STAR SYSTEM: Louis Vuitton turned the tables on Annie Leibovitz, photographer of its “core values” ad campaigns, and asked her to appear in its next spots, which will break in daily newspapers, magazines and online starting Feb. 1. She hesitated at first, but ultimately accepted — on the condition she use the fee to hire someone famous to pose with her. That flew in the face of Vuitton communication director Antoine Arnault’s intention: He had proposed the self-portrait project to Leibovitz as a gesture of support, given her widely publicized financial problems. “She’s a real, pure, 100 percent artist,” enthused Arnault, who insisted on ponying up for her chosen co-star, ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov. “We’ve always been very committed to her, to her talent.” Taken in Leibovitz’s New York studio, the photo depicts the dancer barefoot on a podium, and the photographer eying her subject, her own three-year-old monogram Neverfull bag next to her and stuffed with books. The tag line reads: “The journey of a star, captured in a flash.” Arnault said the image exemplifies the “moment of quiet and calm” Leibovitz achieves with her sitters. “She just gets in their souls,” he said. “This campaign has really become almost a saga.”
— Miles Socha
This story first appeared in the January 22, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A 3-D EXPERIENCE: After introducing augmented reality to its December issue, InStyle is bringing 3-D back for March. But this time around, it will only be seen in editorial — a first for a fashion title. Managing editor Ariel Foxman selected the “Clothes We Love” section for the 3-D treatment. “This is always a blockbuster feature for us and now we are making it more graphic and fashion forward,” said Foxman. The pages within “Clothes We Love” showcase the popular trends of the season.
To activate the 3-D experience, the reader will hold up the feature’s opening page to a webcam, which will prompt a live action styling session that features instructions on how to take the magazine’s six key pieces and stretch them each into two head-to-toe looks, for a total of 12 outfits. The brands featured in the “Clothes We Love” 3-D experience will be available for purchase. In addition, there also will be a buying guide, with prices and a store directory for everything, including accessories shown. The March issue is up 33 percent in ad pages over a year ago and will go live online Feb. 12, the same day it will appear on newsstands.
— Amy Wicks
AARON ECKHART’S PASSION: While the celebrity-hosted, for-a-good-cause social event is de rigueur nowadays, Saturday night’s Aaron Eckhart-hosted private viewing of photojournalist James Nachtwey’s latest body of work, “Struggle to Live: The Fight Against TB,” felt decidedly fresh. This was due, in large part, to the images that lined the walls of 401 Projects in the West Village — Nachtwey’s arresting black-and-white photos, taken in 2008 throughout Asia, Africa and India, of people stricken with tuberculosis or AIDS (usually both) and the medics and priests working with them.
But it was also nice to see Eckhart, the Hollywood draw, truly enjoying himself. Indeed, the “Thank You for Smoking” and “The Dark Knight” actor was shuffling around the gallery, clutching an oversize envelope with one hand (the package contained a print of one of the images in the show, a gift from Nachtwey) and old-fashioned networking with the other.
An amateur shutterbug himself, Eckhart said he’d been thinking about taking his hobby to the next level. “I’ve been shooting for a few years now. I do it in between movies and when I’m on movies because I’m in such interesting locations,” he said. “But I’m really into it and I’d kind of like to make it a little deal.” There was clearly nowhere better to put feelers out than this downtown art party. “I got so many hook-ups out of tonight, man,” he added, thumbing through the business cards he’d received over the course of the evening. “I’ve been hooked up with Vogue, I got Rolling Stone…”
As for his shooting style, “I use black-and-white film. I do street photography, I do fashion photography,” Eckhart said as he showed off a few photos of the actress Molly Sims frolicking in water, stored on his BlackBerry. (And there are more of them to come — Eckhart said he shot the visuals for Sims’ jewelry line, which will be featured alongside her pieces at Henri Bendel.)
With regard to Nachtwey’s work, the actor admitted his own would likely never compare. For his part, Nachtwey, a veteran war photographer for Time who also has documented such crises as the Rwandan genocide and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said the decades he’s spent photographing such suffering have not numbed him. “On the contrary,” the lensman said. “I think I’ve become much more sensitive, much more sensitized.…It’s very hard to witness someone suffering. It’s even harder to have to witness it with the concentration required to make an image which is powerful enough to reach people. You can’t blink. It’s hard and it never gets easier.”
— Nick Axelrod