Wednesday 30 June 2021

Spotlight on the French capital and its peculiar inhabitants: Les Parisiens / Les Carnets du Major Thompson (The Trophies of Major Thompson) and in the U.K. as The Diary of Major Thompson by Pierre Daninos.

Mort de l'écrivain Pierre Daninos, auteur des "Carnets du major Thompson"- 07.01.05


PARIS (AFP) - L'écrivain et humoriste français Pierre Daninos, auteur entre autres des "Carnets du major Thompson", est mort vendredi à Paris à l'âge de 91 ans, a-t-on appris samedi auprès de son entourage.

Né à Paris en 1913, Pierre Daninos commence une carrière de journaliste dès 1931. Après avoir publié plusieurs ouvrages, il reçoit le prix Interallié pour "Les Carnets du Bon Dieu", en 1947.


Le prix Courteline couronne "Sonia, les autres et moi" en 1952. Deux ans plus tard, dans Le Figaro, Pierre Daninos crée le major W. Marmaduke Thompson, dont "Les Carnets" connaissent un immense succès et sont traduits dans vingt-sept pays. Rien qu'en France, ils ont été tirés à 1,19 million d'exemplaires (dont plus de 300.000 dans Le Livre de Poche).


Grâce à ce personnage d'officier qui raconte ses histoires avec la France et les Français, l'écrivain et journaliste pose un regard plein d'humour et d'ironie sur les travers de ses compatriotes.


En 1962, Pierre Daninos publie "Le Jacassin", puis en 1964 "Snobissimo".


Parmi les citations les plus connues de Pierre Daninos on relève : "Cartes postales : représentation idéale des lieux destinée à impressionner le destinataire en faisant mentir l'expéditeur", "As de pique : des quatre as, le plus mal fichu" ("Le Jacassin"), "Les Anglais ont appris au monde la façon de se tenir correctement à table. Mais ce sont les Français qui mangent" ("Les carnets du major Thompson").


Le Premier ministre Jean-Pierre Raffarin, le maire de Paris, Bertrand Delanoë et le ministre de la Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, ont rendu hommage samedi à Pierre Daninos.


"Pierre Daninos avait commencé sa carrière comme journaliste et c'est une passion dont les prix littéraires qu'il obtient rapidement ne le détourneront pas", écrit M. Raffarin dans un communiqué.


Bertrand Delanoë, a salué "la pureté de sa plume", notamment dans "les Carnets du major Thompson".


L'écrivain et humoriste Pierre Daninos "nous faisait rire de nous-même", a estimé dans un communiqué le ministre de la Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.


"Avec Pierre Daninos disparaît une figure profondément attachante de l'humour français", ajoute le ministre dans le communiqué. "En nous faisant rire de nos travers, il nous aidait à nous corriger", juge-t-il. "Ce champion littéraire du regard croisé nous aidait déjà ainsi à être plus européens", ajoute-t-il.


 The French, They Are a Funny Race, known in France as Les Carnets du Major Thompson (The Trophies of Major Thompson) and in the U.K. as The Diary of Major Thompson, is a 1955 comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges, based on the novel by Pierre Daninos. It stars Jack Buchanan and Martine Carol.


This was the last film directed by Preston Sturges.


Major Thompson (Jack Buchanan) is a crusty, middle-aged English officer, retired and widowed and living in Paris, who tries to adjust to the French way of life. He falls in love with frivolous but alluring Martine (Martine Carol), and then marries her. The question is, will their child be raised as a proper Englishman, or a swinging Frenchman?



Jack Buchanan as Maj. Thompson

Martine Carol as Martine

Noël-Noël as M. Taupin

Totti Truman Taylor as Miss Fyfyth, the nurse

Catherine Boyl as Ursula

André Luguet as M. Fusillard, the editor

Geneviève Brunet as Secretary

Paulette Dubost as Mme. Taupin


Although Jack Buchanan was Scottish, he often played very English characters. He was dying of cancer at the time this film was made.

Noël-Noël was a French comic actor of some note at the time the film was made.



Preston Sturges had come to Paris in hopes of reviving his career, which had hit the skids in Hollywood after his partnership with Howard Hughes dissolved in acrimony. He did some work on Broadway, wrote the screenplay for an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's The Millionairess which Katharine Hepburn, who had performed in the play in New York, wanted to get produced, and then came to France where, because he was fluent in French, he was able to write and direct the screenplay for this adaptation of Pierre Daninos popular novel.


The film was released in France on 9 December 1955, but Sturges did some additional polishing of it for the American audience, and it was not released in the United States until 20 May 1957, when it premiered in New York City, the final American opening of Sturges' film career.


Screen: Mellow Sturges; 'French Are a Funny Race' at the Baronet


Published: May 21, 1957 in The New York Times


IN eight years a man can do some mellowing—especially a man who has spent much of that time in France, where a great deal of skill is devoted to the mellowing of expatriates. But it isn't quite fair that Preston Sturges should have mellowed as much as it looks as though he has from his first new film to be released in eight years, "The French They Are a Funny Race."


From this made-in-France spoof of the French people, which opened at the Baronet last night, it looks as though our old friend Mr. Sturges has become as soft as a summer breeze. He who made such tremendous satires on American manners as "The Great McGinty" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" is here playing around with such small humors as how the French drive their cars or shake hands. Once he does wax so daring as to speculate on how a Frenchman thinks of sex, but drops the subject with some spluttering embarrassment when the lady on whom he is speculating walks into a church.


It isn't fair for Mr. Sturges to be so mellow. It isn't fair to us—or to the French.


As a matter of fact, the most galvanic and amusing thing in his film, which is based on "The Notebooks of Major Thompson," a series of humorous essays popular in France, has nothing to do with the French people but is a jab at the English. It is a scene in which the raconteur, Major Thompson, pays court to his first (English) wife.


