Style Scoop: BFA Awards, Louis Vuitton in Miami, and Karl’s Rolex

In Paris or Munich? Drop by one of the Karl Lagerfeld stores to pick up the Kaiser’s latest customization: a 19,000 euro, matte black Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss with Uncle Karl’s profile at 7 o’clock.

So who won at last night’s British Fashion Awards? Christopher Kane made out big as Womenswear Designer of the Year; Miuccia Prada took home top honors for International Designer; Kate Moss was honored for her 25 years in the industry (talk about staying power – she has a face and body that just won’t quit – see Playboy for proof); Burberry took home two honors for menswear and designer brand; JW Anderson took home the prize for new establishment; Nicholas Kirkwood was named Accessories Designer of the Year – for the third year in a row; and One Direction’s Harry Styles was recognized by Vodafone for embodying the spirit of London in style. I guess he’s named aptly.

Unfortunate news for internet shoppers – the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold New York’s internet tax… meaning your purchases from Amazon and and other online retailers aren’t exempt any longer. This evens the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores, so it’ll be good for business… just maybe not so much for the shopper.

Part of Versace is up for sale, up to a 20% stake. The sale would make some of those involved billionairesnot including Donatella, surprisingly.

Louis Vuitton is set to unveil “a house by the shore” during Design Miami. The house was conceived in 1934, but hadn’t been built ’til now.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Stand Their Ground With ‘Retreat!’

Give The People What They Want is the entirely spot-on title of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings newest album, due in August—you’d be hard pressed to find a more universally crowd-pleasing ensemble. The eleven-piece(!) outfit took a year to record in Bushwick after an extended tour of I Learned The Hard Way, and their lead-off single, “Retreat!” is anything but.

It’s a potent dose of soul, to be sure, and even that doesn’t properly convey its swaggering theatrics. As one Sound Cloud user points out: “Should have been a Bond film opener.” Yes, I think some sexy silhouettes would match this nicely. But Jones has no interest in being an object of mere fixation here—she tells a hopeful guy, repeatedly, where and when to get off. “Retreat!” is no personal instinct, it’s a pointed rebuff.
 
Who else singing today has more fire and flavor? Seriously, somewhere around the middle of this track you’ll completely forget that Taylor Swift and One Direction exist. You’re very welcome.
 

Linkage: Taylor Swift and Harry Styles Are Dunzo, Woody Allen’s New Flick Gets a Title

Taylor Swift and One Direction’s Harry Styles have broken up. I, for one, haven’t been this devastated since Taylor Swift broke up with that Kennedy kid. Alas, at least this means Swift will have enough material for at least three songs on her next album. (I’m guessing she’s been drafting some lyrics on that boat.) I’m hoping at least one of them is about Styles’s second set of nipples. (It’d be a good dig in a song called “I Could Never Love You (As Much As You Love Yourself)”) [NY Daily News, Gawker]

Woody Allen’s latest project has a name: Blue Jasmine. It also has a million people in it, including Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard. Here’s hoping Andrew Dice Clay plays the regular Woody Allen doppelganger. [Splitsider]

Rapper / weed enthusiast The Game took a break from scarfing down peanut butter-covered Fritos and DiGiorno pizzas to make some comments following Justin Bieber’s alleged marijuana use: “Let’s keep it real. There’s a lot of people in high positions…who smoke a little weed sometimes. I’m not saying it’s okay…but [Bieber] made a mistake.” I’m totally surprised that his statement wasn’t more to the point. [SOHH]

Last year, New York pizza joint L’Asso sent me a calendar featuring pizzas in sexy poses. (One included a pizza wearing assless chaps. I know it’s hard to picture, but just go with it.) It looks like someone else has figured out exactly what I’d like to put on my wall in 2013: a calendar featuring women covered in manure. [The Gloss]

