Monday 28 March 2022

VIDEO: Watch the uncensored moment Will Smith smacks Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, drops F-bomb /Oscars condemns Will Smith slap and launches review / Will Smith: can his career survive – or is the Fresh Prince finished?/ Could Will Smith be stripped of his Oscar? Academy faces pressure to respond after disgraced star broke Code of Conduct drawn up in wake of MeToo Movement

Should the Academy accept this kind of Violence on stage !?

There are calls for the Academy to strip Will Smith of his Best Actor Oscar after he walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock who was presenting an award on stage, after making a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith's hair.

The Academy, in its code of conduct, is known to take a very a dim view of violence of any kind.

Could Will Smith be stripped of his Oscar? Academy faces pressure to respond after disgraced star broke Code of Conduct drawn up in wake of MeToo Movement


Actor Will Smith stormed the Oscars stage and struck comedian Chris Rock across the face for joking about his wife

The moment left attendees and viewers stunned with calls for the Academy to strip Smith of his accolade

Assault violates Academy Code of Conduct set up in wake of Me Too Movement

LAPD said no reports of assault had been filed but was 'aware of an incident'

Rock cracked a joke comparing Jada Pinkett Smith's tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore's appearance in the film 'G.I. Jane' and suggested she appear in a sequel



PUBLISHED: 06:59, 28 March 2022 | UPDATED: 08:23, 28 March 2022


There are calls for the Academy to strip Will Smith of his Best Actor Oscar after he walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock who was presenting an award on stage, after making a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith's hair.


The Academy, in its code of conduct, is known to take a very a dim view of violence of any kind.


After the award ceremony was over it tweeted: 'The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.'


 The Academy reestablished its Code of Conduct in 2017 during the Me Too Movement.


'Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers,' AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote to members following various scandals in the industry.


On Sunday night, in the Dolby Theatre, there was complete bewilderment in the moments after the assault with took place with those present initially wondering if the punch was part of a stunt. 


It took a few moments for the normally unflappable Rock to process but the colorful language from Smith quickly confirmed it wasn't any kind of joke at all.


The punch threw the entire Oscars broadcast into chaos as producers were frantically forced into deciding how to deal with the on-air assault, with Smith still yet to receive his Best Actor statuette.


Could Will Smith be stripped of his Oscar? The Academy faces pressure to respond after the King Richard star broke the Academy's Code of Conduct drawn up during Me Too Movement


Under normal circumstances, Smith would have almost certainly have been removed by security guards and escorted out of the auditorium for the attack, but the slap came moments before the award for Best Actor was to be announced.


Only three people in the building knew that Smith was to receive the coveted prize including the show's producer Will Packer and two accountants from Price Waterhouse Coopers who oversee the tabulating of the Oscars results before the winning envelopes are handed out and opened onstage.


Producers were therefore placed in an impossible situation as to how to deal with the assault. 


Smith's rep could be seen rushing to be by his side as the actor sat back down next to his wife, while the producer of the entire Oscars show, Packer, was also seen racing to Smith's table and said something to him.


The LAPD were also informed of what had occurred on stage but revealed later that no complaint had been filed.


During the commercial break which followed, Will Smith was pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry appeared to motion for him to brush it off.


Smith's publicist continued speaking with him during the final commercial breaks of the Oscars broadcast which were quickly inserted into the broadcast while producers dealt with the panic behind the scenes.


Backstage the academy told gathered journalists not to ask any of the actors present about the slap seen around the world, but it was all that anyone was talking about at the Oscar parties that take place after the show was done. 


Fifteen minutes after the assault, Smith who appeared shaken picked up the biggest accolade of his life as he collected the Best Actor award making a tearful speech in which he attempted to link his outburst to his character in King Richard as someone who 'defended his family.'


He also took a moment to issue an apology to the Academy and to his fellow nominees, but that may not be enough with calls for him now to be stripped of the award.


'It's basically assault. Everyone was just so shocked in the room, it was so uncomfortable' one executive told the New York Post.


'I think Will would not want to give his Oscar back, but who knows what will happen now.'


Director Judd Apatow was appalled by the behavior he witnessed onstage.


'He could have killed him. That's pure out of control rage and violence. They've heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.'


Director Apatow was appalled by the behavior he witnessed onstage


Smith could be seen appearing to wipe tears from his eyes as Denzel Washington later walked him back to his front row seat.


Smith revealed during his acceptance speech Washington had told him 'that at his "highest moment, that's when the devil comes for you".


'In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. You've got to smile and pretend like that's okay,' Smith said.


'I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena. Thank you for entrusting me with your story. That's what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love, and care and concern.'


The Academy's CEO Dawn Hudson highlighted values the Academy valued at the height of the Me Too Movement including 'fostering supportive environments, and respect for human dignity.'


'In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy's values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.


'There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy's mission and reflective of our values,' Hudson detailed in a statement as reported by Variety.


Legally, Smith may have got away with it. Late on Sunday night, the LAPD released a statement saying that no police report had yet been filed.


'LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.


'If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.'


Many users on Twitter stated that they wanted to see Smith stripped of his Best Actor gong


The Academy has taken action against members in the past.


Disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein was stripped of his membership in the organization after he was was found guilty of decades of sexual misbehavior, including allegations of rape.


In 2017, Greg P. Russell, a sound mixer on 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, was been stripped of his Oscar nomination after he was caught phoning his fellow members from the Academy's Sound Branch 'to make them aware of his work on the film.


The calls were a 'direct violation of a campaign regulation that prohibits telephone lobbying,' a statement from the Academy said.


