Thursday, August 9, 2007

Shoe Carnival Inc a leading retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories reported sales increased 5.4 percent to $154.8 million for the thirteen-week period ended August 4, 2007 compared to sales of $146.9 million for the thirteen-week period ended July 29, 2006.

Comparable store sales for the thirteen-week period ended August 4, 2007 decreased 7.1 percent compared to the thirteen-week period last year ended August 5, 2006.

Sales for the first six months ended August 4, 2007 increased 1.6 percent to $320.5 million from sales of $315.4 million for first six months last year ended July 29, 2006.

Comparable store sales for the twenty-six week period ended August 4, 2007 decreased 5.4 percent compared to the twenty-six week period last year ended August 5, 2006.

Second quarter financial results will be released before the market opens on Thursday, August 23, 2007. Later that day, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, the Company will host a conference call to discuss the second quarter results.

The public can listen to the live webcast of the call by visiting Shoe Carnival's Investor Relations While the question-and-answer session will be available to all listeners, questions from the audience will be limited to institutional analysts and investors.

A replay of the webcast will be available on our website beginning approximately two hours after the conclusion of the conference call and will be archived for one year.

How to survive pregnancy in style

Paula Cocozza
Guardian Unlimited

1. Enjoy tunic and trapeze dresses without having to worry, like all your non-pregnant friends, about whether you will look pregnant. Of course you will!

2. Don't change your cut of jeans. For skinny, go to Topshop; for boyfriend or bootcut, go to Gap. If you like straightleg jeans, spend money. These, by Paper Denim & Cloth, cost �119 from {} (020-7359 2003).

3. Wear a long vest under your regular tops to lengthen their life as they rise up your middle. The best tops we found are from Gap, home to great T-shirts. This one costs �19 and will be in store early August (0800 427 789 for stockists).

4. Don't be ashamed of your lingerie: these print briefs, �16, and bra, �32, come from Blossom (0845 262 7500).

5. Be fashion forward. This Mamas & Papas dress is Miu Miu-esque and has autumn's grown-up midi length. It costs �45 and will be in store from August 6 (0870 830 7700 for stockists).

6. Blow out on handbags, jewellery, a posh brolly, scarf, gloves and flat shoes. Anything, in short, that the bump has no say in.

7. Try on all your old clothes - then re-try them every few weeks. Look at what you've got with an open mind: a belted trench will go on working well into the sixth month if you stop knotting the belt and buckle it above the bump instead.

8. Don't exile yourself from nonmaternity shops. Cos has great T-shirts, Gap is full of roomy dresses and both have slouchy, long-line cardigans for autumn/winter. Just be prepared to look a little harder.

9. If you pick up something that you wouldn't wear in "normal" life, put it down ...

10. ... Unless you want to experiment. I doubt that I'll wear dungaree shorts once I've had the baby, but right now they look good, have excited inquiries from non-pregnant friends, and they're an experience only pregnancy would have aff orded me.

It was not altogether my usual Wednesday morning routine. I was somewhere north of Oxford Street, trying to find the Daniel Galvin hair salon. And it was a shade before 8.15am; aka ridiculous o'clock.

Sam Leith

Already, I was out of sorts. The deal I had struck with the Telegraph's fashion department was, that as a distinctly low-maintenance man, I should spend a day learning what it was like to be a high-maintenance woman. Ladies who lunch, I had imagined, would start their day sometime around - oh, let's see- lunchtime?

Worse, my itinerary indicated that I was not expected to emerge from this salon until 1pm. I didn't know hairdressers opened before breakfast, still less that it was possible for a human being to spend five hours inside one.

I really don't have that much to say about my holidays. "You're going to have a whole day of being pampered and getting treatments," one colleague had promised. "It will be hell."

I had decided that I was safest not knowing in advance what was coming. I would endure it all - though I quailed a little at the salon, which looked like a set from Doctor Who. The only thing I promised myself was that the moment anybody asked me to take off my clothes and squat like a frog, I was outta there. To paraphrase Meat Loaf: I'll do anything for the fashion editor, but I won't do that.

I didn't have to. But what I did undergo was, in chronological order: micro-dermabrasion and an ultrasound facial mask; eyebrow shaping; manicure; pedicure; hair colouring, haircut and blow-dry; wet shave (from Daniel Galvin's big brother Joshua, who spent his wartime military service as a ship's barber, shaving the men of the merchant marine with cut-throat and strop); suiting and booting by Selfridges' VIP personal shopper; half of a large drink, hour-long full-body massage, other half of a large drink; chest-waxing; very large drink indeed. It took 12 hours.

My host announced, early on, "we've tried to alternate nice and nasty treatments". For ease and speed, I can break my report down into a series of exclamations: "Yow! why are you shooting salt up my nose?"; "Yow! ouch! yow! stop that!"; "Mmm-"; "mmmMMMMM!"; "Blimey - I'm starting to resemble my byline photo- bloody hell - is that Paul McCartney going into the private room?"; "Aahhh- baby-smooth"; "These shoes cost how much? That's more than my car! Still, I'm looking kinda natty, no?"; "Glug, mmm- MMMMM- zzz- glug"; "Ohno, ohno, ohno, ohplease- oh - yaaARGH! Ouch! DAMN!"; "Glug- aahhhh!"

Certain fears were allayed. I had anticipated that the "Hemingway Treatment", at a Bruton Place establishment called Gentleman's Tonic, would involve daiquiris and a shotgun; happily, it involved a stonking Bloody Mary and an hour face-down on a special massage bench with a hole for you to push your face through so that when you fall asleep your drool lands on the floor.

That was lovely. I do still own eyebrows. The pedicurist, whom I imagined would scream with horror and faint away when confronted with The Toenail Of Smaug, did no such thing.

Chest-waxing is worse in the anticipation than in the fact (though I expect it would have hurt like hell if I'd had more hair; as it was, they could have done it just as fast with tweezers).

Some of it was a bit absurd. The reluctance to call conditioner "conditioner", when you could call it "deep conditioning treatment".

The peculiar discussion I found myself having about the relative "naturalness" of different sorts of salt. The promise that the effects of my eyebrow-shaping would be impossible to notice. (I earned my only dark look of the day by wondering what was the point of a paying for a painful treatment with no visible effect.)

But, as they say in South Park, I learnt something today (and not just what "facial threading" and "horny hair" is). I realised that, whether or not you get any real benefit from all these quacky unguents, the ritual is the important bit; the mixture of naked consumerism, crypto-scientific gobbledegook, and ego-massage.

The process is far more important than the results. The point is not to have shiny nails so much as to sit, like the Emperor Nero, in a comfortable barber's chair with a kindly stranger massaging yummy citrus-smelling unguents into your head, while another cleanses your fetid foot with soapy water.

The point is not to get the hairs off your chin so much as to sit with only your nose poking out while your face is swaddled in gorgeous, steaming hot towels. The point is not to relax your muscles so much as to have a snooze. Alles ist gut.

Apart from the whole agonising depilation thing, and the rubbish you have to talk, and the time you have to spend that you could spend doing something worthwhile, and the expense and all the rest of it- you know what? Being a high-maintenance woman completely rocks.

It is way better than working. And, come to think of it, I look down now at my chest and I can see the odd grey blur of bristle regrowing like something you'd see on an unsatisfactory pork scratching. And I think: hmm. Time to go back and get a refresher-

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Looking good when you are pregnant has never seemed more important.

