Courts are Taking a Moral Stand Against Porn Trolls' "Legal Shakedown" Tactics
Trolling for copyright violations for illegally downloading pornographic films seems like a near-perfect business. What viewer would want to fight a lawsuit in which he could be forced to pay damages if he lost and embarrassed even if he won? Yet, a law firm that almost turned the trolling business into a science ended up sanctioned by a U.S. federal district court – and now an appellate court has upheld the sanctions despite a scanty legal basis for doing so.
The episode shows that federal judges have a conscience. But it also raises an important question about the law itself: When following the letter of the law would produce a morally repellent outcome, should judges find a way to get around it?
The trolls’ business plan was inherently legal. A group of lawyers formed a firm called Prenda Law. They also formed several shell companies to purchase rights to pornographic films. Using commercially available software, they monitored downloads. When one of their films was downloaded from a sharing site, the law firm would file suit in the name of whichever shell company owned the copyright. So far, there was nothing wrong with the scheme. Plenty of content businesses have sued illegal downloaders. That's playing hardball to protect copyright, and doing so is allowed by Congress.
In principle, there seems to be nothing wrong with buying copyrights in order to enforce them. Furthermore, pornography is subject to the same intellectual property rules as other content. Under the First Amendment, copyright law probably has to treat all legal speech the same.
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Possessing only an IP address for downloader, Prenda Law would sue the defendant as John Doe, then go to federal court for an order to find out who the downloader was. Then the Prenda lawyers would send the defendant a letter offering settlement for $4,000 – an amount it computed was just a bit below the cost of a bare-bones defense. Most said yes, and the firm earned millions of dollars – no one knows exactly how much.
Where Prenda Law went awry was in how it represented itself in court when it sought the orders to identify downloaders. The firm tried to hide the fact that its principals also owned the copyrights. Presumably, it feared that courts would be less willing to grant the orders if they knew that the entire scheme was dreamt up by the lawyers.
After one John Doe fought back, federal district judge Otis D. Wright II in Los Angeles unraveled the scheme. In 2013, he issued a decision denouncing the Prenda lawyers. His unusual opinion included a detailed map of the Prenda principals and their business relationships, complete with photographs intended to shame them.
Quirkily, Wright opened the opinion with an epigraph: “‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ — Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982),” and he peppered the opinion with Star Trek references. Judges deserve to have a little fun, but the literary references were also telling. They suggested that Wright knew he was doing something unusual, on the edge of ordinary legal decision-making.
Wright was careful not to go too far. Instead of awarding punitive fraud sanctions, which would have required an extensive hearing, he awarded attorney’s fees to John Doe’s lawyer, then doubled them as an added sanction. The total was $81,319.72. In a devilish measure-for-measure footnote, he explained that the “punitive portion is calculated to be just below the cost of an effective appeal.”
The legal basis for the sanctions was slim. The judge noted that Prenda typically brought suit without knowing how much of a film had been downloaded or whether the John Doe might have had his IP address stolen. But these weren’t the grounds on which Wright relied – and they might have existed equally in a more traditional copyright enforcement suit.
Instead, Wright concluded that Prenda had forged the signature of one copyright assignment, using the name of a groundskeeper at one of the Prenda principals’ homes. Wright noted that the signature wasn’t even legally necessary, but “a forgery is still a forgery.” He admitted that he had no further evidence of fraud. “Nevertheless,” he wrote, “it is clear" that the Prenda enterprise "relies on deception.” He suggested that there were other examples of deception in other courts where Prenda brought suits.
Prenda went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arguing that Wright had subjected them to criminal sanctions that required more due process than he gave them. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding that Wright hadn’t abused his discretion to punish bad-faith litigation practices. It agreed with Wright that the doubled attorney’s fees were remedial, not criminal, and didn’t require extensive fact-finding.
