DINNER AND A MOVIE: Gilles Bensimon, international creative director of Elle, admitted at a dinner on Wednesday that management was never his strong suit. Alluding to his previous position of publication director of Elle, he said, “I was never good with giving direction, day by day. I never asked to be director of a magazine. I was only photography director. The first day I got the position…I go, ‘oh my gosh that’s a mistake.'” But since he has more free time now that Joe Zee is handling the day-to-day operations as creative director, Bensimon said he wants to work on photography projects, such as art videos and books. He joined Elle and Emporio Armani as they toasted the magazine’s first foray into the movie business Wednesday night with a screening and dinner for “Raving,” a short film written and directed by Julia Stiles. The movie, about two strangers in New York whose chance meeting changes both of their lives, was screened at The Box for Wynton Marsalis, Vanessa Carlton, Moby and socialites Tinsley Mortimer, Olivia Chantecaille, Allison Sarofim, Lauren Davis and Jessica Joffe, among others. Before feasting on filet mignon and spinach salad, Stiles spoke about the challenge of writing and directing as well as acting in a film. “When you write and direct something, you’re involved at a much earlier stage for much longer than you are when you’re acting. When you’re acting, you just come on the set to fulfill a director’s vision,” she said. “This is really like my baby.” “Raving” will be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. — Stephanie D. Smith
GLAMOUR GIRL: Though several blogs have unveiled looks from Sarah Jessica Parker‘s new clothing line Bitten, Glamour will provide the first “official” look in its June issue, where the “Sex and the City” actress will be featured on the cover and interviewed inside. Glamour has the print exclusive on the new collection, while sources said “The Oprah Winfrey Show” has the TV exclusive and still expects to air a show this summer.
This story first appeared in the April 27, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
To do the piece, Glamour recruited The New York Times’ style writer Bob Morris, who is Parker’s neighbor in the West Village. Though senior fashion editor Maggie Mann was responsible for styling the seven-page fashion spread, which features a mix of Bitten’s T-shirts and pants with Chanel jackets and Burberry Prorsum dresses, Parker personalized the looks with accessories — naturally obsessing the most over the shoes: Jill Stuart boots and Christian Louboutin pumps. What, no Manolos? — S.D.S.
MOSS BACKSTAGE: Topshop is not only giving consumers a slice of Kate Moss‘ wardrobe, it’s letting them take a peek at the inner workings of the fashion industry. In the latest Kate Moss Topshop podcast on the retailer’s Web site, filmed at the campaign shoot for the line, Ronnie Cooke Newhouse introduces herself to viewers as the creative director of the Topshop campaign, adding her role is to “try to interpret what Kate Moss wanted.” Newhouse also explains the allure of the Kate Moss brand. “Whether she speaks or not, you get this sense from her that she’s this great girl,” said Newhouse. “She really understands what girls like, and the Kate Moss brand is really about a style icon creating clothes…and understanding fashion almost better than anyone.”
Not surprisingly, Moss — who’s known for not saying much in public — doesn’t give a great deal away in the film, preferring to pose for candid shots with fellow model Irina Lazareanu, but she does let slip that she sees herself designing more than modeling in the future. — Nina Jones
MELLON IN COURT: Matthew Mellon, accused of hiring a detective agency to delve into the e-mails of his ex-wife Tamara Mellon, the founder and president of Jimmy Choo, during their divorce, went on trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court this week. Mellon is charged with one count of conspiring to cause unauthorized modification of computer material, between July 1, 2004 and Feb. 4, 2005. Mellon denies the charges and, during an interview with WWD earlier this month, said he was innocent, that he now had an amicable relationship with his ex-wife, and that the two were raising their five-year-old daughter Minty together. Tamara Mellon is expected to be called as a witness during the trial, which is set to span two months. Mellon stands trial alongside four others, among whom are a retired police officer and two employees of AIS, who deny 15 counts of various charges, including conspiracy alleging fraud and criminal damage. A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said it was possible those accused could be sentenced to a jail term, if found guilty. — N.J.
POOR BABY: Meredith has its parenting titles to blame for its decline in ad revenue during the second quarter. Magazines in this category, such as Parents and American Baby, represent approximately 20 percent of its publishing revenue and contributed to a $4 million slide in ad sales from one year ago. Meanwhile, More magazine experienced a 30 percent spike in revenues, while Family Circle saw revenue rise 14 percent, said Steve Lacy, chief executive officer.
Online ad sales grew more than 30 percent during the quarter and the company expects a redesign and expansion of Better Homes and Garden’s Web site, along with the launch of a parenthood portal, to further augment this segment. Lacy cautioned that since advertisers continue to make their decisions later and later in the year, uneven spending patterns and more period-to-period volatility will continue. With this in mind, he predicted earnings per share to grow in the 12 to 15 percent range for the 2007 fiscal year. — Amy Wicks
NEW HIRES: Readers Digest Association’s top brass continues to poach from their old stomping grounds at Condé Nast. Former corporate sales chief Suzanne Grimes, now RDA president, food and entertaining, hired Mark Wildman and Maureen O’Connell to the division’s integrated sales and marketing team. Wildman will become vice president, while O’Connell will serve as executive director. Wildman was most recently executive director, integrated marketing at the Condé Nast Media Group, where he spent six years and is credited with creating its television series “Iconoclast” with Grey Goose and Sundance. O’Connell had been the Condé Nast Media Group’s corporate sales director since January, and held sales positions at Domino and Self prior to joining RDA. — S.D.S.