Paula Cocozza shares ten tips for surviving pregnancy in style.
Discovering that you are pregnant can induce a range of responses from exhilaration to desolation, and the life-disturbing enormity of it can just about explain and excuse any of them. Which is a good thing, because within a few hours of learning my own news, I was making myself comfortable with paper and pencil, sketching out the beginnings of a maternity wardrobe. I drew well-cut shorts with empire-line tops, man-size shirts tied under the bump, trapeze dresses (the ones that seem enormous if you hold the hem out wide, but which, left alone, fall into a graceful triangle), trousers with gents' cumberbunds, and dungarees. I am not obsessed with fashion - though I am interested in it - so why is it, I wondered when I came to, that it has become so important to look good when pregnant, and why do pregnant women feel under so much scrutiny?
Ever since 1991, when we saw "More Demi Moore" on the cover of Vanity Fair, the focus on women during pregnancy - first famous ones, and latterly the rest of us - has sharpened. Many have followed in Moore's footsteps, from Gwyneth Paltrow flashing the elasticated waist of her jeans on the cover of W (June 1994) to Britney Spears in Harper's Bazaar last year and Myleene Klass in this month's Glamour. We have seen and scrutinised the marvellous enlargement over nine months of Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sofia Coppola, all of them as famous for their clothes as for their particular talents, and have watched with equal interest their ballooning then speedy shrinking. If pregnancy once led inexorably to confinement, now it is the launchpad for a new kind of exposure.
Miranda Almond is a fashion editor at Vogue, 36 weeks into her second pregnancy, and has been sticking diligently during the past eight months to some low-waisted skinny jeans bought on the non-maternity floor at Gap. "Years ago, you were pregnant and people just left you to get on with it," she says. "There's definitely more focus on it now - partly because there's more focus in general on celebrities. And when these women get pregnant a huge amount of attention is paid to them." Pregnancy acts as a magnifying glass to the pervasive media interest in body image, as if the exaggerated shape of the expectant stomach somehow enlarges our interest - and offers a guaranteed narrative of yo-yoing weight.
The maternity-wear market has blossomed correspondingly. Even while the birth rate was falling, between 1998 and 2003, the maternity-wear market was experiencing a 10% growth. If women were having fewer children, their expenditure per pregnancy was rising as the disposable income of mothers-to-be increased along with their age (Basma Alireza, co-founder of upmarket boutique Blossom, puts its customer profile at age 25 to 40). The high street was quick to spot a new niche. In 2004, Topshop launched its maternity collection. New Look and Marks & Spencer followed. And Gap has finally launched a capsule collection in the UK after years of success in the US.
For years, maternity wear was a fashion backwater - a world in which pinafores prevailed year after year (no such thing as seasons here) and which serviced its hapless customers through nursery shops rather than fashion ones. Now, it is increasingly looking to the catwalk. This summer, the designer Emma Cook produced a collection for Topshop that included softly printed dresses that seemed to view the necessary volume as an integral part of their shape rather than as an inconvenience. Clements Ribeiro has designed a line for Blossom, and even Mamas & Papas - better known for its pushchairs - has found a fashion vocabulary. It has just held a catwalk show for its autumn/winter collection, starring Emma Bunton, and its current collection is referencing Marc Jacobs.
A maternity beauty and accessories industry has sprung up too. These days it is possible to buy a leopard-print nursing bra from Agent Provocateur and an enormous, waist-cinching brief for afterwards. On entering the fitting room at Blossom, in Kensington, London, encumbered shoppers are offered a cup of something called an Earth Mama Angel Baby Peaceful Mama tea (which tastes surprisingly good). On the counter are tins of Preggie Pop Drops - sweets to ward off morning sickness. From beauty line Mama Mio - which in the 18 months since its launch has oiled the expectant bellies of Beckham, Stella McCartney and Christy Turlington - you can buy preparations to see you through each trimester, starting with the Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil ("Say NO to stretch marks!") and culminating in the It's Time! kit, which will enable you to light an appropriately scented candle in the labour room and ready your birthing partner with the facial spritzer.
So why, despite all the choice, was my first proper maternity shopping trip such a depressing affair? Now that Emma Cook has sold out at Topshop, the offering looks unimaginative - simply fuller versions of smocky tops from the shop floor (though the jeans are good). Gap is brilliant for tops, but why do so many retailers imagine that once you become pregnant you want to exchange your normal sense of style for a boho tunic and a pair of bootleg jeans? Why do so many maternitywear providers offer this cut of jean above all others, while the rest of fashion continues to spurn it?
As if the sight of a prosthetic, strap-on bump - a staple of the specialist boutique - weren't bad enough, maternity clothes are often, frankly, insulting. A trawl of high street and online boutiques suggests that the ubiquitous and offensive tankini appears to have become the designated swimwear for the pregnant, even though a sympathetically cut bikini fits perfectly well and looks loads better. The wrap dress, which offered salvation to the stylish pregnant a few seasons ago, now seems testimony only to lack of imagination: like the bootleg jeans, this is not a shape that has any relevance now, yet is wheeled out by every high-street maternity store because someone has decided it's flattering.
"I just thought, I don't like these clothes," says Suzanne Clements, of her shopping trips during her recent pregnancy and whose line for Blossom (which skirts the problem by handpicking non-maternity pieces that will accommodate a pregnant shape) will be in store from the end of August. "I went to Topshop and I was really disappointed. I thought they'd flung a few styles in from downstairs, lengthened it and called it maternity wear. Why would I wear those clothes just because I'm pregnant? It's disgusting. Formes maternity wear? Horrible."
All of which means that while the maternity-wear industry is burgeoning, fashion-conscious women are going for a different approach: spurning dedicated maternity wear in favour of resourceful shopping, because it is the only way to keep looking like you. Clements says that she wears "the same clothes pregnant or non-pregnant". Cook liked her maternity dresses so much she is still wearing them post- pregnancy, belted. Almond, in the front line at Vogue, has made only one maternity-specific purchase during her two pregnancies, surviving on tops from Cos. As for my own hopeful sketches of a maternity wardrobe, the search for that well-cut pair of shorts and dungarees ended only in Rome. Favourite, roomy dresses have come from APC and Phillip Lim - great non-maternity brands that are often cut loose.
Maybe none of this matters. But getting the clothes right seems to suggest you are getting other things right, too. Looking together at work is easier if you still look like the person you were before. And when almost every part of your body is shifting shape beyond your control, holding on to your personal style seems testimony to the fact that you are holding on to yourself.

Versace 10th anniversary

Milan paid tribute to Gianni Versace, one of most famous fashion designers. People mark the 10th anniversary of his death last night.
Last night members of the Versace family joined celebrities and politicians at a gala evening of ballet at La Scala, the opera house, to mark the designer's love of the theatre. The event featured a new ballet, Thanks Gianni, With Love, by the French choreographer, Maurice B�jart, 80.
Donatella Versace, the designer's sister, arrived with her daughter Allegra, 20, who earlier this year it was revealed had been suffering from anorexia for many years.
Other guests included the actors Jessica Alba and Rupert Everett, the Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, and models Naomi Campbell - wearing a vintage Versace gown - and Claudia Schiffer.
Exotic costumes were displayed from Versace's stage archive, as well as a new ballet wardrobe by Donatella, who became creative director of the fashion empire.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

True Religion opens new branded store in Houston

True Religion Apparel Inc announced it has opened its newest branded store at The Galleria in Houston. Located in Houston, the new True Religion store will feature 1,508 square feet of retail space and offer shoppers the entire True Religion line of clothing and accessories.
We are extremely pleased with the reception of our stores thus far, said Jeff Lubell, chief executive officer of True Religion Apparel, Inc. With seven full price stores and two outlets, we now have a greater opportunity to offer our customers the expanding line of denim, denim-related apparel and our entire collection of licensed products.
As the fourth largest mall nationwide spanning 2.4 million square feet of retail space and featuring some of the finest names in American and European retailers, The Galleria is the ideal fit for us to showcase the True Religion brand,” said Michael Buckley, president. “In addition, our retail stores are largely incremental to our wholesale business and provide us with enviable financial metrics and greater control of our growth potential
The Galleria is the southwest's premier shopping center and houses a collection of more than 375 stores and restaurants featuring retailers such as Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., along with an indoor ice rink, two hotels and three office towers. Attracting more than 24 million shoppers annually, The Galleria is the preferred shopping destination of the greater Houston area as well as visitors from around the world.

