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Sonnet Models Launches Global Modelling Competition On Facebook

Cambridge, England, 29 June 2009 – Cambridge start-up Sonnet Models are set to change the way aspiring models get onto the books of the world's leading modelling agencies through a Facebook application launching July 1st 2009, 11am GMT.

The 'Sonnet Face of the World' competition will allow any aspiring Kate Moss to be voted by the public into the attention of top modelling agencies around the world; Sonnet currently has partners in 33 locations. All finalists will secure contracts with leading agencies like Elite, Diva, Scene and Click. The winners will fly to one of the fashion capitals for a shoot with a top photographer to launch their modelling careers.

Although simple and intuitive, the application is also incredibly powerful. By gathering millions of consumer opinions from around the world, the patent-pending sorting algorithms will allow modelling agencies to instantly find the best models – even if they have to meet very specific criteria. For example, a scout from an LA-based agency may be looking for new face to meet a client's request – a female who is at least 5'11", aged 16-18, living in California and considered beautiful and elegant by men aged 25-35, living in New York, who are interested in technology and fashion. This may seem like an impossible task – but a simple search on Sonnet will locate the best candidates in seconds.

In essence, Sonnet is a filter for the sheer quantity of information that bombards modelling industry professionals every day. This is a serious barrier for aspiring models, especially those who have real potential but simply don't get noticed by the right people at the right time. The founders of Sonnet believe that this application will make it easier for scouts to find the best models – and for models to be found by the best scouts.

Mike Chepkin, CEO and co-founder of Sonnet Models, says "The way it works is simple: a model goes to the Sonnet Facebook application at apps.facebook.com/sonnetmodels. He or she uploads a photo and submits it into categories, e.g. 'friendliness' or 'beauty'. Facebook users then decide which models they prefer by casting votes and the top models could get scouted by some of the world's leading agencies. "

Sonnetmodels.com is the brainchild of a group of mathematicians from Cambridge University, England, who are using advanced algorithms and data sorting techniques to analyse the voting on Facebook. Founded in 2008, Sonnet's multi-national team consists of experts in the fields of web development, social networking applications, modelling and fashion. Sonnet obtained seed funding in 2008 and secured Angel investment in 2009.

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Diane von Furstenberg Studio Settles with Mercy of Canada

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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Diane von Furstenberg Studio, L.P. and design duo Jennifer Halchuk and Richard Lyle of Mercy of Canada have reached an out-of-court settlement resolving Mercy’s claims that DVF had wrongfully copied original elements from one of Mercy’s jacket designs in a jacket from DVF’s Spring collection. Mercy is recognized as one of Canada’s emerging design houses. As part of the settlement, DVF has agreed to pay Mercy an undisclosed amount in compensation and has agreed not to use the design in the future without Mercy’s prior permission.

When news of the similarities between the two jackets first came to light, Diane von Furstenberg immediately issued a public apology and contacted Jennifer Halchuk and Richard Lyle to resolve the matter. “I greatly appreciate DVF coming forward to resolve this issue in a such a forthright manner and for acknowledging our ownership of the jacket design. We are very pleased to have successfully resolved this dispute in a manner that protects our design,” said Jennifer Halchuk. There are images of the jackets on the National Post website. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/theampersand/archive/2009/04/23/copycat-style.aspx

Fordham law professor Susan Scafidi, an expert in intellectual property and fashion law, notes that no compensation was required under either current U.S. or Canadian copyright law. She adds, “It takes a great deal of character to admit an error, and even more to accept financial responsibility above and beyond what the law imposes. Diane von Furstenberg obviously believes that the label that bears her name should also reflect her commitment to originality and to ethical design principles.”

As the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Diane von Furstenberg has made it a priority to protect the integrity of fashion design and to condemn the practice of plagiarism within the fashion industry. Over the last 3 years she has championed the Design Piracy Prohibition Act (DPPA), which would create intellectual property protection for fashion designs under U.S. law. "I believe this bill is good for the entire industry as it will elevate design at all levels and nurture the hiring of real design talent," she said. The DPPA would amend the existing U.S. Copyright Law to include protections for fashion designs. In contrast with the 10 to 25-year term of protection afforded by many other nations, the bill proposes a modest, 3-year term of protection for fashion designs.

“While this is an isolated instance for DVF, it is unfortunate that way too many others intentionally build businesses by stealing the work of other designers,” said Ms. von Furstenberg. “The design process is vulnerable and in need of urgent reform so companies like Mercy can be protected. Now is the time to pass the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, and we must all do a better job teaching the next generation of designers and the thousands of designers who work in industry that copying is wrong.”

Mercy of Canada was represented by Joel Karni Schmidt of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C. DVF was represented by Scott Gelin of Greenberg Taurig, LLP.

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Ferrari Press Release – Race, Turkish GP 2009

Enter your introduction text here.

A disappointing race, all in all. We seem to have moved back a couple of tenths, relative to everyone else.