“I chose Ellen as Jesus because of the incredibly positive impact she’s had on the masses. When she came out as gay on television her career took an unjust beating, and she rose form the ashes to become more powerful and well-liked than ever. Portia de Rossi was the easy choice as Mary Magdalene. The only other character I wanted to match up historically was Judas. Despite her status as a fictional character, I absolutely had to choose Shane McCutcheon from ‘The L Word’ as Judas because of her notoriously bad behavior in relationships.” Art, you guys. [HuffPo]

James Franco. Justin Bieber. This link placed here solely for SEO purposes. [Observer]

Bones is returning for a ninth season, which only makes me wonder if anyone can bother to explain to me what the hell Bones is about. [EW]

Brad Pitt has been banned from China, and Paris Hilton has been banned from Japan. Too bad I can’t ban them from my brain HA HA HA AM I RIGHT? [Flavorwire]

Apparently we should all be friends with Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia on Facebook. [Creeper Status]

Here’s a video of a dude falling off a skateboard. You know you need it today. [Hypervocal]

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

We’ll Never Get Tired of Watching Taylor Swift Make Out

If you worked in the BlackBook office, you would know that we occasionally enjoy discussing Taylor Swift. Like much of the rest of the world, we are enthralled by her love life. Personally, I’m not mad if her jams come on the radio; when it comes to the slew of men she parades around with, however, I have an issue. Girl, Tay Tay, can ya keep it in your pants for a second? We’ve seen her jump from Jonas to Mayer to Lautner to Jake and, more recently, Kennedy to Harry Styles, or, as I like to call him, "the hot one" from One Direction. Excuse me while I remind myself I am a grown woman well past her teens. 

My latest qualm with the megastar comes both from her atrocious New Year’s Eve performance and the video that has surfaced of her sucking face with Harry Styles—surrounded by a bajillion people at the stroke of midnight. Taylor, being a seasoned maker-outer, never lets up. She makes out as if no one is watching, no one except THE WORLD. She squeezes the life out of "the hot one" as if they really will last forever. I’ve watched the entire video (and others) a handful of times and it’s noticeably clear that Styles gets uncomfortable as if he just wants this chick to ease up and stop being a Lenny. There’s no way this will last another week or two, if I do say so myself. On a personal note, I hope I make out with more boys in 2013 than Taylor Swift, cuz you best believe I am counting!

Follow Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez on Twitter

“I Hate Music!” Says Michael Musto, Your Gay Grandpa

How many times have you heard some old person complain about what the kids are listening to these days? (Oh, yesterday, from me?) It’s a certainty, like death and taxes, that popular music will only cause the furrowed brows of the cool kids of yesteryear to become more creased, their now wrinkled hands forming into limp fists raised slightly in the air as the loose skin on those arms shake with a ferocity only matched by the senility so depressingly spouting from their typing fingers. Do not dare hush them! They have opinions, and they are always correct! Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Musto has something to say about the current state of pop music! 

The venerable Village Voice columnist is very upset today, because of Rihanna and Flo Rida and Ke$ha. And honey, he has lost his mind and control of his elipses:

The number-one slot on the chart generally goes to whoever gave the most free copies to concert-ticket buyers that week. The second week, they’re suddenly not even in the top 100. … Adele is happy. … Once you’ve heard the title of a Taylor Swift song, there’s no need to hear the actual song. … The "Piano in the Dark" sample in Flo Rida’s "I Cry" drives me cuckoo crazy. I keep wanting them to finish the phrase! … Someone please tell Rihanna it should be "shine brightly like a diamond." … Boybands are back. They’re like a case of crabs you just can’t get rid of. I really like their hair, though. … The musical repetition that started with all those Kesha songs is now in every single mix-mix-mix-mix-mix by every singer-singer-singer-singer. Stop-stop-stop-stop. … People who walk around listening to music are generally oblivious to everything else, not even aware that they’re endangering your life as they step into traffic in the middle of the street. Somehow they always come off scot-free as they glide through everyone else’s tragedies. They’re probably listening to Eminem.

Please, sir, tell me more!

