LADIES WATS UP ?
Nicholas Kirkwood is celebrating a decade in the luxury-shoe business by unveiling a limited-edition collection of shoes. Injected with playfulness, the collection is inspired by the arcade craze of the 1980s and the British footwear designer’s own childhood memories.
Boasting lower weight, more power and improved driving dynamics from its predecessor, Ferrari peeled back the red silk cover and unveiled its latest V8 drop top, the 488 Spider. Featuring a retractable hardtop that is 55 pounds lighter than a traditional soft top, the 488 is powered by the same a 660 hp turbocharged V8 that has received rave reviews in the 488 GTB. Bury the throttle and 60 miles per hours comes up in a tick under three seconds from a standing start. The high revving engine sounds fantastic and thanks to the convertible top, you can hear every magnificent note.
I LIKE THIS SHIT
Last Friday evening, a pier overlooking ground zero turned into the modern-day equivalent of “La Dolce Vita” when the Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci made his New York Fashion Week debut.
Ostensibly, the show was about religion and the legacy of 9/11. But messages like that can become obscured when the impending arrival of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian holds up the proceedings for more than an hour.
Nicki Minaj was there, looking in her leopard print dress like the incarnation of Jessica Rabbit. A few feet away was a more understated Julia Roberts, standing in her black tuxedo jacket and matching pants, with a dash of black eyeliner. Seated toward the back were Christina Ricci, Courtney Love, Deborah Harry, Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Hudson and Erykah Badu. Even Pedro Almodóvar was in attendance, having come all the way from Madrid.
And that was to say nothing of an older woman standing at the front gates professing to be a member of New York’s first family.
“I don’t think we were expecting Governor Cuomo’s mother,” a member of Mr. Tisci’s staff said incredulously into his headset. “Make her show ID.”
Ah, well. If you want to get into this designer’s club, there is a big line.
Over the last decade, Mr. Tisci has slowly become the most socially connected fashion designer of his generation, a man whose tentacles extend from Oscar contenders to reality show participants, top-drawer artists to gay night-life promoters, barely legal models to surgically altered socialites.
And his commitment to diversity has helped propel him to the top of his game not just with the usual crowd of (mostly) white editors and fashionistas, but also with a strikingly multicultural fan base.
Ms. Badu and Victor Cruz have appeared in his ad campaigns. Jay Z and Beyoncé are on his speed dial (and were at his table at the Met Gala). And then there are vacation buddies like Madonna and Kate Moss, corporate collaborators like Nike (which recently hired Mr. Tisci to do a sneaker line), and a beaming boss named Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, who was seated this evening in the front row, looking pleased as punch at the event’s stellar turnout.
Backstage was Marina Abramovic, the art director for the show, an endeavor she estimates took six months (those in the audience familiar with the cost of these productions said it was most likely one of the most expensive fashion shows New York had ever seen).
“He never gave up,” she said.
And soon enough, he persuaded her representatives to let her do the shoot. She arrived at his loft, took the photo and never left his orbit.
“What hit me most was that he could not stop,” Ms. Boscono said. “He was obsessed almost. Like van Gogh. Those psycho artists.”
She, too, attributes his ferocious drive to his star sign — and her somewhat more laissez-faire demeanor to being a Virgo.
“I’m a Virgo, but my rising sign is Scorpio,” Ms. Boscono said. “There are a lot of Virgos in the fashion business, but Virgos are introverted and tormented. Riccardo’s 100 percent Leo. You can’t be a Leo and be insecure. Not even when he was making clothes out of T-shirts.”
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Tisci got a job at Ruffo Research, an Italian label that had previously given first jobs to future design stars like Nicolas Ghesquière and Sophia Kokosalaki. It went under before Mr. Tisci’s first show.
In 2005, after the departure of Julien Macdonald, he was hired by Givenchy. Although it was a storied house founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy, who gained fame dressing Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy, it had fallen on hard times.
And Mr. Tisci bombed with his first collection. “It was a little too much gothic,” remembered Carine Roitfeld, then the editor of Paris Vogue, speaking by phone. “It was not so much success, but it was very much him. You could see he had talent.”
And he quickly saw that celebrities would be valuable to him, even if he rejects the idea that this was the guiding principle behind his social machinations. “I don’t dress celebrities for the sake of dressing celebrities,” he insisted. “I dress people I like.”