Kimberly Bardill wins t-shirt design contest

After receiving more than 2,500 original entries from throughout the country, J. Jill announced the top 10 finalists in its second annual "Nature of Compassion" t-shirt design contest benefiting poor and homeless women.
Starting July 16 through July 31, 2007, the public can view the 10 designs and vote for their favorite when visiting any J. Jill store or logging.
Long known for celebrating fashion's artistic origins, J. Jill established the "Nature of Compassion" contest in 2006 as a way to showcase original works of art, pay homage to nature's ever changing beauty and help women in need through its Compassion Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Boston Foundation.
Each year, entrants are asked to submit original artwork depicting inspirational elements of nature. Here are the 10 finalists in the 2007 "Nature of Compassion" contest:

Kimberly Bardill - Wilmington, North Carolina

Susan Handly - St. Helena, California

Busha Husak - Malden, Massachusetts

Anita Gildea - Fort Wayne, Indiana

Paulina Manzo - Niskayuna, New York

Frances McCloskey - Belmar, New Jersey

Carrie Ralston - Wanaque, New Jersey

Jennifer Reagles - Middleton, Wisconsin

Toby Reed - Newton, Massachusetts

Jamie Wyant - Salem, Oregon

Once the voting is completed, J. Jill will produce a limited-edition t-shirt featuring the winning design. The long-sleeve cotton tee will retail for $24.50 and J. Jill will donate 100% of the profits to its J. Jill Compassion Fund, which supports community-based organizations helping poor and homeless women become self-sufficient.
This exclusive tee will be offered in J. Jill stores, catalog and online in November through the '07 holiday season.
The winning designer will receive an artistic getaway for herself and a friend to Artista Creative Safaris for Women in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.

Harry Collins - Queen's new official jeweler

Harry Collins will remember July 21 forever as the day his dream came true!! This will the day when he will finally be named as official jeweler of the blue blooded Family of UK.
Collins would be taking care of and managing the crown's jewels along with Queen's personal pool of jewelry.
Harry makes his living by a family-owned antique and modern jewellery business at Tunbridge Wells, on London's outskirts. However, he would travel once a week to Buckingham Palace to have a look at the Queen's collection of priceless tiaras, necklaces and brooches, so as to recommend any further variations.
The honored jeweler had worked with the Queen for a short time as a special designer.
Insiders reveal that time for a change was felt by Royals, taking away Garrard from the age old bond.

Ansell adds PawGard gloves to Polar Bear Safety Gear line

New PawGard gloves are the latest addition to Ansell's line of Polar Bear Safety Gear. They allow workers to perform most knifehand and some offhand applications with the highest level of cut resistance in the ASTM-ISEA standard.
PawGard gloves are designed for beef, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetable and fruit processing applications. When combined with Ansell's new Sol-Vex Blu nitrile gloves, PawGard gloves complete an ensemble that is both cut and chemical resistant.
"The yarn used in PawGard gloves is made up of multiple strands of Spectra and other hi-tech fibers to a high level of cut resistance," said Bill Bennett, Business Development Manager of Food Service and Food Processing Markets at Ansell. "This glove is just the latest addition to one of the industry's most recognizable brand names for cut-resistant gloves."
The gloves feature an extended cuff for extra cut protection around the sensitive wrist area. The product is shrink resistant and equipped with Ansell's exclusive TUFF-CUFF II technology that dramatically reduces cuff blowout even after multiple bleach launderings. PawGard gloves are available in white or gray colors and range from size 6 to 10.

Perfect the art of daytime dressing and you'll stand out at the most picturesque racecourse in the country, says Hilary Alexander

Top tips: a day at the races

Last month's Royal Ascot was a case in point, as styles on display veered from the rude to the ridiculous. Some ladies wore hats clearly designed by a blind milliner; others turned up in absurd headpieces that invited derision, not admiration.
I spotted girls in flip-flops and shorts who looked as if they were on their way to the beach, and women in backless and semi-frontless dresses who could have been making their way home from a nightclub.
Finding the truly stylish was like looking for needles in the haystack-hairdos of some of the hat-less guests.
Why dressing for a day at the races should be such a nightmare is a mystery.
The next major meeting on the social calendar is Glorious Goodwood, from July 31 to August 4. Sitting atop the Sussex Downs, it is a beautiful racecourse, often described as one of the most picturesque in the world.
The white stands, tented pavilions, green lawns and beautiful views create a real feeling of being in the country, the sort of landscape that had Constable racing to capture it on canvas.
Edward VII described it as "a garden party with racing tacked on". And ever since he swapped formal morning dress for a linen suit and Panama hat, Glorious Goodwood has become synonymous with English summer fashion.
Today, this translates as pretty frocks rather than formal, tailored skirt-suits; Goodwood is dressy, but not as dressed up as Ascot.
Think tea-dresses, printed silk shifts, retro style halter-neck dresses with full skirts and floral patterned drop-waists.
Whatever style of dress you choose, make sure that it looks right for the daytime.
Goodwood is not a cocktail party, a dinner dance or a bop in a bar with a trendy DJ.
You can bare shoulders - but don't go as far as Zara Phillips did last year when she wore a tight-fitting boob-tube; have a shrug or pashmina handy in case the temperature drops, and slip a little brolly in your bag.
The crowning glory of your outfit may well be a hat, so choose it with care, taking into account our top tips from six leading milliners. And, if you plan on wearing heels, prepare to tread cautiously - the terrain and decking areas can be tricky for stilettos.
Jasper Conran "Wear your hat; don't let your hat wear you. If the hat's busy, keep the outfit simple. Don't ever do bouffant hair with a big hat. Likewise, don't ever do bouffant hair with a small hat - sleek and simple is always best."

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The stakes could not be higher for Apple.

This is not a good time to be in a deckchair on a pavement on Fifth Avenue next to Central Park. It's hot and disgustingly muggy, and when you are not sitting in a pool of sweat you are being drenched by torrential rain accompanied by flashes of lightning.
The conditions in New York are so extreme they are almost biblical, which is appropriate because the people gathered on the pavement are here on the 21st century equivalent of a pilgrimage. Take Greg Packer, first in the queue. He has been sitting on the same spot since 5am on Monday.
The "it" is the iPhone, the latest offering from that sanctuary of techno-worship, Apple. Wags on the blogosphere have dubbed it the jesusPhone, and they are only half joking.
The iPhone went on sale at 6pm yesterday in New York and selected outlets across the US, including the Fifth Avenue Apple Store outside which Mr Packer and dozens more are camping.
So ubiquitous has Apple's marketing of the product been over the past six months, with tens of thousands of articles written and millions of internet hits, that six out of 10 Americans surveyed said they knew it was coming (compare that with the two out of 10 Americans who can locate Israel on a map).
Steven Levy, author of the history of the iPod, The Perfect Thing, says Mr Jobs's reputation hangs on the next few months. "He is the face of the iPhone. He has been out there pushing it in a way that he has never done with any other product."
Jobs called the iPhone "revolutionary" when he announced it earlier this year.
Part of its potential attraction is that it pulls functions performed by many different gadgets together into one neat package.
It combines the capabilities of a video-playing iPod with a high-end mobile phone which can take photos, process email like a BlackBerry and surf the internet.
For the first time, full web pages can be displayed, and manipulated with ease on the iPhone's glass display by scrolling with a finger. Another first is that the buttonless, keyboardless screen can pick up more than one instruction at the same time, allowing users to zoom in or out of pictures or web pages simply by stretching or closing the thumb and forefinger.
Reviewers have had gripes. They are divided by the new form of typing by touch rather than key (the Wall Street Journal loved it, the Times did not), and they are not impressed by the fact that the iPhone is not 3G, the most advanced form of communications, but depends on wireless access where available or on a very sleepy service from AT&T.
But initial reactions appear to be that the gizmo is sleek, gorgeous, and easily useable. It has found the holy grail that has until now proved to be so elusive: a mobile device that brings together all forms of digital communications - internet, email, music, videos, phone - and makes them pleasurable to experience.
"This is the next step in convergence," said Ryan Block, editor of web magazine "It is taking what is already out there and making it useable for ordinary human beings."
That has always been the strength of Apple: it combines marketing brilliance with design beauty and technical functionality so seamlessly that you can hardly tell where the style ends and the substance begins.
And the pilgrims love it.
Vincent Nguyen, number 11 in the Fifth Avenue line, took the red-eye flight from Arizona on Tuesday night to be here. He runs a website called "I screamed like a little girl when they announced the iPhone," he says. "I haven't slept properly ever since. I'm hoping on Saturday I'll finally find some peace."

How it measures up

Apple iPhone

Finger-based touchscreen non-3G phone with a 2 megapixel camera, and up to 8GB of memory, which means it is able to hold 2,000 songs. Can read some email, has iPod functions and costs $599 with a phone contract for the higher specification model.

