Yes, Donald Trump is an incompetent buffoon — but he’s still a major threat to democracy

Donald Trump’s presidency has been every bit as amateurish and chaotic and ridiculous as his campaign was. As time has elapsed many of those who were terrified at first have come to view the president as a clown who is in way over his head. Utter uncertainty prevailed during the months between Trump’s election in November and his January inauguration, and many were genuinely concerned that Trump would quickly become a tyrant once in office, using the power of the presidency to go after his enemies and silence his critics.It has now been nearly five months since Trump became president, and the full-blown panic that was in the air earlier this year has waned. Trump has yet to impose martial law, imprison his critics or crack down on the free press. In fact, the Trump administration has been positively incompetent. The White House has been plagued by major policy setbacks and political scandals, and the president’s most notable executive orders have been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. Trump and his team seem to have entered Washington without a clue as to how things work, and the dealmaker-in-chief has made no deals whatsoever on Capitol Hill. President Trump has also made some embarrassing and costly blunders himself — usually in the form of tweeting late at night while his babysitters are in bed. (Case in point: The president’s recent tweets on the travel ban will likely damage his efforts to restore it.)

Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: “There’s absolutely evidence to begin a case” for obstruction of justice against Trump

In his first interview since being fired by President Donald Trump former U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara said “there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case” for obstruction of justice against the president. Bharara also said that “to this day” he still has “no idea” why he was fired.Featured on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Bharara argued “it’s a big deal” that the president ordered other top officials to leave the room so he could talk to former FBI Director James Comey privately about an ongoing investigation. “I think there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case. I think it’s very important for all sorts of armchair speculators in the law to be clear that no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. It’s also true I think from based on what I see as a third party and out of government that there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction,” Bharara told George Stephanopoulos.

Donald Trump is losing control of his presidency

New reports indicate that President Donald Trump is aware of the extent to which he has lost control of his own presidency and is determined to fix the situation.“Another week, and no progress on the GOP agenda,” one high-ranking Republican told Axios. “Infrastructure Week turned into Comey Week. No one really knows Trump and came to D.C. with him. He is a president on an island, all alone… [T]he ability to get anything done is in double jeopardy.”Trump seems to be placing at least some of the blame on his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, according to a report by Politico. As he contemplates bringing former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager David Bossie into his administration, he invited the two to the Oval Office and berated Priebus in their presence, letting all three of them know that they would be brought on board once Priebus had undertaken a major staff shakeup.

Kartell Fetes Componibili 50th Anniversary in New York

MILAN—Kartell has teamed with 15 designers from the design and fashion worlds to celebrate the 50thanniversary of the company’s Componibili collection.Designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in 1967, the Componibili modular system includes practical and modular plastic containers that can be vertically overlapped and used in different spaces from the office to the living room, the kitchen and the bathroom.On Monday, in conjunction with the high-end and contemporary furniture fair ICFFtaking place in New York from Sunday to Thursday, the Kartell store in the SoHo district will host an event featuring a special installation.In particular, Kartell will showcase the anniversary series of the Componibili, customized by a range of personalities including Ron Arad, Mario Bellini, Antonio Citterio, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni, AlbertoMeda, Alessandro Mendini, Angela Missoni, Nendo, Fabio Novembre, Laudomia Pucci, PhilippeStarck, Patricia Urquiola, Tokujin Yoshioka, alongside The Walt Disney Company.For example, Missoni decorated the Componibili series with the fashion brand’s signature multicolor stripes, while November peppered the pieces with smiling and winking emojis.Kartell tapped 15 designers to customize its Componibili modular system.Courtesy Photo“The Componibili, which are crafted by using molds, are really an emblem of industrial design and after 50 years they are still among our bestsellers,” said Kartell president Claudio Luti. “When we asked the designers to collaborate with us on the project, we immediately got positive feedback because each of them recognizes them as extremely iconic.”The United States, where the Italian company sells its collections in about 90 multibrand stores, accounts for 4 percent of the Kartell’s total business.“Until now, through our American subsidiary, we have always focused on the retail aspect, but we now want to develop the contract business,” said Luti, highlighting the importance of expanding online commerce. “The United States is performing well and I see many opportunities to enlarge our presence in the market.”Kartell, which over the years has expanded and diversified its product offering, is present in 140 countries. France and Germany are the biggest markets for the brand.More From WWD:Ruby Rose Blasts Katy Perry’s New Song ‘Swish Swish’ on Social MediaBryan Cranston, Jennifer Garner Delivered Food Trucks to ‘Wakefield’ SetHow Digital Is Changing Consumers’ Behavior in the Middle EastYou're missing something!