Among the first was Courtney Love, who was hired by Mr. Tisci to perform in 2007 at his atelier, in a white Stevie Nicks-meets-Catholic-Italian-housewife couture gown. Then, the stylist Arianne Phillips called and asked Mr. Tisci to send in some sketches for Madonna’s 2008 world tour, which led to a meeting with the diva, a job designing her black bedazzled costumes and, subsequently, a friendship.
“I just stayed at her house in the Hamptons,” Mr. Tisci said during the visit in June.
He became pals with Mr. West, who hired him to design the cover of his album collaboration with Jay Z (all gold embroidery, very Givenchy), then selected him to be a co-director for the rappers’ tour.
Mr. West is a Gemini rather than a Leo, but Mr. Tisci has nothing but love for him, seeing in him a maverick, a punk-rock icon for a hip-hop age. In 2014, Mr. West and Ms. Kardashian called on Mr. Tisci to design outfits for their wedding, and he created a dress that later landed on the cover of Vogue.
By this point, Givenchy’s skeptics in the news media had long since come around.
LVMH, Givenchy’s parent company, increased the number of free-standing stores from around a dozen when he started to nearly 50. (The latest store in New York, which opened a few weeks ago, is its 57th free-standing location.)
Retailers were increasing their orders. “It’s a growing business,” said Neiman Marcus’s Ken Downing, who said that the black leather handbags, sporty hip-hop-inspired men’s wear and heavily embellished women’s ready-to-wear are among Givenchy’s best sellers of late.
And in January 2015, Mr. Tisci got another boost when Julianne Moore accepted her Golden Globe for best actress in a dark sleeveless metallic Givenchy dress.
“Riccardo must have submitted at least 30 sketches, and the sketches were all exquisite,” Ms. Moore said. “It was difficult to winnow them down — so difficult that we ended up asking if it would be possible for him to make three dresses for me to choose from. Riccardo agreed, and when the dresses were ready, he came to my house in New York to fit me personally and help us make the decision.
“Riccardo is very hands-on and is deeply insightful about each person that he dresses. He designs for the person, not just for the brand.”
In the end, Ms. Moore took two, wearing the second to the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The third, Mr. Tisci tossed into the reject pile.
It was “too romantic” for him, Ms. Moore said.
Mr. Tisci is a pack animal. Nearly all the people in his circle, including Ms. Ricci and Amanda Lear, have a story about meeting another glittery person they never would have gotten to know were it not for him. One celebrity friend gets connected to Mr. Tisci via another celebrity friend, and then Mr. Tisci connects the newest entrants to his roving band of selfie-taking merrymakers.
“I met Madonna, I met Alicia Keys through him,” Ms. Abramovic said. “Every time you are at his table, he makes sure there are models, artists, everything. He is a magnet.”
When Mr. West became involved with Ms. Kardashian, Mr. Tisci introduced her to Ms. Roitfeld, who then put Ms. Kardashian on a 2013 cover of her magazine, CR Fashion Book.
A reported ban on Ms. Kardashian at the annual Met Gala was lifted two years ago when Mr. Tisci hosted it with the fashion world’s supreme empress, Anna Wintour of Vogue.
“In a way,” Ms. Wintour said, “Riccardo reminds me of Gianni Versace because he’s such an open, lovely person that people are drawn to him.”
Mr. Tisci’s close friend Ladyfag, the night-life promoter, said: “He didn’t have a father growing up, so it’s interesting he’s become this patriarch for all these different people. It’s not planned out, but I do think there’s something to that.”
Today, Mr. Tisci lives in a manner similar to that of his most glittery friends. He resides for the bulk of the year in Paris in a sun-drenched apartment overlooking the Seine amid Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe photographs and Gio Ponti furniture. When not there, he jaunts around the globe with his leather Givenchy trolley full of black T-shirts and yellow American Spirit cigarettes.
There are spring breaks in Rio with Ms. Moss and Ms. Campbell and summers in Ibiza with Mr. West and the fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.
For a time, Mr. Tisci was making arrangements to live in New York with Ms. Abramovic, his industry mother, but that didn’t quite go according to plan.
Sometime around 2011, they bought a townhouse in SoHo together. She was to take the two bottom floors, and he was to take the top three. “It has a garden and a pool,” he said. “In the middle of New York. I think this is very lucky.”
So they renovated it, stocked it with more minimalist Italian furniture, and clinked glasses. But Mr. Tisci never moved in.
“I’m always traveling,” he said. “I don’t have time!”
