A TIME DEPARTURE: Time Inc., employees are hours away from learning more about division-wide restructuring and layoffs, but Vivek Shah, group president, digital, Time Inc. News Group, removed himself from the equation on Monday, confirming he will leave the company at yearend. “I have a lot of opportunities to assess,” Shah told WWD, adding he’s worked at Time Inc. for 15 years. “I couldn’t be in this job while considering others.” Shah declined to talk about where he could be headed next, although he said he won’t be working for another magazine publisher. He has reported directly to chief executive officer Ann Moore; a direct replacement will not be named. General manager of time.com, John Cantarella, will be elevated in a senior vice president role, digital, Time Inc. News Group and report to Andy Blau. Time Warner Inc. reports its quarterly results Wednesday. — Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the November 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
OPRAH — ALL ACCESS: Shoes and bags are the new books and bras, at least as far as Oprah’s concerned. On the heels of her successful “Bra Revolution,” retail’s fairy godmother on Monday aired her “Shoe and Bag Intervention” episode with the help of guest stylists Elle’s Joe Zee, Harper’s Bazaar’s Mary Alice Stephenson and O, The Oprah Magazine’s Adam Glassman, who teamed up to rescue fashion victims from unfortunate accessories. Among the offenders: two fiftysomething sisters toting kitty-printed bags, and shoes that didn’t stop at ugly but added unwanted pounds to the wrong figure. In terms of tips, Glassman pushed matching shoes to legwear (i.e., a black shoe should be worn with black tights) and beating cankles with flesh-colored shoes.
Although basically a makeover show, the episode proved not only a lesson in style but also in accessories slang, as Oprah tossed around terminology such as “cankle” and “shabooty” — for the uninitiated, that’s ankles the size of calves and shoeboots, respectively. As for those coveted plugs, Elie Tahari and Cole Haan got shout-outs, as did Christian Louboutin, if not verbally then by way of Oprah’s and Stephenson’s red soles, visible to the camera throughout the show. And while those who were made over certainly emerged all the better, the real winner was Zappos.com, which secured prime positioning as the show’s go-to shopping credit. — Jessica Iredale
LEAVING GUCCI: Charlotte Blechman, Gucci America’s vice president of public relations, will leave the company on Dec. 5 — though she will continue to work on special projects for the brand in the U.S. Blechman started at Gucci in 1995, at the time of Tom Ford’s debut, and by 1998 became its director of worldwide celebrity relations. She moved to Gucci Group’s Yves Saint Laurent division as vice president of public relations in 2001, and returned to Gucci to serve in that role in 2004. At Gucci, Blechman was instrumental in the company’s public relations efforts through the transition to Frida Giannini, the opening of the Fifth Avenue flagship and many charity and cultural events, including the store opening event that benefited UNICEF and Raising Malawi.
Daniella Vitale, president of the American arm of the Italian firm, sent out an internal memo on Monday to reveal Blechman’s resignation. “I want to thank Charlotte for her support, creativity and leadership,” Vitale said. “She has been a strategic partner for me, and [we] could never have accomplished all that we did over the past four years. I have been very fortunate to have her as part of my team but respect this difficult decision.” — Marc Karimzadeh
PHOTOSHOP PRO: Jean-Baptiste Mondino is one fashion figure ready to play devil’s advocate to a recently proposed law in France that — if passed — would require retouched photos countrywide to carry labels stating they’ve been digitally altered. For the past weekend’s edition of French daily newspaper Libération’s Next magazine, the high-profile snapper, who predicts a return to more generous forms, took a boyish female model and gave her curves to demonstrate how retouching can also “glorify” a woman. Beautifying images is one of the oldest tricks in the book, he told the paper: “The photos of old Hollywood? Retouched! The iconic image of Che Guevara? Retouched! All the photos taken by Richard Avedon of Marilyn Monroe? Retouched! And all of this before today’s software existed, of course. Legs were lengthened using a wide angle; skins were smoothed through overexposure.” — Katya Foreman
LONDON’S NEW FASHION FUND: Taking a page from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in the U.S., the British Fashion Council and British Vogue have launched a new fund to help U.K.-based designers take their businesses to the next level, the BFC Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. The initiative will award one designer with 200,000 pounds, or about $328,000, to support their business, along with a year’s worth of mentoring advice from key figures in industries including retail, finance, media, brand development and law. To apply for the fund, designers must be based in the U.K. and have an established business, along with U.K. and international stockists and support from U.K. and international media. They must also “demonstrate…how the fund would contribute to their growth with a focus on creating an international brand,” the BFC stated.
The BFC Vogue fund is in addition to the BFC’s NewGen scheme to support emerging designers, which is sponsored by Topshop, and Fashion Forward, which helps designers in the early stages of their career and is sponsored by the London Development Agency. The deadline for applications is Dec. 2. A shortlist of applicants will be revealed in April, and British Vogue will feature the judging process in its May issue. — Nina Jones