She is a raw-boned "county" creature, named Ursula, whose way with a horse is much more comfortable and cozy than her way with a man. Indeed, she inclines to treat the latter the way most women shy off from a nag. But when she and the Major take time out from a hunt to slug down some booze, while sitting astride their horses, Ursula undergoes a change. It's the sort of change that Mr. Sturges, past master of satiric farce, knows how to handle superbly. And he does so, this one time, in the film.


But it grieves us to tell you that, for the most part. "The French They Are a Funny Race" is a generally listless little picture, without wit, electricity or even plot. It is simply a series of comments by this major who is writing some screeds about his French friends, his casual observations and his domestic problems with a pretty French wife.


One trouble is that the major, whom Jack Buchanan plays, is a pompous and pudding-headed fellow whom Mr. Sturges doesn't slap down properly. He's the sort our boy would have enjoyed belaboring in the old days, before mellowing. Like most pompous fellows, he gets off some pretty obvious and dismal jokes.


For another thing, the observations are pretty prosaic and dull, such as the reverence of the French for Napoleon or their native inclination to mistrust. Mr. Sturges, in the old days, could have thought up many funnier things to kid about, we're sure. And the English narration of the major, which accompanies the film, is too ornate.


To be sure, a very able French actor, Noel-Noel, plays the major's French friend, and he does make some wry, amusing gestures and hit some comic expressions, at times. Ursula is also played briskly by a tall girl named Catherine Boyl, and the Major's French wife is made attractive and mildly mettlesome by Marline Carol. Likewise, Totti Truman Taylor does well as an English governess. (They all speak English, by the way.)


But the picture is all too bland, too listless. The French they must be funnier than this.

Monday 28 June 2021

Burberry Trenchcoat Segment-BBC British Style Genius: The Country Look / End of partnership that kept Burberry at the leading cultural edge

End of partnership that kept Burberry at the leading cultural edge


Analysis: Could Marco Gobbetti be followed out of British luxury brand by creative director Riccardo Tisci?


Jess Cartner-Morley


Mon 28 Jun 2021 13.08 BST


The departure of Marco Gobbetti as chief executive of Burberry raises the key question of whether Riccardo Tisci, whom Gobbetti appointed creative director soon after he joined, will remain at the luxury fashion brand.


A desire to be closer to his family in Italy was given as the reason behind Gobbetti’s decision to quit Burberry, and Tisci too is thought to have found it difficult to be away from family in Italy for prolonged periods during the pandemic. The designer was a fashion student in London in his teens and has a deep affection for British culture and subculture, but the pull of his homeland remains strong. Italy has many deep-pocketed luxury brands and a shortage of exciting design talent, so opportunities are likely to present themselves.


While Gobbetti focused on raising price points and elevating Burberry’s luxury status, Tisci worked on keeping Burberry relevant – a huge challenge over the past year, as the pandemic has put the fashion industry on the back foot. The charity partnership with the footballer Marcus Rashford, who starred in a recent advertising campaign, was a symbol of how Burberry successfully positioned itself at the progressive leading edge of culture.


A label whose signature check pattern once had such combative overtones that it was banned by nightclub bouncers looking to keep out trouble is now a pioneer of gender-neutral clothing. The brand has committed to climate neutrality by next year, and climate positivity by 2040.


Burberry is Britain’s only major luxury fashion brand. This means that a Burberry catwalk or shop window is as much about selling an appealing image of modern Britain as it is about designing clothes. Backed by Gobbetti, Tisci has brought to Burberry the uncompromising, hard-edged aesthetic he pioneered during his previous job at Givenchy. In the most recent catwalk show, released digitally last week, trench coats came with the sleeves ripped off, and were accessorised with nose rings. The mood music of Tisci’s Burberry wavers between menace and melancholia, with occasional blasts of mischief. It is quite a stretch for a British luxury brand, where bread-and-butter sales come from investment coats that hang in corner offices and in the cloakrooms or expensive restaurants, and polo shirts worn in smart golf clubs.


It was Christopher Bailey, who preceded Tisci in his dual role as designer and chief executive of Burberry, who pivoted Burberry from being a British heritage brand to an international fashion powerhouse. Under Bailey, Burberry’s touch points were bookish, bohemian, and with a lyrical connection to the British countryside. The gardens of Vita Sackville-West, and the landscape paintings of David Hockney, were among his references. Under Gobbetti and Tisci, Burberry has looked at Britain’s future rather than at its past, shaking off fashion history and taking its cue from the cultural and political preoccupations of the next generation.

First World War Officer's Trenchcoat

Sunday 27 June 2021

‘The thought is unbearable’: EU prepares to cut amount of British TV and film shown post-Brexit


‘The thought is unbearable’: Europeans react to EU plans to cut British TV


EU media critics say post-Brexit plans could pave way for more homegrown content


Kate Connolly in Berlin, Angela Giuffrida in Rome, Jon Henley in Paris, Helena Smith in Athens and Sam Jones in Madrid

Fri 25 Jun 2021 18.17 BST


It was during a trip to Brighton for an English language course in 1984 that the young German student Nicola Neumann first discovered British television.


“The elderly couple who put me up tried really hard to educate me further, so we’d sit in front of the telly together every evening and then talk about the programmes afterwards,” she said.


She remembers watching news bulletins, EastEnders, Coronation Street, and ‘Allo ‘Allo! – and every Friday night without fail, a crime drama.


“I was hooked,” she said. “Since then I’ve not been able to imagine my life without British TV and film. I like the quality, the tone, the humour, the way it has taught me to express myself in colloquial English. For me it’s been an education over three decades.”


On her return to Germany, Neumann continued to get her “fix” through videos and episodes of programmes such as All Creatures Great and Small, and Upstairs, Downstairs, which aired on television – albeit dubbed into German – in Bavaria, where she grew up. More recently, said Neumann, who is a bookseller from Erlangen, it has mainly been streaming services and YouTube which have helped feed her craving.