After a year, Ms. Abramovic called him to say she was lonely. The house was huge, and he was never home. So she bought an apartment nearby and sold her two floors back to Mr. Tisci. He said he still hasn’t spent a night there, although his niece and nephew have and tell him it’s lovely.
Where does he reside while in New York?
“At the Mercer,” he said, letting out a laugh.
For the record, the apartment is but a few blocks from his hotel. And he and Ms. Abramovic remain the best of friends. Money, in this instance, did not change everything.
Like the celebrities he cavorts with, Riccardo Tisci has a schedule that no longer resembles a normal person’s. He is endlessly late and constantly rescheduling. A trip to New York scheduled for July was moved to August and then September. A meeting scheduled for Monday was moved to Tuesday, then Wednesday and finally Thursday.
The afternoon before his fashion week show, on the third floor of the West Chelsea building where Givenchy had set up shop, people talked in hushed tones about how to say no to Riccardo. On the second floor, models mixed with seamstresses lurched over their sewing machines. Others hung out in a coffee area eating tarts and croissants.
The mood was neither lazy nor to-the-bone, but instead like a film set, as work and pleasure bumped against each other, and everyone vacillated between looking captured and as if there was no better place in the world to be.
As for Mr. Tisci, it perhaps makes sense that after spending a decade tending to the whims and unique scheduling patterns of rappers and movie stars, the ability to make people wait is now a luxury for him.
It is a symbol both of having arrived and of — just as often — wanting not to be found.
Indeed, sitting on his large black leather sofa in front of yet another large cactus, smoking yet another American Spirit later that afternoon, Mr. Tisci said his biggest desire was for the week to be over so he could go spend an anniversary with his boyfriend.
One year, five years or 10? a reporter asked.
“One month,” said Mr. Tisci, adding that they met in Ibiza.
Forty-one years and much success have done little to change Mr. Tisci’s childlike demeanor.
For one, he still bites his nails when he is nervous. For another, he does not so much sit in a chair but recline in it, as if he is constantly waiting for something, whether it is caffeine, American Spirits — or, more profoundly, inspiration. He is both a boy whose mama loved him a lot and a man determined to rebel against that.
He’ll design a Victorian-inspired floor-length gown, then stick it on a transgender model named Lea T. He likes to call his most recent men’s wear collection “Jesus in Prison.”
Last week, three male models showed up for a casting. Two had a cornfed Calvin Klein-pinup look, and a third seemed to have come straight out of a Larry Clark film: His skin was dark and ruddy; his hair had an orange tint. Mr. Tisci cast him immediately, and sent the other two men packing.
His explanation? “Givenchy is supposed to be a little dangerous.”
Recently, there’s been talk that Mr. Tisci may be on the way to somewhere bigger and better. His name was in heavy rotation when Frida Giannini was forced out at Gucci last year, and there was much chatter during fashion week that his show was not just an anniversary party but perhaps a farewell.
Ms. Wintour is one person who would like to see him stay put. “I hope we see a little less musical chairs in fashion,” she said. “Givenchy is a great platform for him.”
Mr. Tisci professes to agree.
“In 10 years, a lot of people approach me,” he said. “When you make a house successful, people approach. But I always decline everything because I’m happy where I am. I want to concentrate on Givenchy.”
Shortly after his fitting wrapped up, Mr. Tisci grabbed his American Spirits, chucked a handful of mixed nuts into his mouth and — with his publicist and one of the women in black — got into a Suburban and headed off to a rehearsal space with Ms. Abramovic.
In Hell’s Kitchen, the car turned onto 53rd and Ninth, and Mr. Tisci looked out the window.
“Where are we?” he asked the woman in black, as if there were not a street sign just in front of him.
Upstairs in the rehearsal space a few minutes later, Ms. Abramovic was waiting with a handful of performers, who sang for Mr. Tisci in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin. Yet again he reclined in his chair, this time looking genuinely exhausted. After it was done, Ms. Abramovic walked out with him to the elevators.
“We’re missing the Buddhist,” Ms. Abramovic said to him as they rode down to the street. “How many cars do you have?”
“One,” said Mr. Tisci, indicating that there was space for her in it.
Then, they bickered over the outfit of one of the performers. “You can’t do trousers,” she said. “He has to look a Turkish samurai.”
“I think it should be simple,” he said, shaking his head. “Skirts are going to look strange.”
It was raining. But Ms. Abramovic had seen the weather reports for the next day and felt optimistic. That’s what happens when people work with Riccardo Tisci.
