Oscar de la Renta needles celebrity designers

Designer Oscar de la Renta may be a celebrity favorite, but the feeling isn't mutual when it comes to stars and athletes who want to delve into fashion design.
"Today you can hit a good tennis ball and be a fashion designer," said de le Renta in an interview Wednesday. "Today you can be a movie star and if your last movie didn't do too well, you become a fashion designer. But you know it's craft that you learn. It's craft of passion."
De la Renta's celebrity pals, including Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters and Sarah Jessica Parker, were on hand to show their support Wednesday as The Fashion Institute of Technology presented him with the 2012 Couture Council Award for Artistry.
"It's interesting to me that he dresses the possible first lady, Mrs. Romney. He dresses Hilary Clinton. He is bipartisan, non-denominational, just wonderful clothes," said Walters before finding her seat at de la Renta's table for the afternoon soiree at Lincoln Center.
Ann Romney, wife of the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, donned a bold red Oscar de la Renta dress last week during her speech at the Republican National Convention.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour also sat with de la Renta during the presentation, which included a speech from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Despite the pomp and circumstance, de la Renta's focus was elsewhere - on his next collection headed down the runway Tuesday during New York Fashion Week.
"This is what I call in the business `panic time.' If I tell you what the collection is going to look like now I don't know. I will know once the girls start walking the runway," he said.
So does the 80-year-old, who also recently launched a children's collection, have any plans of slowing down?
"Not now," he said. "Every single day is a learning process. And I think that to be a good fashion designer, it's not what I did. It's what I'm doing. You know, it's about now."

Julian Assange’s celebrity backers, already down $318K in bail money, may lose even more Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/julian-assange-celebrity-backers-318k-bail-money-lose-article-1.1152551#ixzz25g4SxbuN

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. A court has ruled this violates the terms of his bail and could cost his celebrity backers as much as $500,000.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. A court has ruled this violates the terms of his bail and could cost his celebrity backers as much as $500,000.

Helping out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is turning into an expensive affair for his celebrity friends, who have lost $318,272 in bail money and another nine could lose even more.
The additional nine did not give money to the court directly, but instead promised to pay up to $31,800 each on Assange’s behalf as “sureties.”
In a surprising revelation made Tuesday, a British court clerk told reporters that the first amount of money — which celebrities like director Michael Moore and socialite Jemima Khan allegedly gave the court — was taken because Assange breached conditions of bail.
The Australian anti-privacy activist was supposed to stay in a home in England, reported to the police daily, and keep to a 10 p.m.-to-8 a.m. curfew, according to the Telegraph.
But Assange broke these terms when he fled to an Ecuadorean embassy in a posh district of London in June. He sought asylum in the embassy because English authorities were set to send him to Sweden, where he is wanted for rape charges dating back to 2010.
These charges are just a ruse that Sweden plans to use in order to send him to the United States, Assange has said, claiming that he could face the death penalty in America.
European officials have denied Assange’s claims, with England’s foreign secretary, William Hague, even saying they are “without foundation.”

Whatever they think of the death penalty claims, nine other backers of Assange will have one month to convince the 41-year-old activist to surrender to police, district Howard Riddle said.

"At the moment I'm not persuaded that any reasonable surety would not be using every effort, publicly and privately, to persuade Mr. Assange to surrender himself to UK authorities," he told the Guardian.

These nine other backers include: Sir John Sulston, a Nobel prize-winning biologist; Caroline Evans, a famous politician’s wife; and Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club.
They also did not appear in court Tuesday, which Riddle said was "absolutely striking.”
A defense attorney for several of them, Henry Blaxland, said several of the backers were abroad, either working on projects or on holiday.

The total amount Assange’s backers could lose if they do not convince him to turn himself in to police totals over half-a-million dollars, according to the Guardian.

Celebrity influences should hold no place in politics

Every four years, the Republican and Democratic parties hold national conventions for the purpose of nominating a candidate to run in the general presidential election. This nominee is usually the candidate who carried the most delegates from the various primaries and caucuses held in each respective state in the prior eight months leading to the convention. Nowadays, with the increasing focus on primary season by the candidates and the media, it is often known who will be the eventual victor come convention time. This year, with a Democratic incumbent already in office, almost all the attention has been on Mitt Romney’s inevitable nomination by the Republican Party.

These conventions also act as a launching pad where party officials and general party members come together to rally around the nominee and garner support for the party’s platform. Prominent individuals from all corners of society make appearances. These guests are often crowd pleasers; celebrities or performing artists who wish to show their support for the party or a special interest. Last week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Kid Rock performed as well as a member of Brooks and Dunn. This week in Charlotte at the DNC, the Foo Fighters are slated to perform. With this in mind, it should be considered whether or not it is appropriate for celebrities who are influential to the electorate for reasons outside of the political realm should be allowed to be used by the parties as tools to garner support.