So when it was reported earlier this week that the EU was preparing to act against the “disproportionate” amount of British television and film shown in Europe after Brexit she said she was “furious”.


“Some of us are still reeling from the shock of the Brexit referendum. We’ve thought about the consequences of things like freedom of movement, import duty, or fishing, perhaps, but this is one of the things we had not paid attention to.


“I guess if it happens I will try to circumnavigate the problem even if it means going to the UK and buying up loads of DVDs,” she said.


Chiara Lagana, an Italian journalist who writes about TV, is equally shocked at the prospect of having less access to British content.


“The thought is truly unbearable,” she said. “I’ve been fond of British TV series for years. The thought of losing them or not having access to new ones makes me feel poorer. They are of huge quality, much better even in comparison to the US.”


In Spain, British television series have always been viewed as “prestige products”, said Natalia Marcos, a journalist for the TV section of El País.


“Downton Abbey is one example of that, as is The Crown. But it’s not just the period dramas – British cop shows are also very popular. Line of Duty has found a real niche among TV lovers here, who really rate and respect it,” she said.


Marcos said she believed that if Spanish viewers were to find themselves deprived of their favourite British shows, many would not hesitate to resort to illegal means, such as VPNs – encrypted connections over the internet which help circumvent geographical locks.


Gabriele Niola, a film critic and Italy correspondent for Screen International, agreed. “I don’t think the impact will be too significant as people will still find ways of accessing shows if they really want to,” he said.


But post-Brexit, politically the will is there to challenge the dominance of British TV and film.


When the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, visited Rome this week to formally approve Italy’s spending plan for its share of the EU’s recovery fund, the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, hosted her at the Cinecittà film studios in Rome, where €300m (£257m) of the funds are to be invested in development.


“It’s obvious that if Britain leaves the EU, then its productions no longer fall within the community’s quotas,” the Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini, told Corriere della Sera. “Europe will have to respond on an industrial and content level, and Cinecittà will be strategic on this front.”


Sten-Kristian Saluveer, an Estonian media policy strategist, said EU plans to reassess the amount of UK content – in particular on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon – were inevitable.


“A big catalyst is the increased trade tensions between the UK and France, as well as the EU’s anti-trust procedures,” he said. “The question is not so much about original content produced in the UK as it is about studios in the UK connected to platforms like Apple and Netflix, which are very well positioned to utilise the good relations the UK has with the US – as well as exploiting the European capacity, including everything from work permits to subsidies,” he said.


“When Britain was in the EU there were spillover effects for the rest of the bloc. But now it’s not, the question is why should these platforms be able to exploit the same benefits?”


Saluveer said smaller EU members could stand to benefit from a reduction in UK content, as it could allow more room for their content. He cited the box office success Tangerines – an Estonian-Georgian co-production which was nominated for a Golden Globe – or the Oscar-nominated The Fencer, a Finnish-Estonian-German collaboration.


Thomas Lückerath, a leading TV industry journalist in Germany and editor in chief of the media magazine DWDL, said he believed the EU had “no alternative” than to refocus its definition of what was a “European work” now that Britain had left.


The EU’s audiovisual media services directive – according to which a majority of airtime must be given to European content on terrestrial television and must constitute at least 30% of the number of titles on streaming platforms – was introduced to create a distinction from works from the US which would otherwise dominate, he said.


“This is about ensuring that works are made in the EU – that the streaming services use EU talent and don’t just grab the money. And it has certainly led to more investment flowing into the creative scene,” he said.


Since Brexit, he said “the political agenda hasn’t changed. The 30% quota was simply to boost creativity and that’s what it’s done.”


He said he believed the knock-on effect of this might even lead to more British content, not less. And German TV – which recently showed Sherlock in a prime-time slot, and where series such as Midsummer Murders and Line of Duty have cult followings – would continue to show as many British series as it ever had, he said. “There are no plans to cut what people like to watch.”


Even in France, notoriously protective of its cultural heritage, British TV draws big audiences and dedicated followings. Costume crime such as Peaky Blinders and Ripper Street, and contemporary cop shows such as Luther, Killing Eve and Bodyguard are recent examples.


“British television fiction is of a very high quality, there’s a lot of it, and it consistently has a great deal of success in France,” said Laurence Herszberg, director of the international Series Mania festival, adding that several leading French production houses now had British subsidiaries.


Any decision by the EU to cut the amount of British content on screens would certainly be felt. But a recent decline in French interest in US-made series could reduce that impact.


“My impression is that if UK-made content is no longer classified as European, British product will be able to compensate for the shrinking share of US output,” she said. “There will be some fall-off, but I think maybe not as much as people might fear.”


EU prepares to cut amount of British TV and film shown post-Brexit


Exclusive: number of UK productions seen as ‘disproportionate’ and threat to Europe’s cultural diversity


Daniel Boffey in Brussels

Mon 21 Jun 2021 12.58 BST


The EU is preparing to act against the “disproportionate” amount of British television and film content shown in Europe in the wake of Brexit, in a blow to the UK entertainment industry and the country’s “soft power” abroad.


The UK is Europe’s biggest producer of film and TV programming, buoyed up by £1.4bn from the sale of international rights, but its dominance has been described as a threat to Europe’s “cultural diversity” in an internal EU document seen by the Guardian.


The issue is likely to join a list of points of high tension in the EU-UK relationship since the country left the single market and customs union, including disputes over the sale of British sausages in Northern Ireland and the issue of licences in fishing waters, which led to Royal Navy patrol boats being deployed to Jersey earlier this year.


Brussels’ target this time is the continuing definition of British programmes and film as being “European works”.


Under the EU’s audiovisual media services directive, a majority of airtime must be given to such European content on terrestrial television and it must make up at least 30% of the number of titles on video on demand (VOD) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.


