In #MeToo era, Cosby team’s attacks on victims may have backfired

(Reuters) – Time and again during Bill Cosby’s second trial, the comedian’s lawyers launched blistering attacks on the six women who told a Pennsylvania jury that he had sexually abused them, questioning their motives and assailing their characters in stark terms.

Attorneys for actor and comedian Bill Cosby Kathleen Bliss and Tom Mesereau speak outside the Montgomery County Courthouse after a jury convicted Cosby during a sexual assault retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Lead attorney Tom Mesereau called Andrea Constand, the victim in the case, a “con artist” and “pathological liar” and grilled another woman on her past drug use. His colleague Kathleen Bliss described former supermodel Janice Dickinson, who was a witness for the prosecution and testified that Cosby had sexually assaulted her, as a “failed starlet” who sounded like she had “slept with every man on the planet.”

Confronted with an avalanche of damning evidence, defense lawyers may have felt they had no choice but to be hyper-aggressive.

But the tactic, not uncommon in cases involving sex crimes, appeared out of sync with the #MeToo movement and a national shift in sentiment toward sexual assault victims since Cosby’s first trial ended with a hung jury last summer.

The withering tone and inflammatory words of the defense may have backfired with the jury of seven men and five women, which voted unanimously on Thursday to convict Cosby, 80, of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home in 2004.

“I can understand people doing vigorous cross-examination, but calling people names and trying to characterize them in the most negative light struck me as a bridge too far. And I wonder if there was a boomerang effect in the minds of the jury,” said Valerie Hans, a law professor at Cornell University who studies the jury system.

Cosby, who built a family-friendly image playing the lovable father in the television comedy “The Cosby Show,” has been accused by more than 50 women of sexual assault, though all the allegations but Constand’s are thought to be too old to support criminal charges.

He has denied any wrongdoing, saying any sexual encounters were consensual. His first trial in Pennsylvania last year ended with a hung jury.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby exits Montgomery County Courthouse after a jury convicted him in a sexual assault retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Mesereau and Bliss did not respond to a request for comment about their strategic choices. Mesereau told reporters after the verdict that Cosby was not guilty and that they would appeal.

In addition to Constand, five other women, including Dickinson, were permitted by the trial judge to testify about their own allegations against Cosby. Though the charges related only to Constand, the other witnesses allowed the prosecution to portray Cosby as a serial offender.

The #MeToo movement, which has destroyed the careers of numerous powerful men after a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, has helped women be believed rather than attacked when making such accusations, even in cases when victims avoided speaking up for years, as in Cosby’s case.

“The defense may have been less able to rely on those stock narratives of lying women,” said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern University. “It may have backfired because jurors are more sensitive to this.”

While none of the jurors spoke to reporters after the verdict, it is unlikely that #MeToo had no impact on any of them, said Dennis McAndrews, a former Pennsylvania prosecutor who attended the trial.

“We’re in a different world now,” he said, adding that the defense “overplayed its hand” at times by crossing the line from questioning credibility to blaming the victims.

In her own closing argument after the two-week trial, prosecutor Kristen Feden zeroed in on the defense’s conduct, calling Bliss’ comments about Dickinson “utterly shameful.”

Bliss “is the exact reason women and men don’t report these crimes,” Feden said, as Bliss’ face appeared to redden.

Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York and David DeKok in Norristown, Pa.; Editing by Leslie Adler

Ciara Calls Out Future for Skipping Visits with Their Son

Ciara

Future’s Blowing Off Our Son

… And It’s Hurting Him

4/26/2018 3:31 PM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Future may not be a deadbeat dad, but he’s a repeated absentee one … at least according to Ciara, who’s trying to drag him into court over it.

Ciara blasts her baby daddy in new docs, claiming he’s skipping too many scheduled visits with little Future … who’s now 3 years old. According to the docs, Future no-shows for visits 37 percent of the time, and frequently he does so at the last minute — which screws with her schedule.

She also says when their son goes to Georgia, where Future lives, the child spends most of his time with grandma or great-grandma — instead of Dad — and she rarely gets to FaceTime with her son.

She also says little Future has health issues that have been exasperated by all the cross-country travel. She doesn’t say why that’s Future’s fault, but does say it’s another reason why the travel schedule for their son needs to change.

Ciara says the boy is constantly exhausted due the to travel and, as a result … has emotional breakdowns while he’s at school.

