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In Venice Beach, California a pair of black pony-hair wedge Ann Demeulemeester boots anchors a lineup of equally fierce, statement-making footwear along the floor of Mona Moore, a factory-turned-boutique at 1112 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (monamoore.com). Out of place in this beach town bohemia? Surprisingly not. Scratch beneath the sunny veneer and you will find many well-traveled urbanites that know their Rick Owens from their Haider Ackermanns in this town. Lisa Dashiell Bush and Anna Maria Varriano chose to open the second outpost of their celebrated Montreal shoe store in Venice Beach for this very reason, and their location means they are in good company—the neighbors include A R, Tortoise General Store, and LFrank. Driven by Bush’s love affair with Los Angeles louboutin replica nyc and the Topanga Canyon home she and her husband, Scott Vineberg, built with local architecture phenomenon Barbara Bestor, the partners knew there were women on the west side of Los Angeles who shared a penchant for moody, European avant-garde designers just as much as canyon hikes and vegetable gardens.   With its tightly edited selection of runway favorites that also includes Dries Van Noten, Lanvin, Zoraide, Pierre Hardy, Phi, and the Los Angeles-based Parker Ochs, all presented on the industrial cement floor, one feels as if they have walked into the closet of an imaginary, smart and sexy, edgy and soulful, über-cool girl.  From fall, Phi’s buckled, platform creepers have been huge sellers since the store opened about a month ago, and customers have been making a pilgrimage to snap up exceptional hand-crafted boots from MA , a small Milan artisanal leather craftsman that’s difficult to find over here. As for spring, Bush and Varriano are looking forward to getting in Ann D’s flat one-strap sandals, Phi’s hybrid sneaker boot, and Rodarte’s flats for Repetto. The duo has also made some local accessory finds: Newbark, Maryam Malakpour’s line of black and metallic chic travel flats, Raven Kauffman’s extraordinary beaded and feathered evening clutches, and California-raised Taiana, whose wool scarves and wraps are naturally dyed then woven using antique techniques.   Speaking of recent discoveries, Bush retells the story of meeting the Mulleavy sisters last month at the Paris shows. She was having a late dinner with a friend and was busy praising the Rodarte-curated art show and store-in-store at Colette she had just come from, when in walked Laura Mulleavy, one half of the sister design duo. Bush finally got up the nerve to introduce herself, and asked about the shoes. The chance encounter was a success. Rodarte’s killer shoes will be at Mona Moore come spring—and a cocktail party for the Mulleavy sisters may well be in the works too.   

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Curiosity was just kicking around Mars, killing time between brunch at Peels and the 3:50 showing of Frances Ha, when it stumbled upon a rock that looked like christian louboutin outlet mens shoes a rat. Unlike Curiosity, which thought it was gross, Discovery.com was very excited about the rat-shaped rock: “The unlikely duo would . . . explore together, like Batman and Robin, to solve scientific riddles previously unfathomable by modern science!” However, by basis of elimination (that is, the elimination of oxygen, which rats require to breathe, and of which there is very little in Mars’s atmosphere), Discovery.com concluded that what appears to be a rat is really just a case of “pariedolia—a psychological phenomenon that tricks our brains into seeing familiar objects in random shapes.”The best thing about this is that Curiosity was not at all curious about the rock vs. rat mystery! Curiosity, like a trust-funder in the East Village venturing past 2nd Avenue for the very first time, saw what it thought was a rat, promptly headed in the opposite direction, and ran for higher ground: the craft “will soon turn its aluminum back on the only friend it was ever likely to make on the Red Planet’s surface to begin its long drive to the three-mile-high Mt. Sharp in the middle of Gale Crater.” So, three-mile-high Mt. Sharp must be the Martian equivalent of, say, Scarsdale?It’s a tale as old as . . . 25: as soon as it strikes out on its own, Curiosity sees something gross and high-tails it back to the suburbs. Here’s how this ends: Curiosity’s parents insist that Curiosity move into a doorman building and will help Curiosity out with the higher rent because it’s a “matter of safety.”

