BAG SOME ART: Lucky Brand has tapped 77-year-old British pop artist Sir Peter Blake to design imagery for its holiday shopping bags, gift boxes and in-store imagery. Blake, best known for creating the cover art for The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, incorporated a similar collage style into his new work for Lucky Brand. But while the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover featured a salmagundi of celebrities like Mae West, Karl Marx and Bob Dylan, the Lucky Brand bags and boxes depict anonymous characters from previous decades, along with holiday symbols like toys and snowmen. Blake’s new artwork will hit Lucky Brand’s 182 full-price stores in November, while another bag using an existing Blake work, originally created for Coca-Cola, will be in stores this week. “Lucky Brand has always been inspired by Sir Peter’s ties to rock ’n’ roll and his unique aesthetic,” noted Kristin Patrick, vice president of marketing at the Liz Claiborne Inc.-owned label.

— David Lipke

This story first appeared in the October 8, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

DIFFERENT CAMP: The November issue of Vanity Fair includes a meaty excerpt from New York Times mergers and acquisitions reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin’s forthcoming book on the financial meltdown, “Too Big to Fail,” raising a few eyebrows among media insiders. After all, in the past few years The New York Times magazine has launched on its cover books by other Times stars like Nicholas Kristof, Frank Bruni, Edmund Andrews, David Carr, Helene Cooper, Maureen Dowd and Tom Friedman. So why was the Times magazine passed over with this one?

Sorkin told WWD Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter had been interested in a book excerpt “long before it was ever finished. I’ve always admired the magazine and thought it would make a nice home for this long-form excerpt. The Times, which was incredible to me throughout the book writing process, was gracious enough to allow me to have it excerpted there.”

Asked if the Times magazine had even been in the running, Sorkin said he had brought Vanity Fair’s request to the Times, per paper policy, “very early on in the process,” adding, “The paper then gave me permission to have VF publish the first serial with the possibility that we — The Times — may publish other parts of the book in the paper later, which we’re still hoping to do.” “Too Big to Fail” will be released by Viking on Oct. 20.

— Irin Carmon

DRESSING UP THE CLOSETS: Show homes are usually designed to show off flooring, fixtures and furniture from home goods makers, but Gilt Groupe is showcasing clothing from its Web site through the closets at town houses that are part of Hearst Magazines’ third annual Designer Visions program, where House Beautiful, Veranda and Town & Country have partnered with notable designers to dress a town house at Soho Mews. The theme of this year’s event is “Cinema Style” and Thom Filicia, Richard Mishaan and John Saladino used iconic films to inspire the look for their respective homes. The houses are decorated with sponsors’ wares, from Ralph Lauren Paint to Kohler. Gilt Groupe stocked closets designed by House Beautiful, where the décor is based on “The Big Chill,” and Veranda, which used “Girl with a Pearl Earring” for inspiration (Elie Tahari dressed the closets in the Town & Country space, inspired by “Dinner at Eight”). Each includes clothes, outerwear and accessories that reflect the aesthetic and lifestyle of an archetypal character from each film.

While Gilt Groupe is known more for selling men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, the online retailer is launching a more extensive shelter Web site on Oct. 16. “We wanted to expose Gilt Groupe to people who love decorating houses,” said the site’s chief executive officer Susan Lyne. Since Gilt can promote the brand to readers across three Hearst shelter titles at once, Lyne called the partnership “a no-brainer.” Aside from clothing, Gilt will also stock home accessories, such as jewelry boxes and candles, within the closets. Sadly, none of the items will be for sale; however, visitors can buy an entire town house by working through Corcoran Sunshine Group. For those that can’t make it to SoHo, the showhouses will also be featured in a one-hour program on the Fine Living Network in January and in issues of each magazine throughout the fall.

— Stephanie D. Smith

EXIT STRATEGY: Elizabeth Musmanno, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and communications, has exited Vera Wang after four years. Industry sources said she decided to depart after being passed up for the role of president; Mario Grauso will join the company Oct. 16 in that role. Musmanno declined to comment on her next move, other than to say a statement regarding her plans would be forthcoming.

Musmanno, a former senior executive at Unilever, helped launch Wang’s fragrances. Prior to that, she was based in Paris as the global head of marketing and communications for Christian Dior Couture.

“I have enormous respect for Vera and have had the privilege of working closely with her as she built her company and her brand. Over the last 10 years, we have developed a close personal and professional relationship. At this juncture in my career, I have opted to explore other options,” Musmanno said.

Wang said, “Elizabeth joined us at a pivotal time in the company and we were fortunate to have her as part of the management team. Her expertise in both marketing and communications, domestically and internationally, was instrumental in positioning the company for growth.”

— Rosemary Feitelberg

REAL WOMEN ONLY: Come January, professional models won’t be gracing the editorial pages of Brigitte, Germany’s leading woman’s magazine with an annual circulation of about 720,000. They will also be absent from the Gruner + Jahr magazine’s Web site.

Both prominent and unknown women from all walks of life will be taking the place of the fashion world’s model brigade. With 1,500 pages of fashion, beauty, living and fitness spreads in Brigitte a year, that’s a major switch. And one that sounds like a clever money-saving move in these financially pressed times. However, as editor in chief Andreas Lebert emphasized, the amateurs will be paid “a fee comparable to those of professional models,” nor does Brigitte intend to morph into a magazine for large sizes.

Still, weight was a key issue motivating what Brigitte has called its “revolution.” The magazine said many readers have complained about the use of very thin and increasingly young models, and were finding it increasingly difficult to relate to the women wearing the clothes in the monthly’s fashion spreads. As the “Ohne Models,” or “Without Models,” initiative page on Brigitte’s Web site put it, “In future, we want to show fashion and beauty on women who aren’t subject to the often perverse rules of the model business.” The new nonmodels will be cast by the Brigitte production team, and can also apply on its Web site.

— Melissa Drier


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