Nokia N95

Flagship handset from the Finnish mobile giant is available for free if you sign up for a contract. It is the market heavyweight, carrying a 5 megapixel camera, music player, 3G and wireless internet, as well as built-in satellite positioning. Memory is small but expandable, and there is no touchscreen.


Popular device focused on email on the go: top of the range 8800 packs a punch, with instant messaging and GPS (satellite navigation) - but it doesn't have Wi-Fi or a camera, and the full keyboard makes it hard on the eye. More aesthetically pleasing models, such as the BlackBerry Pearl and Curve, are available but are less powerful.

Ed Pilkington in New York and Bobbie Johnson

Saturday June 30, 2007

The Guardian

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fresh Fashion 'end-of-season-sale' at Pantaloons, India

Pantaloons Fresh Fashion, India's leading fashion retailer has announced its 'end-of-season-sale' for consumers commenced on July 12, 2007.
The Pantaloons end-of-season-sale promises discounts of up to 50% on all the major categories such as men's formal, casual & sportswear; women's ethnic & western wear; kids wear, infant wear and accessories.
The sale is on at Pantaloon Fresh Fashion stores in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Surat, Indore, Agra, Delhi (NCR), Hyderabad & Bangalore stores.
The sale at Pantaloons stores has something for everyone. The Pantaloons End-of-season-Sale offers discounts on all large categories like apparel and accessories for all kinds of customers. Also it offers products on discounts for all age groups including kids and infants.
Some of the popular brands on sale are - John Miller, Lombard, Urbana, Scullers, RIG, UMM, BARE Denim, BARE Leisure, JM Sport, Ajile, Annabelle, Honey, Akkriti, Chalk, BARE 7214, etc.
Said Mr. Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO, Pantaloons, Pantaloons Fresh Fashion is truly committed to providing consumers, fashionable apparel and accessories. It has been our constant endeavour to refresh the apparel and accessories collection for our customers. The end-of-season-sale is a great platform, which helps us reach out to larger set of consumers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Armani, with attitude

By Suzy Menkes
It began with Giorgio Armani's "Rock Symphony" and ended at midnight Wednesday with a barefoot Courtney Love in a Givenchy couture gown belting out "Samantha" until even the wrought iron banisters of the august Paris fashion house were shaking.
So the haute couture autumn/winter season rocked? Not exactly. Although the former model Claudia Schiffer dressed as a "Libertine" as seen through the lens of Karl Lagerfeld - the image unveiled at a party awash in Dom Perignon Champagne - did suggest the rock-the-baroque scenario of Sofia Coppola's movie "Marie Antoinette."
But parties with a decadent glamour are nothing new for couture, especially in a season with so many landmark celebrations. The surprise was to find a new vision from the maestro of Milan: Armani with attitude.
Citing his muse as David Bowie and switching from beige to shocking pink, Armani Prive challenged pre-conceptions about the designer. And although a lot looked forced (think pink - and more pink) the show had an energy and dynamism you don't get from ladylike couture.
"Soft rock," said Armani. "I thought about the women of today - a lot has changed in the world even for the wealthy. And women who may be old still want to dress young. I am designing for a woman who wants to be assertive."
You would certainly be noticed in a shawl made up of a tangle of pink and blue plumes, a pink feather coat, a bright orange bolero with ballooning, frilled sleeves and what Armani called "crinoline rock." That was a strapless dress with an egg-shaped skirt, split to one side to show off boots and recalling some of Gianni Versace's wilder creations.
But since Armani Prive has built a serious client list, the partygoers did not need to take all the hoopla too seriously. It was as if a rock band in full swing was trying to drown out the bass notes.
But those were there in the collection: a lean tuxedo, fancied up with a shocking pink shirt and one of the crumpled mini fedoras, which had a rakish charm. Then there were the opening daytime outfits that seemed eons away from glam rock, with their small jackets, deep belts and full, girlish skirts. They too came in colors, but including an inky ikat blue.
For those who wanted impeccable evening wear, silver came up as the new neutral shade and the line was slender, nipped in at the waist.
The general feeling was that Armani was testing himself, trying to break out of his own shell, rather than seeing the 60-piece collection as a wild departure from his signature style. Often the funky pieces were accessories: a single fingerless, studded glove; an egg-shaped clutch bag in vivid pink; glitter bootees; and those multicolored shawls that the designer has tinkered with in ready-to-wear.
It didn't make for a cohesive vision. But the front row guest Cate Blanchett got the show.
"It was fanstastic - so rock," she said, picking out for the red carpet a black gown with a swoosh of chartreuse taffeta. "And God is in the details - I loved the shoes."
Suzy Menkes is fashion editor at the International Herald Tribune.

Paris Fashion: The jewelers of Place Vendome get in on the act

By Suzy Menkes
With rose-red rubies dangling in the trumpet of a flower and sapphire petals spreading over diamond branches, the "Catherine" necklace from Boucheron opened up its garden of earthly delights.
This nature-inspired collection was part of a general botanical jewelry theme that sprouted as the jewelers of Place Vendome opened their doors for the haute couture season.
Haute Joallerie, as the French call it, is living up to its rarefied name now that the hedge fund managers and oligarch's wives are zoning on jewelry.
As befits their big ticket prices, these floral classics of the industry now come in eye-popping sizes with a sculptural three-dimensional effect.
Boucheron's "Fleur Fatale" has a femme fatale allure, with trembling branches of stones and diamond serpents emerging from abundant nature.
Many of these flamboyant pieces can also be un-clipped to produce a smaller brooch or pin. Shown in the salon against boxwood greenery and mesh fencing, the collection also has a more approachable side, with a tiny owl on a chain and gold grapes.
Chanel's camellia is the house signature, but shown in a scenario of a crystal cherry blossom tree, the diamond tracery of the flower took on a new dimension. So did the classic 1930s feather, its whiskers of brilliant-cut diamonds buried in the tail of a white peacock.
The jewels - including the bold J12 watch - were shown in Coco Chanel's personal apartment at the Ritz hotel, decked out for the presentation with Mademoiselle's own objects, like a camellia-patterned fan and two sculptures of deer. In the autumn, the Chanel jewelry store on Place Vendome will be renovated to showcase a collection that is still rooted in the 1930s comet pieces that Coco designed but also contains imaginative new pieces.
For Van Cleef & Arpels, flowers are always in fashion and the big crowd that showed up for the open house evening gawped over both the big pieces and some of the charming additions to the sweet Alhambra range, including mother-of-pearl butterflies.
De Grisogono, famous for its black diamonds, went green. But that meant a selection of emerald jewels in exceptional mixes of cuts, from briolettes to pave work, so that the jewels looked like haute gravel on a bracelet or like stamen heads at the center of a floral ring. Also in this garden, a diamond serpent bracelet with emerald eyes.
Dior had bouquets of multi-colored flowers in its Diorette collection, where lacquered surfaces gleamed on the nestling blooms.
Chaumet's world was sea blue at its merry summer celebration, where the courtyard of its Place Vendome store had a mock swimming pool - the better to make a big splash with its new version of its iconic diving watch. The Class One 39 MM has a Mediterranean blue face washed over with white diamonds while the face of the Haute Joaillerie version is a foaming surf of pave-set stones.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Marks and Spencer teams up with Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain for Beijing Olympics

Marks & Spencer is to partner the Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain (MPAGB) in its preparations for the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, as part of the FTSE-BOA Initiative.
Marks & Spencer's support for MPAGB's preparation for the Games will include nutritional advice, professional support in regional development, business planning, IT support and branding advice.
Britain's modern pentathletes have already had an impressive year, with Heather Fell winning the individual Silver medal at the European Championships in Latvia earlier this month.
This week Georgina Harland, the Athens Olympic bronze medallist, secured a place in September's World Cup Final in Beijing by taking bronze in the last round of the 2007 World Cup series in Rome.
Jude Bridge, Marketing Communications Director at Marks & Spencer, said: "By partnering the MPAGB, we hope to help further the development of a unique sport, and to increase awareness amongst our customers and employees of the Modern Pentathlon, a complete sport where athletes need to be at the peak of mental and physical health."
Peter Hart, Chief Executive of the MPAGB added: "We are delighted that such a high profile brand as M & S has chosen to Partner with Modern Pentathlon. Marks & Spencer will provide MPAGB access to many areas of business expertise, from HR to marketing."
"This will play an important part in the development plans for our elite male and femaleathletes and the sport in general, ensuring that the Beijing and London Olympics will be further positive steps in the successful development of Modern Pentathlon in Britain."