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On Monday night, Chloë Grace Moretz took a welcome respite from her supernatural summer jobs—after a shape-shifting turn in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, she’s begun preparing for MGM’s Carrie remake in the title role—to be honored as the 2012 Max Mara Face of the Future. Before formally accepting the award, Moretz was toasted at a cocktail soirée at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, co-hosted by the Italian fashion house and V.F.’s West Coast editor, Krista Smith. Just as the sun was aptly setting over the hotel’s terrace, the 15-year-old starlet—whose many film faces have included a vigilante killer in Kick-Ass, a wise-beyond-her-years little sister in (500) Days of Summer, and a Parisian orphan in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo—confided in VF.com about her awards-ceremony jitters and making Carrie.“I’m nervous more than anything,” Moretz said of the speech she’s set to give tonight at the Women in Film Crystal Lucy Awards, where she’ll be presented with the Max Mara honor. “And a little tired because I just flew back Saturday. I agree with everything about Women in Film. I don’t have a speech ready—but I do, but I don’t. I hate crowds! I was never a stage actor—a live audience is different entirely.”Although floored by the award, which has been given to Elizabeth Banks, Emily Blunt, and Zoe Saldana in years past, Moretz explained that she’s much more comfortable with the intimacy of a film set. Such as that of Carrie, director Kimberly Pierce’s upcoming reboot that will star Moretz in Sissy Spacek’s Oscar-winning role. “I am changing everything about me—my hair, my look,” said Moretz, decked out in a seafoam body-con dress by Max Mara. “I’m doing my own take on the character . The script is totally different from the original . It’s more like the book. It’s a more Black Swan version—it messes with your mind. You’ll see things, and you don’t know if you’ve seen them.”When she returns to set, she’ll meet Julianne Moore, who plays Carrie’s terrifying mother. “I don’t know if we are supposed to bond because of our characters’ relationship , but I feel like we both will because we’re both cool,” Moretz joked. “I’ll be like, ‘Hey, want to go to Wonderland?’ It’s this park like Six Flags. They have this crazy thing that goes like 200 miles per hour, and there is, like, an 80-degree drop from 360 feet in the air. It’s epic. Laughs. I can scream christian louboutin outlet eden my lungs out, but I can’t do speeches.”But she can do small talk, and there were plenty of people to mingle with last night: Mitch Glazer and Kelly Lynch, Jennifer Morrison, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jenna Elfman, Olivia Munn, Magic Mike actress Cody Horn, Jacqui Getty, and Gia Coppola. The youngest ladies on the guest list—Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka, Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, and The Hunger Games’ Amandla Stenberg—adorably moved through the party as a trio the entire evening. Meanwhile, Newsroom star Olivia Munn told us about her own filmmaking aspirations: “I’d love to have a studio one day. That’s my ultimate goal. I love acting and am so lucky to be acting with the people I’m acting with. It’s so fascinating to see the other side of it. I like to entertain and help people get through their day.”Although the lovely actress and author has not named her dream studio just yet, she was happy to consider some options with VF.com: “The first thing off the top of my head is Eat Don’t Talk, because my Chinese grandmother growing up could only speak a few English phrases: ‘You kids shut up,’ ‘I love you,’ ‘Hi,’ ‘Bye,’ and, when we were eating at dinner and talking too much, ‘Eat, don’t talk.’”Later on, we got Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Mary Elizabeth Winstead talking, about her appreciation for talented women and the night’s honoree: “I get so inspired by great actresses and great writers and great directors. I’m really passionate about more women getting behind the camera. Aside from Chloë, I love Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan. I think Chloë is such a good role model for younger actresses.”Meanwhile, nestled under a heat lamp by the pool, songwriting legend Burt Bacharach held court with a circle of glamorous women (including his wife, Jane Hansen), and told us about his own favorite face in film: “There was an actress I used to love named Lizabeth Scott. Imagine being in college being hypnotized by a woman you don’t know from her movies, and you draw pictures of her. Then reel it forward 26 or 30 years later, and you’re kind of famous, you’ve had success, and you’re at a party and—holy shit, you meet her! I didn’t date her, but I had lunch with her and we had a nice time. She personified what I love about a woman, which is not too feminine but a little bit masculine. Just the strength and the coolness and the separation from the frilly woman who is always touching you and wanting something. . . . I think Diane Keaton had that kind of quality.”When asked if that is the quality he looks for in women in his personal life, the 84-year-old Grammy winner joked, “You’re talking to the wrong person. I’ve been married four times.”After the new Face of the Future had been adequately fêted with dancing and champagne-flute clinks, Krista Smith took a moment to tell us why the young-and-female demographic matters: “I love the community of women in Hollywood, and I think that celebrating it once a year is important. Actually right now, in this moment, of all the years that I’ve been in Hollywood, I think we could possibly be on the best trajectory for young girls. Not everyone has to be model beautiful. If you’re talented, if you’re funny, if you have that special quality, the possibilities are endless.”

