Month: September 2019

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Top Rebels trio return for Crusaders clash

September 19, 2019 | News | No Comments

Nic Stirzaker, Tom English and Sefa Naivalu headline five changes to the Rebels starting XV that will take on the Crusaders.

Tony McGahan has rolled out an injury depleted outfit all season but this looks to be one of his strongest.

Stirzaker, English and Naivalu all add experience and a touch of class that was severely lacking in those departments against the Waratahs.

The inclusion of Colby Fainga’a has triggered the other changes, as Lopeti Timani shifts to the second row to make room for the flanker.

Culum Retallick will start on the bench as a result of Timani’s positional change.


1. Toby Smith

2. James Hanson

3. Tyrel Lomax

4. Steve Cummins

5. Lopeti Timani

6. Sean McMahon

7. Colby Fainga’a

8. Amanaki Mafi

9. Nic Stirzaker (C)

10. Jackson Garden-Bachop

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Reece Hodge

13. Tom English

14. Sefa Naivalu

15. Ben Volavola


16. Siliva Siliva

17. Fereti Sa’aga

18. Laurie Weeks

19. Culum Retallick

20. Hugh Sinclair

21. Ben Meehan

22. Mitch Inman

23. Jonah Placid


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We’re back to business in Super Rugby this weekend, but there’s been a few light moments as well.

What have you missed in rugby this week?

Tui takes us back in time

It’s rare that anyone gets to meet their idol on and off the field but that’s exactly what happened to Lukhan Tui this weekend.

The Reds and Wallabies forward shared a post on Twitter this weekend, with a snap from 2008 and one from 2018.

His first was from when, as a then-Blues fan, Tui met Blues star Jerome Kaino on  the sideline, getting a photo with his hero.

On Friday night, the pair went head-to-head at Eden Park in Kaino’s farewell home game and they grabbed another pic.

Apart from making plenty of viewers feel their age, the post was also a reminder that you never know when or where you might meet your heroes.

MLR to reach conclusion

The USA’s Major League Rugby is set for its first champion, with Seattle taking on the Glendale Raptors.

Both sides were victorious in their semi-finals, with the first winner to be crowned next weekend.

The Raptors include former Aussie Sevens player Sam Figg in their ranks, with a number of internationals playing in the competition.

Robertson goes peak cauliflower

There were quite a few spectators cringing at sight of Tom Robertson in Friday night’s derby, with the prop sporting a new addition on the sideline. 

Robertson was sporting a particularly vicious cauliflower ear after some tough scrummaging efforts, and it was enough to make even the hardened a bit squirmish.

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All part of the rugby parcel, we guess. 

Naisarani going south

The newest addition to rugby’s worst-kept secrets is here – Isi Naisarani is going to the Rebels in 2019.

Melbourne will be farewelling Amanaki Mafi next season, with the Japan international returning north ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The Brumbies have a glut of backrowers in their ranks, opening up an opportunity for Naisarani to move.

Ronas’ welcome new addition

Congratulations to Wallabies and Waratahs centre Curtis Rona and his wife Jacinta, who welcomed their second child, Ezekiel, this week.

Rona missed Waratahs training to be with his family, before flying to Melbourne to feature in the Waratahs’ win over the Rebels.

Front rowers find their sound

Props sometimes get a bad rap in the cultural stakes, but Melbourne Rebels prop Fereti Saaga showed a musical side in the Melbourne CBD this week.

Saaga played a tune on a grand piano, following up a performance at the club’s Test lunch last week.

He’s not the only prop to show his musical talent, though, with the Waratahs’ Harry Johnson-Holmes a well-known singer.

Johnson-Holmes showed off his vocal chords at a Christmas hospital visit last year, booming out a version of Felis Navidad.

Who do you rate as the better musical talent?

State rugby goes bush

It was a big weekend for rugby in the country in Queensland and New South Wales.

The Shute Shield took a match to Cowra –  a thriller between Eastwood and Norths – continuing an important initiative of taking matches beyond the Sydney city limits. 

Meanwhile, in Queensland, it was the Queensland Country Heelers taking on the NSW Country in Goondiwindi.

The Heelers took out both the colts and senior matches, 21–19 and 22-12, respectively.

NRL star a rugby VIP

Keen spectators in the Sydney Test might have noticed one big-name rugby league star rubbing shoulders with the VIPs at Allianz Stadium.

Don’t be expecting any code-switching anytime soon, but it was certainly interesting to hear of some cross-code relations.