Friday, July 6, 2007

Swim shorts - retro sartorial fun or object of ridicule?


Within weeks, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of British males will discover the personal and aesthetic pros and cons of purchasing swim shorts, or having a pair bought for them. Many will be wearing trunks, swim tangas or boardshorts printed with such outrageous retro floral and tropical designs as to suggest they have been sealed in a cargo container for 33 years, having been deemed too cheesy for the Seventies.
Only on the sands in August will most men learn whether this has been a hoax - a conspiracy between their girlfriends and the fashion industry to get them parading palely in pink- and turquoise-flowered Haiti briefs or gingham-check fashion water shorts in order to chuckle or even cackle at them - or whether wearing, with a 'hot tropicality' and a confidence just shy of cockiness, some lime-green palm tree-print boardshorts, rainforest surf shorts or hibiscus and psychedelic anchor-design Bermuda wide legs (from Topman, H&M, M&S or some cheaper or groovier emporium) will prove to be entry tickets to raves and babes abroad.
Many dull beaches and suburban balcony barbecues will be made more colourful by men sporting 'Atoll-wear' (beachwear decorated with images of lagoons enclosed by coral reefs). This tsunami of retro and post-postmodern Tahiti-esque designs may even come to be regarded as British males' first great angst-suppressing yet rather cheery dress rehearsal for global warming.
But the fear - and delight - remains that it's merely a ruse at the expense of dudes wearing fast-drying crinkle-cloth bathing garments decorated with seashells, bananas and bamboo huts and looking like they've been retro-designed on to a very old colour Xerox found in a skip on the King's Road.

Italy : Everlasting designer styles at Milan Fashion Show

The Milan Fashion show that ended on Wednesday presented everlasting styles for this spring. Italian designers displayed pocket handkerchiefs, neck scarves and waistcoats, leaving a mark in the mind of spectators.
Collections of Italian 1950 Cinecitta films along with the style of French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo was the theme of Gucci's Frida Giannini while Belstaff, recognized for its tough biker jackets, followed the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia.
Belstaff offered unique looks of blue and red check kilt, while and {Dolce & Gabbana} focused on mini swimming costumes.
Valentino Garavani's 'Historical themes of the maison' range was a seductive cocktail of colonial flavours and burlesque show of topless dancers.
Waistcoats of any kind bagged the winning title with many designers.
Motivated by rock stars with D&G anthology, models with Designer Donatella Versace waistcoats had the front dazzled with metal beads.
Many designers this time highlighted on clothes that were flexible to temperature changes with detachable collars, sleeves, skirts that could double up as jackets and trench coats pared back to a jacket.
Fabric like cotton and linens were the centre of attraction with summer colors like whites, pale greys and pastels, with splashes of summer sky blue and sun yellow.
Sizeable leather bag that folded into a flat rectangle to hang snug against the hip, was an accessory that was added new for men.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

CIBC World Markets Consumer Conference

7th Annual Consumer Growth Conference

CIBC World Markets presents a number of conferences each year ranging from large multi-sector forums to intimate, industry focused gatherings. By bringing the investor community together with senior executives of major public and private companies and top - ranked industry analysts, our investor conferences have developed a well-earned reputation within the financial community.

USA: CIBC World Markets Consumer Conference will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday, July 11, 2007, at 10:55 a.m. ET.

Confirmed Companies (as of July 3, 2007)
July 10-11, 2007, July 12, 2007
1-800 Flowers (FLWS)
Aeropostale (ARO)
AFC Enterprises (AFCE)
Bare Escentuals (BARE)
Best Buy (BBY)
BJ's Restaurant (BJRI)
Bob Evans Farms (BOBE)
Buca (BUCA)
Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD)
Burger King (BKC)
Casual Male Retail Group, Inc. (CMRG)
Central Garden & Pet (CENT)
Charming Shoppes (CHRS)
Cheesecake Factory (CAKE)
Cherokee (CHKE)
Chico's FAS, Inc. (CHS)
Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. (PLCE)
Christopher & Banks Corp. (CBK)
Church & Dwight (CHD)
Circuit City (CC)
CKE Restaurants (CKR)
Coldwater Creek (CWTR)
Darden Restaurants (DRI)
Denny's (DENN)
Design Within Reach (DWRI)
Directed Electronics (DEIX)
Domino's Pizza (DPZ)
Dressbarn (DBRN)
Famous Dave's of America (DAVE)
Guess? Inc. (GES)
Gymboree Corp. (GYMB)
Hibbett Sporting Goods (HIBB)
Jamba Juice (JMBA)
Jarden Corporation (JAH)
J. Crew (JCG)
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD)
Lifetime Brands (LCUT)
Liquidity Services (LQDT)
McCormick & Schmick's (MSSR)
Morton's Restaurant Group (MRT)
Nordstrom (JWN) - 1-on-1 meetings only
Panera Bread Company (PNRA)
Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET)
Playtex (PYX)
Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. (PBH)
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB)
Ruth's Chris Steak House (RUTH)
Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG)
Sonic Corporation (SONC)
Stage Stores (SSI)
Talbots (TLB)
Texas Roadhouse (TXRH)
Tiffany & Co. (TIF)
True Religion Apparel (TRLG)
Tupperware (TUP)
Urban Outfitters (URBN)
Volcom, Inc. (VLCM)
Weight Watchers (WTW)
Williams-Sonoma (WSM)
Ameristar Casinos (ASCA)
Bally Technologies (BYI)
Bluegreen Corporation (BXG)
Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD)
Choice Hotels (CHH)
Evergreen Gaming *
Gamehost Imcome Fund *
Gaylord Entertainment (GET)
Great Canadian Gaming (GCD.TO)
Great Wolf Resorts (WOLF)
Hilton (HLT)
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
International Game Technology (IGT)
Isle of Capri Casinos(ISLE)
LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation (LNET)
MGM Mirage (MGM)
Morgans Hotel Group (MHGC)
MTR Gaming (MNTG)
Multimedia Games(MGAM)
Nevada Gold and Casinos (UWN) - 1-on-1 meetings only
Pinnacle Entertainment (PNK)
Progressive Gaming (PGIC)
Red Lion Hotels (RLH)
Silverleaf Resorts (SVLF)
Steiner Leisure Limited (STNR)
WMS Industries (WMS) (UBET)


Germany : KAFFEE ORIENTAL - Urban fashion from Arabian Nights

July 4, 2007
Independent streetwear labels, underground fashion & urban styles: 100 creative, international young designers will once again present an exceptional cross-over in trends away from the mainstream at the 7th Edition of Design Attack in Hall 13.
The programme in the Scene Area includes not only shoes, bags and accessories, but also Urban and Streetwear, lingerie as well as the most diverse lifestyle products.
The forthcoming Design Attack from 14 to 16 September 2007 enables the visitors to experience the oriental magic of the fascinating Moroccan regal city Marrakesh with all their senses under the KAFFEE ORIENTAL design and event motto.
The fair stands are presented true-to-original style as Arabian merchants palaces or Riads with filigree arches and ornaments in a warm colour spectrum ranging from orange to terracotta and bordeaux.
Oriental light spectacles, sensual rose petal, vanilla, cinnamon aromas, and as a highlight, an original oriental Souk bazaar, authentically reflect the exotic atmosphere of the historic old town edina.
On the bazaar street, there is the lively, colourful hustle and bustle between stands offering spices, different tea varieties, fragrances along with oriental carpet merchants, snake charmers and seductive belly dancers.
In the oriental boxes all around the catwalk at the KAFFEE ORIENTAL Plaza, anyone who gets too hot will find a genuine oasis with palm trees, refreshing cocktails and fountain as well as several water plume fountains. Several times a day KAFFEE ORIENTAL Shows are held there, which present extravagant looks and trends.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fifth annual national underwear day at Freshpair from Aug 7

