In the movie "The Devil Wears Prada", Meryl Streep famously portrayed a character based on fashion's most infamous Editor In Chief - Anna Wintour of Vogue. The name said it all in characterizing the icy, cold demeanor of the so - called fashion bully.
It seems that in real life in Japan, Prada is run by it's own fashion bully. Last week it was reported that Prada Japan CEO -Davide Sesia is accused of allegedly demanding the firing of boutique managers that were " Old, Fat, and Ugly".
Senior Retail Manager, Rina Bovrisse, who oversaw over 500 employees in 40 boutiques in Japan was allegedly told to make the staff cuts based on Cesia's rantings. Bovrisse alleges that she was also pressured to encourage employees to purchase merchandise with their own money to boost sales. When Bovrisse resisted, Cesia's criticism turned on her. Eventually, Ms. Bovrisse was told to cut "cut her hair, and lose weight". Cesia allegedly told her that "he was embarrassed by her ugliness and didn't want corporate visitors from Italy to see her".
When Ms. Bovrisse complained to the parent company in Milan, she was put on involuntary leave and eventually fired for what the company called "false allegations".
Ms. Bovrisse has worked in the designer fashion industry for over 18 years. I myself worked with Rina at Chanel in the U.S. On the contrary to what Cesia allegedly called Rina, she is beautiful, and always impeccably dressed. The photo of Ms. Bovrisse from her facebook profile says it all. Furthermore, professionally she is a huge asset. Bovrisse only left Chanel when she moved back to Japan, where she was born and raised. Prada put her through an extensive interview process before she took the position.
While fashion companies often have a difficult time in bridging the gap between a designer ideal of staff and clients versus the reality of talent availability and customer profiles, these accusations are outrageous. To be fair, Prada has never had a good reputation as a pleasant place to work. But even for the notorious company, this is off the charts.
Maybe a movie sequel will be inspired by this mess : The Devil Wears Prada Part Due - Trouble in Prada-dise!
Click STOP PRADA DISCRIMINATING to join Ms. Bovrisse' fan page on facebook. There is an impending lawsuit and Rina needs all the support she can get. Also, it is a great way to send a message to corporations that they cannot abuse their staff, during a recession or an economic boom time. Prada's only statement has been that it has no comment.