“God is on our side,” she said. “Today is raining, Saturday is going to be raining, Sunday is raining. And tomorrow is great? How do you explain it? It’s divine help.”
Mr. Tisci agreed. “He is alive,” he said, referring to the big guy upstairs and maybe himself, too.
And then he lit another cigarette, said goodbye to his publicist and headed off with Ms. Abramovic for what would indeed be 24 of the best hours of his professional life, complete with great weather and endless accolades from glittery friends.
Among the last to be seated was Matilda Cuomo.
Warner Bros. sold its digital content distribution business to Sherman Oaks company Vubiquity, the companies announced Thursday.
Privately held Vubiquity distributes content by streaming, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, live television and digital sell through for partners including Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Weinstein Co. and Disney ABC Television Group.
Vubiquity will use the digital end-to-end content service from Warner Bros. to expand its content management and distribution capabilities. The technology will be combined with Vubiquity’s AnyVU cloud service to store an unlimited number of film and television titles in digital format that will save time and effort in accessing the content, said Brendan Sullivan, executive vice president of Technology for Vubiquity.
“We are eager to incorporate the (digital end-to-end) technology into our current, cloud-based business with the ultimate goal of servicing our clients from beginning to end with speed, flexibility and security to generate quality results,” Sullivan said in a prepared statement.
Farewell House Of Blues Los Angeles: Home Of Historic Performances From Tupac & Eminem To Kanye West
IM SO GLAD I GOT A CHANCE TO PERFORM HERE 2 TO 3 TIMES
DX speaks with talent buyers Kevin Morrow and Paul McGuigan about its biggest Hip Hop moments.
From the time it opened it’s doors in 1994, The House of Blues Los Angeles became as iconic as the names that would grace its marquee. Now after twenty years and hundreds of shows later, the three-story club that sits on a hill, surrounded by The Mondrian (RIP Pimp C) and fittingly the world famous Comedy store, which has helped launch the careers of some of the world’s most well-known stand-ups from Richard Pryor to Robin Williams.
Like its neighbor to the north, the House of Blues saw a lot of budding talent rise from incipiency to global stardom. Kevin Morrow, who currently manages MC/slam poet George Watsky, was the talent buyer for HOB from the time the club opened until 2006 when he bequeathed the role to Paul McGuigan who held it down until August 7, 2015 when it closed its doors for good to make way for new condos on the new look and dangerously-close-to-being-neutered Sunset Strip.
Morrow and McGuigan were both kind enough to share some of those legendary moments with HipHopDX. For Morrow it was a time of tension as east versus west was just starting to heat up when he got called upon to help Def Jam to showcase some of their nicest and newest artists to the world. But then that night came in when that dude Suge Knightcame in.
Morrow Says Suge Knight “Delivered The Club’s Most Legendary Nights”
“We had the Def Jam parties with all of their artists which featured everyone from Def Jam, we had shows with some East Coast artists where the LAPD Organized Crime Task Force [AKA the ‘Hip Hop Police’] came to us and said that there was chatter amongst the Bloods about coming in because that was when the East Coast, West Coast tension was going strong and they picked up some intel that something might go down,” Morrow recalled. “One year, I think it was the third party we did for them and it was getting kinda dicey between Suge Knight and Death Row, and anyone from the East Coast. The Def Jam people didn’t want Suge there cause they said it was gonna be a distraction because stuff tended to follow him around. Since it was a private event they didn’t have to let him in, but sure enough he showed up and we had to tell him they couldn’t come in and he said he was coming in and we said he wasn’t. It went back and forth and well, he didn’t come in that night. Thank God he didn’t push it!
While Suge may have been persona non grata that night, Morrow credited the embattled mogul with one of the club’s most legendary nights.
“Everyone from Death Row was there. It was Tupac, Dre, it was Snoop, I think Ice Cube. There had to be 30 people on stage. Suge was up there. We did it on the 4th of July, and Suge wanted to do a show to prove to the world that he’s a real businessman and we could pull this off without any incidents and we did the show and it was great. I mean Pac was just on.”
Morrow became friends with the late rapper and one night even had to call on him to save West Hollywood from a night that almost turned turbulent.