She wants to go to mediation with Future, so they can hammer out a better schedule for their son’s travel … and for sake of his health.

Meet Badass, the Grassroots Activists Hitting Revenge Porn Where It Lives

Katelyn Bowden was holed up in her mother’s basement watching Stranger Things when she got a Facebook message nobody wants: Someone had gotten ahold of nude photos of her and posted them on the notorious image sharing website Anon-IB. “I recognized the photos and confronted my ex,” Bowden says. “But he said his phone was stolen.” That sounds like an easy lie, but it this case, it was true. And so the hunt began.

Bowden is a 32-year-old bartender in Ohio, and at the time didn’t think of herself as especially internet savvy. Social media was about as deep into the web as she ever went. A friend taught her how to do a Google image search to find the source of the photos and landed on the porn site xHamster, where the images were posted by a man she had been messaging with. The username was identical to his Xbox handle. “He was only talking to me to get the photos. He admitted to stealing the phone, he fully admitted to all of this,” Bowden says. “But when I went to the police, they said, ‘Did the ex file a police report for the missing phone? Because that’s the only crime that was committed here.'” The ex hadn’t, and Bowden was left without recourse. (Local police didn’t respond to a call seeking comment.)

Unless you’re a celebrity or in a big city—and often, even then—this is what could happen when you’re a victim of nonconsensual pornography. Only 38 states and DC have laws to deal with revenge porn, and Ohio isn’t one of them. Even in states with effective legislation, law enforcement is woefully ill-equipped to fight or even understand the issue. Copyright infringement and telecommunications harassment laws don’t address the hurt and violation of the crime, and they often don’t carry penalties harsh enough to deter posters. And worse, this isn’t a niche issue: One study found that nearly 1 in 25 Americans has been a victim.

“Culturally, we’ve taken a huge hit,” Danielle Citron, who teaches law at the University of Maryland, told WIRED last March. “Getting people to take this seriously can feel like banging your head against the wall. We’ve been here before with domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s so depressing.”

Like everything on the internet, nonconsensual pornography is a global problem. But not all authorities are as baffled by the crime as the ones Bowden dealt with. Today police in the Netherlands announced they’d confiscated Anon-IB’s servers, effectively shutting down the site following a year-long investigation into the case of a woman whose images were stolen from the cloud and posted on the forum. Now that they have the server, they are beginning the enormous task of identifying and notifying the Dutch women whose images have been distributed. “We wanted the forum taken down because of the material,” says communications director Robbert Salome. “And because of the way it was used by people: posting photos of women, and helping each other out with hacking accounts.”

This is certainly a victory for nonconsensual porn victims, but it might be a short-lived one. These images have a way of finding their way back to the web. Take Bowden’s case: Even though a friend got Bowden’s photos taken down from Anon-IB, she wasn’t in the clear. Shortly after the pictures were removed and Bowden thought the terrible experience was over, she got another Facebook message. The images had been posted again. This time, Bowden was determined to fight back. Anon-IB revenge porn threads tend to be sorted by location: a state, a city, even a high school (more on that later). “I scrolled down, and I see faces and body parts of a bunch of people I know,” Bowden says. “It really was so shocking.”

One of them was BeLinda Berry, a victim advocate from the same area. (Bowden asked that her location not be revealed.) “I had a real shitty week. My boyfriend and I had broken up, my childhood cat died,” Berry says. “And then I got a message from Katelyn.” Berry was all the more blindsided because her photos weren’t even taken in a sexual context—they were from an artistic shoot she’d done over the summer. According to Berry, she and Bowden became instant comrades. “This is going to keep happening,” Bowden said. “By the looks of this website, there’s more of us than them. We got to do something.” So they founded Badass—Battling Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie Sharing—to bring victims together to take action.

Badass Begins

That was August 2017. Now Badass is a nonprofit that Bowden and Berry run as president and vice president, respectively. Bowden’s longtime friend (and Ohio attorney) Kate Venable serves as the group’s secretary, treasurer, and legal advisor. Badass’ membership—which calls itself the Badass Army—is now pushing 850 people from across the US and more than a dozen other countries. It started as just a small Facebook group made up of victims of the same Ohio Anon-IB thread Bowden and Berry were, but as they identified and contacted victims elsewhere, recruitment proved surprisingly easy. “I don’t think we had a clue of how big we were going to get,” Berry says, adding “I think the #MeToo movement has been a huge motivating factor. People don’t want to suffer in silence anymore.”