In 2014, the song Alone Yet Not Alone from the little-known film of the same name had its nomination for Best Original Song rescinded after composer Bruce Broughton, an Academy member and former governor, contacted fellow branch members by email, breaking Academy rules.



( ...) “Following the ceremony, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed in a statement that it was “aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.”


“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report,” the statement concluded.


Shortly thereafter, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued their own statement: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

Will Smith: can his career survive – or is the Fresh Prince finished?

For three bravado-filled decades, he was box office dynamite, pulling in $9 billion. How will the star now win back the public’s esteem – and keep Hollywood onside?


Steve Rose


Mon 28 Mar 2022 17.10 BST


It is not often an actor experiences both the high point and the low point of their careers on the same night, but you can always trust Will Smith to push the boundaries of movie stardom. His win as best actor ought to have been the cherry on top of one of the most successful film careers in history – except Smith himself had already sabotaged the moment, the night, and possibly his future when he got up on stage 40 minutes earlier and slapped Chris Rock for an inappropriate joke about his wife. Smith could spend the rest of his life looking back on Sunday night as the best of times and the worst, but which one will prevail? Is Smith big enough to survive such a jarring incident – or is the Fresh Prince past his sell-by date?


The unique nature of both the incident and the actor have us grasping for precedent. In 2017, Casey Affleck went through the similarly awkward motions of accepting best actor Oscar, for Manchester By the Sea, even as allegations of earlier sexual harassment resurfaced, turning what should have been a huge career bounce into a damaging trial by public opinion. Affleck denied the accusation but his reputation has never really recovered. He’s a rising character actor, though. Will Smith is in a different league, arguably one of his own.


Richard Williams, the character Smith played in King Richard, drew up an 85-page plan for how to turn his daughters Venus and Serena into tennis champs. It worked. Similarly, in the early 1990s, Smith drew up a plan to become the biggest movie star in the world, analysing box-office numbers and movie formulas. That worked too. He has ruled Hollywood for over 30 years, his films grossing over $9 billion at the box office, and he has an estimated net worth of at least $350 million. He is one of the few actors whose name can open a movie and usually guarantee a $100m box office (King Richard has performed far below that, but then it was released simultaneously on HBO Max). Smith’s projects in the pipeline include slavery thriller Emancipation, for which Apple paid $120m for the rights, a sequel to the Netflix sci-fi Bright, a travel series with National Geographic and Bad Boys 4. Is Smith simply too big to fail?

“I don’t think anybody’s too big to fail,” says film publicist Charles McDonald. “Not in this day and age.” In recent years, entertainment figures once considered unassailable have been swiftly dethroned, McDonald points out, not least by the #MeToo movement. Harvey Weinstein was, after all, considered a fixture of the movie industry. “I don’t think it’s a question of size,” says McDonald. “I think it’s just a question of who you are, what your position is, and how you’re thought of. I think probably Will Smith can surface – if he does the right thing, in the right time.”


You have to show proper contrition … then behave in such a way that people don’t believe it’s going to happen again


There is a crisis-management protocol to situations like this, says Bumble Ward, another seasoned film publicist. “The steps are always the same. You have to show proper contrition. You have to apologise to those you’ve hurt. And then you have to behave in such a way that people don’t believe it’s going to happen again. But it has to be a proper apology. I think he did a lot of that work in his speech.”


During the commercial break between the actor slapping Rock and his acceptance speech, Smith’s publicist Meredith O Sullivan was spotted in discussion with Smith at his table, as was Denzel Washington. When he went up to collect his award, Smith clearly did not give the speech he’d originally planned. He cited Richard Williams as “a fierce defender of his family”. He relayed Washington’s advice to him moments earlier: “At your highest moment, be careful – that’s when the devil comes for you.” And he professed that “love will make you do crazy things”. He also apologised to the Academy and to his fellow nominees but, pointedly, not to Rock himself.


Another industry insider, who did not wish to be named, predicted that Smith would be making a public apology to Rock pretty soon. Rock would likely reciprocate and apologise to Jada Pinkett Smith. The event would then be swept under the red carpet as quickly as possible. That process was already under way on Sunday night. Host Amy Schumer made light of the event, saying: “Did I miss anything? There’s, like, a different vibe in here.” Presenting best actress, Anthony Hopkins also seemed ready to move on. “Will Smith said it all,” he said, to nervous laughter from the audience. “What more can be said? Let’s have peace and love and quiet.”


But there is quite a lot more to be said. This crisis is by no means over. The Smith brand has not looked entirely rock-solid in recent years. In fact, it has been in recovery mode. His 2016 movie Collateral Beauty, an excruciating self-help tearjerker, was the biggest flop of his career. More damaging still was 2013’s After Earth, a self-funded sci-fi movie designed to showcase the talents of the entire Smith clan: Will and Jada co-produced, Will co-wrote, and reportedly co-directed, with M Night Shyamalan. He also co-starred alongside his son, Jaden, who was parachuted into the lead role.


Sometimes it felt less like a film and more like an exposure of the Smith family’s weaknesses and weirdnesses, compounded by a series of bizarre interviews (the Smith children’s contemptuous comments about traditional schools made them seem out of touch) along with revelations about the Smith parents’ not-so-private life. In 2020, Will and Jada opted to air their relationship issues in public on Jada’s talk show Red Table Talk, where she spoke of their separation and her “entanglement” with another man – rapper August Alsina – as Smith nodded along.