A cynic might observe that the small cost of the sanctions wasn’t much for the Prenda firm to pay, especially given the millions it may have reaped. But it remains noteworthy that the district judge reacted so strongly to the trolling scheme, and that the Ninth Circuit was happy to wink and let him get away with it.
Essentially, Prenda’s conduct was barely unlawful. Without the misrepresentation, it would have been completely legal. What made the judges angry was the fact that Prenda made the legal system look foolish – by drawing attention to how the law could be used to enforce a scheme that Wright called a “legal shakedown.” The judges’ real objection wasn’t legal, but moral. That’s a good thing – in small and carefully measured doses.
The Duchess channels My Fair Lady at Ascot in Dolce & Gabbana white lace dress
When it comes to occasion dressing, The Duchess of Cambridge loves a theme. And for her eagerly awaited first trip to Ascot today it seems as though Kate might well have looked to cinematic classic My Fair Lady for sartorial inspiration.
Kate’s long white lace Dolce & Gabbana dress and dramatic hat conjured up the famous scene in which Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle attends the races for the first time. (Although we’re slightly disappointed that Kate’s homage to Hepburn doesn’t stretch to the frothy umbrella the actress used to accessorised her look with in My Fair Lady. Especially given the weather.)
This, of course, isn’t the first time thrifty Kate has worn this particular Dolce and Gabbana dress – the Duchess wore it just a month ago at the Windsor Horse Race (well, at £2,415, you want to get your money’s worth). The 34-year-old finished her look with a hat by Jane Taylor and a pair of nude courts.
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Kate’s ability to look both striking and comfortable only goes to show what a powerful clotheshorse she is. Because make no mistake: white lace is not the easy option. It’s not a dress you can throw on without a second thought unless you are a) perfectly tanned (which means not too orange, nor to pale), b) you have the right shoes and c) you are absolutely certain there is no potential for looking like your great aunt’s net curtains. Or a bride.
Of course, it helps that the Duchess is wearing a Dolce dress, a brand for whom lace is part of their DNA. The dress - made in Italy - is described on Net-a-Porter as a “romantic choice for special events” and comes with a nipped in waist and tiered skirt.
The Duchess also has at least two other lace frocks by the Italian fashion house: a classic LBD and aubergine high necked number. And Kate is just one in a long line of royal ladies championing the Dolce & Gabbana lace dress: European queens and princesses are frequently spotted in them.
“We are big fan of the Duchess Kate,” Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said to The Telegraph. “To us it’s a great honour to see her wearing our clothes.” And considering how popular they are with the Duchess and her royal pals, we’re sure they’ll be wearing them for a long time to come.
Throup's New Object Research project made its catwalk debut yesterday at the Holy Trinity Church, also known as One Marylebone.
The collection was created after a year and a half of work that built on the Argentina-born, London-based designer's initial set of four outfits titled New Object Research, which debuted in January 2013.
At the entrance to the church, four casts of Throup's body wearing these garments were laid on top of each other in a pile.
The installation was named The Resting of the Past, and was created as a memorial to the previous designs.
"This piece represents the acceptance of the now," said Throup. "Through defacing my own work by covering it in ghost-like white paint, I am disregarding its current surface value whilst allowing it to peacefully rest."
To present the latest garments, Throup worked with puppet designer and engineer James Perowne on a performance piece titled The Rite of Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter.
The show was split into three scenes. In the first, a white box placed in the centre of the catwalk was hoisted to the ceiling to reveal a pile of fabric and sticks underneath.
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Masked figures dressed all in white began to agitate the poles, causing the material to slowly rise into a human figure dressed in one of Throup's black garments. The puppeteers then manipulated the pseudo body so it appeared to walk down the catwalk.
When it reached the end, a young girl ran on and removed its dark mask, revealing a white face underneath.
Subsequent looks, all in black and white, were walked down the catwalk on puppets in a similar way – with the masters pushing sticks from behind to emulate the movements of a real model.