Scott Conant’s Fusco Opens in Flatiron

Chef Scott Conant has opened his first restaurant in New York in more than a decade on a quaint side street in Flatiron. It’s within a space he’s become well-acquainted with over the years as a regular at Veritas, which closed in 2013.“I really spent a lot of time here,” Conant explains from inside the bright restaurant space. “First of all, I loved [Sam Hazen’s] food. And this bar area was just like a hangout, where everyone got to know each other. Everyone would drink really good wines, and guys would come in and order really expensive wine and share it with everybody at the bar,” he continues. “So it was kind of like a nice place to hang, you know?”It’s a vibe that Conant is hoping to re-create at his new restaurant Fusco. “There’s a quaintness to [the space], there’s something kind of European — something you’d find on a back street in Italy or Paris,” Conant says. The front room is anchored by the bar and features vaulted ceilings and giant windows overlooking 20th Street; the back dining room is more formal, decked with white tableclothes and surrounded by mirrors. White brick walls throughout lend a feeling of airiness and calm.While the Fusco falls under the category of fine dining, Conant is concentrating on a slightly different category: “thoughtful dining.” “That’s the word I keep coming back to, because I think all too often we’ve all been in situations where we’re not having a thoughtful dining experience,” he says. “And it’s incredibly frustrating to be an afterthought. If you’re a guest in a restaurant, that should be the focus, right?”The Italian menu will be hyper-seasonal. Although a few of his signature dishes will benchmark the menu, other plates will rotate every four to six weeks to reflect the seasonal availability of ingredients. With an eye on the overall dining experience, dishes will be finished tableside when possible, a continuation of Conant’s focus on thoughtfulness. It’s a path to differentiating Fusco from the rest of the New York City dining pack. After all, there are many good restaurants in the city.“If somebody walks out and says everything was good, we failed,” Conant says. “They should be in a situation where it’s like — ‘It was fun, it was exciting, I crave this food and I want to be back because I had a great experience with the server on my table.’ That’s how you arrive at greatness.”Fusco43 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003(212) 777-5314www.fusconewyork.comMore Feast for the Eye Coverage From WWD.com:Wylie Dufresne Gets Into the Doughnut Business in BrooklynBevy Opens in Park Hyatt HotelMario Batali Reinvents Manzo at EatalyChefs Club Counter Opens in SoHoSouthern Diner 33 Greenwich Opens With Fashion Blogger FlairClover Grocery Opens From Café Clover’s Kyle Hotchkiss CaronYou're missing something!

New Trailer for ‘Twin Peaks’ Released

The countdown to May 21 is on. In what is possibly the most closely guarded TV revival ever, a new trailer for the second installment of iconic Nineties series “Twin Peaks” has been released by Showtime, building enthusiasmfor the show (and still managing to give very little insight into what actually will happen).The clip cuts to snapshots of various series regulars — including KyleMacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper — but the most surprising appearance goes to the creator himself, David Lynch.The actual details for the show could not be more vigilantly shrouded. Filming locations, casting specifics and plot lines have all been kept under wraps as the lead up to the premiere date nears. All will be revealednext Sunday, May 21; until then, the mystery lives on.More Coverage From WWD.com:Freida Pinto Takes a Stance in “Guerrilla”Jennifer Hudson is Nostalgic for the NinetiesSienna Miller on Motherhood, Being ‘Shy and Weird,’ and Taking on Tennessee WilliamsGavin Rossdale on His New Clothing Line, Making Music and Being a ‘Soft Touch’ DadMichelle Branch: Back at LastYou're missing something!

Designer Lucilla Bonaccorsi Celebrates Engagement in Milan

Italian fashion designer Lucilla Bonaccorsi is well-versed in creating dramatically feminine gowns of layered organza and lace for brides around the world, but the creative designer of Luisa Beccaria is preparing for her own nuptials.The daughter of Beccaria and Sicilian aristocrat Lucio Bonaccorsi celebrated her engagement to Filippo Richeri Vivaldi Pasqua in Milan on Tuesday night with an intimate party at the family’s first restaurant venture, LuBar.As a live band played, guests danced under a canopy of twinkling lanterns and cascading flowers. “This is one of the happiest evenings of my life,” gushed the 30-year-old. “There is no greater feeling than being in and surrounded by love and [we] cannot wait for our wedding celebrations in Sicily next month.”After getting engaged in early March, the couple will tie the knot at Bonaccorsi’s family’s estate on the Mediterranean island and she will be wearing a bespoke gown from her mother’s label.You're missing something!