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There’s no place quite like London. You’ve got Big Ben, the house with the blue door from Notting Hill, the Tower and so much more to see. Of course, when visiting this famous city (or any other, really), there’s always the question of what to pack. But Alicia from Cheetah is the New Black seems like she’s got it down to an art. Her outfit from across the pond balances christian louboutin outlet deutschland some NYC attitude with a little bit of British charm. Plus, she’s got some of the best layering skills we’ve seen on either side of the Atlantic.Click through to get the details about Alicia’s traveling look and take a virtual tour through Notting Hill.

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This photo, published in the May 2 edition of The New York Times, shows Defense Secretary Robert christian louboutin shoes sale outlet Gates using his digital-subscription plan to browse the entirety of NYTimes.com free of charge. To his right, Secretary of State Clinton appears to have hit the paywall and is presumably on the verge of considering one of the Times s affordable home-delivery or online-only packages. Banner photo via WarIsACrime.org.

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Photo: Courtesy of PradaWhen visiting Milan, shopping at Prada is as de rigueur as indulging in a bowl of pasta. Now there’s even more reason to bump a visit to the top of your travel itinerary. Newly redesigned by architect Roberto Baciocchi, the Prada Corso Venezia 3 store has reconceptualized its retail concept, creating an environment unlike any other Prada store. Lined with oversize metal display cases and perforated steel walls, it feels like a warm yet futuristic ode to the modern shopping experience.The store’s centerpiece is its Made to Order service, where everything from belts and men’s sneakers to women’s boots and shoes can be customized in both color and material. Choosing from ten different shades of crocodile when selecting a pair of boots may seem a daunting task, but the price of owning a piece set to your specifications feels, well, priceless. And for those Prada fans looking specifically for outerwear, the choices are seemingly limitless, be they of the denim, puffer, or blazer variety. “The response has been amazing,” says a christian louboutin outlet zürich Prada spokesman. “We are discovering that everybody wants to have a personal addition to their wardrobe—their own personal item—even if we are talking about denim or sneakers.” In fact, those itching to partake in this novelty experience won’t have to travel too far: Prada’s Fifth Avenue store in New York will launch an exclusive stateside Made to Order service for men’s sneakers beginning in mid-October.  “The Corso Venezia 3 store was the first of a new era, and Prada as a whole started to change after the opening,” he says. “It is the second generation of the retail store.”

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How popular are Michele Obama’s impeccably toned arms? So popular that they made homecoming court four years in a row. So popular that they needed a full page in the yearbook index. So popular that the Hollywood Foreign Press nominated them for a Golden Globe for that horrible movie they made with Johnny Depp. So popular that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports today that upper-arm-lift procedures in the U.S. have increased from a modest 338 in 2000 to nearly 15,500 in 2012, and suggests that one reason for the 4,473% change may stem from the First Lady’s physique. According to the Los Angeles Times: T he ASPS said that doctors didn’t point to a single reason for the increase, but took note of poll data indicating that women “are paying closer attention to the arms of female celebrities” including Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore and Kelly Ripa. The most-admired arms of all? Those of First Lady Michelle Obama.Take that, Jennifer Aniston’s arms, which did not even muscle their way into this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where the First Lady’s arms presided from the podium.In other plastic-surgery news, Americans spent $11 billion on cosmetic procedures last year alone. The most popular surgery remains breast augmentation, with around 286,000 procedures conducted in the U.S. last year—unsurprisingly, concentrated mostly in the region of the U.S. containing the city of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the northeastern U.S. (including New York City) edged out all other regions when it came to rhinoplasty and the aforementioned upper-arm lifts. Readers interested in exploring the latter procedure—which involves an incision from the armpit to the elbow, usually along the back of the arm, to remove excess skin—must be warned, though. The upper-arm lift, officially christian louboutin change of the guard replica titled “brachioplasty,” leaves an unsightly scar, which will not look so fierce in all of the J.Crew sleeveless shifts you’ve stockpiled for your future Michelle-inspired limbs.

