COMEBACK KID: Attention laddies: don’t write off GQ just yet. After a 12.9 percent decline in newsstand sales in the first half of 2002, following a 16.5 percent drop in the second half of 2001, editor in chief Art Cooper believes the magazine has turned a corner.
Three back-to-back issues of increased newsstand sales gave GQ an 11 percent boost in newsstand sales in the third quarter, bringing its newsstand average for the three-month period to 217,000, according to publisher Ron Galotti’s current estimates. Cooper attributed the gains to the three covers photographed by Mark Seliger and to design director Fred Woodward’s design. “The two of them are responsible for the uptick,” said Cooper Thursday. “People are traveling more than they have been in the last six months, and we’re doing well at airport newsstands which account for 15 percent of our newsstand sales.”
Cooper said the July issue, with Jude Law on the cover, sold 165,000 newsstand copies, 22,000 more than a year ago; the August issue, featuring Vin Diesel on the cover, sold 250,000 newsstand copies, some 19,000 over last year, and the September issue, with Heidi Klum coming out of a cake celebrating the magazine’s 45th birthday, so far has sold 235,000 single copies, 30,000 more than the prior year. “I’d be surprised if it doesn’t go higher than 30,000,” said Cooper.
Despite a whopping 30.7 percent gain in ad pages for the September anniversary issue, the magazine is off 1 percent in ad pages through September, according to Media Industry Newsletter.
So, how is Cooper reacting to the negative buzz that’s surrounded him in the last few weeks?’
“I’ve been here for 19 years and if I wanted to, I can be here for another 19 years,” he said.
VOGUE’S EDITOR AT (NOT SO) LARGE: Andre Leon Talley has gone on a diet, but just don’t ask him how much weight he’s shed. “I’m not measuring it in pounds and ounces,” he said. “I can tell I’ve lost weight by how my clothes look on me.”
So what exactly is his diet? “I went to a Persian nutritionist. My breakfast has changed the most. It’s four egg whites and some fresh strawberries. I drink lots and lots of water and get lots of exercise” — on his elliptical cross trainer. “Lady Black and all my friends at church see me and it’s like they’ve had a vision.”
TINA’S NOTES: Tina Brown was sitting in the front row of the Marc Jacobs show Wednesday night with a pen and paper in hand. Since she’s not a market editor stuck doing sketches — or taking notes — for Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, the whole thing made people wonder whether she was planning to use fashion week as a subject for her upcoming column in The Times of London. “I always take notes,” said Brown, philosophically. “A day unrecorded might as well be spent asleep.”
THAT TIME AGAIN: Time’s second fashion issue hits European newsstands on Monday, and features a roster of the industry’s 25 most influential people — in no particular order. They include Tom Ford, Kate Moss, Anna Wintour, Diego Della Valle, Nicolas Ghesquière, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Hedi Slimane, Karl Lagerfeld, Lindsay Owen-Jones, Nick Knight, WWD’s Bridget Foley and Katie Grand. Lauren Goldstein, Time’s senior fashion writer and the editor of the issue, said picking the 25 was not easy. “The hardest part was trying to distinguish between who was simply powerful — and who was influential,” she said. “That was why I decided not to rank them. It was hard enough coming up with the 25; trying to figure out a scientific ranking was just too daunting.” The 44-page, large-format issue also includes stories on fashion’s factories, the relationship between art and fashion, and a day in the life of the Paris shows. Advertisers include Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Hermès, Cartier and Tommy Hilfiger.
COSMO CHEERS: Get ready for Cosmo the Bar. In an effort to broaden its brand reach, British Cosmopolitan is adding bars and restaurants to its stable of branded products, which already include accessories, swimwear, bedding and vitamins. The magazine has joined up with the retail leisure providers Branded Leisure PLC to create Cosmopolitan Spirit, a shop complete with bar, restaurant and health-and-beauty spa. “Spirit will bring the core values of our brand to life: Fun, glamour and the inspiration to live life to the fullest and be the best you can be,” said Jan Adcock, publishing director of the Cosmopolitan Group, unconsciously sounding like the Cosmo Girl is heading for the U.S. Army instead of the spa. The first 10,000-square-foot venue will open its doors in Manchester in October, followed by a venue in Cardiff, Wales.
ARRIVEDERCI PRADA: Clarice Pecori-Giraldi will leave her post as corporate advertising and public relations director at Prada at the end of the year in order to pursue other interests. Pecori-Giraldi joined Prada in January 1999, and before that was managing director of the Milan office of Christie’s. Prada has not yet found a replacement.
SKREBNESKI RETURNS TO FIELD’S: Victor Skrebneski has photographed the ad campaign for Marshall Field’s 150th anniversary celebration. It will be his second commercial shoot for Marshall Field’s. Skrebneski began his career at age 23 with his first fashion assignment from Marshall Field’s in 1952.