Compass: Tokyo’s Newest Boutique Hotel Is a Place for Socializing

TOKYO — In the youth-centric Shibuya district of the Japanese capital, most lodging options tend to fall into one of two categories: “love hotels” that target couples looking for a bit of privacy, or “business hotels” that provide clean but small and characterless rooms. But now, a new property set to open on Saturday aims to provide guests with something different: a place to socialize.In a country where boutique hotels are still uncommon, Trunk Hotel goes completely against the grain. Its spacious rooms and plentiful public areas may seem counterintuitive in a city where space is at a premium, but general manager Hisao Koga said the goal is not only to simply give travelers a place to lay their heads.“When the project was first starting, I went around the world visiting different hotels. But more than just finding things that were popular or worked well and bringing them to Japan, I wanted to make something original that incorporated Tokyo culture. I want to give people an experience they can only have here,” Koga said.In this sense, like most places in Tokyo, Trunk Hotel is an amalgamation of many things. While it may be called a hotel, it is also a shop, a bar, a restaurant, a café, an event space and a local hangout. Koga said he thinks of it as a “social hotel,” with lots of spaces that are suitable for lounging, relaxing and meeting with friends and business associates. And since “social” no longer only means “in-person,” there is also a seemingly infinite number of Instagrammable corners.Located in a residential area just off of Cat Street — one of Shibuya’s trendiest alleyways — the four-story, two-building complex is easily recognizable by its large terrace area, built around a towering zelkova tree. Strewn with patio chairs, tables and beanbag chairs made from upcycled sails, the space is immediately inviting. Directly accessible from the terrace is a restaurant serving healthy Japanese and Western foods, as well as a shop modeled after the convenience stores that are so omnipresent across Japan.“Convenient stores are, of course, convenient, but they also sell things that are mostly not good for you. We wanted to make something that’s like a convenience store but with products that are good quality and good for your body and the environment,” Koga said.In addition to the organic bath products and organic cotton towels used in the rooms, the shop sells Trunk-branded sandwiches, salads, pastries, snacks and souvenirs including T-shirts, flip-flops, tote bags and coffee thermoses. Customers are encouraged spend as much time as they like enjoying their coffee and snacks on the terrace.Around the other side of the building is a small Japanese-style “kushi” joint that specializes in various grilled and fried foods on skewers. Koga says he expects this to become a popular hangout where locals can go to grab a quick bite after work.The lounge at Trunk Hotel in Tokyo.Kozo TakayamaInside, a spacious lounge area takes the place of a lobby. A bar along one wall serves hand drip coffee from 8 a.m. and artisan cocktails until 11:30 p.m. Countless cushy sofas, long banquettes and tables of various heights invite guests to use the space as it suits them. There is even a long table with built-in power outlets and free Wi-Fi is available throughout — a relative rarity in Tokyo.Koga said of all the hotels he visited while conducting research for the project, the one that most inspired him was Portland, Ore.’s Ace Hotel. And while the Trunk is in many ways very different, there are plenty of similarities in the two hotels’ offerings.Trunk Hotel is owned by a company called Take and Give Needs, which specializes in providing all-inclusive wedding packages to couples in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. It owns roughly 70 different wedding-specific venues across Japan, as well as others in places such as Hawaii and Bali. And while the Trunk is the company’s first hotel project, it has nearly 20 years of experience with planning and hosting events.This point becomes clear once one realizes that, despite its relatively large size, the hotel has only 15 guest rooms. Most of these rooms are singles (starting at 27,000 yen, or $240), the result of a regulation in Shibuya designed to put a cap on the number of love hotels in the area. In terms of square feet, much more of the hotel seems to be dedicated to event space than to guest rooms. In addition to a chapel on the fourth floor, there are four separate banquet rooms of various sizes, each with a unique vibe. Koga said all of these rooms are already booked for weekends through the end of the year.Trunk Hotel in Tokyo.Kozo TakayamaWhile singles make up the majority of the rooms, there are also some very impressive suites. The largest is more than1,500 square feet and occupies two levels, with a full kitchen and living area, a dining table that seats 16, and a terrace with a small outdoor pool, a barbecueand an eight-seat outdoor table. While there is only one built-in double bed, the room can be booked for up to 14 people with futons laid out on the floor. It rents for upward of 600,000 yen, or $5,330, per night. Other suites include sleeping lofts, a 150-inch projector for an in-room cinema experience, a full bar and a kitchen complete with a teppanyaki grill.Upcycling and environmental friendliness is a recurring theme throughout the hotel. Scraps of leather have been repurposed as coasters, the trash bins outside are made from recycled clothing, and the drinking glasses are crafted from melted down light bulbs. All of this melds seamlessly with the overall aesthetic.“Even if things are ecological, they must connect with good taste, otherwise people won’t use them,” said assistant manager Masayuki Kinoshita.With all the multiuse space and the variety of guest rooms, one gets the feeling that the Trunk is subtly trying to tell its visitors that anything is possible. And judging by Koga alone, maybe it is. After all, when he started working with the company in 2005, he was the chief executive officer’s driver. Now, at 37 years old, he’s heading up the company’s hotel initiatives, with hopes of opening additional properties soon.You're missing something!