One of the moveable mannequins was illuminated from within so its hands, feet and head glowed when the stage lights were turned off.
The final two puppets were "shot" while on the catwalk so coloured powder exploded from their heads.
After the runway presentation concluded, curtains were drawn back to reveal the puppets and outfits hung from the ceiling in front of the church's stained glass windows.
Throup's collection of prototypes, described by the designer as trans-seasonal, will be displayed and available for limited-edition purchase on request from London's Dover Street Market, which recently reopened in a new location.
A fully commercially distributed collection is in development for release in January 2017.
The Spring Summer 2017 edition of the London Collections: Men event runs from 10 to 13 June 2016. In previous seasons, Mackintosh presented its Autumn Winter 2016 range on a set of white podiums and other shows were hosted at a space illuminated by light-filled perforated boxes.
In another similarly unusual fashion presentation, an Alpine choir pivoted on hydraulic platforms as part of Moncler's Autumn Winter 2014 show.
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Online shopping of fashion merchandise does not give customer the luxury to feel the texture of the fabric before booking.
Now an app is wooing customers by showcasing fashion stores in their area on mobile and giving them points or rather money to visit and buy at the shop of their choice. And before they splurge they can feel the softness of the cotton shirt or the texture of the silken top. And in all this normal shopping experience the customer only has to use the software or app to indicate his/her presence in the shop to avail the discount.
Fashalot App is in the news for getting thousands of footfalls at its partner stores – 2,600 national as well as international brands – within a year of its operation. This fashion app empowers customers to check in what is best suited for him. The look book has information on all major brands and updates on the latest fashion trend.
Right now in operation in Delhi/NCR and Bangalore, this is the brainchild of Amit Koshal, who lures prospective customers by giving them information on the brick and mortar stores near their vicinity.
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“On this offline to online location based fashion store, customer does not have to haggle with the proprietor to give him concession. Instead, he gets points which translate into amount of Rs.300 to Rs.500. Some customers, particularly girls, like to bargain with owners. Now they do not have to do that as I have already entered into a deal with the brand owner before the customer steps into the shop,” says Amit.
Pointing out that e-commerce sites have to cover costs in inventory and logistics, Amit says: “We do not have to worry about any of these as we only facilitate shopping at our partner stores for which we get commission and a fraction of it is passed to the client.” Another advantage, Amit says, is that customer can directly communicate with brand retailers. On their phones, they can check about the garments on offer.
Giving an example, Amit says: “Say a customer based at ITO wants a crisp khadi kurta. Now we update him on the khadi shops at Connaught Place where hand spun hand woven garments are available.
The app tracks the customer’s location. So he has to go to the exact shop which we have indicated, get a feel of the kurta and then buy and earn points.”
A win-win situation for both as the more frequent customer shops, better discounts he/she gets and more commission comes to Fashalot App. “Suppose a company’s Rajouri Garden outlet is not attracting customers so I might offer more discount to tempt shoppers to buy merchandise. On every purchase we get a commission of 15 per cent. We offer Rs.300 or Rs. 500 depending on how many times our customer shops. He might avail the points while shopping at Big Bazaar or recharging his mobile. This universal loyalty platform is such a successful model that last month we got 30,000 footfalls at our partner stores,” claims Amit.
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Bryce Dallas Howard, Ashley Greene Fete Maria Arena Bell's Montblanc Honor
On Monday night, in the sixth floor penthouse at the Chateau Marmont, Montblanc — the famed writing instrument and timepiece brand — threw an intimate star-studded fete to honor writer and philanthropist Maria Arena Bell with the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.
Now in its 25th year, the Montblanc Award — which recognizes modern-day patrons for their work and contributions to the arts and culture — was presented to Bell for her efforts that make the arts accessible to broader audiences. It’s chosen by a jury of 44 global jurors including contemporary artist Dustin Yellin, Goya-award-winning Spanish actress Macarena Gómez, Columbian film director Simón Brand, composer Chiu Tsang Hei and Latin American photographer Flor Garduño.
