ARNELL’S NEW BANANA: The Arnell Group, which earlier this month parted ways with Donna Karan, has landed the Banana Republic account, formerly handled in-house. Sources estimate billings at $18 million. Arnell’s first campaign will break in May. Laura Ganter, senior vice president, creative director of Arnell, has relocated from New York to Banana Republic’s headquarters in San Francisco to oversee the account.
WHAT TO WEAR? Mila Schon, the 36-year-old Italian ready-to-wear and accessories firm, which recently revamped its entire design staff, ran into a tricky question involving its spring ad campaign: What should model Jamie Rishar be wearing? Schon’s spring line was designed by the old team, which the company apparently wasn’t eager to promote. Further, the Schon look is expected to take a new direction for fall, the first season for its new creative team.
“We shot Jamie nude behind a Mila Schon shopping bag,” said Rocco Laspata of Laspata/DeCaro, the firm’s New York ad agency, which also handles Randy Kemper, Capezio and Kenar. “We wanted to do a strictly image campaign.”
Mila Schon, a $500 million company, is spending $2 million worldwide on its spring campaign — double what it spent a year ago. The ads will appear in Grazia, Marie Claire, Amica, Italian Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, W and Italian Vogue.
MASON LEAVES VOGUE: Debbi Mason has resigned as a fashion editor at Vogue. She’ll do freelance consulting and styling and will be represented by Art & Commerce. Her successor hasn’t been named yet.
HARVARD BOYS: Calvin and Tommy are going to Harvard. They’ll talk to students at the Harvard Business School, Hilfiger on March 2, Klein on March 29. Their 45-minute lectures about the business world will be followed by a Q&A period. The lectures are sponsored by HBS’s Retail and Apparel Club, founded last year by student David Ronick, the son of former Macy exec Ted Ronick.
AT HOME: Gianni Versace is running his first ad in a gay magazine. An ad for the designer’s Home Signature collection appears in the April issue of Out.
MICKEY’S MASS APPEAL: Disney, which is increasing its Mickey presence at the mass level, will launch a multi-million-dollar ad campaign for its new Mickey Unlimited merchandise. Disney officials wouldn’t reveal the precise budget. The ads will break in April in such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Mademoiselle and Seventeen.
The new collections of women’s and men’s sportswear, accessories, home furnishings and toys — introduced Thursday night at the New York Prop Gallery — are geared to stores ranging from Wal-Mart to Sears, Roebuck. Disney is already a major force at the mass level with its infant’s and children’s lines and is in department stores with Mickey & Co. merchandise.
SELF PROMOTION: In a move to expand its beauty coverage, Janet Carlson Freed was named beauty director of Self, a new post. She had been senior features editor.
DONNA’S OLYMPIC MOMENT: A new AT&T commercial featuring Donna Karan will be aired tonight during what is expected to be one of the most-watched broadcasts of the year: the women’s figure-skating finals of the Winter Olympics. “AT&T just works. It’s like the perfect fit,” says Karan in the 30-second spot, which was shot at the DKNY offices here by cinematographer Jim Sonzero. The ads, produced by McCann Erickson Worldwide, will appear through March 21, Oscar night. The commercial depicts Karan, wearing her own black slipdress and sweater, going about her daily business, talking to people in person as well as on the telephone. “When the telephone’s out, it’s dead,” she proclaims. Karan’s makeup was by Kevyn Aucoin, her hair by Kevin Mancuso. The designer donated her fee to Pediatric AIDS.
MORE KINSKI: Anne Klein & Co. has re-signed Nastassja Kinski for its fall ad campaign. Michel Comte will once again photograph the campaign.
NO NONSENSE LEVINE: Ellen Levine, editor-in-chief of Redbook, is featured in a new No Nonsense pantyhose commercial that will begin a six-month run on network TV Monday night. “Women who do great things are in great shape,” says Levine in the spot. The campaign was created by Lois USA. “It was very hard work,” said Levine. “It was a whole day for 15 seconds. I had no idea how complicated it was, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Levine said that Mary Ann Wheaton, owner of Wheaton International, and her 1 1/2-year-old son, Jacques, will be featured in the April issue of Redbook in a story called “Is Your Company Family-Friendly?”