Anyway, here is the official Ferrari press release:

Istanbul, 7th June 2009

F. Massa: 6th, 1:27.04.844 + 39.996, 58 Laps, Chassis 276
K. Raikkonen: 9th, 1:27.15.094 + 50.246, 58 Laps, Chassis 279

Weather: air temperature 31/30 °C, track temperature 50/47 °C, sunny.

Only thee points picked up by Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro in the Turkish Grand Prix, thanks to a sixth place for Felipe Massa: Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth. The opening lap of the race was the decisive one. After a good start, Felipe was fifth, but then, while trying to pass Trulli at the end of the main straight, he was also passed by Rosberg. The last corners on the track were also the key ones for Kimi, who having run wide at turn 9, was passed by Alonso going into Turn 12 and then after hitting a rear tyre on the Renault the external part of the left hand front wing was damaged and he was then also passed by Kubica. After that, the race pace of the two F60s was not quick enough to regain position and the classification at the end of the first lap stayed the same for the two Ferrari men to the end.

Stefano Domenicali: “We definitely expected more from this weekend, especially given what we had seen up to the end of Saturday morning, when our level of competitiveness was pretty good. We have to understand why the performance of our car evolved in a negative fashion over the course of the three days: the race pace we saw this afternoon was not only not up to the level of the best but it was also not as good as many of the others. We must continue to work on the development of the car to try and make up ground, by continuing to stay focused and without getting discouraged by this setback.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “It was definitely not the race we were expecting or the one we wanted. The first lap was decisive for me: I lost valuable places and then it wasn’t possible to get them back because today we weren’t quick enough. Over recent weeks, we have improved our performance a lot, but we are not yet at the level of the best, especially at tracks like this one. It is never easy to catch up, because in the meantime, the others are not exactly stopping their own development. We must not be negative about this after a weekend like this one, but we should continue to concentrate and to push: I am sure we can soon return to fighting for the top places. It won’t be easy but I have confidence in this team.”

Felipe Massa: “A very difficult day for us. We have to accept the fact that sixth place was the best we could do, because we were not quick enough to fight against those in front of us. We must continue to push on the car development front to make up for what we lack in terms of performance, starting with the race at Silverstone. From Friday it was complicated to find a way to make the tyres work well: for example, today the softs seemed to go better than on previous days, but using them right from the start would have been a risk because the degradation, up to yesterday seemed to be pretty significant.”

Chris Dyer: “We are very disappointed because we expected to be in the fight for better places. We have to really understand why we lost so much speed from one day to another. Today we weren’t competitive, not just up against Brawn GP and Red Bull but also when compared with Toyota and Williams. On top of that, the way the first lap went cost us dear: it’s not by chance that the classification of our cars at the end of lap 1 was the same as they passed the chequered flag.”

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Animals

A double billing of classics—iconic specs and Lou Reed—drew a crowd to the Whitney's Sculpture Court last night for the kickoff of the Persol Incognito Design Exhibition. Guests from Charlotte Ronson to Matt Dillon swarmed in to check out the goods, and, more to the point, snag a goody bag. "They just gave me another pair," Lucy Liu said of her shades. "Which is awesome."

Liev Schreiber, for his part, seemed more interested in taking in the performance by the legendary Velvet Underground frontman. After watching the first song, "Dirty Blvd.," from the floor, the actor stepped out of his shoes and on to the couch in the VIP corner for a better view. Reed's experimental, introspective set had to compete with a constant hubbub from the crowd. "Shhh!" a publicist admonished in a stage whisper. "This is a performance!" Schreiber was franker. "I wish people would shut the hell up," he said, exiting mid-gig. He quickly softened, though, to add his thoughts on Reed: "He's amazing."

— Alison Baenen

More Bling, Less Buck

Last week, Swarovski helped the American fashion industry toast its own at the CFDA Awards. This Wednesday, the style set will return the favor when it gathers to toast the company's latest endeavor: the opening of its new Crystallized concept store in Soho. Here, customers can design their own jewels, not to mention snap up gems like this sterling silver bubble bauble from the brand's debut RTW collection. At only $65, it's an easy way to sparkle for less

The Look: Nails, In the Buff

The fashion of painting one's nails was popularized by French makeup artist Michelle Ménard in the 1920's, but it was slow to catch on stateside. Max Factor did add a Nail Tint to his Society Makeup line in 1927, though the product barely challenged the assumption that proper American ladies liked to buff, not polish. The small porcelain pot contained a cream that, when rubbed onto the nail, produced an un-shocking natural pink color.

The New Razzle-Dazzle,Swarovski Crystallized Celebrates NYC Store Opening

On her way into Swarovski Crystallized's new Soho concept store, Blake Lively literally stopped Broadway traffic (including two tour buses—welcome to New York, people!). Like a few other notables—the guest list for the opening night party included Lucy Liu, Chloë Sevigny, and Evan Rachel Wood—she was wearing a Divine Rock, a limited-edition Swarovski necklace the full proceeds of which will benefit Charity:Water, a nonprofit that builds wells in developing countries.

"Maybe as a kid I wore bigger crystals," Lively said of the piece. "When you're a little girl, you can get away with wearing, like, 17 sparkly pink rings and tiaras and things like that." What, Serena van der Woodsen couldn't pull it off? "I guess not, I don't know. I'm not a princess." Watching the Gossip Girl star swan through the mercilessly well-lit boutique, we're inclined to disagree.