Of course, celebrities are protected by their First Amendment rights and should be allowed to voice their political opinions. However, celebrities who use their fame as means to their political ends are often influencing voters, not because their views or arguments are convincing, but because of their stature in society. By using their influence in this way, they are damaging the integrity of fair and honest elections because voters are inevitably swayed by those they admire in entertainment, whether it is their favorite actor or musician. That admiration can distort a person’s sense of responsibility as an informed voter.

As mentioned before, the parties know the effectiveness of this method of influence and use the conventions for this purpose. The most recent and notable example was last week in Tampa when a surprise appearance by Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood went horribly awry, backfiring on what was supposed to be a speech made by the respected “man’s man” of the silver screen.

For decades, Clint Eastwood portrayed characters that were bold, brazen and moral (all while kicking some serious ass, I might add.) Clint Eastwood was introduced at the RNC in front of a backdrop graphic of his portrait harkeningback to his days as a spaghetti Western hero, where his characters exuded courage and honesty in the face of opposition and corruption. These characteristics, not coincidentally, make for a strong candidate for the presidency. When Clint Eastwood speaks, people listen. However, the results were opposite of those intended. Clint Eastwood, 82, appeared spacey and confused during his extemporaneous 12 minute speech where he attempted to question an invisible Barack Obama sitting in a chair alongside the podium.

Ever since that debacle Thursday night, political commentators have exploded with ridicule aimed at Eastwood’s poor attempt at degrading Obama, which stole the show on a night where Mitt Romney gave his acceptance speech for the party’s nomination. But what if the opposite happened? What if Clint Eastwood, as many celebrities in his position have done before him, gave a fiery speech on the dangers of reelecting Barack Obama? Wouldn’t that in some ways be worse than what actually happened?
If his speech had been flawless there would assumingly be voters out there who would have voted on behalf of a man who arguably had no reason to be speaking at a national political convention. Celebrity should not be used as a political vehicle because it is a term synonymous with a form of influence entirely independent (though equally effective) of which is used in politics. For that matter, any method which implies a person should vote for reasons separate from their political, civic and moral self is inappropriate.

Celebrity culture exists at BU according to task force report

A “celebrity culture” exists among Boston University men’s hockey players, one that can lead to “unacceptable and destructive behavior,” according to the report of a school task force released Wednesday.
The task force was put together last spring by BU president Robert Brown after two men’s hockey players were charged with sexual assault last season. Its task was to identify if changes were needed on campus in relation to student-athletes’ conduct. It identified fourteen recommendations, including the elimination of the executive athletic director position held by men’s hockey coach Jack Parker. Parker agreed to step down from the executive athletic director position and stay on as head coach of the Terriers.
The complete report can be found on Brown’s website, with highlights below.
“The Task Force concluded that the unique culture of men’s ice hockey, played at the highest collegiate level, and the preeminent status of our team on campus contribute to a celebrity culture and an isolation of these athletes from the majority of our student body. I believe this situation is exacerbated in men’s college hockey where professional teams frequently draft players before they enter college, an observation contained in the Task Force’s report. This insular and elevated status can lead to unacceptable and destructive behavior, including a culture of sexual entitlement and abuse.
The 14 recommendations the Task Force has made are based, I believe, on careful consideration of information collected in the course of the group’s deliberations and are designed to improve oversight of the hockey program and foster the success of these student-athletes and their integration into the university community. Other recommendations deal with more systemic issues of sexual assault/harassment and alcohol abuse on campus. We are moving to implement the majority of the Task Force’s recommendations as rapidly as possible.
For example, the new Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center (SARP) opened on August 27 at 930 Commonwealth Avenue. The center’s staff will work with victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment from across campus. In addition, the SARP staff will offer sexual assault awareness and prevention education. We are also implementing sexual assault and violence prevention educational programs for the members of the men’s hockey team. The report and the investigation of possible breaches in NCAA rules both highlighted the lack of clear reporting lines for the men’s ice hockey program. To regularize reporting relationships, Jack Parker, men’s ice hockey coach, has stepped down as executive director of athletics and will focus all his efforts on coaching. We also have reorganized reporting relationships in the athletics department to provide clear lines of responsibility and accountability among the coaching staff, the athletic director, senior administrative leadership, and me. These changes also will ensure that potential violations of the code of student responsibilities by student-athletes will be handled through the university’s judicial process under the auspices of the dean of students.
Also as recommended by the Task Force, the athletics department has been charged with updating its student-athlete code of conduct so that it clearly articulates our expectations for student-athlete behavior and the sanctions that will be imposed for violations. This code and team rules must be consistent with the university’s code of student responsibilities.
It is clear that excessive alcohol consumption has played a role in the majority of the instances of alleged sexual assault or other inappropriate behavior that have been identified through the work of the Task Force. We are reviewing the recommendation about how best to implement a comprehensive, campus-wide program aimed at moderating alcohol use by our students.
The role of intercollegiate athletics is to provide opportunities for individuals who are fully committed to their college education to participate in competitive sports. Our community revels in the success of our teams and our individual athletes. Men’s ice hockey has a storied history and has defined the pinnacle of athletic success at Boston University. We owe it to our student-athletes, including the members of our men’s ice hockey team, to help them be successful students at Boston University while performing at the high level required for NCAA Division I sports. The athletics department has been asked to develop a plan that will help better integrate members of our hockey team into the student community, paying special attention to student housing accommodations and student life.
Issues such as excessive use of alcohol and a sense of sexual entitlement in a subset of students, which were studied and discussed by the Task Force, have plagued college campuses for decades and are strongly coupled to norms that are deeply embedded in our society and extend beyond the boundaries of any one campus. We must work diligently toward providing our students the best possible environment for living and learning in the context of the pressures from society and each other.
“I appreciate all the time and effort put forth by the members of the task force to complete their thorough review of our men’s ice hockey program,” BU assistant vice president and athletic director Mike Lynch said in a statement. “The university has our full support as our staff incorporates the findings. We look forward to putting into action their recommendations, many of which we have already begun. Throughout this process, we have ensured that the university administration and our athletic department continue to share the same goals in regards to our men’s ice hockey program and its future as part of BU’s campus life.
“This has been a challenging year, but we are ready to move forward as an even stronger athletic program.”
The task force reported that it found no evidence of major NCAA violations, and also no evidence that the issues are unique to Boston University.
“I would like to commend the members of the task force for all the hard work they put in this spring and summer,” Parker said in a statement. “I think their summary of findings is accurate. More importantly, I feel their recommendations for action will help our team, other student-athletes and the student body in general to ensure a better all-around experience. I fully agree with the NCAA and task force’s recommendation to split up my two jobs. When asked to choose one or the other, it was easy for me to choose my position as our head hockey coach. My staff and I endorse the findings and it is our job to implement and monitor the recommendations that are specific to the hockey team.”