Kerevi keen to increase playmaking load

September 19, 2019 | News | No Comments

Samu Kerevi and the Reds will fight fire with fire on Saturday, eager to get the ball in the hands of outside backs starved of the ball over the past month.

The Lions are capable of some of the most exhilarating rugby in the competition but the Reds, to date, have played football in stark contrast to their opposition on Saturday.

No team has scored less tries to date this season and while Kerevi has thrived with the extra ball he is getting his hands on at inside centre, the removal of Duncan Paia’aua from the starting XV has limited the impact of those playing on the fringes.

Izaia Perese has subsequently lost his starting spot as coach Brad Thorn searches for fresh spark in the form of Jordan Petaia and Kerevi is well aware of the attacking burden he must carry now regular playmaker Jono Lance is out of the clash with the Lions, too.“We’ve spoken about that this week, getting (the wingers) more of the ball,” Kerevi said.

Aidan (Toua) coming into the line – we can all contribute in getting the ball out there.”

Kerevi will need to play more of a playmaking hand in order to do that but the large majority of the attacking burden will fall on the shoulders of young gun Hamish Stewart, who will make his first start of the season in place of Lance.

Jono is a massive loss for us but Hamish coming in, he’s young but we trust in his ability,” Kerevi said.

“He doesn’t shy away from contact and that’s a good thing for us.

“Defensively, we trust that he can make his tackles.

“Our halves are there to control the game and it’s obviously a step up from NRC – with Hamish not starting much for us – so for him to get the nod we know Thorny is backing him and the rest of the team does as well.”

While putting more points on the board is a necessity, improving the defensive errors which cost Queensland any chance of going with the Chiefs is also on the agenda.

“Our work rate needs to be better and we have all addressed that,” Kerevi said.

“The Chiefs played around the corner pretty well and we didn’t work hard enough to get there.

“We need to get that edge about us in defence.”

The Reds will all wear club or school socks on Saturday, a brilliant nod to the grassroots foundation upon which all careers are built.

I think it’s awesome to really showcase where we’ve come through, how we’ve come through,” Kerevi said.

“Obviously everyone comes through school and club and this weekend, I’m really excited to wear the Brisbane State High socks along with a few other boys.

“We’re excited to showcase that and I think it’s important.

“Grass roots rugby is where we all came from and it’s a really good initiative from Queensland for us to be able to wear the socks.”

The Reds host the Lions at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and radio.

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Stade Francais announce Naivalu signing

September 19, 2019 | News | No Comments

Sefa Naivalu is heading for Paris on a three-year deal with French giants Stade Francais announcing the deal on Thursday morning.

Ten-Test winger Naivalu, who has played for the Rebels and Reds in Super Rugby, will arrive in the Paris capital after this year’s World Cup, planning to stay there through to 2022.

Stade Francais announced the contract on Twitter on Thursday morning.

The English translation of the tweet reads: “The Club is proud to announce the signature of the international winger Sefanaia naivalu for 3 seasons in the capital! Welcome to Paris Sefa ⚡⚡⚡ .”

The news will not come as a major shock, with speculation of Naivalu’s post-World Cup departure reported last month.

Naivalu joins Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona, Sam Carter among the capped Wallabies set to head overseas after this year’s Japan tournament.


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Reds v Crusaders: Five things we learned

September 19, 2019 | News | No Comments

The Reds have lost 22-12 to the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium as the Super Rugby champions extend their record-breaking unbeaten run to 18 matches.

Here are the talking points from the match.

1. The Crusaders are on a level of their own

Plenty was expected from the Reds after their fighting efforts against the Highlanders in their round two season-opener in Dunedin, with many expecting they would push the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium.

But they were left chasing their tails from the kick-off, with the visitors posting two tries in the opening 10 minutes.

Brad Thorn’s team did well to prevent a blowout from there but never threatened to win and need to find greater consistency if they are to continue to improve.

2. Handling errors and turnovers killed Reds’ chances

The Reds have a no excuses policy this season and will not blame the intermittent rain and a wet ball for the handling errors that cruelled their chances of competing.

One of the most frustrating things for the home side was their inability to put real pressure on the Crusaders because of a lack of possession.

When they did manage to string phases together the Reds posed a threat. But simple turnovers, pushed passes land another poor kicking game left them unable to show play at the level their hard-won fitness and tactical  nous will allow them to when they finally hold on to the pill. 

3. Will key players be available for Waratahs clash?

He was the name on everyone’s lips after their season-opener after his sparkling performance in the centres but Jordan Petaia was the focus for a different reason on Saturday night after limping off Suncorp Stadium inside the first 20 minutes with a foot injury.