Exclusive: Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing Designs Costumes for Paris Opera

PARIS— Having dressed the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kanye West, Olivier Rousteing is bringing his glam aesthetic to a different crowd of performers: Ballet dancers.Dancer and choreographer Sébastien Bertaud has tapped the Balmain designer to create the costumes for “Renaissance,” a ballet that will be performed as part of a program of four pieces by up-and-coming talents at the Paris Opera from June 13 to 18.He noted that the ornate Palais Garnier, the historic home of the Paris Opera, belongs to a tradition of visual opulence.“My ambition is to create a classical ballet for today, so the idea was to be able to continue mining that DNA while looking to the future. For me, Olivier was the only person today who shares the same approach of innovating while respecting traditional techniques,” Bertaud said.It turns out that Rousteing has been a closet ballet fan since childhood, having even taken some classical dance classes when he was little. Now he is more likely to be found twerking in nightclubs with friends like models Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, which made his commission all the more unexpected.“To be honest, I was really surprised and moved because, for me, this goes beyond designing clothes for the opera. This project really represents French heritage,” Rousteing told WWD. “Obviously I love the world of pop, but for me, it all goes back to classical dance. I’ve been fascinated with it since I was a child.”As Balmain seeks to expand under its new chief executive officer Massimo Piombini, finding new audiences for the brand is key.“With the world of the Opera, we are opening up a new sector and a new era for Balmain,” said Rousteing. “It’s a really nice validation of my style and a way of showing you can remain international even while being very Parisian.”Bertaud gave Rousteing carte blanche to interpret his choreography and the score —Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto No. 2” —with the aim of making ballet appealing to a new generation. He even drew inspiration from elements of Rousteing’s costume design to direct the dancers.“I used drawings that Olivier made —for example, embroidery patterns —and I tried to transcribe them into dance movements and to place groups of dancers like human chains that would echo Olivier’s sketches. It’s a dialogue between costume, music and dance,” Bertaud said. “I think that’s the first time that’s been done.”Both men share a fascination for the period of Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, who founded the Royal Academies of Dance and of Music, which later gave birth to the Paris Opera. Rousteing noted his designs often reference the more flamboyant aspects of France’s heritage.“We created costumes that combine an element of the classical world of dance with a sexy, sensual and glamorous Balmain twist,” he explained. “We tried to give the embellishments a very couture spin and contrast that with the modernity of the cuts and the juxtaposition of oversized with body conscious.”The designer said he drew on his experience designing a collection for NikeLab last year, as well as his track record of collaborating with performers on tour outfits.“We are very strong in the world of showbiz and the universe of pop stars and contemporary dance. We dress everyone from Beyoncé to Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Rihanna and Justin Bieber, so I’m familiar with the world of the stage, dance and movement,” he said.“When you dress someone like Beyoncé, you have to understand every dance move she makes during every minute of her show. And when you learn how to work with Sébastien and the principal dancers, it’s more or less the same process but you learn different movements,” he added.Bertaud is part of a new generation of talents being promoted by the Opera through its Academy of Choreography, where his mentor was William Forsythe. The aim is to reach out beyond its traditional fan base.“Today classical dance is gaining more visibility. Increasingly, fashion is tapping into the dance universe. A lot of fashion shows take place these days at Opera Garnier and I get the feeling that the new contemporary approaches to classical dance are resonating with our generation,” he said.The choreographer is no stranger to fashion collaborations. He has appeared in a fragrance advertisement for Repetto and collaborated on costume designs with Yiqing Yin and Haider Ackermann —the latter on a performance with model, actress and director Laetitia Casta.“This kind of dialogue has existed for a long time. Coco Chanel created costumes here, as did Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld more recently, so it’s something that is really part of our culture here at the Opera and as a young creator, I really wanted to continue developing that,” Bertaud said.During his research, he also discovered that founder Pierre Balmain designed costumes for the opera in the Fifties that were worn by prima ballerina Yvette Chauviré. “I liked the idea of nodding to that history and writing a new page in the collaboration between the house of Balmain and the opera,” he said.Rousteing, meanwhile, was pleased to join the pantheon of designers who have worked with the venerable institution.“I feel honored and flattered because I know that other couturiers who have a lot more experience than me, who have built empires and contributed to French culture, were lucky enough to be asked, so knowing I am one of them now makes me really proud —proud of my country, proud of what I am and proud of Balmain,” he said.You're missing something!