GUNN’S METTLE: Traditional newsroom wisdom holds that the best defense against a libel claim is the truth. It’s a lesson Tim Gunn, who is billing himself as something of a citizen journalist these days, is learning on the job. The “Project Runway” fixture and Liz Claiborne chief creative officer has been making the talk show rounds this week to chatter about “Gunn’s Golden Rules,” a manners guide-cum-memoir that tells of the questionable behavior he’s witnessed in his fashion career. The book — and one particular anecdote that involves Anna Wintour, five flights of stairs and a set of bodyguards employing a fireman’s lock to carry her down — has generated a fair amount of buzz thanks both to its incendiary subject matter and a well-plotted promo blitz.
“It’s reportage!” Gunn insisted to WWD with a characteristic touch of exasperation. “It’s about reporting what I see. I’m an observer.” He spoke by phone the morning after an appearance on “The Daily Show” in which he recounted the tale, and added that 4 Times Square would be “well-served by having lots of straitjackets around” for the people who work there, adding Condé Nast is not the typical publishing company. According to Gunn, Wintour sought a retraction after he first told the story to the New York Post, but backed off after an associate spoke to its veracity. (A Vogue spokeswoman offered a “no comment” to WWD.)
This story first appeared in the September 10, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It would seem the book has also taught its author how to navigate the burning of a source. “I had friends and colleagues say, ‘You’ll never be invited to a dinner party again,’” Gunn said. “My response was ‘Hallelujah!’”
— Matthew Lynch
ANNIVERSARIES AND BEDBUGS: Magazines love a good anniversary issue — think of all those extra ad dollars! — and more than a few have arbitrarily published one to generate business. But this isn’t the case with Elle, which is legitimately marking 25 years of its U.S. edition in October. As the magazine looks back at a quarter century, the month also marks a new beginning on the iPad. “The app is much more than just a rendered version,” said editor in chief Robbie Myers. The October issue will be free on the iPad for subscribers, and subsequent issues will cost $2.99 and contain all the bells and whistles found on similar applications, such as behind-the-scenes interviews and video from photo shoots.
Lauren Conrad, Amanda Seyfried, Gabourey Sidibe and Megan Fox were shot for four separate newsstand and subscription covers and inside, there is a lengthy portfolio featuring 25-year-olds, such as Anna Kendrick, Lea Michele and Meghan McCain. Also coming in October: a new book, “the Ellements of Personal Style,” and a party to celebrate it all at the Museum of Modern Art. As for the numbers that really matter: The entire effort has resulted in a 46 percent increase in ad pages, following an 18 percent rise in paging in September, to 382.
But even as Elle marks its 25th, rumors continue to proliferate the magazine’s offices are suffering from yet another attack of New York City’s latest plague — bedbugs — and had to be evacuated again. Not true, a spokeswoman said. So it appears safe to sit next to Anne Slowey and Joe Zee in the front row of the shows — but if they show up with beagles, be wary.
— Amy Wicks
BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL AND BAZAAR ANNOUNCE ARTS FOUNDATION: The British Fashion Council and British Harper’s Bazaar have founded the British Fashion Council/Bazaar Fashion Arts Foundation with the aim to “nurture collaborations and foster relationships between fashion, film, music and art talent.”
“The London scene has always been known for its collaborations, but we wanted to put fashion at its center,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC at London’s Shoreditch House, where the partnership launched with a cocktail party Thursday night.
The foundation will begin with a collaboration with Sony Music that will include a biannual series of CDs under the label “The Collection — London Fashion Week,” with each CD’s music selected by a different designer. The first CD has been curated by Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of Burberry, who has selected acoustic tracks by artists including David Bowie and One Night Only for the release, and designed the disc’s cover. The CD will be released Sept. 20 during London Fashion Week. Sony will also host live music sessions at Somerset House, the London Fashion Week venue. In turn, Rush said, the BFC will arrange for London designers to dress Sony’s emerging artists.
Alison Edmond, Los Angeles editor of Harper’s Bazaar UK, will serve as the foundation’s British ambassador in Los Angeles and Soho House Group is also involved in the foundation.
— Nina Jones