“I don’t think we had a clue of how big we were going to get. I think the #MeToo movement has been a huge motivating factor. People don’t want to suffer in silence anymore.”

For the Badass Army, speaking out can take myriad different forms. Some just want their privacy back. “Most people want their pictures down as soon as possible,” says Venable. Others want to take different routes. To help, Venable comments on Badass’ Facebook page to demystify what she calls the “big, scary words.” In practice, that’s stuff like walking people through DMCA takedowns (aka getting posts removed on the grounds that they violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), and how to file a restraining order against your ex, your stalker, or whomever is victimizing you.

“People have lots of different needs from us,” Berry says. “We also work alongside sex workers and cam girls who have been doxxed and just want their names removed from their images.”

Free and accessible legal advice is vital when dealing with violations few people fully understand and only some states recognize. That’s why Badass took their mission to Columbus, Ohio to ask legislators to pass an anti-revenge porn bill and also to make sure they grasped the complexities involved. “Victims often get victimized twice by jurisdictional issues,” Berry says. “If they live in Cincinnati but their poster lives in Cleveland, the victim is responsible for traveling and taking off work to report it. It’s one of the things we’d really like to see changed.”

For Bowden and others, demonstrating how to navigate the swamps of Anon-IB or Discord (another platform for gamers that’s also popular with revenge porn posters) was first priority. Then the Badass Army had to decide what to do with that knowledge. “We had hundreds of people all brainstorming together on Facebook,” Bowden says. “We started by flooding threads with boner killers.” What’re those, you ask? Well, they’re Shrek, basically. Apparently, Anon-IB users do not find millennials’ favorite character to ironically adore pleasing, so the Badass Army organized a “Shrek Raid” in an attempt to drown out revenge porn posts.

Getting Results

Badass didn’t rest on their ogreish laurels. “I’d been using Discord as a way to play Pokémon with my kids,” Bowden says. “Then we uncovered a local group sharing photos of girls who were still in high school.” When she told the city police, they said, “What’s Discord?” When they transferred her over to someone at Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and she mentioned Slack, they said “I don’t even know what that is.” So she taught them.

With her help, police arrested three men for sharing nude images of a then-15-year-old girl last month. Their charges? Telephone harassment and complicity—first-degree misdemeanor charges—not child pornography. (When asked about the case, a spokesperson for Discord told WIRED “sharing of nonconsensual pornography is clearly prohibited in our terms of service and community guidelines. Though we do not read people’s private messages, we do investigate and take immediate action against any reported terms of service violation by a server or user. Non-consensual pornography warrants an instant shut down on the servers whenever we identify it, as well as a permanent ban on the users.”)

The feeling of bittersweet victory is familiar to Badass. It colors everything they do—even alerting people who don’t know yet that they’re victims. And then, once they do, helping those people understand what they should do next. That’s nonconsensual pornography’s status quo: Not only is the crime frequently misunderstood or dismissed by law enforcement and legislators, people have a nasty habit of delivering the blame back to the victims. “Victims are reduced to a single image. I’m an advocate, but to a lot of people I’m just some bitch with my nudies on the internet,” Berry says. “You are allowed to be sexual and still expect that those pictures are safe and confidential and consent will continue.”

The bulk of the changes these women are calling for need to be done in the minds of the public as much as they need to happen in the minds of legislators and law enforcement. As the adage goes, politics are downstream of culture. Dutch authorities seizing Anon-IB shows authorities are catching up—in the Netherlands. It’s a win, but a small one on a big internet. Nonconsensual pornography at large can’t be addressed fully until victims can turn to their families and communities and get support, rather than confusion. That’s what the Badass Army wants to see.

“I’m the mother of two daughters. This is all I do now,” Bowden says. “If I can rid the world of one form of sexual assault then I’m doing a good job for them.”

More WIRED Culture

Bill Cosby, once beloved ‘America’s Dad,’ convicted of sexual assault

(Language in fourth and 31st paragraphs may be offensive to some readers)

By David DeKok

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) – Comedian Bill Cosby was convicted on Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting a onetime friend in 2004, marking the first such conviction of a celebrity since the #MeToo movement that has brought down rich and powerful men for their treatment of women.

