simon Cowell to launch an entertainment conglomerate that will "rival Disney." At least that's what one British newspaper is reporting. [Daily Mail]
• Sad: Escada may be forced to file for bankruptcy in the near future. [Vogue UK, Fashionista]
• Sadder: Jon Gosselin may be teaming up with Christian Audigier to launch a kids' clothing line. [E!]
• Saddest: The rumor floating around Moscow is that Pop editor/It girl Dasha Zhukova and her billionaire boyfriend, Roman Abramovich, have gone their separate ways. [FWD]
With all the depressing talk about the stock market (the Dow fell close to 200 points today), and struggling banks (Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons said today he had no idea when the bank would be able to pay back the $45 billion it's borrowed), it's nice to see that some people are still spending recklessly and entertaining the rest of us in the process. Despite the fact he's lost an estimated $20 billion amid the economic meltdown, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's latest toy —the world's largest and most expensive privately-owned yacht—made an appearance late last week.
People talk a lot these days about how rare it is to find proper, hard-hitting journalism and how everything you read in newspapers has been muddied by biases and agendas. Thank God, then, for work like Spencer Morgan's in-depth interview with "the beautiful people's walker" Derek Blasberg, which in inimitable Observer fashion leaves no stone unturned to reveal the man behind the rumors and misconceptions.
The image of Russia's rich elite has come so far: They're no longer regarded by the rest of the world as hopelessly ostentatious and flashy, thanks in large part to Dasha Zhukova's stylish ambassadorship and Russian Vogue editor Aliona Doletskaya's announcement that "full-on extravagance, the red lipstick, the diamonds, the furs—all that is passé." Even the new magazine Snob, whose title implies an ironic self-awareness, has helped rehabilitate the spendy, blinged-out stereotype. How sad, then, that Russian Marie Claire's editor Olga Zaretskaya has wrecked everything with one thoughtless comment!
Being the daughter of a fashion titan like Carine Roitfeld obviously comes with certain perks, little things like automatic entrée into the highest echelon of New York society and lucrative modeling contracts for a string of ad campaigns. But as Julia Restoin Roitfeld reveals, with the privileges come certain responsibilities, like making sure Carine doesn't catch her letting herself down, letting the family down, and letting the industry down—by wearing flat shoes! "My mum told me always to wear heels. If I'm not wearing heels, she says, 'What? You're in flats?' So whenever I see her, I make sure I have heels with me."
You may be worrying about losing your job or defaulting on your mortgage, but you can take heart in the fact you're not alone: Dasha Zhukova is right there with you! The 27-year-old gallery owner, magazine editor, socialite, and girfriend of billionaire Roman Abramovich, told reporters at the opening of her Garage gallery in Moscow last week that she's been "as affected by the crisis as anyone else." Unlike everyone else, though, Dasha has no plans to let her financial worries get her down; she remained, says one reporter, "determined not to let the financial crisis get in the way of a good party." Because even if her boyfriend is worth half as much as he was last year, he still has $8.5 billion. And that still leaves plenty of room for an occasional party or art show. "The Garage will go on," she told the guests in attendence. Clearly! [The First Post]
You'll be relieved to hear that Dasha Zhukova, whose surprise appointment as editor-in-chief of Pop magazine triggered a bitchy wave of consternation across certain sections of the fashion world—because, you know, presiding over the compilation of pretty pictures is on a par with brain surgery—is not letting the haters deter her. She says she's cutting back on her involvement with fashion line Kova & T in order to focus on her new job, as well as on her Moscow gallery. "Garage and Pop magazine are my priorities," she told a journalist interviewing her about an exhibition of art owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault, opening today at Garage.
• Big day for Britney: Her Circus tour kicks off this evening in New Orleans where she'll be wearing elaborate costumes designed by DSquared2. She was also named Candie's new spokesmodel, so she's got that going for her, too. [Vogue UK, SW]
• Barneys is not for sale, or at least that's what the CEO of the retailer's parent company is saying. [WWD]
• Trouble at the Plaza: Half the stores in the basement shopping mall are demanding lower rents. [NYP]
• Poor Dasha Zhukova. Fashion insiders have been laughing about her new job at Pop and now Daphne Guinness says she's having no part in it. [Fashionista]
• A peek at Tracy Feith's new line for Target, which debuts in May. [Racked]
• Reports from the final day of Milan Fashion Week. [NYT, NYT]
• Paris Fashion Week begins tomorrow. But not before fashion's A-list convened for one last party in Milan last night, of course. [Fashionologie]
• No one seems to know why, but a model at the Jill Sander show in Milan appeared on the runway with tears streaming down her cheeks. A new trend? An allergic reaction of some sort? A reaction to the stress and anxiety hanging over the industry? You decide. [WSJ]
• Reviews and recaps of the recent runway shows in Milan. [NYT, IHT, Times UK]
• Barneys' makeup department seems to be holding up despite the recession. [NYT]
• The appointment of Dasha Zhukova as editor-in-chief of Pop is ruffling some feathers, not surprisingly. [Fashionologie]
• Michelle Obama went with Michael Kors for her official portrait. [WWD]
• A roundup of 10 trends from London Fashion Week. [Pipeline]
• The French magazine Femmes is relaunching and the new issue is devoted exclusively to Lydia Hearst, you'll be thrilled to hear. [Fashionista]