Deconstructing Woody

By Daniel Treiman

Published May 18, 2007, issue of May 18, 2007.
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American Apparel founder Dov Charney is notorious for ads featuring scantily clad young women modeling his company’s clothes while striking provocative poses. Now, it appears, he’s found religion — or at least he’s found the appropriate rebbe: Woody Allen.

The trendy T-shirt purveyor recently put up a billboard at the busy corner of Houston and Allen Streets on New York City’s Lower East Side, featuring a massive image, from his masterpiece “Annie Hall,” of the neurotic filmmaker dressed as a Hasid. Beside the picture, written in Yiddish, are the words, “der heyliker rebe” — “the holy rebbe.” A second billboard went up at the corner of Alvarado and Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Responding to an inquiry from the Forward, Alex Spunt of American Apparel explained, “Woody Allen is our spiritual leader.”

But the feeling may not have been mutual. Within a week, both billboards were gone. American Apparel did not respond to a second request for comment, but the speculation in the blogosphere is that the clothing company didn’t secure permission to use the Woody Allen image. How it must sting when a rebbe spurns his Hasidim!

New American Apparel Ad


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