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I have shared this before, but my first ever handbag was a Coach bag. From that day forward I was hooked on bags and it clearly changed my life going forward, as I get to talk about the accessories I love every day. While many designers have come in and out of my collection, Coach will always have a special place in my heart. Over the past few years, Coach has churned out higher quality and priced items season after season. The true Coachies (a name given to Coach bag lovers by our loyal Coach PurseForum members) have grown with the brand and found the collections that they love most. For $800, brands like Alexander Wang and Louis Vuitton can be purchased, but right now I am crushing on the Coach Pinnacle Leather Allie. The leather is sure to be richly textured and the smooth and pebbled combination will give a nice tonal effect. The reason this shoulder bag stands out so much is because of its custom buckles, exotic framing detail, and the leather belting. The bag is quite spacious, 18″ x 7″ x 15″ and has a nice shoulder drop of 11.5″. I see this bag working well for the young christian louboutin very mix replica professional to the empty-nest mother.I really like how elegant this bag looks, perfect for those who love the brand but are not looking for a monogrammed bag. But my question comes in about the price. I am not one for sticker-shock but I do realize that $800 is high when many people think about Coach. Is this something that you appreciate as they continue to expand or does it turn you off from the brand? Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $798.

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At the House of Versace, Donatella is back in the saddle again. She now signs off on every leather bag, dinner plate and evening gown. And she has steered the house back to her signature glitzy style.After five years of ceding control to an outside manager, the Versace family, with Donatella leading the charge, has tightened its hold over the company founded by Ms. Versace’s older brother Gianni in 1978. With the House of Versace facing the toughest times since it flirted with bankruptcy in 2004, the family must now steer the company through the current crisis in luxury goods. The History of Versace See a timeline on the House of Versace. The financial future of the house sits on the shoulders of Allegra Versace Beck, the 23-year-old daughter of Ms. Versace and her husband Paul Beck, from whom she is separated. Mr. Versace, who was murdered by a serial killer in Miami in 1997, bequeathed his 50% stake in the house to his niece. Donatella Versace and the third Versace sibling, Santo Versace, respectively control the remaining 20% and 30%. In many ways, Versace is still struggling to cope with the death of its founder. In leaving his 50% stake to Ms. Beck, then 11 years old, he handed over control of his house to his spitfire sister. As her daughter’s guardian, Ms. Versace voted her stake—as well as her own 20%—until Ms. Beck turned 18 in 2004. But under Ms. Versace’s stewardship the house nearly went bankrupt. Ms. Versace has spoken frequently in interviews about her increasing drug use during those years. She and her brother Santo fought over her collections and the strategic direction of the house, according to a person familiar with the situation. And the collections were seen as erratic by fashion magazines and department store buyers. Ms. Versace declined to comment for this article. During that time, the house plunged in value from an estimated $1.6 billion at the time of Mr. Versace’s death. In 2004, soon after she took possession of her shares at her 18th birthday, Ms. Beck stepped in. She put her mother on a short leash; Ms. Versace now had no managerial authority and designed only the main ready-to-wear line, say people familiar with the situation. Her uncle stepped down under pressure, and Ms. Beck hired an outsider, Gian Carlo Di Risio, as chief executive, according to company records and people familiar with the situation. Mr. Versace declined to comment. At the same time, Ms. Versace entered a rehabilitation program in the U.S. and stopped using drugs, which she has been open about in public. For five years, Ms. Versace continued to design the main line, chalking up four years of largely positive reviews for a new, toned-down look, but acceded to changes in the collection Mr. Di Risio often asked for. However, the design team in charge of the home line and a fast-growing accessories collection—together roughly half of sales—reported to Mr. Di Risio. Ms. Versace often didn’t see the products much before department store buyers did, say people close to the situation. Ms. Versace declined to comment. In the meantime, Mr. Di Risio put Versace through a deep restructuring, cut its debt and restored it to profitability. Last year, Ms. Versace began to chafe at the arrangement. According to people close to the designer, she was feeling stronger personally, having stopped using drugs. At the same time, she and her brother voiced their doubts about Mr. Di Risio’s strategy for facing the luxury-goods crisis, according to people familiar with the situation. Mr. Di Risio declined to comment. In May, they asked him to resign and replaced him with Gian Giacomo Ferraris, a former Gucci and Jil Sander executive. According to people familiar with the situation, the family’s marching orders were clear: Mr. Ferraris would take orders from the clan, not give them. Associated Press Donatella Versace, above, in 2008; her daughter Allegra, below, in 2009. Getty Images The company says Mr. Ferraris is fully empowered. “The family has always been involved in decision-making at the company, because as shareholders they sit on