Countries such as France have gone further, setting a 60% quota for European works on VOD and demanding 15% of the turnover of the platforms is spent in production of European audiovisual and cinematographic works.


According to an EU document tabled with diplomats on 8 June, in the “aftermath of Brexit” it is believed the inclusion of UK content in such quotas has led to what has been described as a “disproportionate” amount of British programming on European television.


“The high availability of UK content in video on demand services, as well as the privileges granted by the qualification as European works, can result in a disproportionate presence of UK content within the European video on demand quota and hinder a larger variety of European works (including from smaller countries or less spoken languages),” a paper distributed among the member states reads. “Therefore the disproportionality may affect the fulfilment of the objectives of promotion of European works and cultural diversity aimed by the audiovisual media services directive.”


The European Commission has been tasked with launching an impact study on the risk to the EU’s “cultural diversity” from British programming, which diplomatic sources said would be a first step towards action to limit the privileges granted to UK content.


Industry figures said a move to define UK content as something other than European, leading to a loss of market share, would particularly hit British drama, as the pre-sale of international rights to shows such as Downton Abbey and The Crown has often been the basis on which they have been able to go into production.


Adam Minns, the executive director of the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA), said: “Selling the international intellectual property rights to British programmes has become a crucial part of financing production in certain genres, such as drama.


“Losing access to a substantial part of EU markets would be a serious blow for the UK TV sector, right across the value chain from producers to broadcasters to creatives.”


The sale of international rights to European channels and VOD platforms earned the UK television industry £490m in sales in 2019-20, making it the second biggest market for the UK behind the US.


According to the leaked EU paper, entitled “The disproportionate presence of UK content in the European VOD quota and the effects on the circulation and promotion of diverse European works”, it is thought necessary for the bloc to reassess the “presence of UK content in the aftermath of Brexit”.


“The concerns relate to how Brexit will impact the audiovisual production sector in the European Union as, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory, the UK provides half of the European TV content presence of VOD in Europe and the UK works are the most actively promoted on VOD, while the lowest EU27 share of promotion spots is also found in the UK,” the paper says.


It adds: “Although the UK is now a third country for the European Union, its audiovisual content still qualifies as ‘European works’ according to the definition provided by the AVMS directive, as the definition continues to refer to the European convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe, to which the UK remains a party.”


It was long feared in the industry that the EU would seek to undermine the UK’s dominance of the audiovisual market once the country had left the bloc. The government had been repeatedly warned of the risk to the British screen industry.


Industry sources said they had believed it was a matter of “when not if”, with the government appearing to have little leverage over Brussels on the issue.


EU sources suggested the initiative would probably be taken further when France takes over the rolling presidency of the union in January, with the backing of Spain, Greece, Italy and Austria, among others. There is a midterm review of the AVMS directive due in three years’ time, which sources suggested may be the point at which changes could come into force.


A UK government spokesperson said: “The UK is proud to host a world-class film and TV industry that entertains viewers globally and which the government has supported throughout the pandemic, including through the film and TV restart scheme.


“European works status continues to apply to audiovisual works originating in the UK, as the UK is a party to the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT).”

Thursday 24 June 2021

The Rise And Fall Of J.Crew

J.Crew Group, Inc., is an American multi-brand, multi-channel, specialty retailer. The company offers an assortment of women's, men's, and children's apparel and accessories, including swimwear, outerwear, lounge-wear, bags, sweaters, denim, dresses, suiting, jewelry, and shoes.


As of August 2016, it operated more than 450 retail stores throughout the United States. The company conducts its business through retail, factory, crew cuts, Madewell stores, catalogs, and online.


On May 4, 2020, the company announced that it would apply for bankruptcy protection amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.



Formation and catalog growth

In 1947, Mitchell Cinader and Saul Charles founded Popular Merchandise, Inc., a store that did business as Popular Club Plan and sold low-priced women's clothing marketed through in-home demonstrations.[6] Throughout the mid-1980s, sales from catalog operations grew rapidly. "Growth was explosive—25 to 30 percent a year," Cinader later recollected in The New York Times. Annual sales grew from $3 million to more than $100 million over five years.[6] In 1985, the "Clifford & Wills" brand was launched, selling women's clothing that was more affordable than the Popular Merchandise line. In 1987, two executives left the company to start their own catalog, Tweeds.


The 1980s marked a booming sales period for catalog retail giants Lands' End, Talbots, and L. L. Bean. Popular Merchandise initiated its own catalog operation, focusing on leisurewear for upper-middle-class customers, aiming for a Ralph Lauren look at a much lower price. The first Popular Club Plan catalog was mailed to customers in January 1983 and continued under that name until 1989. Popular Club Plan catalogs often showed the same garment in more than one picture with close-up shots of the fabrics, so customers could get a sense of how the garment looked on the body and be assured of the company's claims of quality.


Name change and first stores

In 1983, Popular Merchandise, Inc. became known as J.Crew, Inc. The company attempted, but failed to sell the Popular Club Plan brand.[6] Also in 1989, J.Crew opened its first retail store, in South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan.


J.Crew Group was owned by the Cinader family for most of its existence, but in October 1997 investment firm Texas Pacific Group Inc. purchased a majority stake. By the year 2000, Texas Pacific held an approximate 62 percent stake, a group of J.Crew managers held about 10 percent, and Emily Cinader Woods, the chairman of J.Crew, along with her father, Arthur Cinader, held most of the remainder. The brand Clifford & Wills was sold to Spiegel. in 2000 with the intent to boost sales. In 2004, J.Crew bought the rights to the brand Madewell, a defunct workwear manufacturer founded in 1937, and used the name from 2006 onwards as "a modern-day interpretation", targeted at younger women than their main brand.