Sylvain Costof, the new president of Montblanc North America said about the evening’s event, "With her incredible dedication and passion, Maria Arena Bell not only supports arts and culture but also offers inspiration to existing and future Patrons. I am very proud to have her as the North American winner of the 2016 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award."
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Los Angeles arts patrons Eli and Edie Broad, actresses Ashley Greene and Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Kennedy III, artists Jonas Wood and Thomas Houseago and art dealers Jackie & Irving Blum watched as director and chief curator at large of MoMA PS1 Klaus Biesenbach, was joined by newly appointed co-chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil to present the honoree with a Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim limited edition fountain pen encased in a trophy, along with 15,000 euros to benefit the arts at MoMa PS1.
Bell, has a long history in arts philanthropy in Los Angeles, from her involvement in Los Angeles’ PS Arts where she’s helped lead the charge to raise funds to provide arts education to over 25,000 low-income Los Angeles public elementary school children to serving as co-chair during MOCA’s embattled period from 2009-2014. During her tenure there she helped to raise the museum’s endowment to over $100 million, create the very successful MOCA artist galas series featuring artists such as Marina Abramovic, Francesco Vezzolli and Doug Aitken and frankly, keep MOCA from going under.
When asked what comes next in her career, Bell, the longtime show runner of daytime soap The Young and the Restless replied, "I left Young and the Restless to pursue passion projects. I hit a place in my life where I’ve been in daytime for such a long time — I wanted to write a screenplay, I am going out to pitching a one-hour, drama, I’m pitching a sitcom. Daytime, it’s like working at a newspaper, it’s roll up your sleeves and get to work, we run 52 weeks a year, one hour a day. I want to work on projects I am passionate about now with both my writing and my philanthropy. I am seeking out organizations that are doing groundbreaking work. I’d like to put my support to further push the boundaries within the art world."
Biesenbach, when presenting the award said, "Maria is always there for artists and the curators. She doesn’t wait for us to call; she always asks what she can do now. That's Maria and that’s who she is."
Bell, who gave the award’s €15,000 arts donation to Biesenbach’s PS1 said, "When I learned I was going to win this award, I was shocked and stunned. Having the chance to be living among the art of our time, watching the art being made, is something special. Art shouldn’t just be the icing on the cake, it should be the cake. Art is what bonds us together."
Bell added with a laugh, "While she may have loved artists in the biblical sense — while I love them in the platonic sense — to be awarded a pen in honor of Peggy Guggenheim, is such a thrill, she is my absolute hero."
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Anna Kendrick wears plunging white dress with thigh split as she nabs Hot AND Funny gong at Guys Choice Awards
She's the pint-sized actress who can pack a punch when it comes to her comedic performances.
So it was only fitting that Anna Kendrick nabbed the Hot And Funny award at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards in Culver City on Saturday.
The 30-year-old actress was dressed to impress for her winning moment in a form-fitting white dress which boasted a thigh high split.
The chic sleeveless number featured a cut-out neckline, which resulted in a halterneck style finish, subtly showing off her perky assets.
Falling at a midi-length level, it went on to show off her strappy silver heels which displayed her beige pedicure and heightened her 5 ft 1 in frame.
The Twilight Saga actress also accessorised strategically as she posed with her hands on her hips, flaunting her two large rings.
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Small dangling earrings peeked out underneath her chocolate brown mane which was pinned casually on the sides.
A spot of rosy blush lay on her cheeks while her eyes were stamped in black liner and lashings of mascara.
However, it looked like Anna caught on to a chill once inside the venue and opted to team her attire with a black biker jacket.
The Californian beauty also reunited with her Pitch Perfect co-star Adam Devine, who hosted the glamorous night and won the Comedy MVP award himself.