After twisting his foot and ankle awkwardly when taking the ball up early in the match, Petaia spent the remainder of the first half icing his foot on the sidelines before reappearing in a moon boot in the second term.

Thorn said the extent of the injury was not yet known but the boom colt looks an unlikely starter for the Waratahs clash, while fullback Bryce Hegarty played more than 40 minutes with a popped rib and could also be in doubt.

4. In forwards we trust

Captain Samu Kerevi showed the faith he has in his forwards when opting against a kick at goal from a penalty late in the first half, instead putting the ball into touch and relying on his men to win a lineout that eventually led to a try that kept the Reds in the contest at halftime.

It’s the type of move Reds fans can expect to see often this season, with Kerevi saying after the match he not only trusted the ability of his forwards to win the ball but believed fans deserve an attractive style of play. 

5. Reds scrum still a work in progress

The Reds highly regarded scrum was taught a lesson by a Crusaders pack including All Black front rowers Joe Moody and Owen Franks but Thorn hopes it will prove aspirational to his forwards.

Thorn wants his men exposed to the best in the business and hopes the likes of loosehead prop Feao Fotuaika, who performed so strongly on debut against the Highlanders, will take plenty from the experience.

JP Smith performed strongly in his return from a knee injury and could come into calculation for a starting spot against the Waratahs next week.

Thorn slams door on Cooper, race for Folau heats up

September 19, 2019 | News | No Comments

Israel Folau would fit right in at the Reds, should the off contract superstar decide to take his talents north.

That’s the view of Queensland flyhalf Jono Lance, who played alongside Folau during the Waratahs’ 2014 run to the top of Super Rugby.

Speaking at Brisbane Airport prior to the Reds setting sail for Tokyo, Lance said Folau would fit right in at Ballymore.

“I’ve played with Izzy – he’s a pretty exciting player and I don’t think anyone needs proof he is on the footy field,” Lance said.

“He’s a great teammate, the way he works with the younger guys, how he goes about taking advice from someone.

“To be a world class player and be happy to take advice from some of the younger guys – I think that’s pretty impressive.”While Lance said there had been no internal chatter between players regarding the potential of playing alongside Folau, it’s understood Reds coach Brad Thorn and the star fullback have discussed a potential move.

Cap space is another matter for Queensland to consider, as they currently have a substantially chunk of their cap tied up by two players who appear unlikely to ever pull on the Reds jersey again.

Karmichael Hunt has been barred from playing club football while Rugby Australia and the QRU search for an overseas home for his services but Quade Cooper appears determined to remain in Queensland.

That’s despite this comment from Reds coach Brad Thorn, in the wake of news Cooper has knocked back midseason approaches from both the Rebels and Brumbies.

“If there was an opportunity for Quade at another Super Rugby club, we wouldn’t stand in his way.”

The Reds would hold the door open for the mercurial playmaker if he was to walk, though it’s understood offloading both Cooper and Hunt’s salary isn’t a necessity in the race for Folau’s signature – which will fetch close to $1.5 million per year.

While the QRU is yet to shake the Cooper headache, they appear to have found their next star flyhalf in Hamish Stewart.

Lance may be Thorn’s man for the remainder of the season but Stewart has all the skills required to be an elite flyhalf for the next decade, considering he is only 20 years of age.

A possible shift to fullback for the clash with the Sunwolves is on the cards, such is the desire to keep Stewart in the starting XV.

“I was pretty excited with how Hamish went in the game against the Bulls,” Lance said.

“He’s doing things that I wasn’t doing when I was 19 so I’m definitely working with him as the week goes on in whatever that position is.

“Whether that’s working at five-eighth – whatever it is – I’m really excited about where he’s heading and the kind of guy he is.”

The Reds face the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday, kicking off at 1pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

Pictured above: Emmanuelle Alt, Edward Enninful, Romeo Beckham, Brooklyn Beckham, Cruz Beckham, Harper Beckham, David Beckham and Anna Wintour sitting front row at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Victoria Beckham.

With New York Fashion Week—the first of the ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks—now done and dusted, our attention has already drifted across the Atlantic to London as it kicked off its own fashion week schedule last week.

And while it is the shortest of the weeks that takes place during fashion month, the runsheet for London’s runway offering is anything but slim, with designers including Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Erdem, Christopher Kane and Emilia Wickstead continuing to call the capital city their fashion home—and, of course, they’ve left absolutely no room for disappointment this season.