On Tuesday, August 7, 2007, underwear will come out of the drawer and into the streets, celebrating its status as the most important item worn throughout the day.
Commemorating its fifth anniversary, National Underwear Day will celebrate the importance of underwear with runway shows, give-a-ways and other surprises in the heart of Times Square.
National Underwear Day will also mark the beginning of an exciting new charitable program Freshpair, Freshstart to help provide basic necessities to people in need.
From 11AM - 2PM, male and female models clad in hottest brands including Wacoal, Le Mystere, Natori, DT Clothes and Chantelle will walk the catwalk in the latest styles.
Throughout the day, National Underwear Day will have changing stations set up for passersby to change into a free, fresh pair of underwear from C-IN2, Diesel, and Ginch Gonch.
Those enjoying the festivities of National Underwear Day will also learn about Freshpair, Freshstart, a program committed to providing basic, practical necessities.
National Underwear Day is the first of many Freshpair, Freshstart opportunities where the public can help people who are struggling to rebuild their lives. A day of friendly family fun, National Underwear Day is surely an event not to be missed!
Additional participants in National Underwear Day Festivities include: Barely There, Hanes, Go Softwear, Paul Frank, Male Power, Report Collection and Cotton Incorporated.
Freshpair is a leading online retailer of men's and women's intimate apparel selling over 100 brands. Freshpair is also the founder of National Underwear Day.
Freshpair's exceptional customer service and huge selection help make every shopping experience comfortable and convenient. At Freshpair, you can buy underwear in your underwear.

Winning Brands Corporation announces that Holland America Line will be adding the ms Amsterdam to the group of cruise ships it is converting to an environmentally friendly alternative to on-board dry cleaning.
The new system, SMART Wet Cleaning, does not use the solvent commonly associated with dry cleaning, Perchloroethylene (perc). The conversion is part of an ongoing commitment by Holland America Line toward excellence in all fields of operation, including environmental stewardship.
This will be the 8th cruise ship conversion by Holland America Line to the SMART Wet Cleaning System. The new system is targeted to go live on the ms Amsterdam in the next 90 days.
SMART Wet Cleaning Solutions are part of a system of hardware and environmentally advanced cleaning solutions that process "Dry Clean Only" garments by using water instead of hazardous solvents.
Winning Brands Corporation manufactures the SMART Wet Cleaning Solutions used on board. Winning Brands' mission is to replace hazardous chemicals in widespread use with safer alternatives. SMART Wet Cleaning products are distributed by Solvent Free Solutions Inc.

NEW YORK: Liz Claiborne, the designer of career clothes for professional women entering the work force en masse beginning in the 1970s, died Tuesday in New York. She was 78.

Her death, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, was the result of complications of cancer, said Arthur Ortenberg, her husband. Claiborne learned in 1997 that she had a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen. While undergoing treatments, she continued to pursue a second career promoting environmental conservation.

She had homes in Manhattan and the village of Saltaire on Fire Island, New York, and on a large farm in Swan Valley, Montana.

Before she became the most successful women's apparel designer in America of the time, Claiborne had worked for 20 years in the back rooms of Seventh Avenue sportswear houses like Youth Guild and Juniorite.

A strong-willed designer with an acute business sense, she defied the male-dominated ranks of the fashion industry by starting her own company in 1976 with her husband, Ortenberg, a textiles executive who had been her boss for more than two decades. In a reversal of roles, she gave him the corporate title of secretary.

Three last articles are published via

Shoals of fish and tumbling sea urchins are not familiar accessories on a fashion runway. But by the time a snaking sea creature was made up of wrist watches, Diesel had made a statement with its dive into the deep.

It was all done with holograms, projected on an ultrafine scrim. They created an oceanic setting for the sand-beige sportswear, the hooded tops, taut trench coats, crunchy knits and skinny pants, as Diesel staged its extravaganza at the Pitti Immagine Uomo fair.

"It's a first," said Renzo Rosso, Diesel's chief executive, describing the floating blue holograms as a "mood board" on the catwalk and a stimulation for its young consumers who surf the Internet for novelty. The show Thursday went live on

At the rollicking after-party, Rosso had plenty to celebrate. The company, known for its ironic ads, has won the Cannes Lion for advertising for its spoof showing women taking a Diesel executive hostage as they steal intimate apparel.

The "Global Warming Ready" campaign this spring also created a stir with its surreal landscapes of transformed cities, from St. Mark's Square in Venice filled with tropical birds to Paris as a jungle and Manhattan half-submerged - all peopled by impeccably dressed Diesel-ites.

LONDON: Hearing that Victoria Beckham wanted to buy up her merry collection of frilled rompers and swirling dresses must have seemed to Kelly Shaw, a student designer, like the magic moment when Madonna picked out the fledgling Olivier Theyskens.

Shaw, from the University of East London, did not win the big award at the finale of Graduate Fashion Week. That went jointly to two menswear designers - even if Lanvin's Alber Elbaz, one of the judging team, along with Beckham, persuaded Jasper Chadprajong from Ravensbourne College to show his collection of enveloping parkas on female models.

The co-winner, Nicolas Thomas, from Bristol University, showed graphic dot and stripe knitwear worn with rubber boots that Elbaz gave him the cash to buy.

A mild survival theme (like the protective menswear from Kirsten Bridgewater, Westminster University) ran through the shows by the 10 finalists, drawn from the 20 colleges participating in the four-day event.

Zandra Rhodes, as colorful in her signature pink as many of the upbeat collections, picked out the romantic vistas from Jessica Clarke (Manchester Metropolitan University) as winner of the Catwalk Textiles Award. From the strong knitwear, the Pringle's designer Clare Waight Keller chose the ultra-light designs of Lilli Rose Wicks (Somerset).

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Men going coastal: Swim shorts - retro sartorial fun or object of ridicule?

John Hind
The Observer

Within weeks, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of British males will discover the personal and aesthetic pros and cons of purchasing swim shorts, or having a pair bought for them. Many will be wearing trunks, swim tangas or boardshorts printed with such outrageous retro floral and tropical designs as to suggest they have been sealed in a cargo container for 33 years, having been deemed too cheesy for the Seventies.

Only on the sands in August will most men learn whether this has been a hoax - a conspiracy between their girlfriends and the fashion industry to get them parading palely in pink- and turquoise-flowered Haiti briefs or gingham-check fashion water shorts in order to chuckle or even cackle at them - or whether wearing, with a 'hot tropicality' and a confidence just shy of cockiness, some lime-green palm tree-print boardshorts, rainforest surf shorts or hibiscus and psychedelic anchor-design Bermuda wide legs (from Topman, H&M, M&S or some cheaper or groovier emporium) will prove to be entry tickets to raves and babes abroad.

Many dull beaches and suburban balcony barbecues will be made more colourful by men sporting 'Atoll-wear' (beachwear decorated with images of lagoons enclosed by coral reefs). This tsunami of retro and post-postmodern Tahiti-esque designs may even come to be regarded as British males' first great angst-suppressing yet rather cheery dress rehearsal for global warming.

But the fear - and delight - remains that it's merely a ruse at the expense of dudes wearing fast-drying crinkle-cloth bathing garments decorated with seashells, bananas and bamboo huts and looking like they've been retro-designed on to a very old colour Xerox found in a skip on the King's Road.

Hilary Duff - the hardest-working teen star in Hollywood
She looks every inch the contented singer/actress. But, as her raw new album proves, Hilary Duff has a fraught relationship with success - not to mention certain it-girls. Strawberry Saroyan talks to the hardest-working teen star in Hollywood

Hilary Duff lies across a green and white striped chaise in an empire-line bubble dress and sky-high, strappy heels vamping it up: smiling, seductive and sweet looks are offered to the camera. 'That's great,' says the photographer. 'Wonderful. Now turn to the side.'

'I know people think I'm just so mainstream - "She's just a blonde, young girl." But I want to be really artistic.

But the real show is going on around her. A team of seven - make-up artist, hair stylist, various managers - are discussing the 19-year-old starlet as if she wasn't in the room.