At the same time, there has always been a messianic aspect to Smith’s public persona. He has self-belief and bravado in droves, from his rap career to his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in 2002, which earned him his first Oscar nomination. As last year’s memoir Will laid out, Smith has been on something of a journey lately, re-examining his childhood and his father’s abuse of his mother, but also going on ayahuasca trips in the Amazon. Smith evidently believes in his own sense of purpose, as he made clear in his Oscars speech. “In this time in my life, in this moment,” he said, “I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. I’m being called on in my life to love people, and to protect people, and to be a river to my people.”


Who is actually calling upon Smith to fill this role, and is he living up to it? That is open to question. The public might easily find such pronouncements off-putting. Showbiz careers live and die by public opinion. Some are wondering if Smith’s career might now be at a tipping point. Others expect this to blow over. “I think he can survive,” says McDonald. “I think people have a great affection for him. You can’t resort to violence like that, obviously, and the language he used afterwards, despite the provocation. But I think there will be sympathy for him.”


Other Oscar-winners on the night might not be feeling much sympathy for Smith right now, given that his actions effectively drowned out their moments of glory. As for Smith’s own achievements, he might well have cancelled out what should have been the greatest night of his life.

Oscars condemns Will Smith slap and launches review

Published11 hours ago


The Oscars film academy has condemned Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at Sunday's ceremony, and has launched a formal review of the incident.


A statement said it would "explore further action and consequences" in accordance with California law, and the body's standards of conduct.


Smith slapped Rock in the face on stage after the comic made a joke about the actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.


Moments later Smith won his first ever Oscar - for best actor in King Richard.


Rock took aim at Pinkett Smith's shaved head, a result of the hair-loss condition alopecia.


The incident cast a pall on what should have been Hollywood's biggest celebration and overshadowed others' achievements, one member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences - which organises the Oscars ceremony - told the BBC.


"I woke up so bummed out about what Will Smith did," said the member. "To me, he stole the limelight. I don't think that was the place to be so violent. Most people were shocked. There were children there. It was a place to celebrate." She asked not to be named.


Monday's statement from the organisation behind the Oscars said: "The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night's show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."


Shortly after Sunday night's incident, Smith was seen apparently being comforted by actors Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry.


Actor and comedian Tiffany Haddish, who co-starred with Jada Pinkett Smith in the 2017 comedy Girls Trip, described the exchange to People magazine as "the most beautiful thing I've ever seen". She said Smith had stood up for his wife.


However, many said Smith was wrong to use violence.


Marshall Herskovitz, a film producer, tweeted early on Monday morning: "I call upon the Academy, of which I am a member, to take disciplinary action against Will Smith. He disgraced our entire community tonight."


Roger Ross Williams, a black member of the Academy's board of governors, told the Hollywood Reporter that the confrontation drove him to tears because "it reinforces stereotypes about black people and it just hurts me to my core".


Actor Wendell Pierce, whose credits include HBO's The Wire and Treme, said he was hoping for "a public act of contrition" from Smith.


But he pointed out that Rock once produced a documentary on how black hairstyles are tied to identity.


"That film showed an appreciation for Jada's, and Black women's, struggle with the disease of alopecia. The joke did not. It insulted and provoked," he wrote on Twitter.


On social media, some users suggested Smith's actions could have violated the Academy's code of conduct and wondered whether Smith would be asked to return his award for Best Actor, which he collected onstage shortly after slapping Rock.


The code states the Academy is "categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination", including members acting "in a manner that violates standards of decency".


It also reserves the right for the Academy board to suspend or expel those in violation of the code.


However, Hollywood insiders like actor Whoopi Goldberg have said it is unlikely Smith will lose his award.


"We're not going to take that Oscar from him," she predicted. "There will be consequences I'm sure, but I don't think that's what they're going to do."


Smith earned the award - his first - for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, in the film King Richard.


In a tearful acceptance speech, he apologised to his fellow nominees - but not to Rock - and said "love will make you do crazy things".


His wife has previously described hair loss due to her autoimmune disease as "terrifying".


She looked unamused when Rock quipped to her: "Jada, can't wait for GI Jane 2," in an apparent reference to her shaved head and a 1997 film in which the titular character sports a buzz cut.


Moments later, Smith walked on stage and struck Rock before returning to his seat and shouting: "Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth."


Comic Kathy Griffin said the slap sets a dangerous precedent.


"Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theatres," she wrote.


Rock declined to press charges and has not commented publicly about the slap.


In the moments after the altercation, he quipped that it was probably "the greatest night in the history of television", before presenting the award for best documentary.


With reporting from Regan Morris in Los Angeles

Friday 25 March 2022

Smoke Over London and Gray Flannels / Fumo di Londra

Fumo di Londra (internationally released as Smoke Over London and Gray Flannels) is a 1966 Italian comedy film written, directed and starred by Alberto Sordi.
Dante Fontana is an antique dealer of Perugia, and is infatuated with British culture. But he is always thwarted by his wife and relatives, who see him as a silly dreamer who gets lost in stories rather than doing serious work. But Dante does not lose hope, and plans a vacation to London to learn more about the habits of the British so much that make him mad. However, Dante is hard to settle in, and often makes typical Italian blunders, gaining the scorn of the highly educated and refined British public. After taking part in a fox hunt, Dante is invited by a rich English nobleman who shows him an ancient Etruscan statuette. Dante says that the object is a fake and shatters it. Then chased away by gunfire, Dante takes refuge with a group of young flower children and with them, takes part in a riot. Arrested, Dante is sent back to Italy where he resumes his monotonous work.