Memorable moments have already presented themselves in the form of Kendall Jenner’s rare appearance—as a blonde, no less—at Burberry’s show, along with Agyness Deyn’s return to the runway at the very same show, and Naomi Campbell’s naked dress moment at her first Fashion for Relief event in her native London, and we’re almost certain many moments are still to come.

Of course, when it comes to front row figures, London Fashion Week presents a slightly different look—not only sartorially, with the climate demanding clothing that covers slightly more—but also when it comes to guest lists, with royals and noble figures mingling amongst the celebrities and influencers who typically attend shows.

With stand-out looks already including the dapper Beckham boys—and one ultra-adorable Harper Beckham—sitting front row at matriarch Victoria Beckham’s runway show, Billy Porter donning a silk headscarf and neon orange flares, and Lottie Moss’s mirrored crop and pant combo, we’re eagerly waiting what other notable looks will come across our horizon over the week.

To see our round-up of the front row fashion moments from London Fashion Week spring/summer 2020, scroll on.

Dua Lipa and Anwar Hadid at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.


Sonny Hall and Iris Law at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Christina Aguilera at the Christopher Kane spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Maisie Williams at the Christopher Kane spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Billy Porter at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Joan Smalls, Lily Aldridge and Derek Blasberg at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Sabrina Elba at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Victoria Beckham.

Lottie Moss at the David Koma spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Lady Kitty Spencer at the Roland Mouret spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Helen Mirren, Karen Elson and Sinead Burke at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Victoria Beckham.

Tuppence Middleton at the Erdem spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Alexa Chung at the Fashion for Relief London 2019 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Billy Porter at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Victoria Beckham.

Lady Mary Charteris and Abbey Clancy at the David Koma spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Paris Brosnan and Pierce Brosnan at the Fashion for Relief London 2019 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Daisy Lowe at the Roland Mouret spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Taron Egerton at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Pixie Geldof at the Ports 1961 spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Billy Porter at the Erdem spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Naomi Scott at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Burberry.


Pixie Geldof, Derek Blasberg and Daisy Lowe at the Christopher Kane spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Adwoa Aboah at the Molly Goddard spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Molly Goddard.

Maisie Williams at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Carla Bruni at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Iris Law at the Fashion for Relief London 2019 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Jorja Smith at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Daisy Lowe, Pixie Geldof, Camille Charriere and Caroline Flack at the Christopher Kane spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Christina Aguilera at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Hunter Schafer at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.


Anna Vitello at the David Koma spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

British Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, and Naomi Campbell at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.


Isabelle Huppert at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Daisy Lowe at the Erdem spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Veronika Heilbrunner at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Xenia Adonts at the Erdem spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Julia Restoin Roitfeld at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Lucy Williams at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

FKA Twigs at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.


Isabeli Fontana at the Burberry spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Burberry.


Susie Lau at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Victoria Beckham.

Yasmin Sewell at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Maya Jama at the Christopher Kane spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Veronika Heilbrunner at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: courtesy of Victoria Beckham.

Bel Powley at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Sophia Hadjipanteli at the Roland Mouret spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

Blanca Miro at the JW Anderson spring/summer 2020 show. Image credit: Getty Images.

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Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

There aren’t many designers who are recognised in every single part of the world. Giorgio Armani, however, is exactly that. Ask anyone, chances are that they’ll not only know of Armani himself, but be able to picture one his perfectly tailored suits, his love of good-taste ‘greige’ or his countless Hollywood moments. That kind of global star power is rare in fashion, especially for a house that is still owned and operated by its founder. And yet Mr Armani — as he is always referred to; never just Giorgio — has built one of the world’s largest independently-owned fashion empires, which, at the age of 85, he still personally oversees. 

It couldn’t be more well deserved, then, that this December, Armani will be honoured at The Fashion Awards with the Outstanding Achievement Award. Right from the start, Armani shifted the conversation around tailoring and shaped the look of the late 20th century. He ushered in a new era of softer, more unstructured and most significantly, lighter suiting. In doing so, he became the architect of modern masculinity, a go-to for a new kind of man. He did just as much for women, too, using menswear fabrics to create a powerful uniform — the relaxed, minimalist trouser suit. Armani is the designer who blazed the trail for those such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Jil Sander.

He was a pioneer when it came to establishing a relationship with Hollywood, too, placing dedicated publicists and celebrity liaisons in his Rodeo Drive boutique early on. In 1980, he dressed Richard Gere for the film , with every scene choreographed to work for Armani’s clothes, prompting Gere to ask, “Who’s acting in this scene, me or the jacket?”. Since then, his designs have appeared in more than 200 films, and have been worn by a constellation of megawatt stars, long before red-carpet dressing became industrialised. Back then, it was Diane Keaton, Jodie Foster and Michelle Pfeiffer in Armani. Today, it’s the likes of Cate Blanchett, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys and Elizabeth Debicki. 