Hunky actor Zac Efron presented her with the award and she looked more than excited as she shared a few words with the star-studded audience.
Kendrick's on-screen performances doesn't seem to be the only thing taken into consideration for the accolade.
The former theatre star runs quite the hilarious Twitter account where she frequently shares witty one-liners and live-tweets major events for her 5.5million followers.
Anna also recently stunned on the premiere night of her latest flick The Hollars, where she plays the pregnant girlfriend of John Krasinski's character.
Furthermore, she is set to return in the third installment of her highly praised role in Pitch Perfect, set to hit theaters this Christmas season.
Other attendees at the event included actress Olivia Munn, who wore a stunning black lace dress while supermodel Gigi Hadid sported a similar look in a a sheer black mini.
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Julia Roberts also took home a trophy on the night.
To view the show, fans can watch Spike TV on Thursday, June 9.
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In the summer of 1985, I remember driving down the King’s Road in Chelsea with some school friends, and counting the Alice bands on girls marching along in Laura Ashley florals. We reached about 100 before we stopped, choking with laughter.
I freely admit I committed many heinous crimes against fashion in the 1980s. I wore royal blue pedal-pushers (a particularly vile form of knickerbocker), ra-ra skirts, disco pants, puffball frocks, neon-pink pumps and Lycra bodies, which were basically leotards with popper fittings on the crotch so you could peel them back for a pee. But I can put my hand on my heart and swear I never, ever owned or wore an Alice band.
Why the aversion to this one adornment? It’s because no other accessory or garment screamed “Sloane Ranger” as loudly as this tribal headdress. No self-respecting Henrietta or Charlotte of the era would have had a dressing table that didn’t house a thick, black-velvet band to restrain her tumbling tresses.
Traditionally, she would have tugged the band on, then pushed it forward until a sort of Knightsbridge quiff rose, Mekon-like, to accentuate her alabaster forehead.
The real problem was all the barely subliminal messages that accompanied the donning of an Alice band. If Marianne’s Phrygian cap was the symbol of liberté, égalité, fraternité, then the Sloane’s headpiece of choice stood for heteronomy, conformity and matrimony (preferably quite swiftly, to a Tory MP, or substantial landowner).
If you wore an Alice band it was tantamount to saying you didn’t smoke or drink vodka straight from the bottle and would only have sex with a man if you believed the encounter might end with an engagement ring.
The eternally brilliant Jilly Cooper summed this all up wonderfully in her 1985 masterpiece Riders, when she outlined caddish Rupert Campbell-Black’s early impressions of his wife-to-be Helen, as she knelt to pray in London’s Guards Chapel.
“While she was kneeling, he examined the freckled hands with their slender wrists and colourless nail polish, the small, beaky nose, the very clean ears, the lipstick drawn not quite to the edges to disguise a large mouth, the frightful Alice band holding back the gorgeous, dark-red hair…”
Cooper knew that any self-respecting bad girl would let her mane cascade seductively down her shoulders. Back in the 1980s, there were two tribes of women: those who modelled themselves on Lady Diana (yup – often seen in an Alice band) and those who wanted to be Madonna, with her bed hair and ripped lace gloves.
So if there is to be an Alice band revival (don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger), then it seems highly appropriate it’s being led by the Diana’s daughter-in-law. For the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted this week at horse trials in Norfolk wearing a tortoise-shell band to hold back her glossy, brunette mane.
Nor was there the faintest whiff of irony about the apparition, as there might have been if a twentysomething celeb – Cara Delevingne, say – or even a metrosexual such as David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in one (they’re both got form in this department).
Summer Fashion Trends 2016: What To Wear With This Season's Hottest Styles
Chokers are having a moment. We know this because we’re seeing chokers everywhere and every website on the planet has declared this the season of their return.
But now what? What are we supposed to do with this information? Wear chokers? Wear them with pieces we previously wore without them? Live as though chokers are a natural addition to the evolution of fashion and that like Jennifer Lawrence herself, we can carry them off with whatever we want?