Dante Fontana is an antique dealer from Perugia infatuated with the culture of the British upper classes. His wife and relatives mock him and snub him, seeing him as a silly daydreamer doing no serious work. Unfussed, Dante plans a vacation to London to learn more about the culture he so admires. However, once in London, he struggles to fit in, is awkward, often makes mistakes betraying his Italian origins, attracting the scorn of the British upper classes he would like to impress. After taking part in fox hunting, Dante is invited to the house of an English aristocrat and showed a supposedly ancient Etruscan statuette. Dante says the object is fake and breaks it, provoking the angry reaction of the English who open fire on him. Terrified, Dante hides with a group of hippies and joining them in a demonstration. Arrested, Dante is sent back to Italy where he resumes his monotonous routine.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons / VIDEO: Books in focus: Natasha Solomons discusses her book Mr Rosenblum's List

Mr Rosenblum’s List




All Jack Rosenblum wants is to be English. He and his wife Sadie, and one-year-old daughter, disembarked at Harwich from Nazi Germany in 1937. In London’s East End he becomes wealthy through the manufacture of carpets, and lives according to rules set out in a pamphlet given to all refugees – 1. Learn English and its correct pronunciation – annotating and expanding the list with his own observations, buying marmalade from Fortnum and Mason, and a bespoke suit from Savile Row. Sadie is at a loss to understand Jack’s obsession, his reverence for Winston Churchill – in spite of being interned during the war – John Betjeman, and the BBC weather forecast. She tries to keep alive Jewish customs and rituals from ‘before’, cherishing her mother’s recipe book, cooking soups, casseroles and cakes that taste of home.


The last item on Jack’s list of Englishness is membership of a golf club. When every club around London turns him down, he relocates to rural Dorset in 1952 to build his own golf course, determined the first game shall be played on the morning of the Queen’s coronation the following year. It is this comic adventure which informs the narrative of the author’s debut novel, inspired by the experience of her grandparents, who settled in Dorset. The recipes are authentic and she has a feel for the rhythms and legends of rural life, threatened by so-called progress, evoking seasons and times of day in luminous prose. Other passages, however, become weighed down with adjectives and adverbs. I did not find the characters engaging, many of them thinly drawn, with the exception of Curtis, the centenarian villager, for some while Jack’s only friend. The pathos and the immigrant experience, the very real desire to belong, often get lost amid comedy and bumpkin stereotypes.


Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons

This debut novel offers a subtle portrait of the dilemma of identity faced by immigrants to Britain

Edmund Gordon

Sun 18 Apr 2010 00.06 BST


The publicity people at Sceptre have decided to present this first novel as a whimsical paean to Englishness: it is subtitled "Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman" and the cover of the hardback edition is dominated by a watercolourish picture of wildflowers, butterflies and a tweedy figure in plus-fours, and a description of the book as "utterly charming". All this creates a somewhat misleading impression. Although the narrative is not altogether free from whimsical elements, they are of marginal importance to what is, at heart, a subtle and moving examination of the dilemma faced by immigrants to modern Britain.


The story follows Jakob Rosenblum, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, who arrives in London determined to fit in. Presented with a leaflet entitled "While You Are in England: Helpful Information", he resolves to follow its guidance unswervingly: he gives up speaking German, even to his wife, Sadie, except "at moments of extreme stress"; he refrains from criticising the peculiarities of his adopted country and from expressing any political opinions. But when he is arrested as a "class B enemy alien (possible security risk)", he decides that he must still be doing something wrong.


As soon as he is released, he makes his own list of English characteristics to emulate. The list contains observations such as: "The British housewife makes a purchase of haddock on Friday mornings" and rules such as: "Don't gesture with your hands when talking." With its help, Jack, as Jacob has by now restyled himself, begins to feel that he has lost the imprint of his foreignness.


But when he reaches the final item on his list – "An Englishman must be a member of a golf club" – he finds that despite his careful mimicry of native mannerisms and mores, no club will accept him. The casual antisemitism that prevents Jack from ever feeling at home in Britain is convincingly drawn. As one golf club president says in response to his offer of complimentary carpeting: "They think they can buy their way in anywhere, don't they?"


Sadie, meanwhile, is less keen to relinquish her Jewish identity, and resents her husband's eagerness to do so. She begins keeping a list of her own – "Remember to keep the sabbath, remember to keep the dietary laws" – and cooks exclusively from her mother's recipe book. But these observances only heighten her sense of estrangement and she begins to feel increasingly isolated.


Jack finally decides to build his own golf course in the Dorset countryside and the second half of the novel is dominated by his attempts to do this. It is a curious project and its ultimate value, the narrative suggests, is more in its conception than its execution. In The Knox Brothers, her group biography of her eccentric father and uncles, Penelope Fitzgerald describes "the patient, self-contained, self-imposed pursuit of an entirely personal solution" as the "characteristically English" way to approach a problem. Even if he never quite passes himself off as an English gentleman, Jack's devotion to his "unique and solitary calling" implies a level of assimilation he never knows he has achieved. In its attention to the ways immigrants can become alienated from both their native and their adopted countries, Mr Rosenblum's List has much more to it than the nostalgic vision of Englishness suggested by its cover.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Colourful hedge fund boss Pierre Lagrange is claiming taxpayers' money to furlough staff at his Savile Row tailor, despite having a personal fortune of £240million / The unfair attack on Savile Row hero Pierre Lagrange / VIDEO:Shooting with Huntsman, with Pierre Lagrange and Nick Foulkes

EXCLUSIVE: Colourful hedge fund boss Pierre Lagrange is claiming taxpayers' money to furlough staff at his Savile Row tailor, despite having a personal fortune of £240million


Pierre LaGrange, 48, used taxpayers' hand-outs to pay some of the 65 staff at his upmarket clothes firm, Huntsman

The Belgian-born former hedge fund boss, 48, who is famous for his colourful love life, lives in Monaco and has homes in London, New York and Mustique

He was involved in an amicable £160million divorce from the mother of his three children in 2010 after coming out as gay

After falling for a flamboyant male fashion designer, he took a former US Presidential aide as his husband

Huntsman supplied outfits for Earl Grantham in TV's Downton Abbey and for the film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

As well as furloughing staff at Huntsman, it is believed other workers were made redundant last year



PUBLISHED: 07:15, 18 February 2021 | UPDATED: 07:48, 18 February 2021


A multi-millionaire has been claiming public money to furlough staff at his Savile Row tailoring firm.