Cosby, 80, best known as the lovable father from the 1980s TV hit “The Cosby Show,” faces up to 10 years in prison for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, 45, following a three-week trial at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

After maintaining decorum throughout the trial, Cosby exploded following the verdict when prosecutors asked the judge to take him into custody, saying he was a flight risk in part because he owned a plane.

“He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole!” Cosby responded in a booming voice as he leapt to feet.

District Attorney Kevin Steele later remarked that with the outburst, “You got to see who he really was.”

As the verdict was read, Cosby looked down with a sad expression. Lili Bernard, one of his many accusers, began sobbing. Constand sat stone-faced.

Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Cosby could remain out of jail on $1 million bail pending sentencing at a later date, as long as he surrendered his passport and remained at home.

Cosby then left the courthouse with his lawyers and publicist.

“The fight will go on,” defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau told reporters, adding he would appeal the conviction.

Sentencing was expected within 60 to 90 days, after Cosby submits to a “sexually violent predator assessment.”

Although he could get up to 10 years for each count, state sentencing guidelines suggest a term of less than 10 years.

The conviction marks the downfall of a man once celebrated as “America’s Dad” but whose reputation was ruined after some 50 women accused him of similar offenses going back decades.

Cosby had been a transcendent figure in show business, coming up as a black comedian during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and winning over white audiences with a clean routine.

He went on to several successful television series when African-Americans were largely absent from TV. In “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992, he played the wise and witty Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, the father of an affluent black family.

All the while, his accusers say, he had been drugging and molesting women.

Bill Cosby walks through the Montgomery County Courthouse with his publicist, Andrew Wyatt, after being found guilty on all counts in his sexual assault retrial, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. Mark Makela/Pool via Reuters

Only one of those cases was recent enough to be eligible for prosecution, that of Constand, a former administrator for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. She had no comment after the verdict.

“The most important person in our team was Andrea Constand,” Steele, the district attorney, told reporters. “She was the first courageous person who stood up in public and went to authorities and said, ‘Bill Cosby drugged and raped me.’”

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 33 of the Cosby accusers, rejoiced that Cosby was found “guilty, guilty, guilty.”

“We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed, and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law,” Allred told reporters.

Other Cosby accusers celebrated the verdict with hugs, cries, and applause.

“I feel like my faith in humanity is restored,” Bernard said.

The seven-man, five-woman jury reached a unanimous verdict after deliberating for 14 hours over two days.

Less than year ago, a different jury was deadlocked after six days of deliberations on the same charges, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

Soon after the first trial, a series of women leveled sexual assault and harassment accusations against men in media, entertainment and politics, giving rise to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that encouraged women go public with personal stories of abuse, in some cases after years of silence.

Like many of Cosby’s other accusers, Constand said she was drugged and violated while unable to defend herself.

Cosby has said any sexual encounters were consensual, and his lawyers portrayed the accusers as fabricating stories in search of wealth and fame.

“Mob rule is not due process,” defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss said, referring to the #MeToo movement.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including after the release during the 2016 presidential campaign of a video in which he had spoken in vulgar terms about trying to have sex with women. He later called it “locker room banter” and his campaign issued an apology to anyone who was offended.

Trump, whose inauguration and first anniversary as president were met with nationwide women’s protests, denies accusations of sexual misconduct and accuses rival Democrats and the media of a smear campaign. He faces a defamation lawsuit from Summer Zervos, a contestant on his former reality show who accuses him of sexually harassing her. Trump’s lawyer has said her accusations are false and politically motivated.

Constand testified she went to Cosby’s house to discuss a potential career change when he gave her three blue pills he said would relax her.

Slideshow (12 Images)

She said the pills made her feel woozy, and when she was jolted awake Cosby was digitally penetrating her vagina, touching her breasts and masturbating himself with her hand.

The prosecution case was bolstered by the five additional accusers who were allowed to testify, each saying they, too, were drugged and violated. In the first trial, O’Neill allowed only one accuser besides Constand to take the witness stand.

Reporting by David DeKok; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown

Cardi B Sued for $10 Million By Ex-Manager Who Discovered Her

Cardi B

Sued By Ex-Manager for $10 mil

I Discovered You and You Screwed Me Over!

4/26/2018 1:45 PM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Cardi B is on the receiving end of a lawsuit by her ex-manager, who claims he turned her from an Instagram wannabe to a star and she repaid him by giving him the shaft.

Speaking of shaft, a guy with that name claims he began working with Cardi B in 2015 after she sought him out, hoping to propel her from social media to music stardom.

