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OUTSIDE THE BOX: Few campaigns have been as anticipated this season as Marc Jacobs’ starring Victoria Beckham. The first image, which broke in the February issue of W, partially let the cat out of the bag — it shows a giant Marc Jacobs shopping bag with Beckham’s legs peeking out, with no signs of her much-photographed face.

“There was a lot of discussion about Victoria being in our ads and tons of blogs on the Internet about ‘Should she or shouldn’t she?,’ ‘What’s going on with Marc Jacobs?,’ and ‘Has he lost his mind?’,” Jacobs explained. “We thought the funniest thing would be to show the Victoria Beckham ads that don’t show Victoria Beckham, but just to see those legs coming out of the bag.”

This story first appeared in the January 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Those who think they were duped after all that buzz shouldn’t worry: there are many more images on their way, in February issues of Vogue and Interview.

In the Juergen Teller photos slated to appear in fashion books over the next few months, Beckham is popping her head out of the shopping bag, stepping out of a gift box, or simply posing with her best signature pout.

“The images are humorous and ironic,” Beckham said. “You can’t be afraid to experiment with fashion, especially when working with Marc and Juergen — you have to push the envelope and show a different side.

“Marc is a genius,” she added. “I completely trusted his vision and the opportunity to work with Juergen again after so many years was a privilege.”

Jacobs recalled his first meeting with Posh — a fashion designer herself — in her hotel room at the Ritz in Paris. “I told her, ‘People will think it’s an odd choice for me to have made, and people will think it’s odd for you to do. I mean, you’re not really my girl,’ although I never think that I have one,” he said.

“And I said, ‘I like the idea of you being this product, and you being this product that Marc Jacobs producing, like a doll or something,” he added. “I explained it to Juergen and he made the big shopping bag and a big box and had Victoria dressed in our clothes.”

And Jacobs couldn’t care less that his muse just topped Mr. Blackwell’s worst-dressed list.

“Mr. Blackwell to me is this fictitious thing,” he said. “I know there is a Mr. Blackwell, but it means absolutely nothing to me. It’s like saying, ‘What do you think of Santa Claus’ list? I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was a little kid. The idea of best-dressed and worst-dressed is so subjective. To me, the best-dressed people are the ones happiest with the way they look and how much they enjoy getting dressed. I am sure there are people on that list that have appalling taste, but it doesn’t matter if it makes them happy.”

Plus, he added, “Getting attention for being well-dressed or poorly dressed is great, because it is attention.”

As for Beckham, she was hard-pressed to pick a favorite image from the campaign.

“Truth be told, I love them all,” she said. “If I have to pick favorites, it’s the package series: me coming out of the box in the gray knit dress shot with the hat, as well as the image of the oversize shopping bag. Certainly, if you can’t get locked inside a Marc Jacobs store, then trapped inside a Marc bag has got to be the next best thing.” — Marc Karimzadeh

IS SHE GONE?: Note to cubicle dwellers who love to take extended vacations: stay away from your desk too long and coworkers might assume you’ve quit. That’s what happened to Interview editor in chief Ingrid Sischy when reported Thursday afternoon that she was leaving the magazine. An Interview spokeswoman immediately — and vehemently — denied it, saying Sischy actually is on her annual vacation with Elton John in South Africa. Sischy is expected back in Interview’s SoHo offices on Monday. Gawker posted a retraction two hours later.

The rumor swirled as Interview’s parent company, Brant Publications, also publisher of Art + Antiques, Art in America and The Magazine Antiques, is looking for a buyer. The company, owned equally by president and chief executive officer Sandra Brant and her former husband, chairman Peter Brant, have been looking for strategic alternatives with investment firm Allen & Co. for the past 18 months. Talks are said to be continuing with potential buyers, though most believe Sischy’s attachment to the magazine­ — her Rolodex and relationships with celebrities begets its content — is part of the brand’s appeal to a potential buyer.
— Stephanie D. Smith

MARTHA KEEPS REDECORATING: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. had its highest-level shake-up yet on Thursday morning after several rounds of incremental layoffs and reorganization, as well as the closing of Blueprint magazine in December. Executive vice president and editorial director Margaret Roach was named a senior consultant to the company’s Web properties, prompting speculation about her future at the company after over a decade there. (A year ago, former Culture & Travel editor Michael Boodro was brought in to edit Living, the flagship, under Roach.)

“[Roach’s] talent and knowledge will continue to be tremendous assets to the Internet group,” said an internal memo from MSLO chief executive officer Susan Lyne and president of media Wenda Millard, which added, “This is not the first time that Margaret has stepped in to help guide In her earlier years at the company, she oversaw the Internet group. We’re grateful to have her once again diving into the digital space, and we are confident that she will continue to lift us in her new capacity.”

It’s been a rocky week for the company which, in addition to Tuesday’s layoffs, has been reorganizing offices in its two locations: Weddings magazine is said to be moving out of the 42nd Street location to the Starrett-Lehigh offices in Chelsea, though it could not be confirmed by press time, and the three ex-Blueprint staffers in Chelsea who now work for Living may be moving uptown.

Some employees believe the most recent cuts were made to make room for longtime company hands who lost their jobs at Blueprint; word was that Robb Riedel’s special issues and books position would be filled by ex-Blueprint associate managing editor Sarah Rutledge, and that Blueprint designers were moved to the Weddings art department.

