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February 28, 2008

Fellow publishers, do you go through this?

Jack Yan/19.36

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I can’t believe it: yet another stylist’s letter making the rounds in NYC that we have no knowledge of. Again, I won’t name the stylist, but if you are going to go around with a letter that bears my name and signature, I’ll give you one bit of advice: get the postal code right. Copying and pasting the paragraph about us from the web isn’t clever. And, finally, bear in mind a lot of the showrooms in New York know who we are and they’ve seen prior letters from me. Yours looks nothing like them.
   There have been several incidents like this, probably because PDFs and electronic files are easy to take apart. How this gentleman got an older letter with my signature on it is anyone’s guess: a leak from former staffers, or genuinely a stylist who has worked for us before who has taken it upon himself to change the dates?
   Fortunately, too, I update my electronic signature on these letters regularly, mostly because real-life signatures do change.
   I wonder if the older magazines go through this.

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February 24, 2008

Checking the StarNow Australian Model Search entrants

Jack Yan/22.41

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I’ve logged in to the StarNow site to see who has added their names and portfolios to the Australian Model Search that the agency is running.
   I am happy to note that there are more ladies over 30, plus a handful over 45. To those ladies, I say: good on you.
   There is no age restriction on this competition and what I would like to see are real people.
   I offer one tip: many of the older entrants do not have as many shots as the younger ones. That is probably no surprise: I assume the younger ones will have kept more digital copies of their published work and found it easier to upload them.
   Please add extra pics if you can. We judges ?nd it dif?cult to base a decision on a single headshot. Even a few well shot, non-professional images can help us.
   I believe we are due to check in of?cially in early March after the last entrants enter on February 29 to begin voting.

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Being a harsh judge helps in Miss New Zealand

Jack Yan/11.12

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Judging Miss Universe New Zealand 2007I see Miss World 1975 Wilnelia Merced—Mrs Bruce Forsyth now—was mentioned on our blog, which takes us into the world of pageantry once again (OK, bad segue). It’s the season for it and I am unof?cially told that I will be judging Miss Universe New Zealand again.
   Last year’s pageant was an eye-opener and this year I like to think I am a little better prepared. We had some loonies as blog commenters, who felt they were better quali?ed to talk about the judging than, well, me. An eyewitness account apparently is less credible than unsubstantiated bitchiness in the eyes of gossipmongers, but that’s the way gossip works.
   Six people were in that judging room and if you weren’t one of the six, then anything you said about the process would have been complete and utter ?ction.
   I’m also happy there will be a Miss Wellington, 23-year-old Rebecca Connor, whom I met over two years ago at an event for Absolut.
   Before you think there might be bias, I know of several contestants from the 2007 pageant who may re-enter. It seems that pageantry is a small world in a small country, and the same faces reappear.
   I like to think I am a pretty harsh and objective judge when it comes to the pageants, with the interviews playing a huge part. In that realm, no girl has an advantage. I remember one contestant last year telling me, post-pageant, that they expected I would throw tough questions at them. (They probably heard about how all those uni degrees.) And I did.
   I’m not going to ask anything to which the reply might be, ‘World peace.’ But I will ask questions that will signal whether I think the contestant is cosmopolitan enough to not get fazed when she goes to Vietnam this year, to represent New Zealand at Miss Universe.
   A new contestant may well ?nd that the novelty of the judging panel can be used to her advantage and make a sweeping entrance, rather than one founded on same-old, same-old.
   I am reminded of the American Idol auditions where even entrants who have been in years before had no advantage in front of Randy, Paula and Simon.
   Out of the ?eld of 24 in 2007 we saw a huge variety. People behave very differently in front of ?ve people whom they know little about beyond a public image. They do not really know our likes and dislikes, even if I had given a few clues in my work blog last year.
   While every pageant is open to some criticism, the judging is about as tight as it could be. Last year we even had an of?ciator (Di Goldsworthy) who made sure that there was no undue in?uence from each judge. In fact, the judging panel from 2007—Yvonne Brownlie, May Davis, Hilary Timmins, Megan Alatini and myself—were not even allowed to talk to one another about the pageant after the first night’s interviews. We could only confer on the last night.
   I wish that it could be more transparent, with the media coming in to the discussions. I felt we had nothing to hide. I would not even mind sharing my judging scoresheets with the public, but I was told after the pageant that that would not be possible. It would have probably helped the runners-up to know how much (or how little) they missed out on the crown by. But, rules are rules, and there is probably some reason behind them, perhaps to maintain some mystique.
   The national pageant takes place on April 20, a bit later on the calendar than 2007’s event. I will blog what I am allowed to.