Belgian-born Pierre LaGrange, who lives in Monaco, London and New York has used taxpayers' hand-outs to pay some of the 65 staff at his upmarket London company Huntsman, which inspired Matthew Vaughn's blockbuster Kingsman spy movies.


But former hedge fund boss LaGrange, famous for his colourful love life, and whose estimated worth is around £240m, will face fierce criticism for using the bail-outs from the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, which lists H Huntsman & Sons Ltd as having claimed in December.


Ironically, in 2019, LaGrange moaned to the Financial Times about Britain's high taxes compared to 30 years ago, saying: 'The taxes have risen here dramatically in a way that has killed the economy.


'Britain was the most competitive place in Europe in attracting talent. It's lost a lot of that.'


LaGrange paid a record £160m divorce settlement to ex-wife Catherine Anspach after falling in love with a flamboyant male fashion designer and recently took a former US Presidential aide as his husband.


The latest company accounts showed a loss of more than £10.4m for 2019, but also included a statement from LaGrange pledging to continue to support the business - one of the oldest on Savile Row - as a going concern.


After he split from his former wife Catherine Anspach, Mr LaGrange came out as gay and eventually married former White House adviser Ebs Burnoughtaken in Ibiza, Spain in 2019


When super-rich hedge fund boss Mr Lagrange separated from his wife of 20 years, Catherine Anspach (pictured), in 2010, the split cost him a record-breaking £160 million


As well as furloughing some of its 65 staff, it is believed Huntsman, which supplied outfits for Earl Grantham in TV's Downton Abbey and for the film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, also made other workers redundant last year.


In 2019, his MD Phil Kirrage said: 'Since Pierre took the helm at Huntsman, we have run the business with a start-up mindset, taking risks and making investments that will secure the esteemed tailor's success for the next 170 years.'


Before acquiring Huntsman in 2014, LaGrange co-founded GLG Partners, criticised for short-selling shares in stricken Bradford and Bingley at the height of the banking crisis, and acquired by Man Group in 2010, netting him £340m.


He sold his London mansion alongside Kensington Gardens to Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich for £90m in 2011, having bought it for just £19m seven years earlier.


LaGrange also owns a fabulous five-bedroomed bamboo beach-house on the exclusive Caribbean hideaway of Mustique, which he rents out for up to £30,000 a week.


Set in acres of 'lush gardens with unparalled sea views' the 'ultimate party house' also boasts a butler, chef and two housekeepers.


When Pierre and Catherine, the mother of his three children, split amicably in 2010 after he came out as gay, they marked the occasion by exchanging Ferraris, said to be worth a total of around £450,000.


LaGrange began a relationship with British-born Sudanese fashion designer Roubi L'Roubi.


LaGrange told the FT: 'When I realised I was gay I was terrified. It was an extraordinary moment. I was terrified that people would not love me anymore . . . and that people who trust me would not trust me anymore.'


'I had lived as a straight white successful male, married to a woman I loved and with kids I loved and having just a perfect life.'


He described the transition as 'nearly overnight', adding: 'I was thrilled that aged 48 I had finally admitted to something that I had buried, not knowing what was buried under there.'


In 2019, after the relationship with L'Roubi ended, LaGrange tied the knot with his new boyfriend Ebs Burnough, a former White House aide to President Barack Obama. Naturally, LaGrange wore a Huntsman blazer for the nuptials in Ibiza.


He has regularly invested in movies, and been credited as executive producer onKickass and the Kingsman movies: The Secret Service and its sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.


Huntsman, which was honoured with royal warrants by Edward VII and Queen Victoria, supplied outfits for Earl Grantham in Downton Abbey and for the film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


LaGrange now lives with his husband Ebs Burnough between Monaco, London, Hampshire and New York, but it's not clear in which jurisdiction he pays tax.


In 2019 after becoming the first Savile Row tailor to establish a permanent presence in New York, LaGrange enthused about Huntsman's traditions.


'Go down to the shop,' he told, 'and you'll see some of what's there is the same as 100 years ago, and that's really important. It's about perfection, process, repeatability and sustainability – doing the same thing again and again but better and better.'


A spokesman for Huntsman told MailOnline: 'As with the other tailors across the Row, Huntsman's UK business has been dramatically affected by the COVID pandemic with evaporating footfall and significant losses.


'During this unprecedented time, Huntsman has actually elected to keep as many staff as possible working from home, including providing logistical costs for them to do so. While they have furloughed a small number of staff with the Coronavirus Retention Scheme, in fact the government compensation covers less than five per cent of the business losses.


'In an effort to keep as many staff in place, Mr LaGrange has been carrying significant personal losses to ensure this landmark heritage brand survives the pandemic.'


The spokesman declined to answer questions about where Mr LaGrange pays tax.

The unfair attack on Savile Row hero Pierre Lagrange

22 February 2021, 6:50am

From Spectator Life


Tom Chamberlin


The Daily Mail has a new target – Pierre Lagrange. The enormously successful hedge funder has found himself in the cross hairs because he claimed money from Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme for some of the staff at Huntsman – the All-Blacks of Savile Row tailors – which Pierre bought in 2013. As hit-jobs go, it is as ill-advised as it is misinformed, so I thought I’d explain why.


