KENNETH COLE 24/7: Showgoers were thinking about more than just fall trends during New York Fashion Week, thanks to the always provocative Kenneth Cole. According to surveys Cole took at the Bryant Park tents last week, 43 percent of the fashion set thinks model weight should be regulated (another 26 percent said the idea makes them want to throw up), and almost half said they don’t care what week New York holds its shows, “as long as I get a front row seat” (the other half were almost equally divided between the first and second weeks of February and September). And who do fashionistas think America is most inclined to accept as its next president? Twenty-eight percent said a woman, 36 percent said an African-American, 10 percent said Oprah Winfrey and 26 percent said “a Caucasian billionaire mayor.” The full results of the survey will appear on Cole’s social awareness blog, alternately kennethcoleblog.com and awarenessblog.com, which launches Monday. “It’s an idea that has been 25 years in the making,” said the designer of the blog.
Of course, when Cole started his eponymous line a quarter century ago, computers were still a novel concept and there was no such thing as a blog, but he has always dedicated himself to stirring dialogue about issues of public concern — a cause he hopes the blog will further. The Web site won’t be a destination for musings on heel height or hem length, but rather on social rights (illustrated with a gay rights flag), hard times (homelessness and poverty), the political landscape (namely war) and well-being (prominently AIDS and HIV). Fashion fans need not feel totally isolated: Cole will file a weekly column under “Clothes Mindedness.” Cole is also enlisting famous friends — including Natasha Richardson, Alan Cumming and Mario Cantone — to blog about social issues that are important to them. “There are all these people out there looking for an opportunity to express their personal passions, and they are often absent of a platform,” Cole said. “As a designer, I create content. This creates context.”
This story first appeared in the February 15, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Whitney Beckett
SHOPPING GUIDE: The boys at Burton in New York’s SoHo were hoping for a 30-minute meal cooked by Rachael Ray when the crew from her daytime television show ascended on the store to film a segment Thursday morning. Instead they had to go hungry, and Ty Pennington, host of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” perused snowboard goods with customers to tape a segment on extreme gift makeovers. Pennington’s piece for an upcoming Rachael Ray show is about giving help to the gift-giving challenged and included stops along several stores in downtown Manhattan. The segment is scheduled to air sometime in March.
— Stephanie D. Smith
ISN’T FASHION A SOAP OPERA ALREADY?: Last week, ABC’s “Good Morning America” held a reenactment of Isaac Mizrahi’s fall collection — and now, the network has another runway show planned for Monday’s episode of “All My Children.” While some editors didn’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn for “GMA,” the soap managed to get Redbook fashion editor Audrey Slater; Cosmogirl deputy editor Michelle Ribeiro; elle.com’s fashion news editor Tracey Lomrantz and market editor Carol Han; Emily Finkbinder, fashion market editor at Interview; Emily Francis from the “CW Morning News,” and Chris Kensler of Stylehive.com to participate. “We are playing ourselves,” said Slater, who added the show — surprise, surprise — dramatized its fashion show, which included the models walking through smoke.
Regular characters on “All My Children” wore red gowns for the runway show, from designers including Catherine Malandrino, Prada, Carmen Marc Valvo and Betsey Johnson. The show was held to raise awareness for American Heart Month and Campbell’s Soup’s Go Red for Women campaign. But besides the charity aspect, it wouldn’t be a real soap opera without a little drama — provided, of course, by Susan Lucci. Her character, Erica Kane, fielded questions from the editors — and then was arrested on the runway. — Amy Wicks
THE FOURTH MUSKETEER: The Los Angeles Times has tapped its fourth editor in three years, Russ Stanton, who formerly served as the The Times’ innovation editor. Jack Klunder was named president, Los Angeles Times Newspaper, a new position. He will be in charge of The Times’ core print business. And Bob Bellack is the new president, development and digital media. He will oversee acquisitions, partnerships and new mobile and digital growth efforts. Earlier this week, it was announced that up to 150 jobs would be cut from the Los Angeles Times Media Group.
Also Thursday, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller told his staff that about 100 of 1,332 newsroom jobs would be eliminated through buyouts, leaving unfilled positions vacant and eventually layoffs as needed. The Times has the largest newsroom head count of any of its peers, and has so far avoided any large-scale cuts, but the economic pressures facing the industry in general and the Times in particular are now taking their toll. — A.W.
HEADING WEST: Glamour’s expanded coverage of women in Hollywood needed an editor based out West with the connections and experience to attract celebrities to the magazine. So Glamour tapped James Patrick Herman, In Style’s senior entertainment editor, to join the magazine as senior West Coast editor. The position marks the first time Glamour has had a full-time editor based in Los Angeles. Herman will be responsible for wrangling celebrities for covers and help to expand the magazine’s events on the West Coast. He takes his new position March 10 and will relocate to Los Angeles from New York. He will report to Alison Ward Frank, who was promoted to deputy editor, entertainment, from entertainment director. Herman spent nine years at In Style covering parties for the magazine and editing celebrity features and cover stories. Prior to In Style, Herman worked for Elle as music editor from 1993 to 1999. A replacement for Herman at In Style has not yet been named. — S.D.S.
EXECUTIVE MOVES: Maria Padova will become publisher of Life & Style as of Feb. 25. Padova joins the magazine from Wenner Media, where she was advertising director of Us Weekly, and has worked at Redbook, Town & Country and Modern Bride.
Another publisher on the move is Cosmogirl’s founding publisher Kristine Welker, who was named vice president of sales and marketing for Hearst Magazines Digital Media. She will report to Chuck Cordray, vice president and general manager of the media group. Welker replaces Pamela Raley, who is leaving the company. Also at Hearst, Christine Demetres is the new design director of Cosmogirl magazine. She replaces Kristin Fitzpatrick, who moved to Marie Claire in the same position. Prior to Cosmogirl, Demetres was the senior associate art director of Allure.
And, over at Time Inc., Real Simple scored a coup in the perennial personnel back-and-forth between that magazine and the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. titles, scoring Allie Lewis Clapp. Formerly deputy food editor of Everyday Food, she’ll run Real Simple’s food department. Clapp is also recognizable from her co-hosting duties on the PBS series “Everyday Food” and appearances on the “Martha Stewart Show” and the “Today” show. — S.D.S.