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Nine panelists. Three moderators. Two hours. One mammoth outdoor mall.
Fashion industry trade The Business of Fashion landed at Westfield Century City on Monday, setting up shop up for the inaugural BoF West fashion and beauty summit presented in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “What a beautiful day,” announced Kris Jenner upon taking her seat next to Kim Kardashian West as headliners of the summit for a discussion moderated by BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed titled “Creating Cultural Moments.”
And it was a gorgeous day, one of those perfect 72-degrees-and-sunny Southern California days where one might wander through the recently redesigned mall to pick up something for dinner at Eataly and wind up watching a series of panel discussions about the collision of fashion, Hollywood and Silicon Valley…just because.
The mother-daughter duo closed the program with the third and final talk of the afternoon, following “Creative Entrepreneurship on the West Coast” with Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake, Everlane founder and CEO Michael Preysman and Beautycon Media CEO Moj Mahdara as moderated by BoF’s Lauren Sherman; and “The Future of the Red Carpet,” moderated by Janice Min with stylists Elizabeth Saltzman, Karla Welch and Jason Bolden and The Hollywood Reporter fashion and beauty director Carol McColgin.
With plenty of news, gossip and business insights spilling from the all-white stage, below is a rundown of 19 take-aways from BoF West.
1. Don’t press the snooze button if you work for Jenner.
“My mom is really demanding,” explains Kardashian West. “She wakes up at 4:30 in the morning and she ends her day at about 6 p.m. with a glass of wine. You have to get everything in between 4:30 and 6 p.m. or she’s not having it. She’s really tough.”
2. There’s no rivalry in the Kardashian-Jenner world.
Though Kylie Jenner and Kardashian West are both killing it with their respective beauty businesses, there is no sibling rivalry intent on killing the other’s brand. “We do have communication over our timelines and launches so that nothing comes too close,” said Kardashian West. “If there’s something that we really both have our eyes set on, we would collab and do it together.” Added Kris Jenner: “One business doesn’t cannibalize the other at all. They have two completely different fan bases.”
3. But tardiness is not tolerated.
Kardashian West isn’t down to be disrespected, especially by a sibling who shows up late to a scheduled family commitment. “The sisters that work a little bit more than the other sisters should get respect of, ‘Just be on time when we have things to do,'” Kardashian West explained, later letting it slip that the prime suspect was Kourtney Kardashian and the crime was committed during filming for Keeping Up With the Kardashians. “When I think about it, I do get really mad. It is about people being disrespectful. It’s the one thing that really gets me.”
4. And drama makes for good TV.
Which is why said scenario is included in the upcoming Season 15 of Keeping Up. The blowout fight and resolution is stretched out over three episodes according to Kardashian West, but there’s no love lost. “It helps that they’re related. It’s forgotten in 10 minutes,” Kenner concluded. “There’s a lot of love there.” (Kardashian West added that they start filming Season 16 next week.)
5. Just say yes to Jenner.
“My business philosophy is always that if someone says no, you’re talking to the wrong person,” said Jenner. “If you have an idea and you feel passionate about doing that as a business and that’s what you really want to do and make a commitment, then let’s go figure out how to do it. Let’s roll up our sleeves and find somebody that shares the same joy. It really gives me incredible joy to find these different things that the girls like to do and go out there and figure out a way to do it.”
6. Kardashian West wants to be an activist now.
Kardashian West did a noble thing by securing a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson (with the help of President Donald Trump), and she’s got the prison mail to prove it. “I just got home and I have a stack of letters from prison. I have to start going through them,” she revealed, adding that this is just the start of her journey as an activist. “I didn’t plan on being an activist, I just did something that I felt was the right thing to do and I felt like I had the resources to do it. I want to see my life continuing in that area. That was really satisfying.”
7. Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi debacle was not mentioned onstage.
But someone in the VIP rows whispered that it had to be the situation Kardashian West was referring to when asked about how she gauges whether to weigh in on a fire on social media. “There’s time and places when you need to set the record straight,” she explained. “Like, my sister Kendall, she was caught up in something that she didn’t have a lot of control over and she wanted to speak out so badly. She was advised not to, and I advised her to maybe [speak out] on our show where you feel safe.” Asked to name the specific example, Kardashian West declined in order to not upset her mother. “My mom is going to get mad at me if I bring it up.”
8. Speaking of fires, Jenner joked about all the fires she puts out on the regular.
“I’m like a fireman — with a really big extinguisher,” she said.
9. Jenner may be the momager, but Kardashian West may actually be the one calling the shots.
“I don’t know where you got all that credit from,” Kardashian West countered when Amed called Jenner the “behind-the-scenes mastermind. “I’m the mastermind telling my sisters what to do.” That said, Jenner is the day-to-day point person of their respective businesses and endorsement deals. “The girls are all so creative and they know exactly what they want, and the last thing they want to hear from me is what a lipstick component would look like. My job is to lead in the direction of where their passion is and how to figure out what a business might look like, how to keep it running with a great team behind me and let them do their creative thing.”
10. Kardashian West didn’t borrow Kanye West’s Yeezy strategy.
But low inventory does maintain sellout hype for her KKW Beauty, which, like Yeezy, pretty much clears the shelves every time a new product line is introduced. “When a product sells out, it’s the most gratifying feeling in the world. On launch days, me and the team are on the computer checking all the numbers seeing what’s selling,” Kardashian West detailed. “It’s so much fun. … With makeup, I always want people to have the product. You don’t want to over-order. It’s definitely a learning process.”