Armani’s central tenets of classicism, style over fashion, Italian craftsmanship and ease have endured. In 1975, he sold his Volkswagen Beetle to set up the brand. The first year of business saw sales total US$14,000 and within a decade, they were topping US$100 million. Today, Armani has an annual turnover of around US$2 billion; and the empire spans every layer of the product pyramid, from the crescendo of Armani Privé haute couture to Giorgio Armani ready-to-wear tailoring, Armani Exchange jeans, Armani/Casa furnishings, Armani hotels, Armani cosmetics… The list goes on, but each product is distinctive for that signature Armani simplicity.

In a rare interview, speaks to Armani about the secrets to his success and navigating an ever changing fashion industry.

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Congratulations on receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2019 Fashion Awards. When you look back over your career, what are you most proud of and why?
“Having created a style that everybody immediately identifies as mine is certainly an accomplishment, and something that makes me extremely proud. I have worked hard all my life in order to build something true, substantial and enduring. I liberated men and women from many constrictions, turning into the sartorial companion of an epochal change. The fact that my creations have survived the test of time is another thing that makes me proud. Ultimately, my work speaks for itself, and that is the best thing for me.”

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

The fashion industry has changed dramatically since you started as a young designer. What has most inspired the way you work? And what changes – if any – do you feel less enthused about?
“The fashion system has changed so much, I sometimes feel I inhabit a completely different environment, compared to when I started. The pace has become faster and faster, and we, as designers, are forced to dish out products at an alarming rate, something I do not like that much. I sure like the competition, as there are more and more designers, just as I like the fragmentation: today there are almost as many styles as there are designers. What I really dislike is the fact that today fashion is mostly about entertainment and communication, sometimes to the detriment of the product. Let’s not forget that we are here to dress people with something authentic, useful, beautiful.” 

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

When you launched Armani, you redefined the way men and women dressed. Do you think it’s possible for a designer to create such seismic shifts in fashion today? Is there still such a thing as an original idea?
“Back when I started my revolution, I saw men wearing stiff jackets that concealed the body and looked more like cages than anything else. I was looking for the exact opposite: clothes that created ease of movement and comfort. That’s how I came to create the first unstructured jacket in the mid-1970s, getting rid of lining and padding. Bit by bit, I also changed the arrangement of the buttons and modified the proportions: a process that radically transformed this garment, at the same time as men were exploring softer ways to be masculine. It was a moment of deep change, and I was part of that wave. Today, we have the impression that everything has been done and there is no such thing as an original idea or an original silhouette. I believe the contrary: there is still room to create something relevant and new, but doing so requires focus, and the awareness that fashion is first and foremost about hard work, not fame. Authenticity is key, but it is becoming increasingly rare.”

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Who do you have in mind when you design, and has that person changed over time?
“I have always had in mind not a body, but an attitude, when designing. I am catering for the modern man and the modern woman: people who fully live their time and value elegance, thus appreciate my aesthetic. I want to provide my clients with a sense of quiet confidence. The person I design for hasn’t changed over time, but it sure has evolved, in sync with the times.”

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Your design repertoire goes far beyond fashion. What drives you to create and how do you maintain such unwavering momentum?
“As a creative person, what I like best about my job has always been seeing the results of my creativity. The urge to create is innate, I believe. I follow it because creation, for me, means producing something that touches the lives of real people. It can be a jacket, or the impeccable service and elegant furnishing in a hotel. It can even be a piece of chocolate. What keeps it all together is my taste, my constant quest for soulful, sophisticated simplicity. The more I work, the more I feel inspired. Work is also a wonderful anti-ageing serum.”

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Over the years, you have created some brilliant advertising campaigns. Are you relieved to have built your brand pre-social media, or do you wish, like today’s rising designers, that you were able to connect directly with your audience?
“I built my empire bit by bit, not in a rush, and that makes it solid. I have built it on the observation of reality, too, right from the very start. I wanted to dress real men and women. I wanted to see them all on the street, not just on the pages of magazines or in the illusive world of television; I wanted my clothing to bring them a new awareness of their worth; I wanted it to suit the changing roles of a society in a constant rush. The imagery I created back then is still relevant, because it feels authentic. Social media is quite fickle, and sometimes too mercantile: I am fine with the way I connected with my audience. I don’t blame the new ways to connect with the public, but I still prefer mine.” 

