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A Heroic Return to Fashion

By SUZY MENKES

NEW YORK — Beyoncé Knowles, in a silver sequined dress, sashayed toward Tom Ford. She turned by the marble fireplace, where vases were filled with cherry blossoms intertwined with orchids, tossed her ample curls and revealed a hazy tease of nudity on her famous booty.

The performing artist was one of a stream of famous women who showed off the first Tom Ford women’s collection in the intimacy of the designer’s Madison Avenue store — an event so private that it took fashion back to a distant past when there were no banks of paparazzi or images whizzing off into cyberspace.

Only the photographer Terry Richardson, splaying himself across the floor in his enthusiasm and excitement, captured this exceptional fashion moment, when Julianne Moore, the female star of “A Single Man,” Mr. Ford’s first movie, walked the store runway with her daughter, Liv Helen Freundlich, laughing and applauding. Ms. Moore wore a silk fringed dress, one of several on that theme, with threads parting to show sensual shoes with gleaming ankle bows.

Then there was Emmanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, the epitome of perverse Parisian chic in her black hunting jacket and pants. And Lou Doillon, in Le Smoking, an inky tuxedo reincarnated from the oeuvre of Yves Saint Laurent, Mr. Ford’s dream master.

The returning fashion hero regained his glory in this cut-to-the-chase collection, to go on sale in February only in Tom Ford stores worldwide, according to Domenico De Sole, the designer’s business partner. Mr. Ford came back to women’s design with all the dash and detail, the expertise and the irony of his earlier collections …

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Follow the Dirty Money

By ROBERT MAZUR

Tampa, Fla.

LAST month, a federal district judge approved a deal to allow Barclays, the British bank, to pay a $298 million fine for conducting transactions with Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan in violation of United States trade sanctions. Barclays was discovered to have systematically disguised the movement of hundreds of millions of dollars through wire transfers that were stripped of the critical information required by law that would have enabled the world to know that for more than 10 years the bank was moving huge sums of money for enemy governments. Yet all federal prosecutors wanted to settle the problem was a small piece of the action.

When Judge Emmet Sullivan of federal district court in Washington, who ultimately approved the deal with Barclays, asked the obvious question, “Why isn’t the government getting rough with these banks?” the remarkable response was that the government had investigated but couldn’t find anyone responsible.

How preposterous. Banks can commit crimes only through the acts of their employees. Federal law enforcement agencies are simply failing to systematically gather the intelligence they need to effectively monitor the crime.

The Barclays deal was just one in a long line of wrist slaps that big banks have recently received from the United States. Last May, when ABN Amro Bank (now largely part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) was caught funneling money for the benefit of Iran, Libya and Sudan, it was fined $500 million, and no one went to jail. Last December, Credit Suisse Group agreed to pay a $536 million fine for doing the same. In recent years, Union Bank of California, American Express Bank International, BankAtlantic and Wachovia have all been caught moving huge sums of drug money, but no one went to jail. The banks just admitted to criminal conduct and paid the government a cut of their profits.

Wachovia alone had moved more than $400 billion for account holders in Mexico, $14 billion of which was in bulk currency that had been driven in armored cars or flown to the United States. Just who in Mexico did anyone think had that kind of cash? Of course, the government did a thorough investigation but could find no individuals responsible.

Bankers are escaping prosecution because law enforcement is failing to expose the evidence that some bankers market dirty money. Years after the transactions occur, any effort to prove what was known at the time is practically impossible. The bankers simply say they didn’t know where the money came from. Naturally, prosecutors look for ways to get around trying to prosecute those sorts of cases, and instead make deals.

We worshiped Crom and got ruby’s the size of boulders. We hunted the evil Thulsa Doom and rode clean on the steppes.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is extending his reach in New York with purchase of a century-old Beaux Arts townhouse on Fifth Avenue for $44 million — one of the most expensive townhouse sales ever in the city.

He owns the townhouse, located on Fifth Avenue at East 82nd Street across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through a limited liability company, a technique used by many wealthy buyers. But the deed documents were signed by a lawyer at Grupo Financiero Inbursa, Slim’s financial services company, and the closing was handled by the same New York lawyer who handled Slim’s closing on the Fifth Avenue office building.

Several brokers confirmed that he was a buyer. Slim did not respond to requests for comment.

The townhouse, at 1009 Fifth Avenue, is 27-feet wide and said to be the only private mansion left on Fifth Avenue, after most were knocked down when a wave of apartment towers went up in the 1920s.

The 1901 house, known as the Duke-Semans mansion, was owned by descendants of the original owner, tobacco magnate Benjamin N. Duke, until 2006. The mansion was sold at that time for $40 million — then a record sale in the city — to Tamir Sapir, a former cabdriver who made a fortune in Russian oil and is now a real-estate investor and developer.

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