Meanwhile, the crowd gossiped about the late Michael Jackson as "Billie Jean" pounded throughout the 5,000-square-foot flagship in tribute.

The space felt like home to model Jessica Hart. "I once did a photo shoot with Saks and I was in a bed of crystals. They gave me a whole bag of them afterwards, so I have them scattered all over my apartment," the Aussie explained. "It was painful, and I got cuts. We were in underwear. It wasn't the most glamorous thing." Maybe. But not the least glamorous thing, either.

— Darrell Hartman

Shaft-ed,The Fashion Set Remembers Gordon Parks at a Gala Event

The Gordon Parks Foundation, founded in memory of the boundary-breaking photographer and filmmaker, handed out awards at a gala dinner last night to a diverse quartet of creative talents: Liya Kebede, Bruce Weber, Russell Simmons, and Isabel Toledo.

Parks, who died in 2006 at the age of 93, shot for Vogue before becoming the first African-American photographer on the Life masthead; his subjects ranged from Paris fashions to the Harlem streets, and he directed a pretty well-known movie in the seventies. "Who hasn't seen Shaft? That changed everything!" Kebede exclaimed. (Chris Benz, for one: "I only like movies that are set in high school," he said.)

During pre-dinner cocktails, Weber took a break from kibitzing with Ralph Lauren and Anna Wintour to pay homage to Parks. "I grew up with all those pictures. He was sort of like our answer to Cecil Beaton," he said. "You know, Cecil Beaton took fashion, portraits, and family and war photographs—and designed clothes, for My Fair Lady. And Gordon Parks was just completely open like that."

COLD PLAY summer dessert with a dose of worldly sophistication

Is the reign of the cupcake finally over? We're not quite ready to sound that death knell, but as the temperature rises, we'll happily skip the tiny tarts for Talenti's all-natural gelati and sorbetti. Made with ingredients sourced from around the world (Tahitian vanilla beans, Argentinean dulce de leche, etc.), the line boasts sophisticated flavors and sleekly designed pints that are a truly grown-up indulgence.

No Trouble With Harry,British Prince Charms Madge and Co. as Polo Comes to NYC

Saturday afternoon's Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic—the centerpiece of Prince Harry's first official visit to the U.S.—came off better than any royal scriptwriter could have wished. The sun poured down on Governors Island off the tip of Manhattan; the prince, who a source assures us had been successfully dissuaded from hitting the town with his fellow polo players the night before, won over all and sundry with his demeanor on and off the field; and there was even a cameo appearance by American royalty when pop queen Madonna showed up halfway through the match.

Before lunch, His Royal Highness, flanked by a small army of security guards, glad-handed the likes of LL Cool J and Marc Jacobs and gave a self-deprecating speech. "I'll probably fall off," he joked, then made the case for the afternoon's benefitee: Sentebale, a charity for at-risk children in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho. As it turned out, Prince Harry handled himself admirably during play, setting up the game-winning goal in the final seconds. That makes him two-for-two lifetime against heartthrob Nacho Figueras, who was captaining the opposing Black Watch team. "He's very good," the Argentine polo pro and Ralph Lauren model noted, before hosing his opponent down with Champagne on the awards podium. Prince Harry responded by spraying a mouthful of bubbly the South American's way. The winners also received Piaget Polo FortyFive watches for their pains.

As is traditional at these things, guests spent at least as much time checking each other out as watching the horseback action. Alek Wek, Hilary Rhoda, and an almost unrecognizable, dark-haired Kate Hudson donned sun hats for the occasion, while Madonna, who came with a party that included photographer Steven Klein, boy toy Jesus Luz, and her Malawian son, David, opted for a tweed trilby. Chloë Sevigny, in a flower-bedecked boater, confessed it was more about just having a royally good old time in the sun. Indicating her pal Christopher Bollen of Interview magazine, she said, "We're both scared of horses."

— Darrell Hartman

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Filly in fashion: Rachel Alexandra poses for Vogue

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — She is a clotheshorse without the clothes: Rachel Alexandra has posed for a photo spread in Vogue.

Pictures of the Preakness-winning filly were shot Friday by fashion photographer Steven Klein for the magazine's August issue.

Rachel Alexandra had to be awakened in her stall when it was time for her star turn.

"Done photo shoots before, but first one for Vogue," said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen who held the shank on the filly during the session.

The magazine spread grew out of a trip to the Preakness by Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

"She was there at the Preakness and was inspired, like so many other women were," said Caroline Shaw, a spokeswoman for Jess Jackson, the filly's majority owner.

Among those looking on was Barbara Banke, Jackson's wife.

There was no star treatment for Mine That Bird. The Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up quietly galloped twice around the Churchill Downs track.

On Friday, it was decided Rachel Alexandra will not run in the June 6 Belmont Stakes. Co-owner Jess Jackson said the filly deserves a vacation. Mine That Bird is scheduled for his final workout Monday before the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.