Do celebrity endorsements matter? If so, who?

Winfrey with then-Sen. Barack Obama in Iowa in 2007. (Getty)
So Hank Williams Jr., Chuck Norris and Clint Eastwood and his chair are among those down on President Obama. OK.
(Actually, Williams hates … a lot.)
I guess Hollywood elites are OK … except the ones who are down on Mitt Romney and supporting the incumbent.
Ah, the celebrity endorsement. The question is not “Who cares?” but “Does any of this matter at the polls?”
Most celebs sit out the political rhetoric: Why tick off potentially half your audience?

Williams: “We’ve got a Muslim for a President who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him!” (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP)
“Nothing doing on politics,” Babe Ruth once said, after refusing to have his photo taken with Republican candidate Herbert Hoover in 1928. (It caused a furor, since Ruth had posed for a campaign photo for Al Smith. He later had a picture taken with the candidate.)
But more than a few wade in, backing candidates and causes. The question is: Does the celebrity endorsement make a difference?
A 2010 study of young voters says the answer by and large is no. If anything, there can be a negative impact.
But a recent study said Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama for 2008 may have been worth a million votes.
After a point endorsements become predictable based on political leanings. (That said, the appearance by the libertarian-leaning Republican Eastwood at the GOP convention caused a stir.) There is little “Wow” factor, other than the outrageousness of some of the rhetoric. Mention a name star’s name and odds are you know which way they will lean already.
So here is the question I’m wrestling with — and have yet to come up with a good answer:
What public figure’s endorsement could actually impact this presidential election? That person could come from any arena. I’m drawing a blank beyond the usual suspects; if that person exists I can’t think of him or her. Help.

Setting records and having fun at MAGIC

Robin Leach
Tue, Aug 21, 2012 (6 p.m.)

Magic: Soulja Boy, Whitney Port, Ami James

Magic: Soulja Boy, Whitney Port, Ami James
SCOTT HARRISON/WWW.HARRISONPHOTOS.COM - Rapper Soulja Boy at the BLVD Supply booth at the Magic convention on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012.

Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe

2011 Miss Nevada USA Sarah Chapman is the $2 million woman in Lili Jewelry.
2011 Miss Nevada USA Sarah Chapman is the $2 million woman in Lili Jewelry.
Big Boi at the Chelsea inside the Cosmopolitan
Big Boi at the Chelsea inside the Cosmopolitan
Celebrities and nightclub parties are in full swing and helping set record numbers for this year’s MAGIC fashion shows.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association reported early Tuesday that a record 81,000 delegates will contribute a record $103 million to our local economy. Exhibitors anticipate writing $600 million in fashion sales!
First-day celebrities at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center included reality starWhitney Port from “The Hills" presenting her Whitney Eve line, rapper Soulja Boy at the BLVD Supply booth and celebrity tattoo artistAmi James at his Ink displays. Playboy centerfold Jessa Lynn Hinton leads a huge turnout of local beauties, including Miss Nevada USA 2011 winner Sarah Chapman, who have been booked for the fashion presentations of the 2013 spring and summer lines and fall winter 2013/14 trends. In all, there are over 5,000 different brands from over 80 countries!
MAGIC is the largest fashion trade event in North America and runs through Thursday. At Mandalay Bay, it's a showcase of street outfits, menswear and pool fashions. There’s even a showcase of classic and collectible cars and cigar-rolling demonstrations. LA Fashion Magazine has set up a three-day on-site studio for photo shoots of today’s fashionable young men.
The Las Vegas Convention Center has booths of fashions for women and young people. Chinese fashion executives have a pavilion with 500 factories trying to lure more manufacturing from the USA. Nicaragua is another country exhibiting to lure manufacturing there.
Celebrities and athletes are hired to promote their own fashion industry ideas and simultaneously lure buyers. Socially Loud’s Rip the Runway showcase features celebrity designer Angel Brinks, NBA playersTyreke Evans and Doc Evans and reality star Draya from "Basketball Wives" with her Mint swimwear.
Parties abound. Tonight is the 40th anniversary party for Boast USA. The all-American athletic brand formed 1973 and was inspired by young '70s tennis rebels John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Hip-hop icon Big Boi of OutKast will host and perform at Pure nightclub in Caesars Palace; Scrapbook Clothing hosts live performances by Jayseanand Skylar Grey at Hyde in the Bellagio and rapper Araabmuzikperforms for the Bornfly, Kamaloop and Flud culture lines at Haze nightclub in Aria.
Be sure to check Laura Croft’s guest fashion column as part of our Vegas Deluxe welcome to the MAGIC convention delegates.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Prince Harry is caught cavorting naked at party...

LONDON: Britain's Prince Harry has been caught on camera doing something embarrassing - again.
Celebrity gossip website TMZ posted photos of the 27-year-old royal cavorting nude with an unidentified woman in a VIP suite in Las Vegas.
It's hardly the first time the prince - who allegedly disrobed as part of a game of strip pool - has been filmed misbehaving. The third-in-line to the throne was earlier photographed wearing a Nazi uniform for a costume party. Some would argue footage in which he was heard to utter a racial slur while teasing a fellow army cadet from Pakistan was more serious.
If the reaction of Britons to Harry's Las Vegas adventure was anything to go by, the nude photos will do little to tarnish his generally positive, party-prince image.
Referring to the prince's naked romp and asked if Harry had done anything wrong, Jim Conlon, a 60-year-old construction worker said, "No." Conlon was genuinely offended by the very question. "I'd be proud of him if he were my son," he said.
Conlon's opinion was typical of a country where thousands of streets and pubs are named for the royal family. Polls published earlier this year showed support for the monarchy at an all-time high, perhaps buoyed by the celebrations surrounding Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking her 60 years on the throne.
Interviews with Londoners up and down the capital's Prince of Wales Road yielded few critics of Harry's antics.
Craig Martin, 38, another construction worker, said: "He's the prince. He can have any bird he wants!"
Down the road, caregiver Shirley Ashard laughed at the news of Harry's naked adventure, dismissing questions about the propriety of running around a plush hotel room in the buff with a boys-will-be-boys shrug.
"I've got kids. They do things like that," the 59-year-old said. "He's a lad, for God's sake."
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine said Harry's romp will not harm his image or that of the royal family. Seward felt Harry's party-boy image was part of his approachable, normal persona.
"Of course it's stupid, but it doesn't make people dislike him - quite the opposite," she said. "It shows that he is a guy who gets into trouble and he's the one people love to love. It could only happen to Harry - but we love him for it."
She did think, though, that Harry might get a talking-to from Prince Charles. Prince Harry's office confirmed yesterday that the photos were of the prince but declined to make any further comment.
The blurry, low-resolution photographs appear to have been snapped from inside a hotel suite, and it isn't clear if the prince was aware that they were being taken. That could be a violation of the royal's privacy. It might also explain why Britain's scandal-hungry tabloids were steering clear of the images.
Ashard said the only outrage she could muster was against the photographer.
"That's out of order," she said. "How would you like it if someone took pictures of you in your hotel room?"