The clickbait premise by journalist Nick Craven was that Pierre should have paid all the staff out of his own pocket rather than get support from the government. He backed up Lagrange’s evil-hedge-funder status by saying that he was 'famous for his colourful love life' – whether by 'colourful' he meant being gay, divorced or currently one half of an interracial marriage, I will leave Craven to elaborate. It’s too icky an adjective for me to want to look too closely at.


There was one factor that was entirely omitted by this article, which was that despite the shaky start – some tailors left unsure of the new direction it may take – Pierre Lagrange is one of the heroes of Savile Row and British tailoring. A declining interest in bespoke clothing – this was before people were not allowed outdoors – could be levelled squarely at an industry unable to find a modern heartbeat for those who see clothes as romantic. The intervention by Lagrange has injected a new interest in British tailoring from domestic and international clients as well as Hollywood’s opportunistic eye. As Covid has hit, it is creative businessmen like Lagrange who can find innovative solutions to complex problems.


Let’s begin with his mission to take the message of British tailoring abroad (note I don’t say just Huntsman but British tailoring as a whole). In 2015 Nick Foulkes hosted an exhibition for Savile Row in Washington D.C at the U.K. Ambassador’s Residence. Pierre helped to fund the operation and went to great lengths to make sure that it was as good as it could possibly be, which included flying in Buffalo Bill’s overcoat (made at Henry Poole) from Wyoming in a climate-controlled container.


This is just one of countless instances where Pierre has shown himself to be a champion for the street’s future viability, celebrating a set of craft skills that the government is doing nothing to help. Nick says that 'Savile Row is lucky to have him. I think you’d have to be fairly curmudgeonly to not say that he has been good for the street.' Master Tailor Terry Haste of Kent, Haste & Lachter – who incidentally was one-time head cutter and MD of Huntsman – agrees. He says: 'We were all delighted when Pierre was running the Savile Row Association, as there was so much more happening, there was real energy. It was sad to see him leave the post.'


Within Huntsman the innovations are setting the tone for what tailors need to be doing to survive. While the article did not specify how many of the 65 staff were furloughed – 'some' Nick Craven says – the notion of a tailor employing 65 people in the first place is remarkable. A bespoke suit requires several artisans to create, but not 65. You don’t hire that many people for a tailor’s shop unless you’re trying to achieve something extraordinary and whatever the motives may be, that is 65 jobs in a struggling industry that he has been paying for, as the article states, covering annual eight-figure losses himself.


Furthermore, he’s invested in technology for the company which remains a tough pill to swallow for a 'handmade' industry. The ability for someone to create their own tweed is indulgent for sure but it is innovative and helps not just Huntsman but the mills in Scotand that create the tweed too. Mr. Hammick, the robot which is sent round the world to help with international fittings (Colin Hammick is the houses most famous head cutter) has meant the incumbent head cutter, Dario Carnera (son of legendary shoe maker John Carnera), can keep processing orders to clients who aren’t able to visit London. Huntsman are in fact currently touring America, there is a permanent foothold in New York (thanks to Pierre) but the appetite for British tailoring has allowed for a tour of the major American cities by the Huntsman tailors.


Should Savile Row be relevant at all in the next 20 years, while one can also mention Anda Rowland, Gaziano & Girling, Thom Sweeney (who have opened up round the corner), a great chunk of that credit can go to Pierre Lagrange. The bespoke suit, is of course an expensive, indulgent, luxury item, but it is an icon of Britain’s cultural history. Money from China had helped bolster the financial standing of Savile Row back in the noughties, but several of the houses bought up by Chinese finance have padlocked chains on the door handles and the shops have been gutted. Over half of the shops on Savile Row have no tenancy because businesses can’t pay the bills, but Huntsman manages to inspire a soon-to-be trilogy of films and exports the good name of British tailoring almost better than anyone else. While the Government have been great with protecting jobs during the pandemic, part of the reason Rishi Sunak is popular no doubt, their efforts to protect British heritage brands has been woeful, and that pre-dates Coronavirus. It has required people like Pierre Lagrange to keep the pulse steady, the street would be in even bigger trouble without him.



Tom Chamberlin


Since taking over the company in 2013, Owner and Non-Executive Chairman Pierre Lagrange has introduced a number of developments which differentiate Huntsman from the majority of Savile Row tailors. Under Lagrange's direction, Huntsman launched its 'Archive Collection' in 2013, a capsule collection of ready-to-wear tailoring, shirting and accessories, returning a ready-to-wear product to Huntsman. The collection focused on both rejuvenating some aspects of Huntsman's traditional block, but also sought to integrate true menswear classics into the collection, as inspired by Huntsman's extensive historical archives. E-commerce was introduced at the same time, allowing for the ready-to-wear collection to be purchased online. Huntsman's website states that newly appointed Creative Director Campbell Carey is responsible for overseeing the ready-to-wear collection. The house's new General Manager Carol Pierce (formally the head of Dunhill's bespoke division) was also appointed in 2015 to oversee the house's bespoke operations.


Alongside regular visits to the east coast of America, visiting clients based in New York City, Boston and Washington (as well as Chicago), the house also undertakes regular west coast tours, visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles. Huntsman is also the first Savile Row tailor to open a permanent location in New York, a move that was announced in May 2015. An Asia tour has also been scheduled for September 2015, including a trunk show in Seoul and visits to Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.