Every song today happens to be "featuring" someone. Would the Beatles have had to give up their instrumental breaks to someone rapping about bitches and hos? 

Very good musical analysis, Mr. Musto! I had never ever considered the possibility of the Beatles singing about bitches and hos, much less the notion that Paul and John might step away from their microphones to give room to someone else to rap about bitches and hos. Very astute observation, pitting a band that has not released music since 1970 against, say, Jay-Z and Kanye West. Very smart! 

But hey, Michael Musto is hardly a music critic, and he knows it! Which is why he then begins to quote heavily from his music critic friend, who, similarly, is so angry about everything, especially Pitchfork:

"Pitchfork.com is an intentionally obscure website that reviews every indie record, rating them with a score from 1 to 100. It’s hard to get a score over 73. They create stars, like Melody Maker and NME did in England 20 years ago, and then they turn on them. As a result, your EP will sell 6,000 copies in Brooklyn, and then your full album will stiff. If you’re no longer new, you’re not as cool to them. They love bands they never heard of, and they love Neil Young, but everything in between is not good."

Anonymous Music Critic, you are so on-point! We’re on the cusp of 2013, after all, so it’s about time someone take a stance at those dastardly Pitchforks with their 100-point rating scale. And goddamn you, Brooklyn, for being so overpopulated by people who pay money for EPs! "White people," am I right? 

I mean, I get it: it’s hard to take your afternoon nap while listening to One Direction, and that only leaves you being cranky at dinnertime (which is 6PM, in case you forgot). 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

One Direction’s Harry Styles To Be Subject Of Next Taylor Swift Album

I can’t keep up with who Taylor Swift is dating anymore because I exhausted that section of my brain—the one that pays attention to the fickle romantic couplings of people I don’t know—back in middle school, when the girls "hooked up" (read: did not have sex) with a guy one week and then were caught holding hands with someone else at the skating rink the following Friday. Tiring, right?! All I wanted to do was sit at home and listen to showtunes and think confusing things about Paul Rudd in Clueless. Not much has changed, to be honest, but I can tell you one thing: this Taylor Swift gal is exhausting the hell out of me.

Wasn’t she just dating that Kennedy kid? She bought a house or something? And got kicked out of a wedding because Kathie Lee Gifford was there because she’s suddenly related to the Kennedys? WHO CAN KEEP UP? Anyway, now Taylor Swift is dating one of those shaggy-haired, skinny British boys in One Direction. Supposedly! They were spotted in the Central Park zoo and then were seen leaving the same hotel. SEPARATELY. I think we all know what that means!

So, what’s the deal? Can we expect the first single on her next album to be called something like "I Like You (But Not As Much As You Like The Four Other Guys In Your Band)"? I just can’t wait until she swears off dudes for, oh, a few weeks. 

[Related: Guessing the Song Titles on Taylor Swift’s New Album.]

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Morgan Spurlock Making 3D Documentary About One Direction, Because Why The Hell Not?

Looks like Morgan Spurlock will be making The Greatest Movie Ever Sold after all. During an appearance on The Today Show on Tuesday, mega-headliner British boy band/popular subjects of Tumblr slash fiction One Direction announced they would be starring in a 3-D concert documentary, and that Spurlock, best known for the 2004 Oscar-nominated doc Super Size Me, would direct. Because why the hell not? The Band had Scorsese at their finest hour; the Talking Heads had Jonathan Demme. And now One Direction has Morgan Spurlock. It sounds about right, in a weird way.

"I’m delighted we’re making this film and Morgan is the perfect person to give that access-all-areas, behind-the-scenes look into what it’s like to be One Direction today," Simon Cowell, the scowling curator of The X-Factor-turned-producer, said in a statement. "What the band have achieved is incredible, they and their fans have made history around the world – this is for them."