Well I object. First, because I’m naturally argumentative and often contrarian, and also because it’s not that simple.
Trends are hard. Trying to make them work is the worst 99 per cent of the time, and trying to tell yourself you’re making them work is even harder than that. So instead of just telling you what to pair with what, I’m giving you an actual guide to trying to adapt yourself to this trend-centric world. Together, we can conquer this fickle world, or at least look damn good doing it.
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1. So what do you wear with chokers?
Ugh, honestly two years ago I had this figured out. "Anything!" I declared proudly, pairing a choker with a vintage sweater and fur coat. But tragically, I was wrong. Upon further examination (of photos that have long since been deleted), I looked the way I did at age five: clad in too many things, usually at the hands of my Nana’s costume trunk. And the only person I hurt was myself.
So now what? Let’s keep it simple: let’s go back to the nineties. Remember the '90s? (Of course you do — even if you aren’t old enough to remember them properly, you’ve seen a few episodes of "Beverly Hills: 90210.") We saw chokers with T-shirts, tank tops, and the slip dresses that have also come back into 2016’s kingdom. So that’s the rule: what did DJ Tanner wear with a choker in 1994? Wear that. T-shirts. Tank tops. Slip dresses. Not very large knits, it looks weird.
2. How about mini backpacks?
Behold: the most important trend of our time. Mini backpacks are practical. They make sense. They allow you to carry a bottle of water around with you in this, already a summer of unquestionable warmth. And the best part? You wear them with anything. Anything at all.
A summer sweater? You got it. A crop top? Dare to dream. An exact replica of every outfit seen in "Spring Breakers"? You bet your bottom dollar. Mini backpacks are the least discriminatory of any trend. They are the "regular purse" of the backpack world. They work with anything, they function on every level, and you don’t develop a neck cramp after wandering around Niagara Falls all day carrying an overly-stuffed tote. Bless.
3. And slip dresses?
You can do it. I promise you can. Why? Because slip dresses are the laziest form of clothing, and any/all lazy trends mean you can’t mess them up. (See: why I will never wear lace-up boots because I already know how much effort it would take to put them on, pair them with something, and then take them off.)
Here’s how you wear a slip dress: you throw it on. Do you wear a bra? Up to you. Do you wear sandals? Up to you. Should it be knee or midi length? That is your call, you beautiful empress. Slip dresses are like afghans in that you should feel nothing but freedom and comfort. No one can mess these up nor take them away from you. Slip dress, my friends. Slip dress to high heavens.
4. You can’t be serious about the chunky sandal trend, though.
Oh I am serious, and you can sleep well tonight knowing I never joke about footwear. (Minus lace-up boots because I have to laugh to keep from crying.)
From afar, chunky sandals seem easy: you wear them with whatever, channeling the majesty of circa Y2K. But up close it gets complicated. Enter: socks. Chanel paired their pieces with white socks as if that’s a thing that everybody does, and now we’re all expected to follow suit. So here’s how: if your shorts or skirt or dress hits above the knee, sock like there’s no tomorrow. But if not, use your discretion. Your legs, your rules. (I just feel too school uniform if I don’t abide by the above-the-knee mantra.)
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Rihanna puts the spotlight on 27-year-old British designer Molly Goddard wearing her £1,250 prom dress
If Rihanna wants to wear something within hours of it debuting on the catwalks in Milan and Paris, she can. The singer is the face of Dior, has a collaboration with Manolo Blahnik and has relationships with every major designer. But the singer also uses her huge star power to spotlight the work of a number of emerging British designers, likely aware of the huge impact she can have on under-the-radar labels.
Yesterday the singer was spotted in New York in an acid green tutu from British designer Molly Goddard's SS16 collection. It's quite the endorsement for the 27-year-old Central Saint Martins graduate, who has only had four presentations at London Fashion Week, and is an industry name.