Additionally, Huntsman is the sponsor of selected initiatives in the world of professional Polo. In June 2014, the Huntsman Polo Team was formed and won bronze, silver and gold cups in the Land Rover International Polo Tournament. In November 2014, the house partnered again with another team led by His Royal Highness Prince Harry, dressing his 'Huntsman Sentebale Polo Team' for the Sentebale Polo Cup in Abu Dhabi. A limited number of exclusive polo shirts were available to purchase after the tournament, with a percentage of the proceeds going to Sentebale.[39] Huntsman also designed a unique lining for the contest, featuring a motif of forget-me-nots, a mark of respect to those children which the Prince's Sentebale charity (the motif of which is also the forget-me-not) works to protect from poverty and disease.


Huntsman was one of five founding members of the Savile Row Bespoke Association - Savile Row's protective trade body.



In February 2016, Huntsman became the first Savile Row tailor to open a permanent location in New York, with a location at 130 West 57th Street. American clientele now enjoy a permanent home in the States in a pied-à-terre in New York with antique Huntsman tweed covered furnishings and historic photographs from Huntsman's past adorning the walls.


Alongside regular visits to the east coast of America, visiting clients based in New York City, Boston and Washington (as well as Chicago), the house also undertakes regular west coast tours, visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles. Huntsman expanded its trunk shows, pioneering visits to different corners of Asia, including a trunk show in Seoul and visits to Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.


With daytime fashion in mind, 2016 featured a busy social calendar for Huntsman. The house participated in the polo and racing seasons with the highlights being Huntsman's Royal Ascot residence on the Rosebery, as well as the house's post-racing party. 2016 also saw Huntsman taking on more modern projects including cutting bespoke tweed driving suits for Marc Newson and Charlotte Stockdale in the 2016 Mille Miglia Race.


Huntsman's Savile Row premises play host to a variety of exciting events, including charity auctions for several worthy causes, which have raised up to £80,000 in donations. Exhibitions for artists such as Cecil Beaton, Alex Talbot Rice and Gray Malin were hosted by the house, as well as whisky tastings, private lunches, and book launches


In 2016, over half a million people tuned in live to learn all things bespoke from Huntsman owner Pierre Lagrange at an event in Beijing. In February, Huntsman even graced the London Fashion Week catwalk as a part of the inspired Gareth Pugh show. The ‘Treasures from Chatsworth’,[52] a miniseries presented by Huntsman and produced by Sotheby's, was launched in 2016 too - detailing the magnificent collections of the Cavendish family whilst also putting a spotlight on how contemporary Huntsman's age-old bespoke craftsmanship is.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Michele Clapton, the award-winning "The King's Man" costume designer, whose style credits include “The Crown” and “Game Of Thrones” / VIDEO: The King’s Man: Dressing Cinema’s Most Debonair Secret Agents | MR PORTER


“It’s not costumes we’re creating, it’s the authentic outfits. Such is the transformative power of bespoke tailoring; it is undoubtedly what aids the characterization of an actor… but the quality and craftsmanship of these garments are such that it could be worn every day.”

– Campbell Carey Head Cutter & Creative Director, Huntsman


  Huntsman creations for

The King’s Man


Huntsman Creative Director Campbell Carey worked closely with the costume designers to make authentic period outfits for the stars of the latest Kingsman movie. Set in the 1900s, Huntsman’s role in developing the period clothing for the production was pivotal in delivering a film with sartorially integrity and flair! Of all the clothing created, none captures the imagination of the audience more than that of  Conrad, played by Harris Dickinson, and The Duke Of Oxford, played by Ralf Finnes.


 Though these men and their style are polar opposites, a common thread runs through their wardrobe; Huntsman bespoke excellence. Together with Michelle Clapton, Costume designer for the movie, Campbell delved back through the Huntsman archives and discovered cloth, patterns, and styles that were painstakingly replicated for the movie.


Discover mood boards for The Duke of Oxford & Conrad here and see Campbell’s exclusive insight as the tailor to The King’s Man.


The Duke Of Oxford

Ralph Fiennes


Fox flannels and heavy-weight wools and tweed in regimental cut suiting for a wardrobe of tradition and principle.



Harris Dickinson


The latest bespoke styles from Europe and America and innovative Lounge Suits for the young gentleman with sartorial flair!



Michele Clapton, the award-winning "The King's Man" costume designer, whose style credits include “The Crown” and “Game Of Thrones”


By Jessica Bailey



How do you design a retrospective wardrobe, without it feeling old hat? GRAZIA speaks to BAFTA award-winning "The King's Man" costume designer Michele Clapton, whose style credits include “The Crown” and “Game Of Thrones”


The King's Man

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

The King’s Man – a prequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle – is set during the turbulent years surrounding WWI. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (and with a budget of $100 million), the story centres on an elite British spy, the Duke Of Oxford (played by Ralph Fiennes), who must stop criminal masterminds from carrying out a plot which would destroy humanity.


Costumer Michele Clapton, who won a BAFTA for her designs on the first series of The Crown, had her work cut out for her in The King’s Man: design an Edwardian era wardrobe which reflects the stiff upper lip of London’s Savile Row, and ensures this impeccable tailoring – starchy and heavy by nature – is flexible enough for an action-based picture.


“The weight of the fabrics in that period were really heavy and they really defined the cut of a suit, unlike today where fabrics are so much lighter and you can move around,” says Clapton in a British accent not dissimilar from Emma Thompson’s. In fact, I’m certain she would have been likened to the actress on more than one occasion.