Going public and then private again

In 2006, the company held an IPO, raising $376 million by selling new shares equal to 33% of expanded capital. However, in 2011, TPG Capital LP and Leonard Green & Partners LP took J.Crew private again in a $3 billion leveraged buyout. On November 23, 2010, the company had agreed to be taken private in a $3 billion deal led by management with the backing of TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, two large private equity firms. The announcement of the offer from two investment firms—including one that used to own J.Crew—came as the retailer reported that its third-quarter net income fell by 14 percent due to weak women's clothing sales. The company also lowered its guidance for the 2010 year. Under the deal as proposed, J.Crew shareholders would receive $43.50 per share in cash, representing a 16 percent premium to the stock's closing price the prior day of $37.65. CEO Mickey Drexler, the former Gap Inc. chief credited with turning J.Crew around since coming aboard in 2003, remained in that role and retained a "significant" stake in the company (as of September 2010, he holds 5.4% of outstanding shares).


Shortly after the announcement of the deal, some in the business community criticized the terms of the deal involving the company's CEO and a majority shareholder. As a result, the "go-shop" period was extended shortly after the initial announcement.In addition, several investigations relating to potential shareholder actions against the company were announced.[19] After the deal, TPG and Leonard Green borrowed more to help finance dividends totaled $787 million to them.



In June 2015, The New York Times reported that J.Crew's women's division was undergoing a slump because of the company's failure to react to two market trends: cheap "fast fashion" and "athleisure" items. In 2016, J.Crew partnered with Nordstrom to begin selling their products in stores and online. In December 2016, the company faced litigation after it moved its intellectual property "out of the reach of lenders."


In April 2017, the company cut 250 jobs, largely from its headquarters. The company also underwent several management changes, and long-term creative director Jenna Lyons left the company in April. The brand's longtime head of menswear, Frank Muytjens, left the company that month as well, and in June 2017, the company's CEO, Mickey Drexler, announced that he would later be stepping down as CEO role after 14 years with the company. Drexler announced he would stay on as chairman and still own 10% of the company. On June 12, 2017, J.Crew Group Inc. announced it had "made an offer to some of its bondholders to push back its most pressing debt obligation—about $567 million due in May 2019—and amend its term loan." At the time, J.Crew Group had around $2 billion in debt. Also in 2017, Drexler approached Amazon Inc about selling J.Crew to the tech giant.


In the summer of 2017, the company avoided a bankruptcy filing by having bondholders do a debt swap tapping into its brand name value. The majority of the bondholders agreed to the deal, with several others failing to stop the deal with a lawsuit. The deal lowered the company's debt.


In September 2018, J.Crew began selling its standalone "J.Crew Mercantile" brand on Amazon.


On February 16, 2018, J.Crew hired Adam Brotman, a long-time Starbucks executive, as president and chief experience officer. Brotman's first major impact was launching "J.Crew Rewards", the company's first reward program independent of the company's credit card. The rewards program offers free shipping and $5 back for each $200 spent.


In November 2018, J.Crew announced its CEO, James Brett, would step down and be replaced by an office of the CEO consisting of four senior executives from J.Crew. Brett took up the position in June 2017. The company released a press release stating Brett's departure was a "mutual agreement" between Brett and the company's board of directors. Brett will be replaced by Michael Nicholson (president and COO), Adam Brotman (president and chief experience officer), Lynda Markoe (chief administrative officer), and Libby Wadle, president of Madewell Brand. The new office of the CEO will be responsible for managing J.Crew's operations as the board establishes a permanent management structure. On November 29, J.Crew announced the dissolution of their Nevereven, Mercantile, and J.Crew Home sub-brands.


On April 11, 2019, J.Crew announced that president and COO, Michael Nicholson, will retain the title of interim CEO, along with the subsequent announcement of Brotman's departure.


J.Crew reported a net income of $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, up from a net loss of $74.4 million in quarter four of 2018.


On January 28, 2020, the retailer announced that Jan Singer will assume title of CEO. Singer was previously CEO of Victoria's Secret, Spanx and was an executive at Nike.[42] She will replace Nicholson who will assume his previous position.


On May 4, 2020, J.Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the company had amassed enormous debt even before the outbreak.


Chinos Holdings, Inc. and 17 affiliated debtors filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Debtors have requested joint administration of the cases under Case No. 20-32181.


In September 2020, J Crew permanently closed all six of its UK stores after its parent group emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy following an approval plan to cut its debts.


In November 2020, J.Crew appointed new Chief Executive Officer. Libby Wadle replaced Jan Singer who had been a CEO for less than a year.


Retail stores

The company operates 506 retail stores, including 203 J.Crew stores, 129 Madewell stores, and 174 J.Crew Factory (including 42 J.Crew Mercantile) outlet locations, as reported in 2018. The company also operates internationally in Canada, France, the UK, and Hong Kong. Additionally, the company has 76 locations in Japan, which are operated under license by ITOCHU Corporation.


In March 1989, the first J.Crew retail outlet opened in the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, and the company planned to open 45 more stores. Five months after the opening of its first store, J.Crew added two new catalog lines: "Classics" and "Collections." "Collections" used more complicated designs and finer fabrics to create dressier and more expensive items, while "Classics" featured clothes that could be worn both to work and for leisure activities.[citation needed] In the fall of 1989, J.Crew opened three new stores in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; and Costa Mesa, California, all locations with strong catalog sales. By the end of the year, retail sales nearly hit $10 million. Despite 1989, revenues that year were estimated at $320 million, J.Crew suffered a setback when its agreement to sell its Popular Club unit collapsed at the end that year. In addition, rumors circulated that the company's Clifford & Wills low-priced women's apparel catalog was doing poorly.