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Time for a Brucie Bonus: compère extraordinaire Forsyth turns 80

Lucire staff/0.50

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Showbiz legend Bruce Forsyth, CBE has celebrated his 80th birthday.
   To mark the occasion, the Strictly Come Dancing host held a press conference at London’s Dorchester Hotel, followed by a lavish party for family and friends.
   In an interview last week, Forsyth insisted that he has no intention of retiring just yet.
   ‘I always said I’ll pack it in when I’ve lost the buzz. I still get the buzz,’ he said.
   Forsyth has hosted BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing since it began in 2004.
   His other hit shows over the years have included The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and Bruce’s Price Is Right, as well as hosting the Royal Command Performance. He succeeded Leonard Rossiter in the supermarket sitcom Tripper’s Day, renamed Slinger’s Day when Forsyth took over. Other work included an appearance in the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Only one special, 1978’s Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night, could be said to have been a flop.
   Forsyth’s catchphrase, ‘Nice to see you, to see you … Nice!’ is in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
   BBC1 will celebrate Forsyth’s birthday tonight with a tribute show, Happy Birthday Brucie, featuring stars such as Liza Minnelli, Paul O’Grady and Ronnie Corbett. Forsyth himself will perform a dance routine with the cast of West End musical Billy Elliot.
   Forsyth is married to a former Miss World, Wilnelia (née Wilnelia Merced), whom he met in 1980. They married in 1983. Forsyth has six children (one with Wilnelia), seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.—Press Association, Lucire staff

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February 23, 2008

The Vista Group comes to order

Jack Yan/5.05

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[Cross-posted] I had a great lunch (to which I was on time) with Wellington bloggers Jim Donovan and Mark Di Somma at Vista, which now seems to be a monthly gig, discussing and . Funnily enough, the Trelise Cooper did come up (just blogged about it, guys), but we also talked about the theory of the Nod: that two of the same niche product would recognize each other as belonging to an exclusive club, whether that club existed in fact or not. Two riders might nod at each other, knowing they have some form of brotherhood.
   I wonder if this is a male phenomenon. Would two women with a Kelly bag do the same, or would they believe the other to be a rival, sparking a conversation and underlining the importance of the brand?
   We also discussed lingerie, Lovemarks (God help us) and That Time Mark Endorsed Dan Herman’s New Book (which is excellent, incidentally—review soon).
   You can read Jim’s and Mark’s takes on lunch at their respective blogs.

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Treliske v. Trelise wouldn’t be easily won