the Board of Directors,” a spokeswoman for the company said in a statement. “They are, however, not involved in the day-to-day running of the business. This is Ferraris’ job as CEO. The only difference today is that Donatella is fully responsible for the creative direction of the company.”When Mr. Ferraris arrived, the company was listing badly. Reversing several years of positive results, it posted 272 million euros ($380 million) in sales last year, a 20% drop, and had an operating loss of 30 million euros. With a goal of bringing the house back into the black by 2011, he has slashed a fourth of the company’s personnel, shuttered Versace’s Japanese business and closed an accessories factory. He plans to respark growth by adding bathing suits, underwear, a new watch line and a new mid-priced women’s clothing line. The company is also returning to collections with more of christian louboutin outlet next day delivery Ms. Versace’s signature glamour of yore. At her October show, Ms. Versace sent a clear message that she was back in control. The collection was full of exuberant mini dresses, stretch chiffon outfits and baroque silk prints. Many of the models sported flowing blond hair resembling her own.Some industry analysts wonder if Ms. Versace’s de trop aesthetic is the right one, when penny-pinching shoppers are looking for durable classics. “Sometimes a designer and their personality can overpower the brand,” said Tom Julian, president of brand-consulting firm Tom Julian Group, of Versace. The company and Ms. Versace declined to comment. “Donatella is our main asset,” said Mr. Ferraris in an interview, when asked about the direction of the design. “It’s a question of giving her the freedom to express her natural creativity. We want to have Versace become more distinctive.” Meanwhile, Versace’s failure to grow since Mr. Versace’s death has left it a minnow, at just a sixth the size of Giorgio Armani SpA, and one-twentieth the size of LVMH’s fashion division alone.Independent, family-owned fashion companies have come under pressure in the economic downturn. Large multi-brand groups such as LVMH and PPR have weathered the storm better by relying on stronger brands to keep the smaller names afloat. They have the deep pockets to continue to invest in opulent boutiques, pages of advertising and new product lines even during tough times. By contrast, family-owned companies are often starved of investment because their shareholders lack the resources to pour into the brands.(Versace, for one, has not been able to open as many stores or take out as much advertising as many of its larger and stronger rivals since its founder died.) As a result, some industry experts expect smaller, independent houses including Versace to fall prey to cash-rich predators. WireImage Getty Images A dress from the spring summer 2010 collection. “There is no plan to sell the company nor to sell a stake in the company,” said Mr. Ferraris. “The current restructuring plan in fact enables the company to remain independent because the cost cutting measures are enough to guarantee stability and a return to profitability by 2011.”And unlike thriving companies such as Ferragamo and Zegna, whose families haven’t engaged in feuding, the House of Versace has long been caught up in family drama. In 2004 Ms. Beck hired a lawyer to help her manage her own stake, and helped Elton John lead an intervention to send her mother to a drug rehabilitation center. Ms. Beck, who has said she wants to become an actress and now lives in New York, attends board meetings and was involved in choosing Mr. Ferraris. In media interviews, her mother has expressed hope that Ms. Beck will at some point join the company. But Ms. Beck appears reluctant to be drawn into the company, say people familiar with the situation. Ms. Beck declined to comment.After leaving the company in 2004, Santo Versace, Donatella’s brother, embarked on a political career and is currently a member of the Italian Parliament. He sits on a new steering committee—along with Ms. Versace, Mr. Ferraris and new board member Robert Singer, a former Gucci executive—to oversee the restructuring program.While she has not said she is planning to do anything other than hold her stake in the company, Ms. Beck does have options, industry observers say. She could keep her stake, betting that Mr. Ferraris and her mother find a way to bring back Versace. Or she could sell, freeing herself of the struggling company she inherited and ceasing to be her mother’s boss. If she were to bring in a deep-pocketed investor such as LVMH or PPR, the heiress could give her uncle’s house a better shot at returning to its former glory, some observers believe. Ms. Beck had no comment. Mr. Ferraris says he believes Versace will still be independent five years from now. Deborah Ball, a Wall Street Journal reporter, is the author of “House of Versace,” to be published next week by Random House. Write to Deborah Ball at The White House raced on Monday to persuade Congress to authorize military action in Syria, after President Barack Obama, in one of the biggest gambles of his presidency, handed the volatile issue to lawmakers. Bank of America is selling its entire stake in China Construction Bank for up to $1.5 billion, exiting an investment it made in China’s second-biggest bank eight years ago. Russia’s Defense Ministry detected the launch of two ballistic objects in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and the country’s defense minister briefed President Vladimir Putin, Russian newswires cited the ministry as saying. Microsoft struck a $7 billion deal to buy Nokia’s core cellphone business, a bold move to try to catch up in a fast-growing mobile market that is now dominated by Samsung and Apple.