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Do you look at, or use, social media yourself?
“I do look at social media, but don’t use it, as I have better and more urgent things to do. Being a public figure, of course, I created a company profile on Instagram, which is the platform I am most interested in – it’s where we tell the story of the Armani universe. I have no plans to open a personal profile, however; I am a very reserved person and I’ve always protected my private life. Besides that, I don’t want to be influenced by influencers!” 

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

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What is most important to you today?
“Hard work is important, but it’s not everything. Spending time with those that matter to me is important. I do this job out of passion — an absolute, burning, visceral passion. I do it with enthusiasm, commitment and dedication. I never thought that I would achieve such world fame by being a designer. Of course, fame is not what pushed me towards this path. It wasn’t money either — it can’t buy elegance. Making things: that’s what has always motivated me.”  

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

What, if anything, do you regret?
“I don’t really suffer regret, as it is a fairly pointless feeling. However, if I were to relive my life, I’d spend more time with my loved ones.”

The Armani suit is era defining. What was on your mind at that time: what music were you listening to, who were you surrounding yourself with? What fuelled that aesthetic?
“I am an extremely pragmatic creator: first and foremost I look at what’s around me. I did so when I created those famous suits, looking at men of my age – I was 40 at the time – and what they wanted to wear, which were not the suits of their fathers. My sister and her friends caught up on the same jackets, and the rest is history. It might sound funny, but the sound of modernity was disco, and I was listening a lot to that.”

Image credit: Getty Images

What music do you listen to today, and is there anyone you would still like to dress?
“I listen to any kind of music, from pop to classic, from old to new. I like rhythm. As for the musicians I’d like to dress, there are many – but to tell you the truth, I find the idea of a man buying his first important suit, or a woman choosing her attire for a meaningful career advancement, finding what they need at an Armani store, far more rewarding than the idea of dressing another celebrity. I’ve been there and am still there with pleasure, but dressing real people in real life is my ultimate goal.”

What makes you smile when you wake up in the morning?
“I like to do things, to work: that puts me in a good mood. It’s no coincidence that my happy place, where I feel the best, is my office: it’s where I achieve my visions, where what’s in my head becomes real and tangible. It’s the most incredible feeling; it fills me with energy and adrenaline every single time.”

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

How do you quieten your mind at the end of the day?
“At the end of the day I take time for myself, just to think. I usually have a simple dinner at home, after which I like to relax in front of the television watching a good film or a TV series. I try not to stay up too late, because I have another busy day ahead of me the next day.”

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

What is the biggest misconception about you as a designer?
I think most of the people have an almost ascetic idea of me. Sure, I love sobriety and can do less is more, but I am also a bon vivant and an eccentric. As I told you, I was listening to disco when I created my famous suits. Today, from time to time, I go to Giorgio’s, the exclusive members-only evening at the Armani/Privé Club in Milan.” 

Image credit: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

What advice would you give young designers wishing to follow in your footsteps?
The scenario today is much more complex. Standing out requires utmost dedication because the competition is fierce. For a new designer, I would suggest, first of all, to thoroughly study people’s demands and then to respond to these needs with something that is new, fresh, meaningful. It is the only way to tackle today’s fashion world without ever getting discouraged.”

Other than fashion, what makes you happy?
I am simply happy to live, to have people who I trust at my side, to be healthy. I am a simple person, with simple, yet deep, feelings.”

Several times a day, a catamaran rounds the Battery with a great, glowing billboard on its back. The L.E.D. screen—sixty feet long and almost two stories tall—flashes with ads for Broadway plays, beer, and children’s movies, as the boat circumnavigates lower Manhattan. On Twitter, the boat has been branded as “a piece of digital garbage”—an assault on our inner Whitmans while crossing Brooklyn IKEA ferry. New Yorkers have called for the city to impound the floating billboard, or, better yet, “sink that fucking thing.” “Anybody got a spare torpedo they don’t need?” one commenter wrote, on a Gothamist article.

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo, seemingly unable to find a torpedo, signed a bill banning any craft operating “a billboard that uses flashing, intermittent, or moving lights” from the navigable waters of New York State. The days of the billboard boat, it seemed, were over. But Adam Shapiro, the C.E.O. and president of Ballyhoo Media, said that he is “undeterred” by the legislation, which doesn’t prohibit his company from operating the boat, but rather places limits on what can be displayed on it.