Jack Yan/5.00

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[Cross-posted] If you read between the lines, you probably could detect I wasn’t terribly thrilled about the Trelise Cooper Ltd. v. Cooper and other case from 2005 to 2007. It was brand-damaging for , probably stressful for , and at the end of the day, I had my doubts on whether the burden of proof could have been discharged. We the public might never know.
   That damage to Trelise’s has had some rub their hands in glee over a new complaint over her registered trade mark, namely her first name being used for a . ’s a bitch, they say, sneeringly.
   But it still seems unnecessary. The complainant’s is Treliske, registered in 1993 by a partnership called Treliske Wools. It’s not happy that the Trade Marks’ Registrar allowed Trelise to get her name registered in 2005, actually just after the legal threats were made against Tamsin Cooper. A challenge was mounted in September 2007, but it hit the media in late January.
   This time around, Trelise Cooper might find herself quoting from the Tamsin Cooper playbook: ‘I’ve been Trelise longer than they have been Treliske.’ Never mind when the mark was entered on the register.
   I would have thought that if one were in the business with a trade mark called Treliske, one would naturally have kept an eye on Trelise Cooper. Complaining now seems late, given how high-profile Cooper has been. She’s been in the public eye especially over Cooper v. Cooper. She’s formed a lot of over her to the point where many of us identify any Trelise Cooper line garment as ‘a Trelise’.
   I don’t know the exact details of the case, largely as it hasn’t been filed. The challenge is presently with the Registrar. The hypothetical plaintiff would argue that Treliske and Trelise have to exist in the same market-place. Their mutual existence would confuse the reasonable consumer into thinking the goods of one originated from the other.
   Here’s where an interesting point arises. Almost because of the Cooper v. Cooper matter, Trelise Cooper is unlikely to have any brand of hers confused with Treliske. Funnily enough, that was one of the claimed reasons over why Cooper v. Cooper was settled. The mere publicity that this new case has given, thanks largely to the “karma’s a bitch” feeling that some in the mainstream feel, helps distinguish the two, probably even in the minds of people who might never buy from either Cooper or Treliske.
   I’m not sure how to pronounce Treliske. I immediately see two short vowels with stress on the first syllable compared with two long ones for Trelise and a stress on the second. I may be totally wrong.
   The complaint probably could succeed on the grounds (and supporting evidence) that someone less versed with the fashion market would confuse the two, but Trelise Cooper is so darned known in the business to anyone with a passing interest in it.
   Who, then, in law, is the who is the test in such cases?
   That same reasonable , I would think, would not find Trelise Cooper and Tamsin Cooper related, especially given the suit’s publicity. Trelise Cooper, that time, would have said that such a consumer would be someone in the market for fashion regardless of . Treliske is bound to do the same thing, but Cooper may well get off for exactly the same reasons. Thanks to the press, few can be confused now.
   Strangely, despite the similarity of the names, this case is actually less clear-cut than the Tamsin Cooper one. There, the parties were arguing name, appearance, sound and , under trade mark, copyright and passing off. Here, only the name and appearance are really at issue, assuming my pronunciation is right, and design doesn’t come into it. Perhaps there are precedents I am unaware of, and the own-name exception is definitely more cloudy than it used to be in the past. Treliske isn’t without a leg to stand on, but it’ll be hard proving market-place.
   We shall see how the parties play it, but I agree with the Irish newspaper here, even if its well-meaning editorial’s reasoning, which oddly takes us into non-fashion market-places, is off: ‘Making lawyers rich is a mug’s game.’

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February 21, 2008

Lucire’s Thai edition released

Jack Yan/13.10

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Our friend Miguel has his copies of Twinpalms Lucire from the printer—and tells me that the magazines are looking beautiful.
   As mentioned last month, Lucire launched in Thailand this week, in collaboration with Twinpalms Phuket. We had an amazingly smooth working relationship with the magazine’s art director and editor, Miguel Kirjon, at Asia Design Consultants. Laura Ming-Wong, Lucire’s editor for our “master edition” here in New Zealand, had commissioned most of the articles.
   The ?rst issue’s artwork was readied in January but the publication, of course, had to wait till the Lunar New Year holiday was over.
   The lucky folks in Thailand can get their hands on the magazine over in Phuket; as for us here at head of?ce, we’ll have to wait a few more days before they arrive Down Under.

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February 16, 2008

Gisèle Bündchen set to get Max Factor contract, says source

Lucire staff/11.27

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Gisele Bundchen in Victoria's SecretBrazilian supermodel Gisèle Bündchen may have scored a two-year, $2·5 million contract to be the face of Max Factor, according to E! News.
   The entertainment news service quotes a source close to the deal, saying that the campaign will break in the summer.
   Bündchen is the highest-earning model in the world at the moment, making in excess of $30 million per annum, according to Forbes.
   There is no news on whether Bündchen will supplement or replace present Max Factor signature face Carmen Electra.

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