'I want to take her to the couture shows. Wouldn't that be awesome?' says her petite fashion stylist. 'Honey, she has a tour to rehearse for,' counters Duff's lanky, hair-falling-in-his-eyes music manager. 'She can rehearse in Paris!' retorts the stylist, and the team laughs.

'Why can't she go to St Barth's the next morning?' someone else shouts. Finally Duff, hitherto doll-like and silent, breaks in. 'I'm not changing my vacation.'

After witnessing this scene, one can understand why she'd need one. But her team has helped turn Duff into one of the most prolific young stars in Hollywood. Since making her breakthrough in the coming-of-age sitcom Lizzie McGuire (2001), Duff has appeared in films including Agent Cody Banks, Cheaper by the Dozen, A Cinderella Story and Material Girls.

She has a fashion line, Stuff by Duff, which will be stocked in more than 7,500 shops this year (teeny, tiny sequin-adorned miniskirts, anyone?), and her own perfume, With Love, created in partnership with Elizabeth Arden; there is even a Hilary and Haylie Duff Shopping Barbie (Haylie is Hilary's older sister and an actress and singer).

Then there's Duff's music career. Her first album was a Christmas compilation called 'Santa Claus Lane', which was released in 2002; since then she has sold 13 million albums. Her fifth - 'Dignity' - went on sale in March. The single Stranger is released next month.

Duff says Stranger is about her parents' separation in 2006 after 22 years of marriage. So why does it sound as if it's about the break-up of her own relationship last November with Joel Madden, the frontman of the punk-pop band Good Charlotte, whom she had dated for two and a half years?

'I didn't want people to know about my parents' problems. We were keeping it very quiet,' she says, explaining that she wrote it as though she were in her mother's shoes.

'But then I was like, "Wait, why am I being so guarded? Why do I care? I'm not perfect. Everybody deals with things and has problems." So I got over it and the rest of my album is really honest.'

It certainly is. The track Gypsy Woman is about her father's infidelity, and Dreamer seems to be about the stalker who threatened to kill her.

Several end-of-relationship songs offer up the sort of dismissiveness only a pop princess could muster ('I don't have time for this/I'm off to play in Houston') and do little to dispel speculation that she's angry with Nicole Richie, who started dating Madden just a month after Duff and he parted.

Is she? Duff says she's never met Richie, gets up to go to the bathroom, then on returning says, 'How would it be for anyone? That's all I can say. No one would be happy about it.'

But it is with the album's title - and title track - that Duff seems to be courting controversy. It's a pointed indictment of the antics of young Hollywood.

'It's not news when you got a new bag/It's not news when somebody slaps you/It's not news when you're looking your best... Where's your dignity?' screams Duff.

Friday, June 29, 2007

What Was Paris Hilton Smoking?

We hate to call ex-con Paris Hilton a liar, but when she told Larry King last night that she had never taken drugs, it seems that the heiress somehow forgot about the marijuana, hashish, mushrooms, and Quaaludes. Hilton's, um, familiarity with illegal substances was memorialized on home videos she shot over the past several years in various cities. As we've previously reported, her videos are available on a web site that charges about $20 for a one-month subscription. In the seven clips you'll find below, Hilton does (and talks) drugs with sister Nicky, former boyfriend Jason Shaw, assorted swells, and a very accommodating guy named Jose. (1 page)

1) Filming a video message to an absent boyfriend, Hilton (accompanied by her dog Prince) notes that she's home "smoking pot and eating burgers that are old."

2) After attending a socialite's birthday party, Hilton meets up with an acquaintance named Jose, who offers to hook her and Shaw up with "some good stuff." Hilton asks, "Like what?" Jose responds that his friend has everything. "Quaaludes?," she asks. After Jose answers, "Yeah," Hilton says, "70 milligrams." "I don't know, I mean. Don't start talking milligrams to me," replies Jose. "Ludes," she continues. "Yes, I know," responds Jose. "Quaaludes," Hilton repeats. "I know what it is. He has everything. Percocet, you name it. He's like a pharmacy," says Jose.

3) "That's where we bought our 'shrooms," Hilton announces as she films outside The Mushroom Gallery in Amsterdam. Later, in her hotel room, she videotapes the psychedelic score and asks Shaw, "Should we take some before we leave?" She then adds, "Imagine being on a plane on mushrooms."

4) Hilton is seen smoking hash like a pro in an Amsterdam coffee shop.

5) Discussing her drug stash with Shaw, Hilton says, "I hope I can get this shit back to America." She then talks about the possibility of grinding up the dope, apparently for easier transport. "Plotting," Shaw announces. "The smuggle," responds Hilton, who adds that she needs to consult "an expert like Chuck, that dude who sold us all that weed. 'Cause he was, like, 'Call me from Amsterdam, 'cause I have a hookup out there.'"

6) At a party, Nicky asks her camera-toting sister, "Do you have herb?" Paris enthusiastically responds, "Yeah, the best pot. You wanna smoke pot? I have the best pot. I have the best pot. Lemme get it." As she winds her way back through the crowd, Hilton tells friends, "Dude, we're smoking pot if you guys want to smoke." After she apparently retrieves her pot, Hilton announces to some girlfriends, "Let's smoke some fucking herb." As they look for an appropriate outdoor spot, Hilton asks three times, "Are we gonna get arrested?"

7) During a visit to an Amsterdam pot museum, Hilton bogarts a bong-like instrument, much to the amusement of Shaw, who says, "Save some for the rest of us." Hilton reassures him that, "There's so much in there."


Thursday, June 28, 2007

>Earlier this year a spat broke out between Milanese designers and American fashion critics.

Good old days: styles are changing so much but timeless elegance can live on

The latter accused some designers of being out of touch and others of tackiness and vulgarity.

Cathy Horyn, the acerbic and much-respected fashion editor of the New York Times threw insults at Giorgio Armani's trousers declaring that they, "looked as limp and clingy as gym pants." While her colleague, Guy Trebay, took a pop at Dolce & Gabbana's trashy aesthetic.

There is much to admire in Milanese fashion but the critics had a point. Metal corsets belts, glitzy gold, animal prints and a ton of spangly crystals are what Dolce & Gabbana have in store for us next autumn. And they are not the only ones to blame.

We have had seasons of baby-dolls and micro-minis, girly frills or trashy Paris Hilton style glitz. Whatever happened to simple elegance?

The V&A's forthcoming retrospective - the Golden Age of Couture - which will be bursting with pieces from Dior, Balenciaga and Balmain, is a timely reminder of how women were once dressed. They looked refined, feminine and utterly chic.

While there are contemporary labels who do address the gap for grown-up, chic clothes - Alber Elbaz, Bottega Veneta, Prada and Jil Sander to name a few - this summer's dominant trends certainly don't reflect this.

But there's change ahead. Marc Jacobs, so often a forerunner of seismic shifts in fashion, has created a new direction for next autumn largely based on the ultra-elegant French chic of the mid-Seventies.

His show included immaculately tailored cashmere coats, some of which were loosely belted, worn over straight-leg trousers which sat neatly on the waist. There were simple blouses, lady-like hats and bags all in an eminently wearable palette of camel, inky navy, dark chocolate with an occasional jolt of mustard, orange or bright blue.

What grown-up woman wouldn't want to wear his belted berry red tunic worn and neat black trousers with deep red lips and a chic clutch bag? Despite its Seventies flavour, this look owes much to an American sportswear heritage which Jacobs, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren all regularly draw upon.

It's understated, stylish and most importantly it's utterly democratic - simple shapes in an easy palette which would fail to scare even the most conservative dresser.

While Jacobs' collection won't hit shops until next month there are already some signs of change this summer with more body-conscious silhouettes which celebrate classic hourglass figures and the return of grown-up tailoring.

"Our customers are real women and no fools," says Yasmin Sewell, Buying Director at Browns in London.

"It's exciting that more and more designers seem to be raising their game and responding to them, designing pieces for an older more, savvy woman who does not want to be seen in the same baby-doll smock as the fourteen year olds on the bus in their high street version."

Bridget Cosgrave, Womenswear Buyer at Matches agrees: "The whole smock, trapeze dress trend hasn't been well-received by our customers although it's been great for the teen market who have relished it. But this summer there are already touches of a new more sophisticated direction from Stella McCartney who has done beautiful boyfriend jackets which we sold out of in a day and a half."