J.Crew saw revenues reach $400 million in 1990 but reported that its four existing stores had not yet started producing enough profits to cover their overheads. The next phase of store openings included outlets in Philadelphia, Cambridge, and Portland. The company scaled back its plans for opening retail stores from 45 stores to 30 or 35.[citation needed] In early 1991 the company hired a director of new marketing development and began efforts to expand their sales into Canada. In April 1991, J.Crew mailed 75,000 J.Crew catalogs and 60,000 Clifford & Wills catalogs to potential customers in the province of Ontario. Response rates to this effort were slightly lower than in the United States, but each order, on average, was higher.[citation needed] In 1992, J.Crew intensified its push into international markets by hiring a new vice-president for international development. The company already mailed hundreds of catalogs to customers in Japan and Europe, most of whom had become acquainted with J.Crew while traveling or living in the United States.



J.Crew in Markville Shopping Centre (now closed)

In 2011, J.Crew opened its first international store in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.[50] In 2012, J.Crew announced four new Canadian locations: Edmonton in West Edmonton Mall, Vancouver on Robson Street, and Toronto in Fairview Mall (now closed) and the Toronto Eaton Centre. All locations will carry women's and men's collections. Along with 5 new stores, although some of these stores have been closed recently. J.Crew announced to opening of two new factory stores in Canada, with one in Vaughan Mills and the other in Edmonton (The second J.Crew in Alberta) Continuing with its expansion in the Greater Toronto Area, J.Crew opened at Markville Shopping Centre in 2013 (and now closed). In early 2014, J.Crew unveiled its new flagship location in Yorkville, Toronto.


In an interview with the Financial Times in 2011, CEO of J.Crew Mickey Drexler said that J.Crew would be expanding to the U.K. with their flagship store being on London's Regent Street. He indicated that the company would be following up their recent expansion into Canada and Canadian e-commerce with a physical store in England, most likely followed by e-commerce elsewhere, such as France and Germany. Although a few locations were reviewed for the London store, including Covent Garden and the East End, the ultimate decision was to open on Regent Street.


In early 2014, J.Crew announced plans to open brick-and-mortar locations in Asia – to be spearheaded by two establishments in Hong Kong. A women's store is slated to open in the International Finance Centre, while a men's shop is in the works for On Lan Street. Both opened for business in May 2014.


From 2016 to 2018, J.Crew Group has closed 96 J.Crew and J.Crew Factory retail locations.


On March 2, 2020, J.Crew announced that it would pause the proposed Madewell IPO that was intended to be initiated on March 2. The company is considering a possible separation of J.Crew and Madewell into two separate companies.



Historically, each year the company issued 24 editions of the J.Crew catalog, distributing more than 80 million copies. Beginning in 2017, the catalog began being released with fewer pages and fewer issues per year.


J.Crew has been criticized for labeling its new super-small jeans as "size 000"., and for advertising them as "toothpick jeans". Critics have said the labeling promotes vanity, a practice known as vanity sizing. The "size 000" is smaller than a size zero and has three zeros, implying that it is two sizes smaller than the smallest normal size. This has caused people to question whether negative sizes will be available in the future, and if the method of labeling should be changed.


In early 2011, J.Crew was under fire by conservative media outlets for an advertisement featuring its creative director and president, Jenna Lyons, painting her son's toenails pink. Beneath the picture was a quote that read, "Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink." Some people were of the opinion that J.Crew was challenging traditional gender identity roles, although author Jo B. Paoletti said that it was "no big deal".

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Charles won't let Archie be a prince


Charles won't let Archie be a prince: Prince of Wales's plan not to include grandson among slimmed-down, lower cost frontline royals is revealed as row that ignited Oprah outburst


  • Prince Charles made it clear Archie will have no place among frontline Royals
  • The move incensed the Sussexes and is thought to have prompted their outburst
  • A grandchild of the sovereign has long had the right to be a Prince
  • Charles wants to change legal documents in order to limit the number of Royals



PUBLISHED: 22:00, 19 June 2021 | UPDATED: 02:49, 20 June 2021


Prince Charles is to ensure that his two-year-old grandson Archie will never be a Prince, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.


The heir to the throne has made it clear that Harry and Meghan's son will have no place among frontline Royals as he plans a slimmed-down Monarchy after he becomes King.


The move has incensed the Sussexes and is thought to have prompted the series of bitter accusations the couple have levelled at Charles and the Royal Family from across the Atlantic.


A grandchild of the sovereign has long had the right to be a Prince, but Charles is determined to limit the number of key Royals, believing the public does not wish to pay for an ever-expanding Monarchy.


Charles has told the Sussexes that he will change key legal documents to ensure that Archie cannot get the title he would once have inherited by right, according to a source close to the couple.


The decision, which follows months of fraught discussion behind the scenes, has plunged relations between Harry and his relatives to a dangerous new low.


'Harry and Meghan were told Archie would never be a Prince, even when Charles became King,' confirmed the source.


The revelation comes amid a series of explosive claims by respected Royal biographer Robert Lacey whose newly revised book Battle Of The Brothers states:


Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday has learned that Harry demanded the right to approve at least one writer or journalist to work alongside the usual 'press pack' of Royal reporters at the unveiling of the statue to Princess Diana next month, so deep is his distrust of the British media.


The full details of Charles's plan for a slimmed-down Monarchy have never been revealed, but it has been speculated that only heirs to the throne and their immediate families will receive full titles, financial support from the public purse through the Sovereign Grant and police protection funded by the taxpayer.


Charles and his younger brother, the Duke of York, have already been at loggerheads about what security Andrew's daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie should receive in future. Now Harry and Meghan have found themselves caught up, too.


Insiders suggest they hadn't seen the move coming, and were shocked to find that Charles will take the active step of changing legal instruments known as the Letters Patent in order to exclude Archie and others.


The loss will be all the more galling as the Sussexes havemade a point of refusing to use another, lesser title for their son, who is technically the Earl of Dumbarton. They took that decision safe in the knowledge that Archie would become a Prince in due course. Or so they thought.


Earlier this year, a source close to the Sussexes confirmed they did indeed expect Archie to be named a Prince when Charles, Archie's grandfather, acceded to the throne. Their spokesman at the time was even instructed to remind journalists of that 'fact'.