“Pac was a friend of the club’s, and he helped me a couple different times. He would come to shows whether it was The Fugees or Public Enemy, you name it. He came to all the hip hop shows if he wasn’t on the road. There was this one time that there was a bunch of Bloods outside and the cops were really afraid, cause there had to be 20 or 30 guys and the cops were scared to really get into it and deal with them and they were kicking on the door and the police came to me and said ‘We don’t wanna start a riot here but these guys gotta go.’ I said ‘What do you want me to do have my security guys deal with it? That’s not gonna be good.’ These guys just didn’t give a shit. The police were starting to call back up and the helicopters were coming and they were starting to shoot, light it up and Tupac just so happened to walk up. He said ‘Can I go into the show?’ It was The Fugees actually and I said ‘Yeah man you can go into the show, can you help me out?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, what do you need?’ I said these guys won’t leave. The police are getting a little nervous and getting a little antsy and they might listen to you. He walks over to them screams a bunch of profanities at the top of his lungs, he yells ‘Get over here,’ and he starts talking to them telling them If you don’t leave my man here ain’t gonna be able to do any more of these shows, the police are gonna get a little crazy. All y’all are gonna have to leave. Please! do me a favor and leave,’ and everyone was like ‘Man, cool Pac. We’re outta here,’ and they left and the show went on.”
Intoxication Almost Kept Eminem From Doing His First HOB Show
When Eminem burst onto the scene in 1998 the world was ready for him to prove his star status, but according to Morrow that first show had him a worried about the future of Slim Shady.
“That first show that Eminem did which was really just him on stage playing his album [The Slim Shady LP] and he’d rap a little bit to his record. It was a partial performance but it was more just him talking about the record. It was his first record so he hadn’t broken yet. He had partied a little too hard and he was having trouble on stage. He got through it but I remember calling [Em’s agent] Cara Lewis and saying ‘I just don’t know about Em, he’s so talented but he was so drunk I don’t know if he’s gonna make it.’ Of course he went on to become one of the biggest stars in Hip Hop history. He and I have become friends.” Morrow recalled. “I actually would later do shows with him and Jay Z at Yankee Stadium and I did other shows with him at House of Blues. It was just somebody at the beginning of their career learning how to handle things coming at them so fast. What actually happened later was he did two shows in one night and in the first show there was this part with a mummy coming out. So Dustin Hoffman was sitting up in the crowd with his kids who were big fans and he wanted to be the mummy in the second show so he became the mummy. and when the mummy revealed himself in the second show it was Dustin Hoffman. It was a surprise to Eminem even. Marshall has a great sense of humor and is a lot of fun so it was really cool.”
By the time Paul McGuigan took over hip hop was already ingrained in the club’s DNA. Paul booked some epic shows there including Jay Z’s “American Gangster Tour” but the date that will forever be etched in his memory was none other than Lil Wayne who booked his first LA show in support of what would become one of the most significant albums of the decade.
Lil Wayne’s First Show After Releasing “Tha Carter 3” Was Electric
“Lil Wayne show the day that Tha Carter 3 released. That was crazy. The record had entered the charts at number one and it was just absolute madness,” McGuigan recalled. “At the time there was no hotter artist than Lil Wayne. Booking Jay Z’s [American Gangster] was one of the biggest things I ever did but that wasn’t a surprise, with Lil Wayne I put the tickets on sale and by the time the show finally got around to us it was the day the record came out and debuted number one and it was the most electric atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of.”
Earlier this year Big Sean booked a show during Grammy weekend. As McGuigan recalls It would turn out to be a star-studded affair that even he wasn’t expecting.
“That night was crazy. It started out with YG and DJ Mustard as the surprise openers and by the time Sean came on it was just one after another. First Travis Scott came out and crowd surfed. Then J. Cole, then Tyga. Kanye got up and did a set in the middle of his show. He grabbed the mic and started playing a bunch of Kanye songs, went on a rant about Nike. By the end of the night everyone was on stage together and even Chris Brown and Justin Beiber jumped on stage. Kanye was a big part of my tenure at House of Blues. I did a bunch of shows with Kanye before he really blew up. He was big but it was pre 808s and Heartbreaks. I think it was before 2007.
McGuigan covered a lot of ground in hip hop and his final show on July 30, would turn out to be the most poetic.
“My last show fittingly was DJ Quik, who was probably the artist I booked the most over the years, him and Too Short. Quik was my favorite. He was one of the first guys to really go out and have a band, even before Snoop. A lot of those guys were still doing two turntables and a deejay and I think Ghostface and DJ Quik were two of the firsts to really bring instruments out.” There were a lot of great memories at that place and it will definitely be missed.”