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MAN OF LETTERS: A veritable Who’s Who of the fashion and publishing worlds — including Karl Lagerfeld, Stefano Pilati, Alber Elbaz, Nicolas Ghesquière, Franca Sozzani, Carine Roitfeld, Pharrell Williams and Pat McGrath — turned up at Paris’ Bristol hotel Wednesday night to watch Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse be awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters, in English). S.I. Newhouse Jr. and Ronnie Cooke Newhouse were also in attendance, with the latter wearing a customized pink sequined Comme des Garçons dress for the occasion. Before the ceremony, Jonathan Newhouse considered the highs and lows of his career. “I’m not sure what the biggest high has been — maybe this — but the low point had to be when I started out at the Springfield Union News, where one of my jobs was to clean the printers because I was tiny and could crawl inside the machines,” he said. “I had rather long hair at the time and it would get completely soaked in ink.”

Lagerfeld, meanwhile, admitted he is gearing up for a couture shoot (likely starring Devon Aoki) for Numero. For his part, Elbaz said he tries not getting fazed about being among the press’ current darlings: “I always say that I don’t like to be Miss America because for the press, there’s always a new Miss America tomorrow.” — Katya Foreman

This story first appeared in the January 17, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

FROM MAGS TO BOOKS: How challenging is it to follow in the footsteps of legendary book editor and author Michael Korda, who’s worked with everyone from Jacqueline Susann to William Shirer? Former Time editor Priscilla Painton is about to find out. Painton, who spent nearly 20 years at Time and rose to deputy managing editor before departing in December, will become editor in chief of the Simon & Schuster imprint, replacing Korda, who relinquished that title at the end of 2005 and is now editor in chief emeritus. Painton was the highest-ranking woman in Time’s history, whom many believed could have replaced Jim Kelly when he stepped down as the magazine’s managing editor in 2006 (the job went to Richard Stengel). When she revealed she would leave Time in October, she said at the time she wanted to figure out “act two” of her career. “I had been thinking about being 49 and needing to launch a second career,” Painton told WWD on Wednesday. David Rosenthal, executive vice president and publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint, said Painton’s “high-level experience, her sense of story and authorial contacts” made her an ideal fit for the job. Painton will take her new position on March 3. — Stephanie D. Smith

A TIMELY CONTINGENT: Looks like those New Orleans-themed packages in 10 Time Inc. magazines didn’t go unnoticed. The Preservation Resource Center, which works toward the revitalization of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods, is recognizing Time Warner with the first-ever New Orleans Citizenship Award. A cocktail party at Jazz at Lincoln Center tonight will feature Mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as top executives from Time Inc., CNN and HBO. That includes Time Inc. editor in chief John Huey, who took 12 of his managing editors to New Orleans last year, a trip that resulted in numerous magazine packages on the city in time for the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Expected media presence, though, will exceed Time Warner’s stable. The New Yorker’s Paul Goldberger and Calvin Trillin are on board, as well as Columbia School of Journalism dean Nick Lemann, who is a New Orleans native and whose son (with former House & Garden editor in chief Dominique Browning) works at the Preservation Resource Center. Harry Shearer, the voice of Homer on “The Simpsons” and a Huffington Post blogger, will emcee. — Irin Carmon

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