The Sussexes finally learned that would not be the case just before sitting down with Oprah Winfrey for their first bombshell interview in March.


Insiders suggest the issue was still raw at the time of the recording – which might help account for the devastating criticisms they unleashed on the show, including the damaging implication that an unnamed senior member of the Royal Family had referred to Archie in a racist way.


It also throws a spotlight on one section of the interview which had raised eyebrows at the time. Speaking to Oprah, Meghan recalled how, when she had been pregnant, 'They [the Royal Family] were saying they didn't want him to be a Prince or a Princess'.


She continued: 'You know, the other piece of that convention is, there's a convention – I forget if it was George V or George VI convention – that when you're the grandchild of the monarch, so when Harry's dad becomes King, automatically Archie and our next baby would become Prince or Princess, or whatever they were going to be… But also it's not their right to take it away.'


This puzzled Royal watchers, who reminded the Sussexes they had very publicly declared that they didn't want a title for their son, who would be known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.


Some pointed out that a son of Prince Harry's – a great-grandchild of the Queen – had no automatic right to be titled a Prince, or receive a security allowance. But that was to ignore the real drama taking place behind the scenes. Because Meghan was actually referring to the secret news that Archie would never become a Prince, not even when Charles was King.


A source said: 'This is what nobody realised from the interview. The real thing was that Charles was going to take active steps to strip Archie of his ultimate birthright.'


The existing rules for Royal titles were established in Letters Patent dated November 20, 1917.


In these, King George V, the Queen's grandfather, allowed the title of Prince and Princess to be given to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign's sons and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales – in this case, Prince George.


Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, William's daughter and younger son, received their titles not by right but as gifts of the Queen, who issued new Letters Patent to that effect in 2013. Similarly, when King, Charles will have the power to change George V's Letters Patent how he sees fit – and so streamline The Firm.


An insider said: 'Charles has never made any secret of the fact that he wants a slimmed-down Monarchy when he becomes King.


'He realises that the public don't want to pay for a huge Monarchy and, as he said, the balcony at Buckingham Palace would probably collapse.'


Even now, not all grandchildren of the Queen are titled Prince or Princess. As she is a daughter, not a son, of the sovereign, Princess Anne's children had no automatic right to the title but out of choice she also declined lesser titles for her children Peter and Zara.


The Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, thought it prudent not to name his daughter and son as Princess and Prince. Instead, they are titled Lady and Viscount respectively.


A Royal source said last night: 'We are not going to speculate about the succession or comment on rumours coming out of America.'


Sitting side by side, leafing through a photo album, William and Harry are sharing cherished memories of their mother. Their conversation is easy, unconstrained, charming. It is a rare window on a fraternal dynamic and evidence, if it were needed, of an unshakeable bond.


That was four years ago, the occasion a TV documentary on the 20th anniversary of Diana's death. Today, with the publication of a book revealing extraordinary new details of their toxic rift, the gulf between the brothers seems unbridgeable. Quite how it has come to this seems bewildering.


In less than two weeks, on what would have been Diana's 60th birthday, the brothers will reunite for the unveiling of her statue, but what should have been a simple, unfussy act of commemoration will doubtless turn into something altogether different.


Take Harry's approach to the event. The Mail on Sunday has learned that the Duke of Sussex now wants his own journalist to cover the day.


Harry and Meghan have long decried the coverage they receive from the British media, claiming it is UK-biased and lacks diversity. Not wishing to leave the statue unveiling at Kensington Palace to the official 'Royal Rota' of journalists, they are now expected to 'appoint' at least one approved writer to work alongside them.


It is just the kind of imperiousness that rankles with the Duke of Cambridge.


The Times reported yesterday that a blistering row between the Duke and his brother over bullying claims led to them splitting their households, with a friend of the future King noting: 'William threw Harry out.'


Previously, it was assumed that Harry precipitated the separation.


The account of how William and Harry fell out appears in the paperback edition of Battle Of Brothers by historian and biographer Robert Lacey, which is being serialised in The Times.


The newspaper revealed in March how Jason Knauf, communications secretary to the Cambridges and Sussexes, claimed in October 2018 that Meghan had been bullying members of staff. Lawyers for the Sussexes have denied the allegations.


After William heard the bullying allegations, he rang Harry, according to Lacey. The conversation was heated and Harry 'shut off his phone angrily' so William went to speak to him personally.


Lacey writes: 'The Prince was horrified by what he had just been told about Meghan's alleged behaviour, and he wanted to hear what Harry had to say. The showdown between the brothers was fierce and bitter.'


Separately, The Mail on Sunday has been told there have been other, equally intense clashes. None more so, according to a source, than on the eve of Harry's wedding. Details are sketchy but this row was said to have been particularly ferocious.


The Princes had already fallen out before Harry and Meghan's engagement after William had expressed doubts about the speed at which their relationship was progressing. Lacey writes that William believed Meghan was following an 'agenda' and Kate, too, according to a friend, was wary of her from the outset.


The author quotes one Kensington Palace staffer as saying: 'Meghan portrayed herself as the victim, but she was the bully. People felt run over by her.


'They thought she was a complete narcissist and sociopath – basically unhinged.'


According to the book, jealousy is at the heart of the brothers' rift. Or at least that is how Harry sees it. The Duke views his triumphant October 2018 return with Meghan from their Australian tour as a defining moment in their deteriorating relationship.


William, of course, would reject any notion that he and his wife resented the Diana-like popularity Meghan enjoyed at the time. In any case, the book says, the brothers were no longer on speaking terms before the Sussexes set off for Australia, owing to William's anger over the bullying allegations.


PR man Knauf, 34, was concerned by stories of mistreatment brought to him by colleagues and resolved to set down the facts, as he saw them, for the record.


In an email to William's private secretary, Knauf wrote: 'I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year.'