Parking the question for a second of how Rihanna managed to pull off doing a coffee run in green ruffles, how did Rihanna come to be wearing Goddard's £1,250 'Sophie' dress?
"Rihanna bought the dress from Browns in London," Goddard tells The Telegraph. "With so many endorsements and loans it’s great to know she bought it - that shows real support."
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Rihanna didn't hold back on the accessories either, wearing Aquazzura rainbow pom pom sandals, a silver cracked leather Dior Diorever bag and $50,000 worth of diamonds, with bracelets and chokers from Le Vian and Hearts On Fire. She also did the noughties trick, as often employed by Paris Hilton, of making her Venti Starbucks a crucial part of her look. Goddard says of Rihanna's styling: "I love seeing how everyone wears my collections so differently, its about being comfortable and confident. She looks amazing. The dress is made from panels of smocked tulle, it has over 20 meters of fabric in it."
Handmade nostalgic chiffon dresses are Goddard's signature and she has had a fascination with Sunday-best princess smocks ever since her mother made them for her as a child. "I was still trying to squeeze into the old ones from when I was little when I was 15," Goddard has previously said of the frilly frocks.
Only two years ago the Central Saint Martins graduate pulled together her first collection in just six weeks, which showed off the official schedule at London Fashion Week, with models wearing her smocks layered over their own clothes. Now sponsored by Newgen, Molly Goddard's presentations have become an editor's choice thanks to their fantastical set ups. For AW15 she set up a life drawing class and for SS16 models were part of a make-believe sandwich factory.
Rihanna has a history of championing new or unknown talent - at the 2015 Met Gala she was one of the only stars to wear a look by a Chinese designer, Guo Pei. The singer has also been key to the success of her stylist Adam Selman's namesake label. She has worn a number of his pieces at major red carpet events, including the Swarovski 'naked' dress she wore to collect the Fashion Icon award at the CFDAs in 2014.
She has a history of showcasing British talent too, and was one of the first celebrities to wear Marques Almeida, the label which first showed at London Fashion Week as part of Fashion East and is known for its frayed denim. For her Anti tour, Rihanna and her stylist Mel Ottenberg turned to London-based designer Craig Green for her opening look. He created the custom-made calico hooded cream coat which comes with his signature tie details, including a top-knot like detail on the top of the hood.
"I love seeing my work on a female celebrity. It's a sign of the times that it's OK to mix it up now. Stores often tell me that women cross over to the men's department to buy my clothes," the predominantly menswear designer said to The Telegraph of Rihanna's tour look. "The coat was a long time in discussion and we created countless prototypes. Mel had a vision of the tour look being quite plain and stripped-back, which I guess worked with my look."
The most successful recent watch launch has to be Shinola, the “Built in Detroit” brand from the co-founder of Fossil that has taken the watch industry by storm. This brand, though revolutionary in its marketing and its focus on re-establishing American watchmaking, was very traditional in its establishment. Shinola raised a ton of money, partnered with Swiss movement manufacturer Ronda and set up facilities in Detroit, then started producing watches, in preparation for when the marketing hit so consumers could start to buy. Today, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have begun to revolutionize how watches are funded, marketed, produced and brought to market. There are many benefits to crowdfunding—the chief one being that if the project doesn’t succeed, no one has lost anything. These crowdfunding sites have made it possible for just about anyone to realize their dreams, and the result has been some really interesting watches. Here are two of the best examples out there now. These projects have succeeded because they touched something in the customer base. And Kickstarter and other sites have one incredible benefit—they combine market research with a business startup. The people who are funding a project are the buyers, not investors. So, the owners of the project can get immediate feedback from the market, succeed or fail.