Shaft (real name Klenord Raphael) claims in a new lawsuit, he taught her the ropes of the music biz and orchestrated her relationship with VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop.”

Even more significant, Shaft says his contacts and personal team of writers and producers are responsible for her megahit, “Bodak Yellow.”

Shaft goes on to allege her monster hit allowed her to secure major record and publishing deals worth millions.

He’s also claiming she defamed him by telling her fiance, Offset, and others he robbed her blind. Shaft says last December, Offset texted him and said, “[U] better stop play acting like u don’t know u taking her sh** from her u a snake. U can’t hide from me N***** and u not bout to play my WIFE.”

Shaft blames Cardi’s makeup artist/publicist for poisoning her against him.

Shaft’s rep tells TMZ, “Shaft is disappointed by her actions to freeze him out of her career.”

He’s suing for $10 million.

Malik Yusef Says Kanye’s Big Announcement Involves Chicago, Humanity

Malik Yusef

Get Ready, Chicago

Kanye’s Got Something Big For Ya …

4/26/2018 1:34 PM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Kanye West‘s friend and G.O.O.D. Music affiliate, Malik Yusef, says the rapper’s upcoming announcement Friday is going to be huge … like, humanity huge.

We talked to Malik about Kanye’s big news — which Yusef says is coming tomorrow — and he gives us more than just a hint about what it will involve. If you guessed it has something to do with Ye’s hometown … give yourself a pat on the back.

But that’s not all. Malik, who’s also based in Chicago, tells us Kanye’s enormous impact on the city already — both musically and culturally — is just a start … and what he has planned for Chi-town is a microcosm for the whole country.

Stay tuned …

Calix by Massimo Palmiero Makes Debut at Guggenheim in New York – WWD


JEWELS IN THE ROUND: While some designers prefer to edge into New York to see what business they might reap, Massimo Palmiero dove right in, showcasing his jewels Wednesday night at the Guggenheim Museum.

Eleven dark-haired models in sleeveless black dresses and long satin gloves helped show off his Calix one-of-a-kind jewelry. Entwined around a black circular banquette in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda, their circular display mirrored the building’s iconic skylight 90 feet above. While guests like Gabby Karan and Gianpaolo De Felice circulated, the company’s namesake spoke of how spherical designs have been integral to his work for years.

Admiring the Guggenheim’s winding path, Palmiero said, “I like the architecture and I like this design. I have been doing this spiral design for more than 15 years [leafing through a book of his work to illustrate that point.] The shape is something you see in my work. But everything that I am showing is new. Everything here tonight is one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Not interested in opening stores or opening retail accounts, the Italy-based Palmiero hosted a cocktail party to attract new clients. The fact that the Italian actress Monica Bellucci, a longtime client, was recently photographed in a magazine wearing Calix jewels was further incentive to explore the New York scene. In addition, while he has quietly worked privately since 1985, his existing clients have been bringing a steady stream of new ones to his atelier.

In Rome, his own atelier does not have a storefront or any sign indicating there is a jeweler behind the front door. There, he works and sells his jewelry, which is priced on a case-by-case basis with some items retailing up to $10 million. “I love New York, because it is an international city where people from all over the world come. It’s not completely American. I can reach an international crowd,” he said.

Palmiero wasn’t downcast about Roma’s loss to Liverpool in the previous night’s Champion League semifinals. “The ball is round. It keeps rolling,” he shrugged.

He may have been more wound up years before since Palmiero pals around with Roma’s former owners. Another friend of the Calix founder, Claudio Lotito, owner of Lazio, and his son Enrico were in the Guggenheim crowd. Another well-known Italian offspring, Francesca Leone, whose filmmaker father Sergio is credited with creating the “Spaghetti Western” genre, also attended Wednesday’s event. “They came because they are not only friends but also clients,” Palmiero said.