This is probably a better career move for Spurlock than it is for One Direction. People are going to see this movie regardless of who directs it because singing British teens—I mean, the Bieber 3D concert film didn’t have a Jonathan Demme behind it (it did, however, have the dude responsible for Step Up 2: The Streets, which is a treasure of modern cinema, so no hate there either). Although Spurlock has been crazy busy the past few years still making films in the wake of his almost dying to show us how dangerous fast food is while simultaneously making some viewers want it more and his recent films like The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope have been met with positive reviews, commercial reception has been a lot quieter compared to his hit. 

And yea, millions of teens will flock to cinemas worldwide during Labor Day weekend 2013 to see if Spurlock is indeed able to illuminate them about anything they didn’t already know about the Factor Five—and Spurlock has quite a challenge ahead of him if he wants to get past the group’s PR team and really get some personal dirt. Anyway, in case you haven’t had enough 1D today, here are the lads performing on the Today Show, where they drew in a record crowd of 15,000 fans:

British Neo-Soul Singer Paloma Faith Takes a Gamble on Stateside Success

Last year, scientists at the University of Bristol announced they’d come up with a formula for predicting whether a song will crack the Top 5 on the U.K. pop charts. The software analyzes such factors as tempo, beat variation, harmonic simplicity, and something called “tertiary time signature,” then measures it against 50 years of data. The algorithm spits out a binary verdict: jam it or slam it.

Sadly, no such science exists for the larger question: whether bona fide U.K.-bred pop stars will find mainstream success in America. For every Amy Winehouse and One Direction, there are a hundred Duffys and Lady Sovereigns: artists who are talented, interesting, and seemingly marketable, but who land at JFK with a resounding thud. True universality requires some quality scientists have yet to discover. But the rewards for popularity among the American audience—which is five times larger—keep the challengers coming.

The latest and greatest hope from across the pond is named Paloma Faith. The coquettish 27-year-old from Hackney, London—“It’s like the equivalent of Harlem,” she says—seems to have everything we Yanks want in a pop star: model-good looks, a highly cultivated sense of style, an engaging personality, a poetic backstory, and, most importantly, soulful, radio-friendly songs that speak to the themes of love, sex, loss, and betrayal. If there’s a reason she won’t succeed here, I can’t find it.

And so she’s coming to America. Faith is making the rounds before the U.S. release of her second full- length album, Fall To Grace, in November. This dog- and-pony show involves meeting with an endless stream of journalists like me and playing a few industry showcases to build up buzz. Her entrance is certainly impressive. There’s no missing Faith as she walks into Ladino, a kosher tapas restaurant on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, on a sunny late-summer afternoon.

She’s on the petite side, but she’s dressed exquisitely in an aquamarine Dolce & Gabbana number with a cute little hat that brings to mind a ’60s-era Pan Am stewardess. The lunch crowd looks up from their kashrut ceviche, in awe. Faith is polite, composed, and somewhat laconic at first, at least until an American-sized mound of guacamole arrives and seems to open her up. And she’s gorgeous—skin like a china doll, penetrating hazel eyes, and a perfect nose like I’ve never seen. She has the kind of beauty that makes you think she’d be a fool not to aim for a career in showbiz, like how a kid who’s seven feet tall by the age of 16 really ought to give basketball a try, just to work the odds.

Probably not for the first time today or the last, Faith delves into her background. Born to an English mother and a largely absent Spanish father, Faith was always creative, but she daydreamed in grade school and earned poor marks. One day, she decided to make a change, and in just five months, moved from the bottom of her class to the top. At 18, she enrolled in a dance college in the north of England but hated it. “It was the worst thing I’d ever done in my life,” she says. “It wasn’t creative. It was all about physically changing your body so that you could fit somebody else’s creative idea and not have your own. But I’m stubborn, so I stayed and finished it.”

Still craving higher education, she went on to earn a master’s degree in theater directing at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design. It was during this period that she began to embrace the idea of a career on stage. Her early jobs tended toward the bizarre.

“I was a magician’s assistant. I was a ghost on a ghost train. I did dark and twisted solo cabaret shows. I did weird performance art things,” she recites. “I was living a life that was really eclectic and managing to make ends meet.”