Ballyhoo is a small family startup led by the Shapiro brothers, Adam and Nate. In 2016, the Shapiros launched the company in Miami. Then, in October of 2018, they expanded to New York, where they were hit with zoning lawsuits after just three months of operation. In January, a judge ruled that Ballyhoo had the right to operate so long as its craft stayed fifteen hundred feet offshore when in sight of a highway—ostensibly to avoid distracting drivers. This ruling effectively barred Ballyhoo from the East River, but the Shapiros simply changed the boat’s route, and continued on.

The brothers have been slammed online as the “scourge of our waterways,” but they’ve also been heralded—begrudgingly—as pioneers. The Gothamist article, citing industry experts, wrote that “it’s the first time that a watercraft dedicated to advertising has taken up station on the city’s rivers.” Ballyhoo’s website claims that it’s “changing the landscape of outdoor advertising.”

But someone beat them to the punch, about eighty years ago. When Cuomo signed the recent ban into law, he stated, “These floating billboards are a nuisance that blight our shores and distract from the great natural beauty of our waterways.” Those words could well have been spoken by Robert Moses, circa 1939, when an analog version of the Ballyhoo battle played out in Brooklyn. For much of that summer and the one after it, Moses fought a pitched sea battle with a real-estate wheeler-dealer whose giant billboard boat was playing the shores of Coney Island and Brighton Beach. That man, not yet thirty-five years old, was already one of the biggest developers in Brooklyn. His son currently occupies the White House.

Fred Trump was a creative dynamo, as skilled at inventing new ways to create and market real estate as he was at absorbing the good ideas of others. In the decade before the Second World War, he built thousands of single-family brick-bungalow homes in Brooklyn and Queens. He was called the “Henry Ford of the home-building industry” for his mass-production building techniques, even though he had almost certainly copied them from William Greve, an earlier Brooklyn developer whose ads for “Henry Ford Houses” nearly got him sued by Ford himself. Trump sent staff to scour exhibits at the New York World’s Fair for ideas that might make his houses “more modern, more comfortable, more livable.” He reeled in new residents by offering cash prizes for babies born in his homes, equipping kitchens with “domestic science cabinets” and organizing resident softball leagues. A few years after the war had broken out, he generated good will—and free advertising—by turning idle building lots into victory gardens.

Trump’s most memorable marketing campaign took place not on land but on sea. On July 8, 1939, a sweltering summer day, hundreds of thousands of people crowded Brooklyn’s beaches seeking respite from the heat. Trump chartered a sixty-five-foot motor yacht out of Shell Bank Creek, on which his men installed a P.A. system and fifty-foot-long back-to-back signboards. On these, ten-foot-tall letters spelled out TRUMP HOMES. It was christened the Trump Show Boat. That day in July, the skipper Robert Woods guided the yacht up and down the beach. Trump’s “floating broadcasting station,” as the Brooklyn Eagle called it, unleashed a music-and-infomercial sound storm so loud that it could be heard nearly a mile away.


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As the Trump Show Boat cruised the beach, the crew tossed hundreds of inflatable swordfish toys overboard. “Along the whole shoreline there was a series of near-riots just outside the surf,” the Eagle reported, “for possession of the big balloons as they floated in.” This was because each was stamped with a dollar value, from twenty-five dollars to two hundred and fifty dollars, acceptable “as a payment on a new Trump Home.” By late afternoon, Moses, the city’s autocratic park commissioner, had learned of Trump’s antics, and a police boat was sent out to end the show. A Parks Department official delivered two summonses—one for sailing within a bathing area, the other for advertising without a license. But the boat was back the next day, this time farther off the beach and with Trump himself on board. His lawyer had advised him that the city had no authority beyond a thousand feet offshore. The fishing was better there, anyway: Trump and his buddies fished all day long, hauling in fluke, weakfish, and porgies, while beachgoers admired the boat from afar. “When the music stopped playing,” reported Trump, “the fish stopped biting.” The Show Boat was out again the following weekend, blaring aquacade music to eager formations of swimmers.

The Show Boat worked. By early August, more than half of the two hundred homes that Trump built in East Flatbush had been sold. Meanwhile, the Park Department tickets piled up. Trump’s attorney, Walter Butler, contested the charges in nine separate appearances at the Coney Island Magistrate’s Court, citing case law suggesting that city land ownership ended at the low-water mark. (The arm of Robert Moses was long, but it had limits.) “The controlling and policing of all navigation waters,” Butler argued, “lies in the hands of the Federal authorities.”Magistrate Francis Giaccone disagreed, and fined the boat’s owner three hundred dollars. By the weekend of September 2nd, the Show Boat was back on the water. Trump invited Moses to join him on board, to see for himself that the ship was cruising sufficiently far from shore. It is not known if Moses responded.