Jockey Taps Victoria Arlen for #ShowEm Campaign

Victoria Arlen spent four years locked inside her own body.
When she was 11, Arlen suffered from a rare illness that left her conscious but in a vegetative state, and once she came out of it, her lower body was still paralyzed, but she regained use of her legs after being told she would live life in a wheelchair.
Arlen, who is 23, has gone on to win three silvers and a gold medal for swimming at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, compete in “Dancing With the Stars,” and become the youngest on-air host at ESPN. And now she’s the face of Jockey’s Show ’Em What’s Underneath, Show ’Em Your Jockey campaign, which is known for highlighting everyday heroes.
“After ‘Dancing With the Stars’ there was a lot coming into my inbox and when Jockey came along I did my research and I loved what they stood for,” said Arlen. “It’s about family and being true to who you are. Obviously it’s a little intimidating to be in your underwear, but for me I have a lot of scars that I used to hide so I wanted to celebrate my body. And Jockey gave me an incredible platform to do that.”
In the campaign,

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Manolo Blahnik Continues Asia Expansion With Singapore Store Opening – WWD


LONDON — Manolo Blahnik continues to strengthen its position in Asia with a retail location set to open in Singapore next month.

The store will be located at the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall, which has the largest portfolio of designer boutiques in Asia.

The triple tower complex, one of the biggest attractions in Singapore, also brings together a luxury hotel, casino, museum, restaurants and theaters topped with an infinity pool and a sky park.

“Marina Bay Sands is one of the most recognized places in Singapore. It has been at the forefront of uniquely combining innovative architecture, luxury shopping and leisure, so I am very excited that now Manolo Blahnik will be part of this special concept,” said Kristina Blahnik, the label’s chief executive officer.

The space was created by the architect Nick Leith-Smith, a longtime collaborator of the brand, who approaches each retail project by melding Blahnik’s vision with elements of local architecture, materials and cultural context. The aim is to create unique retail spaces that tell the stories of their locales.

The Marina Bay Sands location, opening its doors to the public on May 16 and spanning 474 square feet, blends traditional and modernist influences to reflect the mix of architectural styles seen around Singapore. “The scale of surrounding architecture called for a space with a very distinctive presence. In part our inspiration stemmed from Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre with the space framed in cubist metal and glass geometries,” said Leith-Smith, referring to the Parisian landmark made of steel and glass. He also pointed to the use of bamboo and checkered floors to inspire a more natural feel and contrast the modernist glass elements.

The opening follows a series of activities to expand the brand’s presence in Asia. The British company has a partnership with the Bluebell Group aimed at “optimizing and restructuring” its distribution in the region. Previous retail developments included the opening of two new locations in Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Marina Bay Sands store will be the brand’s only standalone location in Singapore.

Blahnik is also set to open another space in Geneva this month, next to the cinema the designer used to frequent as a university student in the city. It is also moving to a bigger location in Selfridges and expanding its Burlington Arcade space.

“Our expansion is steady but organic, and we are very fortunate that we frequently encounter serendipitous moments which align seamlessly with the house’s values,” Kristina Blahnik told WWD earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the roving “Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes” exhibition, which outstripped visitor expectations in Madrid, is moving to its last location at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto this May.

Justin Timberlake ‘Man of the Woods’ Line to Be Sold at RSVP Gallery – WWD

Justin Timberlake


INTO THE WOODS: Justin Timberlake fans can get their hands on new tour merch with the line set to make its way to Los Angeles’ RSVP Gallery Friday.

This would be the first time the gear is being sold outside of concerts for Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods Tour.” The pieces, designed in collaboration with streetwear designer Heron Preston, is priced from $40 to $80 and includes graphic sweatshirts, T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts.

Friday’s release will also include four exclusives cobranded with RSVP Gallery: a T-shirt, hat, hoodie and pair of shorts.

Justin Timberlake

From Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” concert tour line. 
Courtesy Photo

The release comes courtesy of Universal Music Group’s Bravado division, which has pushed more recently to evolve its strategy when it comes to music merchandising and brand management beyond concert halls and into more traditional retail outposts. The strategy is being led by chief executive officer Mat Vlasic.

Bravado most notably was behind the 21-city pop-up event ahead of Kanye West’s Saint Pablo Tour that timed entries for the crowds and lines out the door hoping for limited-edition merchandise. Bravado also worked with Maxfield on a pop-up timed with the 30th anniversary of the Guns N’ Roses “Appetite for Destruction” 30th anniversary that included collaborations with a number of brands, including Off-White, Amiri and Enfants Riches Déprimés. There was also Justin Bieber’s “Purpose the Stadium Tour” merchandise, which popped up in specialty boutiques, such as Storm in Copenhagen and ANSH46 in Rotterdam. Earlier versions of the line were also sold in Barneys New York and Selfridges as Bravado continues to look at how to apply the concept of lifestyle to product not traditionally seen as fashion and only bought and sold during shows.