“We also found a lovely Scottish weavist who would weave back catalogue pieces for small amounts, she would sometimes weave us 12 metres, which was great,” Clapton continues. “The fabrics to us were really key to finding our way into the film. There was such wonderful colours and weaves used at that time and to bring that back to a modern audience, I thought, was really exciting.”


GRAZIA: The Crown was based in the years surrounding WW2. Can you speak about the different types of weaves and fabrics that were available, compared with The King’s Man’s WWI setting?


MICHELE CLAPTON: “WWI was a time when women’s clothing really revolutionised, because obviously they had to be much more active, and had to do men’s roles sometimes – and even more so in WW2. But each time, I think the wars moved women’s clothing forward. The skirts shortened, there were less petticoats. The King’s Man was so menswear heavy – we of course have scenes at the Russian ball, and we also designed servants-wear – but on the whole, it was just the weight of the fabrics. We found some old pattern books and they were incredible, there was so much colour! We’re so used to seeing black and white pictures of that time and so we tend to think that it was dull. And it wasn’t at all! A woman’s silhouette during this time was so immense, they had huge shoulders and these really tight collars, it was a very peculiar time… and disproportionate.”


GRAZIA: Films are renowned for giving the costume department tiny budgets. Was there anything in the movie where you thought, ‘I would have done that differently if I had more money’?


CLAPTON: “As [director] Matthew Vaughn is so passionate about clothing, usually you can go to him and plead your case! [Laughs] You always want more money, but he allowed me a lot longer time leading up to filming to research what I might do. People were also really enthusiastic to work on The King’s Man, because I think they know the quality of it, so we got to work with some amazing people who were generous with their time.”


GRAZIA: How long was the lead-up time to filming?


CLAPTON: “I had about four months. I hadn’t worked with Matthew before and that [costumer-director] relationship is so important, especially to someone like him who is so passionate about clothing. It’s really important to try and understand what they want and to bring ideas to them.”


“It’s a period film, and sometimes those shapes are quite hard to accept initially: the very high collars, the very long jackets. Your eye has become accustomed to it and see how that will work to a modern audience.”


GRAZIA: How involved was director Matthew Vaughn in the costume design process?


CLAPTON: “He has to see pretty much everything you do. He allows you the time to do it, but then he really wants to see it. If he doesn’t lie it, he will tell you he doesn’t like it. But he will also change his mind – if he sees something again, he might be like, ‘I actually do like it’. That’s what I liked about him. He doesn’t just say something and then not change his mind to save face. He will actually go, ‘Actually that is good, I’ve got used to it.’ A costume designer is always difficult because you’re sort of always in the middle: You’re dealing with the actors, and then with the director. That’s’ sometimes the hardest part of the job, the dynamic between the actor, director and you. It’s tricky sometimes.”


GRAZIA: What was Ralph Fiennes like to work with?


CLAPTON: “He loves clothing and loves the way it looks. It’s so important for him to find the character. Most actors are involved with Ralph wants to understand why he’s wearing something. It was a really lovely way of working – it’s a lot. I would fit each outfit, then I would plot it, then I would send him pictures of each fitting and plot notes of where I think it should appear in the story so we had this ebb and flow of emotion. Whenever I design, I don’t say, ‘A suit for that, a suit for this’. It’s a wardrobe of clothes. One day on set, we might go, ‘We know we’re going to do the pinstripe suit, but which tie? What mood do we want to say the character is in? How do we weave in the emotion?’ I love it, I’m a storyteller.”


GRAZIA: How does working on a film like The King’s Man compare to working on a television series like The Crown or Game Of Thrones?


CLAPTON: On The Crown, you have more time to tell the story. It was over 10 episodes – so 10 hours – to tell the story. In a funny way, you had time to develop the character, and you can do it more subtlety. On film, you have such a short time to tell the arc of a story and sometimes you do hundreds of costumes, they are just in shot. On a TV show, you spend more time in one room and [the camera, and thus the audience] walk through all the work. A film is an abbreviated story. It’s a small moment in time, told in detail. This film is epic, I love the scale of it. I think you need to be stronger with your costume choices because you won’t see them for so long and they need to tell the story so much more quickly and succinctly.”


GRAZIA: What was Gemma Arterton like to work with?


CLAPTON: “She was divine. When we first met, we sat down to discuss the character and I showed her moodboards about where we might go with it. We just bonded straight away. The ideas we had just fitted so well with how she saw the character; the structure of these costumes, the silhouettes. She also has this wonderful way of standing which, as a costume designer, is a dream frankly. She just engages and inhabits the costumes she’s given.”


GRAZIA: On any project, things don’t always turn out the way we initially anticipated. Was there a scene or a piece that worked out even better on screen than you imagined?


CLAPTON: A piece I love was a piece we made. An oiled little biker’s jacket that Conrad arrives at Sandhurst in. I loved the fact that it was blood red and pre-empted the story that was about to happen – the desolation, the damage – and I thought it was just the perfect tone. The props department put two little cases on that back of his back and I thought that was perfect. It sort of underscored that he was leaving.”


GRAZIA: Do you have a favourite scene that GRAZIA readers/viewers can look out for?


CLAPTON: “I loved the Russian ball. I love when Rasputan [played by Rhys Ifans] and his two female cohorts walk in and scan around the room. That was a really fun to design for. There was a lot of balls in Russia where they dressed up in traditional Russian headpieces. It was slightly fantastical, which was exactly what happened back then. We made these metal headpieces, and pretty much all of the costumes in the room. It was so satisfying.”


GRAZIA: You should release that entire ballgown line on the runway…


CLAPTON: “We could all wonder around in fantasy Russian costumes. It would be rather fantastic, wouldn’t it? [Laughs]”