The ghost train to which she’s referring is Carnesky’s Ghost Train: a creepy, campy Blackpool carnival attraction designed to titillate British seaside vacationers. To get an idea of her cabaret chops, watch the video for her song, “30 Minute Love Affair,” which follows her through a sex shop to a bleak, noirish theater, where she belts out the emotional ode to ephemeral pleasures, Dietrich-style.

“As I incorporated singing into my act, people started saying ‘I love your voice,’” she continues. “But I felt that I wasn’t really a singer. The singers I really admired—like Etta James, Jill Scott, and Aretha Franklin—were, in my mind, better than I was, so I didn’t feel confident enough to call myself one.”

But, with the industry increasingly taking notice, she began to tone down the performance art while focusing on her voice. “The first showcase I ever did for a label, I incorporated some of my performance art with my singing, pretending to bleed and stuff on stage,” she says. “They came up to me afterward and said, ‘Um, we love your voice, we love your songs, but you really need to stop all that other stuff,’ so I moved away from it.” She pokes a fork into a dish of bacalao, a portrait of a performance artist tamed.

As she recorded and toured in support of her first album, 2009’s platinum-selling Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?, Faith found her niche, embracing a surreal version of cinema’s golden era, where reality seems twisted yet everything is beautiful. “I’ve been trying to make it like a dark fairy tale,” she says. “I want my music to have a timeless quality, neither in the future nor the past.”

As with every success story, she’s had a little help along the way. One unlikely mentor was Prince, who was enchanted by her music and decided to offer some advice, and an opportunity. “He knew my first record—the obscure tracks, not just the singles—and it was an amazing turning point for me because I was midway through writing the record I’m promoting now and it gave me a bit of a kick,” Faith explains. “He had this festival called the NPG Festival [in Copenhagen] last year and he invited me to go and play at it, so I thought ‘now I have to up my game to place myself in an international market.’”

“It was just like a real learning curve, and he was trying to educate me on things,” she continues. “I came back and said to my manager, ‘This is what I need to change. I need to get rid of some band members, get busy, do more rehearsals, and focus on the music more than the superficial elements.’”

Fall to Grace is already out in Britain, and Faith is already a star. (She carried the Olympic torch before the summer games, running in high heels no less.) But now Faith, and Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid, are trying to work the same magic in America that has proven so successful at home. She says she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to perform in America—she’ll be touring this fall—but she’s not about to make any concessions for our differing tastes.

“I’m not going to try desperately hard to become what I think America wants,” she says. “I don’t know what America wants. I just know what I am. That’s all I’ve got.”

True to her word, the following evening, at yet another industry showcase in Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom, Faith seems to be her chatty English self, bantering between songs and making jokes about her body’s “jiggly bits.” As a crowd of black-clad music industry types press against the stage, entranced by the young talent but studiously blasé as New Yorkers tend to be, Faith runs through a selection of hits from both her albums. There are hints of passion from the audience: A woman waves her hands in the air to the music, one of those quasi-religious motions that seem designed to broadcast just how much the listener is feeling the moment. I’m certainly enjoying the show, though I’d like to see her in some kind of smoky lounge, while sitting at a small, round table sipping a martini. Long before her encore, it’s clear that New York, like Prince, will be happy to give Faith a chance. She’ll be huge in L.A., too. But only time will tell whether Faith can make converts of the rest of America.

Follow Victor Ozols on Twitter.

“Wrong Direction”: A Boy Band Against Romney

You could listen to Wrong Direction’s song Disclosure and learn something about Mitt Romney’s shiesty, tax return withholding, Olympic-horse write-off enjoying ways. Or you could just listen to it on mute. Your choice.

Boy band spoofs are tricky to pull off, but these fine swim trunk-clad gentlemen are as easy on the eyes as their lyrics are clever. And if you’re not a 14-year-old girl, the song they’re spoofing is Beautiful by One Direction.

 

These five are just bitter because they were snubbed by the Romney brothers. Obviously.

 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.