Meanwhile, plans for a test launch of a magazine aimed at older women with the working title M appear to be on hold for now, though Weddings will expand its frequency with destination wedding or travel issues.

The company is clearly facing tough decisions: its stock price has been suffering, closing at $6.58 on Thursday after weeks of trending downward. — Irin Carmon

BIG NAMES FOR A FAREWELL BOW: For the final ad campaign to be published before Valentino retires, the brand tapped a top model duo of the Nineties — Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow — as well as Raquel Zimmermann, Anja Rubik, Michael Gandolfi and Oriol Elcacho. Harper’s Bazaar editor at large Brana Wolf styled the colorful campaign, shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin at a private home in Los Angeles. Raul Martinez, chief executive officer and executive creative director at AR, said the campaign was shot in L.A. because of the connection Valentino has had with Hollywood throughout his 40-year career. “I think one of the key pieces that we were striving for with this campaign was to make the Valentino woman feel more grounded, still stylized but not totally untouchable,” Martinez said. “You still feel the glamour that is the Valentino brand, but it’s done in a more contemporary way.” The campaign breaks in the February issue of Vanity Fair. — Amy Wicks

PROM KING: Gilles Mendel has a reputation for polished romance and elegance, but what does he know about prom night in New Jersey on Bravo’s hit reality series “Project Runway”? Although Betsey Johnson or Jessica McClintock might have been more obvious choices to kvetch about a prom dress challenge alongside judges Nina Garcia, Michael Kors and Heidi Klum, it was the reserved Mendel who was in the hot seat on Wednesday’s episode, which found the wannabe designers laboring over special-occasion frocks for nine New Jersey teenagers from St. John Vianney High School. (Before they could make off with their custom duds, the teens had to endure a runway march and heated critique, which felled at least one girl, who fainted due to the combination of intense heat and high heels — a bit of drama that was edited out.)

As for Mendel, he admitted he never attended prom growing up in Paris. “In France, we have debutante balls, which are more my idea of proms,” he told WWD Thursday in between fittings for his fall runway show. “But I have a daughter who is almost 16, so I’m getting to know proms pretty well.” Mendel said his guest-judging appearance on the Klum-helmed show was an easy transition since he’s known and dressed the model for some time. “When she started the show, she always mentioned that one day I should come over and be a judge,” he said. “I was very excited because I think the show is a lot of fun….I like the [premise] of challenging young kids to make a product in such a short period of time.” Short, too, was the amount of time Mendel spent filming the episode — roughly three hours, from hair and makeup (“a little touch up,” he assured) to the announcement of the challenge winner (an azure halter number by Victorya Hong, one of Mendel’s favorite contestants) and loser.

As to whether there were any future, say, Gilles Mendels in the fourth-season pack of “Project Runway” contestants, the designer explained, “Overall, I think they were quite talented and the dresses that I saw were pretty…” He paused. “…OK….The authority of a TV show might not be good enough at the end to make a successful fashion house. That’s a different ball game.” — Nick Axelrod

Annemarie Iverson has returned to the halls of Hearst Magazines. The former editor of YM and Seventeen is filling in for Alexandra Parnass, beauty director, who is on maternity leave. Iverson was the beauty and fashion news director of Harper’s Bazaar in the Nineties before rising to editor in chief of YM and later Seventeen when it was owned by Primedia. Iverson’s position is a temporary one until Parnass returns. — S.D.S.

Kate Moss reportedly banked nearly $10 million last year and she is showing no signs of easing up. Being the face of Yves Saint Laurent isn’t enough for her new year — Moss has shot Longchamp’s spring campaign with Mario Sorrenti. The duo have paired up for the fifth consecutive season, with the Brooklyn Bridge and towering skyscrapers of southern Manhattan providing the backdrops for the new Eighties-inspired ads. If last year’s earnings are any indication, luxury campaigns are incidental for the resilient supermodel. Nearly $4.3 million of last year’s payout was said to come from her Topshop deal, $3.2 million stemmed from her affiliation with the fashion label Skate, and modeling contracts kicked in the rest.
— Rosemary Feitelberg

The spring Y-3 campaign was inspired by the video aesthetic of the Eighties, with its grainy quality, movement and action. But behind the scenes virtually everything other aspect of the campaign is new to the brand, according to a spokeswoman. Craig McDean photographed four models in color — a departure from the black-and-white images of past seasons — to be reminiscent of still frame movie shots off a VHS tape. Also new for spring, Vogue contributing editor Tabitha Simmons styled the campaign, which was art directed by Doug Lloyd of Lloyd & Co. The ads will break in the March and April issues of Vogue, Vogue Paris, L’Uomo Vogue and Vanity Fair Germany, among others. — A.W.

OVER TO THEM: Holly Carter has left her job as beauty director at OK! for People StyleWatch, where she is the new beauty editor. She replaces Elizabeth Lamont, who departed last month to have a baby. Carter has also worked as senior editor at American Salon magazine and as a contributing freelance writer for GQ, Essence and Suede magazines. People StyleWatch, which publishes 10 times a year, will have a new issue on newsstands Jan. 18. — A.W.

ON THE LIST: Charla Krupp, the former executive editor of Shop Etc. and current fashion columnist for More, will soon add New York Times best-selling author to her résumé. Krupp’s book, “How Not to Look Old,” which was published Jan. 2, will debut at number eight on The New York Times Best-Seller List for advice-how-to hardcover non-fiction. — A.W.

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