His office had received 'report after report', he wrote, from people who had witnessed 'unacceptable behaviour' by Meghan towards this member of staff.


As early as 2017, around the time of the couple's engagement, according to a report in The Times, a senior aide had spoken to the couple about the difficulties caused by their treatment of staff. 'It's not my job to coddle people,' Meghan was said to have replied.


It is significant that it was Knauf – whose PR expertise Meghan valued and who was one of her most senior advisers – that raised the issue. Until this point, Lacey says Texas-born Knauf had taken 'considerable stick from some of his non-royal contacts' who criticised him for being overly protective of the Duchess.


But numerous colleagues were bringing stories of what they said they had suffered at Meghan's hands, including emotional cruelty and manipulation, and he could not remain silent.


The Times reported that several people maintained they had been 'humiliated' by the Duchess, and that criticism also extended to Harry. 'I overheard a conversation between Harry and one of his top aides,' one Kensington Palace courtier told Lacey. 'Harry was screaming and screaming down the phone. Team Sussex was a really toxic environment. People shouting and screaming in each other's faces.'


It is unclear whether Knauf brought his dossier to William personally or whether it was submitted via an aide. Either way, the troubling stories astonished and horrified the Duke, who knew and liked all the individuals named in the dossier. After all, they were his staff too.


Taking their cue from the Queen, William and Kate had always treated their staff like family. What William heard, or possibly read, crystallised a long-held suspicion –that Meghan was fundamentally hostile towards the Royal system.


This interpretation, said Meghan, was wholly wrong.


In a statement issued to The Times early in March this year, her lawyers denied all allegations of bullying as inaccurate and defamatory and the product of what they called a 'smear campaign'.


The Duchess wished to fit in and be accepted, they insisted. She had left her life in North America to commit herself to her new role.


Lacey stresses that his account of this period is based on Knauf's written accusations and 'William's personal account of these events to one of his friends, who then spoke to this author'.


He writes that while the showdown between the brothers was fierce, William's pre-engagement questioning of Meghan's suitability had been quite reasonable. Some of William's reservations chimed with the allegations in Knauf's dossier. Lacey says William felt that Meghan was 'undermining some precious principles of the Monarchy if she really was treating her staff in this way'.


Not only that, she seemed to be stealing his brother away from him. Courtiers would later coin a hashtag – #freeHarry.


William felt deeply wounded. 'Hurt' and 'betrayed' were the two feelings he described to his friend. The elder brother had always felt so protective. He had seen it as his job to look out for Harry.


'At the end of the day, the British Crown and all it stood for with its ancient traditions, styles and values – the mission of the Monarchy – had to matter more to William than his brother did,' writes Lacey.


Fiercely combative in his wife's defence, Harry meanwhile was equally furious that William should believe the accusations against Meghan. Whether claims of racism surfaced during these heated discussions is not known.


But Harry made clear to the world in his interview with Oprah Winfrey that he considered his family's response to Meghan to have been essentially 'racist'.


Lacey writes: 'William, for his part, felt just as strongly about Meghan and the need for her subversive 'agenda' to be removed from the operations of the British Monarchy, which she did not appear to understand or respect.


Harry made clear to the world in his interview with Oprah Winfrey that he considered his family's response to Meghan to have been essentially 'racist'


'He certainly wanted Meghan removed, for a start, from the hitherto harmonious joint household that he and his brother had operated together for the best part of a decade. William simply did not want her or Harry around any more.'


It is little surprise, then, that Meghan will not accompany Harry to the statue unveiling. Indeed it is far from clear when she will return to these shores.


There was some speculation that Archie would travel with his father but that it not now expected to happen.


The statue, created by Ian Rank-Broadley, has been years in the making. William and Harry, who were just 15 and 12 when their mother was killed in a car crash in Paris, announced the idea in 2017.


At the time, a Palace statement said that it was 'hoped' that the statue would be 'unveiled… before the end of 2017'. Questions over the design and where it should be displayed led to delays.


Later that year, when the Princes announced that Rank-Broadley had been chosen as the sculptor, the Duke of Cambridge tweeted that the statue was 'expected to be unveiled in 2019'.


The brothers convened a committee to oversee the project and sought funds from private investors. Those with a key role on the committee included trusted adviser Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the Princes' former private secretary and Prince George's godfather; Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Julia Samuel, a close friend of their mother.


Gerry Farrell, co-owner of London's Sladmore Contemporary gallery, was brought in as an artistic adviser. Towards the beginning of the process, he described it as a 'challenging commission'.


It would take another two years and many more transatlantic discussions between the brothers before the statue would finally be made public.


Mr Farrell said: 'The Princes remember her as a mother, and publicly she meant so many different things to different people. It was important for the princes to convey the depth of her character and variety of her interests.'


There were other concerns, too.For William, and particularly young Harry, the public reaction to their mother's death baffled them.


William felt deeply wounded. 'Hurt' and 'betrayed' were the two feelings he described to his friend. The elder brother had always felt so protective. He had seen it as his job to look out for Harry


In a recent documentary series on Apple+ with Oprah Winfrey, Harry spoke of being unable to 'process' his mother's death. Speaking about walking behind his mother's coffin at the funeral, he said: 'Sharing the grief of my mother's death with the world, for me the thing I remember the most is the sound of the horses' hooves going along the mall. The red brick road.


'By this time, both of us were in shock. It was like I was outside of my body and walking along just doing what was expected of me. Showing one tenth of the emotion everyone else was showing.


'I was like, 'This is my mum. You never even met her.'


Worried that the statue might draw crowds and a sea of flowers, the Princes agreed to erect it in the Princess Diana Memorial Garden at Kensington Palace, where the Princess of Wales lived until her death and where Harry and Meghan announced their engagement.


The Princes are understood to be 'impressed' with the finished design.


Whether they will ever be able to find common ground on the issues that divide them is another matter entirely.