11. Dolce & Gabbana’s Stefano Gabbana is persona non grata with Welch and Bolden.
“I reacted poorly to it,” Welch said when asked if the designer’s dig at Selena Gomez will have an effect on the house’s red-carpet future. “I had Dolce on the rack for a fitting and said, ‘No, those can go away.’ That’s just mean.” Added Bolden: “Not since the beginning of time have you seen Dolce on my rack. Those silhouettes are amazing and they get everyone. But my girls are like, what? It’s a done deal.”
12. There are more questions than answers about Scarlett Johansson’s decision to wear Marchesa to the recent Met Ball.
“I wanted to know why,” Saltzman said when asked about the actress’ decision to be the first major star to wear a design by Georgina Chapman in the wake of her ex-husband Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct scandal. “I wanted to know if she was friends with Georgina; if she was supporting Georgina because she loved the brand and she loved the dress? Did Anna Wintour put her up for it? What was the reasoning? I wanted to know why.”
13. Is it ‘time’s up’ for ‘Worst Dressed Lists’?
In the yes category were THR’s McColgin, Welch and Saltzman, while Bolden said it’s time to be realistic. “I, for one, am not a fan of ‘worst dressed.’ It’s passé and not necessary,” said McColgin. “It’s a good thing to celebrate the best dressed, not in a way that it’s pitting women against each other, but celebrating the glamour and the work that you guys do. Everybody wants to be a best-dressed moment.” Said Welch: “Read the comments. All the hate is there. We don’t need to add to it. Although I love having one dress be the best and the worst. That means you nailed it.” Said Saltzman: “Any negativity should be gone. We don’t need any more.” But Bolden had a different perspective: “You don’t need to harass and bring someone down, but we really do need to be realistic. It’s like when people say, ‘We don’t need to let people know when there are winners and losers.’ No, that’s life. You lost. It is what it is. Deal with it and move on. People feed into the wrong things. These things can exist … but if you constantly feed into it, then you actually like that.”
14. Gwyneth Paltrow may be primarily focused on Goop, but she’s still guided by the same red-carpet perspective that she led with when she was promoting her movie career, according to Saltzman.
“She’s building this mega-company now. She’s thinking usually, ‘Elizabeth, what are we doing with this? Why am I wearing this? What am I saying? It’s the same conversation I had with her 12 years ago as I am now,” Saltzman explained. “What’s the point? What am I saying? What am I doing? I try to think of things that will either bring more people to her site or that will move something that she wants to promote.”
15. Taraji P. Henson does not play when it comes to designer loyalty, and she remembers designers who refused to dress her in the past.
“If you love me then, you will love me now,” Bolden said of his longtime client’s outlook. “I will wear you to my funeral.”
16. Bolden is over the disconnect between fashion designers and their PR people who deny requests simply because they don’t know how hot a client may be.
“I find myself in these bizarre situations at shows or at dinners, and I’m sitting next to a designer and talent is with me and they are literally fan-girling over the client who says, ‘Didn’t we just do a request with them and they said no?’ I tell them you can’t really put it on the designer, it’s the PR people,” explained Boden. “We have to really kind of figure it out on that part. There are people who sit behind these PR desks who may have never seen an episode of Atlanta, and then you have someone like a Zazie Beetz who is the breakout star of Deadpool 2 and I’m reaching out. The PR person is like, ‘I don’t know who that is.’ Meanwhile, the designer is like, ‘I don’t understand, why don’t you wear my clothes?’ It’s a huge shift that has to shift.”
17. As the self-described “O.G.” of the group, Saltzman said she’s seen (and welcomes) the shifts, but that some parts of fashion are fine where they are.
“It doesn’t make sense that runways are going to be filled with all shapes and sizes. That’s not idealistic,” said Saltzman. “This is a fashion business, it should be idealistic. It gives people a fantasy so they don’t have to deal with the reality of today’s world. If you really want to get into it, we have a lot of other shit we really have to fix. This is fashion, it should be fashion. Every designer should make clothes for every shape and size when they have to walk a carpet and most of them do. I’ve never been turned down for a plus size, a short size, a wide hip, a giant boob. People listen if you talk to them.”
18. Attention journalists: Do better.
When asked whether or not it’s still OK for stars to be asked, “Who are you wearing?,” Welch said the conversation should include more talking points: “Journalists should be asking better questions. You shouldn’t just say immediately, ‘What are you wearing?’ You should say, ‘Wow, you’re here being celebrated for your work.’ I don’t think that’s an unfair thing for any participant in a red carpet to want. It’s more on journalists and magazines on how it’s covered to be better at their jobs as well.”
19. Beauty is still a men’s game.
“If you look at the largest beauty brands in the world, they are all run by men,” said Mahdara. “There’s a real absence of women and diversity from the top down from a business and creative point of view.” But that’s not to say that there aren’t some exciting disrupters in the space — KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, Mahdara noted — who are still fighting the good fight. “They’ve pushed their way to the front, but it’s really against the odds. They’re doing a lot of these things on the [down low].”
After the summit, guests went from down low to up high for a post-panel dinner celebration at Century City’s outdoor Terra restaurant. Those making the rooftop rounds were Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Maye Musk, Rachel Zoe, Katherine Ross, Michael Govan, Cassandra Grey, Scott Campbell, Alex Israel, Liz Goldwyn, Scott Sternberg, Jennifer Meyer, Jen Atkin, Bobby Kim Hundreds and Zac and Jordan Stenmark, amongst others. Guests dined on housemade spring pea ravioli, big eye tonno seared tuna and cime di rapa grilled broccoli rabe, while Interscope Records artist Michl surprised attendees with a performance as the sun set.
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