ANGELS IN AMERICA: Kanye West has a bone to pick with Harper’s Bazaar, according to his comments in GQ’s “Men of the Year” issue. The rapper declares his distaste for the Hearst fashion magazine after it reported that a mural painted on a ceiling in West’s Los Angeles home was of himself. “That pissed me off so bad,” West tells GQ writer Chris Heath. “That made me so mad. Because who would want to hang out with a guy with an 8-foot picture of an angel of himself?”
West commissioned artist Ernie Barnes to paint a large mural of an angel reaching down from the heavens, with a number of small angels and heavenly creatures floating around him. The mural was photographed for Harper’s Bazaar’s feature of West and fiancée Alexis Phifer in their Los Angeles home in its August issue, in which Amy Spencer wrote: “And on the dining-room ceiling, what looks like an ode to the Sistine Chapel: a painting of West flying among angels by artist Ernie Barnes. ‘I asked for angels, and he put me in there,’ West explains a bit bashfully.” The magazine also described the mural in a caption: “a ceiling-mounted painting featuring a winged West.”
Did Harper’s Bazaar get it wrong? According to a source close to West, the caption was inaccurate to say the largest being depicted in the mural was West. West is in fact a part of the mural, he’s just not the central celestial being. Barnes painted a lifeless version of West that is being carried by one of the angels. The mural is an artistic nod to West having survived a serious car accident in 2002, an event which inspired his first hit, “Through the Wire.” Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar, responded: “If Kanye would like us to clarify our caption in which we refer to him as a ‘winged West’ rather than as ‘riding on the shoulders of the Grim Reaper’ and as a ‘lifeless form ascending into the heavens, carried by an angel,’ as the artist depicted him, we’d be more than happy to comply.” West, who is prepping to attend his mother’s funeral and was not available for comment, was named one of GQ’s men of the year and is one of three cover subjects, including Bill Clinton and Daniel Craig. — Stephanie D. Smith
This story first appeared in the November 20, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
PARTY FACE: Allure magazine feted its December cover girl, Fergie, Friday night with a 30-person dinner at Hollywood’s Green Door for guests Tom Ford, Jerry O’Connell and Fergie’s beau, Josh Duhamel. It was a big weekend for the songstress, who won an American Music Award for favorite female pop or rock artist, as well as for Allure editor in chief Linda Wells, who was hosting her second soiree of the week. On Wednesday, she threw the first annual Allure’s Face Party at Bar Nineteen 12 in The Beverly Hills Hotel, drawing January Jones, Maggie Grace, Rachel Goodwin, Molly Stern and Sarah Michelle Gellar, among others. This latest incarnation of the magazine’s Young Hollywood party was more intimate than past bashes at Buffalo Club and focused on new talent. While some editors eschew watching bubblegum TV shows and movies in search of new faces, Wells pointed out: “We’re media junkies. It’s a combination of knowing who’s out there and looking into our crystal ball.” Fergie, dressed in black Dolce & Gabbana, said, “I’ve wanted to be in this magazine for a long time. It’s very prestigious and so is the group of women who have been in it. It’s nice getting to be one of [them].” The admiration is apparently mutual. “[Fergie’s] abs are an astonishment in themselves!” said Wells. — Diana Ryu
MOVIE MANIA: During the spring collections in September, Gucci unveiled a David Lynch-directed mini film to advertise its newest fragrance, Gucci by Gucci. The fashion house must have caught a movie bug in the process. On Monday, Gucci and the Tribeca Film Institute created the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund to help independent filmmakers with finishing funds and postproduction guidance. The aim is to allow them “to complete documentaries that promote social change and illuminate issues in need of comprehensive coverage currently missing from mainstream media,” according to a Tribeca Film Institute statement. The grant totals $80,000 and will be divvied up between at least three filmmakers, who will be picked by the Tribeca Film Institute, Gucci and a selection committee. Hopefuls can submit their materials between Feb. 5 and April 11, and the winners will be named next summer. Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, co-chairman of the board of the Tribeca Film Institute, will host a dinner for the fund on Dec. 18. — Marc Karimzadeh
NEW MEDIA BOSS: It looks like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has a new boss for its media division. Nicolas Beytout, director of French daily Le Figaro, is expected to be named president of LVMH’s DI Group division, according to sources. DI Group includes the Radio Classique radio station, Investir investment weekly and art monthly Connaissance des Arts. Eventually it also will include financial daily Les Echos, which LVMH is in the process of buying from Britain’s Pearson PLC as it divests financial daily La Tribune. The hiring of Beytout, who helped invigorate Le Figaro during his tenure, is widely seen as a gambit by LVMH to assuage fears that its ownership of Les Echos would threaten editorial freedom, a charge the paper has leveled against the luxury behemoth. — Robert Murphy
EXECUTIVE CHANGES: Advertising Age publisher Scott Donaton was named publisher of Entertainment Weekly. He replaces Dave Morris, who left the company in October after a reorganization that combined the People Group and Entertainment Weekly under one umbrella, with People publisher Paul Caine overseeing the group as president. Donaton had worked at Ad Age since 1989, first on the editorial side — where he eventually became editor — then on the business side as associate publisher/editorial director and later publisher. Donaton will take his new position Dec. 10 and will report to Caine.
Meanwhile, People en Español managing editor Peter Castro returned to People as deputy managing editor, a new position. Castro had worked at People for 18 years, working his way up to executive editor prior to his most recent position. Replacing Castro at People en Español will be Armando Correa, who was promoted from executive editor. Finally, People also promoted assistant managing editors Jess Cagle and Betsy Gleick to executive editors. — S.D.S.