HEARST BIDS FOR EMAP?: Hearst is said to be one of the companies in the running to become the new owner of British publishing giant Emap's consumer magazine division, which includes titles such as Grazia, Heat, Pop and FHM. Emap revealed a strategic review of its business — which, alongside the consumer publications, comprises B2B titles such as WGSN and a radio division — in July. The company said in August it would provide those parties that had shown interest with further information about the company. According to British press reports, Hearst has offered around 700 million pounds, or $1.4 billion, for Emap's consumer publishing business and, if its bid succeeds, would become the U.K.'s largest consumer magazine publisher — ahead of Time Inc.'s British subsidiary, IPC Media (although there is speculation in some quarters that Time might be looking to sell IPC). Through its National Magazine subsidiary, Hearst currently publishes British titles such as Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Good Housekeeping. But while a winning bid would give it control of such current newsstand stars as Grazia and Pop, Hearst would have to figure out how to turn around the declining FHM and the lagging Heat. A spokeswoman for National Magazine declined to comment on the reports, as did a spokeswoman for Emap. Since Emap unveiled the planned breakup, parties including Apax Partners, Guardian Media, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Texas Pacific Group are said to have expressed interest in parts of the business. The Emap spokeswoman said the company would issue an update on the review Nov. 13, when it releases its first-half results. — Nina Jones

THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS: The precocious founders of the Coutorture fashion blog network, Julie Fredrickson and Phil Leif, have revealed the reason for their recent move to San Francisco: They have been acquired by Sugar Inc., the publisher of the PopSugar celebrity blog that is backed by $15 million from Sequioia and NBC. Terms of the cash-and-stock deal were not disclosed. Fredrickson will continue as editor in chief of the network. Leif, who left a programming job at Gucci, will become Sugar senior engineer.

Leif and Fredrickson, both in their early 20s, became acquainted through each other's blogs shortly before they moved to New York and met in person in early 2006. In short order, they founded Coutorture, which they ran out of various sublets, moving every few months for more than a year.The two became known for many firsts: Fredrickson was the first fashion blogger to post live from inside the New York Fashion Week tents in Bryant Park, in February last year. Working with only a hired cameraman, they put up more same-day runway video than any other media outlet the next fashion week. Fredrickson also achieved notoriety for a spat with fellow bloggers, which led to 11 of them quitting the growing network and for (briefly) scoring an impromptu interview with Anna Wintour, which was quickly shut down by p.r. Kelly Cutrone.

"There are some really awesome fashion bloggers out there that need help, and now we are able to put more money behind the [Coutorture] vision and realize what it was meant to be," said Sugar Inc. founder and chief executive Brian Sugar. "Now they will have the resources to execute what they always wanted to do."

Coutorture, Sugar Inc. and recently acquired ShopStyle plan to evolve the look and function of fashion blogs, said Sugar. For example, Leif has been tweaking ShopStyle's widgets so bloggers can use them to create magazine-like fashion spreads.

Coutorture has approximately 240 blogs in its network, and is in the process of updating its contracts, said Fredrickson. She estimated network traffic at 20 million visitors a month, based on bloggers' self-reported traffic and Alexa rankings. Sugar said the company plans to acquire more companies in the future. It has more than five million unique visitors a month. — Cate T. Corcoran

ADDING A BIT OF FIZZ: MTV has a hit with "The Hills" and now it wants to do the same with fashion — but on its Web site instead of the TV screen. Pepsi has signed on as the charter sponsor of MTV's new fashion Web site, thelookrightnow.com, and online micro-series "Fashion: The Life," which follows three up-and-coming fashion designers — Danny Shaw, Luam Keflezgy and Steve Aoki, the son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki — as they prepare for and contend with the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas. The series will be promoted on-air during one- to two-minute commercial promos within "The Hills," leveraging Pepsi's sponsorship of that reality series.Also, Virtual MTV will have a virtual meet-and-greet to introduce the designers to the world as avatars. More information, including the designers' fashion sketches, will be available for in-world users to choose which designer has the best work. Aoki told WWD that in addition to the micro-series, he is in the early stages of creating a women's clothing line with sister and model Devon Aoki. The "sophisticated" line will be in partnership with Ksubi and will feature denim, sunglasses, sweaters, jackets, T-shirts and more, he added. They expect to launch the collection in fall 2008.

But who will be the Lauren and Brody of the fashion world? — Amy Wicks

REDESIGNING THE CROWD: Re-creating an icon requires a dash of imagination and a spoonful of risk. At The New Yorker Festival panel on costume design, Emmy Award-winning costume designer Patricia Field said of dressing the fearsome fashion editrix of "The Devil Wears Prada," "I don't copy and document, it's too boring. Meryl Streep is a German, big-boned, different woman. No way I was going to apply Anna Wintour's look to Meryl Streep; it would have been a mess." Fellow panelists Colleen Atwood of "Chicago" and "Memoirs of a Geisha"; Patrizia von Brandenstein of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Amadeus", and five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway costume designer William Ivey Long were asked if New Yorkers on the subway were ever a source of inspiration. "It's exhausting!" Ivey Long answered sassily. "By the time I'm done redesigning all the people, I'm exhausted." The panelists cited contemporary movies as the most challenging to design for due to the quick turnover of style with mass-produced clothing stores like Forever 21 and H&M, an audience's preconceived notion of characters and specific modes of dress. During the question-and-answer portion, audience members repeatedly asked Field about how she made "Sex in the City" character Carrie Bradshaw's now-iconic style relevant then and now. "I'm just declaring it so. I know I look like I have a crystal ball or gypsy tea, but I don't," stated Field. But with her silver doorknocker earrings, turquoise eyeglasses, metal-studded belt, and black bandage dress, it's hard to imagine Field didn't use her own reflection as a muse. — Jacinta Green

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