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Opinion: Valentino PR move insensitive to Philip Seymour Hoffman

“Zooming In” is a weekly series in which Photo editor Shelby Lum provides her insight on pop culture. 

Glitz and glam have surrounded New York Fashion Week, which began Thursday, but not all fashion houses are having their best week. While Fashion Week might seem like the right time to toot your own horn, Valentino probably could have held off on one announcement.

“We are pleased to announce Amy Adams carrying the Valentino Garavani Rockstud Double bag from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection on Feb. 6 in New York,” Upasna Khosla, a Valentino publicist wrote to journalists Friday.

The publicist named the right celebrity, the right bag and the right time, but was still lacking a key detail. Adams wasn’t sporting the bag at just any old time while getting a coffee. The star had the more than $3,200 bag in hand at Philip Seymour Hoffman’s wake.

Classless move Valentino, classless move.

Adams wasn’t just another celebrity among the plethora of mourners reacting to the early and tragic death of one of Hollywood’s most talented actors. She acted alongside Hoffman in “Doubt,” “The Master” and “Charlie Wilson’s War” and was likely a close friend of the recently deceased actor. She was even set to work in “Ezekiel Moss,” which Hoffman was set to direct, this year. While filming “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” the actress discussed the late Hoffman with tears running down her cheeks.

I understand PR reps have a job to do, but there is a line of respect and decency that should be left alone. Times of mourning are not times for promotion.

As would be expected, the Twitterverse saw the breach in decency as unacceptable and took to the Internet to voice their qualms.

“Just got a press release naming the handbag Amy Adams was carrying while in NYC for PSH’s funeral. #tasteless #ew” Donna Freydkin of USA TODAY tweeted.

That Valentino rep quickly learned that not all moments are times for forwarding a company. Within the day, the fashion company realized its serious error.

“We sincerely regret releasing a photo to the media this morning of Amy Adams with a Valentino bag,” a company statement said Friday. “We were not aware the photograph was taken while she was attending the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was an innocent mistake, and we apologize to Ms. Adams who was not aware, or a part of, our PR efforts.”

Now I could have believed that it was an honest mistake on Khosla’s part, but the email also included two pictures of Adams stepping out of a black car while holding the bag. It seems reasonable for such a huge company to put together a few facts. An obviously somber-faced Adams, her entirely black dress, black tights and black boots, on the same day as Hoffman’s wake seem like more than enough clues to tip off where she might be going with that Valentino bag.

Valentino’s blatant promotional work is deplorable, and even if the statement is true that the publicist wasn’t aware of Adams’ whereabouts, then the worker wasn’t doing a great job at researching before sending it out to thousands.

It’s frankly embarrassing. Some things should be off limits within the professional world. There is an appropriate time and an inappropriate time for things. Let’s have some respect for our fellow people.

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