The following summer, the Show Boat plied the Brooklyn shore again, blasting patriotic tunes instead of dance music and collecting a stack of new summonses for noise-ordinance violations. In a court appearance, the Park Department counsel argued that the playing of patriotic music was disturbing the peace “inasmuch as every bather felt it necessary to rise to attention whenever the band played ‘Star Spangled Banner.’” One inspector testified that bathers who didn’t rise to their feet were shouted at and called Fifth Columnists, and thus compelled “to get up at once.” Judge Jeanette Goodman Brill—Brooklyn’s first woman magistrate—ruled against Trump, but marvelled at his idea to “advertise homes on the ocean.” She then asked Butler whether his client had any more units for sale on East Thirty-Seventh Street and Foster Avenue. “I have a friend who is very much interested in purchasing a home,” Brill said, “and I will send her over to see Mr. Trump personally.”

Unlike the Show Boat, the Ballyhoo boat plays no music; it twinkles and bobs quietly about the harbor. I often see it from my window in the Standard Oil Building, in the Financial District, where my college has a teaching facility. The boat silently appears, and then quickly vanishes from view. The same cannot be said of the jet skis tearing through the bay, or the tour helicopters flying overhead.

But in the face of Cuomo’s ban, the Shapiro brothers might want to borrow a page from Fred Trump’s playbook, perhaps by inviting the governor and Attorney General Letitia James on board for some angling. (The two killed it salmon fishing on Lake Ontario last month.) The Shapiros certainly played a smart hand on August 28th when a craft of a different sort entered New York harbor—the zero-carbon Malizia II, carrying aboard Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Thousands gathered to welcome the sixteen-year-old at North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. On hand, too, was the Ballyhoo, which photo-bobbed the event flashing not ads for Heineken or Uber but the United Nations’ Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, as if to show its haters that the medium is not necessarily the message.

Hey, I’m Farah! And the first thing you need to know about me is that I’m obsessed with exploring the world, traversing unforgettable landscapes, and experiencing food from all over the globe—through other people’s Instagram stories.

I like to take no days off from sitting on my couch with the air-conditioner on high and sightseeing anywhere from the coasts of Vietnam to the island of Capri, mostly through the IG account of my friend Hannah who got a lot of money when her grandpa died and has a lovely boyfriend, Mark.

I highly recommend the penne pomodoro at Mercato Centrale in Florence. It’s incredibly authentic. You can really sense the unique depth of flavor through the pic. Don’t cheat yourself—get the tiramisu. They bring it out on a chocolate-lined plate! Seriously, it looked so good, I ordered some for myself via Seamless.

You simply cannot miss the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world, and a fantastic way to catch up-and-coming artists showcasing their work in the U.K. I know this because two people I met while doing an open mike in 2012 are there right now and keep posting about it.

If you’re travelling with children, you’re going to want to check out Melbourne, Australia. Extremely family-friendly. Marcia’s kids were blown away by the Scienceworks museum. I didn’t feel like I really needed to see every exhibit, but she posted them all and I have a deadline I’m avoiding.

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, should be added to your bucket list immediately. The active volcano is unlike anything I have ever encountered. I got an especially detailed view, because Sean and his girlfriend are going through a rough patch, so he posted a lot of closeups of the lava. Usually, he includes his girlfriend in every photo and you can’t see the nature that well. I hope they don’t break up.

I recently had the privilege of spending two weeks in Seville through watching Jayne’s story. The culture was exquisite. The classic façades are juxtaposed with the modern architecture in a truly spectacular way, and there are beautiful secret courtyards to be found around every corner. I feel like I learned a lot about myself on this trip.

Feel free to skip Melissa Solomon’s stories. She was a bitch back in high school and nothing has changed. The trips she goes on are really underwhelming. Last week, she was in Maine. . . .

If you enjoy venturing off the beaten path, may I suggest giving Drew a follow? I went to the urgent-care center on my block and got a yellow-fever shot before the long weekend I spent intently following his trip to Ecuador. You can never be too safe. Ecuador has always been a dream destination for me, and Ben & Jerry’s just released a new core flavor.

When it comes down to it, don’t underestimate the amazing adventures right at your fingertips, thanks to modern technology. I always yearned for a life of travel without having to walk too much or at all. I want incredible experiences without spending one minute in an airport. I absolutely live for breathtaking views on a screen. I think it’s fair to say that travel is my life and my life is sad.