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VORTIC WATCH CO. R.T. Custer, an industrial engineering graduate of Penn State, decided to start Vortic Watches with a fellow student, and their idea was to refurbish vintage pocket watch movements and put them into new 3-D-printed cases, resulting in true pieces of watchmaking history you can wear on your wrist. To get started, they went on Kickstarter, the company was funded and they are getting ready to launch their second Kickstarter campaign. “We put our first idea on Kickstarter in 2014, and we did really well,” Mr. Custer says. “We made watches in my garage, and we networked with local watchmakers in Colorado to service the movements professionally, while we kept working on our cases to make them better. On Kickstarter, you sell products before they exist, so then you have to figure out how to make them. On Kickstarter, it’s all about the story: there are videos and the campaigns can be very captivating. Doing this on a website is very, very expensive, so it’s easier to make a connection with the customer on Kickstarter, and also for international customers.” Pictured here is the American Artisan Boston 060 model, which features a vintage movement from Waltham Watch Company (circa 1936). The 3-D-printed titanium case is 51mm and the watch retails for $1,095. While vintage is certainly en vogue right now, you can’t get any more vintage than wearing a watch with a beating heart that hails from the golden age of American watchmaking. Vortic will be in New York City in July to show its watches and raise awareness for its new Kickstarter campaign.
KLOKERS A veteran of the watch industry, Richard Piras, co-founder of Klokers, decided to go all in on this new brand, which features a new way of telling the time. “If you want to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign, whether for pre-orders or funding, you have to have an offer that fits the channel,” Mr. Piras explains. “The price of your product can’t be too high. We assumed the price range and the product was O.K., so we wanted to test it. We got a lot of great feedback and appreciation. At the end of the day, customers were interested and they came and pre-ordered. The Klokers watches are non-traditional and really pure in a Bauhaus style, and they fit the taste of the consumer now. The price range is something affordable, they see it, they love it, and they can buy it.” With crowdfunding, the possibility of project overload is very real, but at the same time, you can be sure there will be some amazing, out-of-the-box watches introduced.
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‘Fashion Inc.’ to Appear on Lifetime, People Show to Air on ABC
Taping wrapped up last week for “Fashion Inc.,” Lifetime’s latest offering that showcases fashion and beauty entrepreneurs competing for the chance to secure funding from a panel of expert investors. Think “Shark Tank” for the fashion crowd.
The series features four fashion and beauty executives, consisting of Gary Wassner, chief executive officer of Hilldun Corp., a New York-based financing company; Rebecca Minkoff; Christine Hunsicker, chief executive officer of plus-size clothing rental start-up Gwynnie Bee, and Katia Beauchamp, cofounder and ceo of beauty retailer Birchbox. Twenty-eight candidates participated in the first season. With the investors’ own money and time on the line, they analyzed the participants’ concepts and decided if they were worthy of investing in to help them build their businesses. The show was produced by The Weinstein Co. and Matador. Eight one-hour episodes are expected to air this fall on Lifetime.
The start date hasn’t been revealed yet. “It was a complete departure for me,” said Wassner, who’s also cofounder and chairman of InterLuxe. “It was an incredible experience.” He said they taped for four weeks, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at a studio on 27th Street.
Meanwhile, Time Inc.’s People is partnering with ABC News on a primetime series called “People’s List,” which is set to premiere June 11 at 8 p.m. on ABC. The series, which has a limited run, is an hour-long weekly program highlighting the biggest stories in pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and human-interest news.
Hosted by actor Jerry O’Connell and former MTV news correspondent Suchin Pak, the show will combine the talent from the teams of ABC News and People. It will also include segments from People’s features such as Scoop, PeopleStyle, PeoplePets, The Jess Cagle Interview and Home 360.
“Partnering on this series gives us the opportunity to present the People brand to audiences in exciting new ways,” said Rich Battista, executive vice president of Time Inc. and president of the Entertainment & Sports Group and Video.
The show marks People’s second TV series this year. Investigation Discovery linked up with People for a 10-part series on a crime show, starting this fall.
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