NOT SO FAST: Though speculation about imminent magazine closures has quieted at Condé Nast Publications now that McKinsey & Co. has finished its consulting duties within 4 Times Square, that doesn’t mean they still couldn’t happen. According to several well-placed insiders, top management is considering closing some titles by the end of the year — a decision that is likely to be finalized after the current sessions on 2010 budgets. In meetings with Condé Nast chief operating officer John Bellando that started last week and are ongoing, editors and publishers are being given their budget targets for 2010 — with most being asked to cut them by an average of 25 percent. Each title also received packets of general cost-cutting recommendations from McKinsey, and now editors and publishers are strategizing about how to meet their new numbers, with everything from employee head count, freelance budgets, publishing schedules, travel and expenses, photo shoots and administrative costs being scrutinized. The process is not simply trimming large salaries from the mastheads — “they’re looking at rebuilding [their budgets] from scratch instead of [just] cutting it from the top,” said one source.
And even once titles submit their cost-cutting plans, sources said, that doesn’t mean all is complete. Top executives at the company could still decide to close titles as opposed to endure budget cuts so extreme that production quality would be jeopardized or advertising and circulation growth would be too difficult. Or, as earlier chatter indicated, management could opt for no closures at all and tough it out until the economy recovers. Regardless, the final plan for 2010 is expected to be decided upon within the next few weeks. A Condé Nast spokeswoman did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
This story first appeared in the September 25, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Stephanie D. Smith
ANOTHER ONE: Bonnie Fuller is staffing up at HollywoodLife.com, poaching Corynne Steindler from The New York Post’s Page Six column. Steindler will join the Web site as senior reporter. She joined Page Six from media and celebrity Web site Jossip.com, and worked for Fuller while she was editorial director at Star. Steindler departs two months after deputy Page Six editor Paula Froelich left the column to pursue writing books; editor Bill Hoffman departed in August.
FULL HOUSE: The Bon Appétit Supper Club and Cafe, which returned this week to a new location on 57th Street, has built quite a following through word of mouth. On Monday, those on lunch break stood in long lines wrapped around the building and the cafe served 730 people, while on Tuesday, 1,100 people stopped by for lunch and saw cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Daniel Boulud.
By night, the supper club is hosting exclusive dinners for clients and celebrities prepared by chefs including Boulud, Nate Appleman and Tom Douglas, with guests such as Clive Owen, Lynn Redgrave, John Stamos and Gina Gershon. Barbara Fairchild, editor in chief, is in town for the week and talked about the similarities between the worlds of fashion and food. “Chefs have signature dishes the way designers showcase signature looks,” she said. “Both need to be cutting edge, colorful and rich.”
— Amy Wicks
THE GREAT OUTDOORS: VF Corp.’s Italian outdoor brand Napapijri and Milan-based publishing house Electa Mondadori have teamed up for a new book called “Commitment, When the World Must Come Together as One,” a selection a photographs of environmental and social philanthropists, including Nelson Mandela, Harvey Milk, Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie. “Napapijri has always been very devoted to raise awareness of environmental and social issues,” explained president of sportswear and contemporary brands at VF International Martino Scabbia Guerrini, at the Napapijri flagship in Milan on Tuesday. According to Scabbia Guerrini, 1 percent of the label’s turnover benefits nonprofit organizations.
“Napapijri is a natural partner for us given its involvement in environmental causes and associations. We hope that ‘Commitment’ helps to raise public awareness,” said Martina Mondadori, the fourth generation of Italy’s Mondadori publishing dynasty and president of Memoria, a marketing firm that oversaw the project.
— Emilie Marsh