The campaign is titled “The View From State Street” and features cutting-edge fashions juxtaposed with various Field’s traditions, such as the 28 Shop, Frango Mints and the Shoe Department. The ads, which will feature 13 different images in all, broke over the weekend and run through December in the Chicago Tribune. Shot in public view in the State Street store windows, one ad highlights the designer department in the 28 Shop, and shows a model in a way-out designer gown surrounded by hot pink tufted curtains and standing on a turquoise floor. Another image shows a model sitting on the ground surrounded by 100 one-pound Frango Mint boxes and thousands of empty Frango wrappers with chocolate on her face.
ELSA’S VIEW: “We’re trying to show fashion as if you’re a friend of the designer,” said Elsa Klensch, who’s hosting her third season of the “Trio World Fashion Tour” on the arts channel Trio and who still clearly believes the average cable TV viewer wants to be friends with the person who makes their clothes. The six-segment series premieres Sept. 29 at 8 p.m and will run for six consecutive Sundays. Each episode will feature interviews with such designers as Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Betsey Johnson, Diane Von Furstenberg, Rosa Cha and Tommy Hilfiger. The shows will feature the collections in London, New York, Paris and Milan.
In addition, a “fashion undercover” segment will feature Patricia Field, retailer and costume designer for “Sex and the City,” and “The Guiding Light.” Believe it or not, Field actually beat out the ubiquitous Hilton sisters for the job.
Meanwhile, Klensch was back to her front-row antics at the Bill Blass show Thursday morning. When a photographer passing through the tight aisle bumped into her crossed legs, Klensch started screaming: “You’re hurting me! You’re hurting me!” And she kicked him.
The camera man looked back at her, and bellowed, “You kicked me!”
“Well, you didn’t even say you were sorry,” sniffed Klensch, rubbing her ankle frantically. Five minutes later, both appeared to have fully recovered.
GLAMOUR’S HOLLYWOOD TIES: Following in the footsteps of Vanity Fair, Glamour is getting in on the awards show action. Editor in chief Cindi Leive and Glamour magazine will sponsor “Entertainment Tonight’s” annual Emmy Awards dinner and party on Sunday at the Mondrian Hotel’s Asia de Cuba in Los Angeles. Large screens will be set up to view the Emmy broadcast while video cameras will capture all the action and LA’s DJ A.M. will entertain.
NEW TEMPO: There’s been more drama at the music magazines themselves lately than there has been on the music scene itself, but all that might be changing. Ironically, it might be provided by the unsolved murder of Tupac Shakur in 1996, which has been arguably the chief source of mythology in the hip-hip world, spawning warring theories as well as outright folklore. On Sept. 7, The Los Angeles Times broke a two-part story alleging that Tupac Shakur was killed by a rival gang affiliated with Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records, and that the murder ultimately went unsolved due in part to the ineptitude of the Las Vegas police department. The article, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning Times staffer Chuck Philips after a yearlong investigation, sent shock waves through the music community by specifically alleging that Biggie Smalls (a.k.a. ‘The Notorious B.I.G.’) contracted Tupac’s murder for $1 million and insisted that the assassins use his gun to fire the fatal bullets. According to Philips, Smalls flew to Las Vegas for the Mike Tyson fight and stayed in a Vegas hotel under an assumed name the night of the murder.
Philips’ article, culled from information provided by unnamed sources in the Los Angeles gang underground, has caught on like wildfire in broadcast and print media. MTV and VH1 rushed through with news specials about Biggie’s potential involvement with Tupac’s murder. Now music magazines are following suit. “There’s no way a streetwise guy like Biggie would have provided his own gun to carry out the murder,” said Sia Michel, editor in chief of Spin magazine. “I’d like to see what Chuck Philips’ sources were. Does he have a copy of Biggie’s ticket to Vegas?”
Now, Spin, the Source and Vibe are following suit with stories. Rolling Stone doesn’t agree that the Tupac story necessarily ‘belongs’ to one of the hip-hop titles. “We ran a 16 page feature on the Tupac murder cover-up last year,” said editor in chief Ed Needham. The Rolling Stone piece posited a rival thesis, that Tupac’s murder was orchestrated not by Biggie but by Death Row records chief Suge Knight, and that the Los Angeles police engaged in a cover-up. “Everyone who has anything to say about the story disagrees with Chuck Philips’ version of things, but no one has refuted his story yet,” Needham said. “It’s still an unsolved murder.” Rolling Stone is tracking the story with almost CNN-like persistence: It ran a short item on the controversy in its current issue and is planning another one in its next issue.
The only title that seems to have a slightly more casual approach to the story is Blender. “If we put on a play called Blender, Tupac would definitely have a major role, as would Kurt Cobain, but our main stays are those twins and titans of today’s music: Eminem and J.Lo,” said editor in chief Andy Pemberton. “As far as I’m concerned [Tupac] is the L.A. Times’ story now.” Well, not quite — Pemberton subsequently told WWD that Blender has decided to run an item on the Tupac controversy in its next issue.