"That Marc Jacobs show really made you sit up and think but we've seen this new direction in other collections too. In Alexander McQueen's pre-collection there were fabulous trousers that had darts so they really fit around the bottom."

The most important message is to keep it simple.

Focus on separates such as boxy jackets which are plentiful on the high street and neat tailored skirts (that sit just above or on the knee). Ignore all those smocks and little dresses in the sales and look instead for more body-conscious dresses - the linen cap-sleeved dress at Hobbs is a brilliant example of a flattering shape that women of varying ages and sizes would look good in.

Classic, timeless tailoring - especially which relies on great cut and fabric is worth spending money especially if you want really well-fitting, flattering trousers.

"Raf Simmons at Jil Sander is really blazing the path for this, says Yasmin Sewell. "It's really a fashion brand, much like Bottega Veneta but these are the kind of brands that if you buy into now you wear forever."

A model in a dress

Shopping in the sales is a bit like Glastonbury - without the mud. It can be fun, but you must have stamina and you have to be prepared.

Survival of the fittest: follow these sale rules and you won't be left empty handed

This is no easy-going, window-shopping browse; it demands meticulous planning, a list of clear-cut objectives - and an escape plan. First, though, you must decide your sales philosophy and work out what sort of shopper you are.

The Cool Customer

You are as reliable as clockwork, and your wardrobe is as pared down as a peeled cucumber - all space is reserved for classics.

Invest in... a ribbed cashmere cardigan, J62.50 (50 per cent off), at Belinda Robertson (020 7838 9170); classic black trousers, J104 (30 per cent off), at Joseph (020 7616 8441); a trenchcoat, J484 (40 per cent off), at Burberry London (07000 785 676); a fabulous Little Black Dress, such as Ralph Lauren's long, ruffled chiffon version, J869 (reduced by 50 per cent), at Harrods (020 7730 1234).

The Fashionista

You're a fad-hungry follower of fashion, and you can't wait for prices to drop.

You'll drool over... Maxmara's long silver shimmer gown, J382 (30 per cent off; 020 7499 7902); Matthew Williamson's disco-sequinned shift, J475 (down by 50 per cent; 020 7629 6200); Miu Miu's satin party dress, J300 (40 per cent off; 020 7409 0900).

The Heat-Seeking Missile

Your target is designer labels, so set your fashion sat-nav for... Collette Dinnigan, Betty Jackson and Paul & Joe, all reduced by 50 per cent, at Fenwick, W1 (020 7629 9161); Balenciaga, John Galliano and Lanvin, among others, with reductions from 40 per cent, at Harrods, SW1 (as above); Chloe and Alexander McQueen, with 40 per cent off, at Harvey Nichols (020 7235 5000); and Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Balmain, Fendi, from 40 per cent off, at Selfridges (0800 123 400).

Prepare to do battle

Go through your wardrobe and decide what you really need. What are the missing links? Something in red? A pair of flared, black trousers? Some brown suede boots? When fighting your way through the crowds, you need to be as focused as possible, so:

- Set yourself a budget - this includes cash and plastic. We're only halfway through the year, and you still have holidays and Christmas to pay for!

- Wear flat shoes, but take a pair of heels for checking length in the fitting room.

- Take the item for which you are hoping to find the perfect partner with you.

- If you find something you love, it fits, and you can afford it, buy in bulk.

- Hunt as a lone wolf. Friends will distract and frustrate you; she'll want the Manolos, you'd rather wallow in Lanvin.

- Travel light, and wear clothes that are easy to remove. Leave accessories at home; they may get lost, and you don't want to waste valuable bargain-hunting time taking them on and off.

- Look ahead. If you don't need anything for right now, buy pieces without sell-by dates, or items that hit on autumn's trends


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My life in shopping

Clare Waight Keller, creative director

Does shopping cheer you up?

Absolutely. I don't know who it doesn't cheer up, as long as you've got money in the bank.

What's your secret shopping tip?

I just couldn't live without my dry cleaner, Washington Dry Cleaners on Half Moon Street in Mayfair. He is just fantastic. I still go out of my way to use him. Once you have found someone who can look after your clothes, you have to move with them, like a hairdresser.

How would you describe your shopping style?

I like browsing and taking my time but I occasionally buy something on impulse - and I always regret it. I have such a strong visual sense that I do enjoy just walking around looking at things. Usually I hang on to things I buy for a very long time; I don't buy things for one season.

What are your rules of shopping?

Don't go shopping when you are angry or depressed because you always buy something you shouldn't - either too much food or too many clothes.

What items are always in your basket at the supermarket?

Organic cheese and yoghurt.

Do you always shop alone?

Always, unless it's for food.

What's your guiltiest purchase?

Vintage jewellery. I bought a really beautiful gold bracelet in Paris, something I didn't necessarily need but wanted. I would say it was more than I normally spend but vintage jewellery is an investment - that's how I justify it anyway.

Which one purchase can't you get through the week without?

Tea. I drink a particular one from Paris - called Marco Polo - and always stock up whenever I go.

* Clare Waight Keller is creative director of Pringle of Scotland.

Summer sundress glamour

After tea dresses, prom dresses, peasant dresses and maxi dresses, this is shaping up as the summer of the simple sundress. It is hard to say exactly what distinguishes a sundress from any other kind of dress - but suffice to say, it is a style to be worn only on unambiguously hot and sunny days. But as Lily Allen shows, they look best when they require no cover-up and the details of the dress do the talking, such as the giant bow on Hoss Intropia's tiered number. We know of no rules that say that a sundress can't have a straight skirt, but somehow fuller styles suit the carefree feel. All will work well with a flat or higher heel (wedges, not spindly ones, naturally) and many are suitable for work. So you can carry that graceful, insouciant vibe into the office, too.

John Mayer: "Design and manufacture a staple to help keep fajitas securely wrapped. Call it "The Fajita Staple." Make it strong, perhaps hewn from solid steel. Tangs must be very sharp so as to pierce steak or chicken, or in some cases fish. Can we get it into Rite-Aid by Christmas?"

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Clare Coulson takes a look at the hottest trends, music and innovative styles

The Harlow jean 18th Amendment's new style is already tipped to be a bestseller and goes on sale next month at Brown's Focus. A classic take on the 1970s flare, but without the scary ultra-high waist.
Easy dresses New online label Agogo ( goes live today. Look out for the coral Cannes Cannes sundress. Bi La Li, meanwhile, has created a capsule collection for, including tulip-shaped dresses.
British knits There's no stopping Clare Waight Keller's brilliant restyle of Pringle. The brand has just hired super-snapper Steven Meisel to shoot its autumn collection.
Pretty summer dresses and clompy sandals A look still going strong one year on - as worn by Yasmin Le Bon at the Royal Academy's summer party.
Roberto Cavalli The Italian maximalist has hired Pete Doherty to star in his autumn campaign. Will the gangly rocker be able to work all that Italian bling?
Cup cakes Time to move on to a lighter treat. A new branch of the French patisserie, Laduree, purveyor of divine macaroons, has just opened in Burlington Arcade.
Bikinis There's no time to get that bikini body. Invest in one of Princess Tam Tam's super chic swimsuits instead.
Inappropriate elevation How does a heel-obsessive dress for the sports field? In this summer's high-heel plimsolls, of course. Victoria Beckham gave the look its debut on Monday when she threw the first pitch of the LA Dodgers' game against the New York Mets.
Body Con Dressing It was dazzling on skinny models on the catwalks, but this look is seriously perilous in real life. Even whippet-thin Ellen Barkin couldn't pull it off.


He might not be a fixture at summer's smartest events but rugby star Jonny Wilkinson certainly knows how to look the part

Henley Royal Regatta

Cotton blazer, also in navy/white, J399. Hampstead-collar cotton shirt, J89. Cotton, military chinos, also in stone, khaki, blue, tan, brown, navy, J75. Silk, club-stripe tie, assorted colours, J59.

Canvas Bengal-striped belt, assorted colours, J29. Classic Panama, J59. Cotton socks, assorted colours, J12. 'Spectator' shoes, also in black/white, by Crockett & Jones, J255. Handkerchief, assorted colours, J9.