WELL RED: Vogue’s creative director, Grace Coddington, continues to win far more than 15 minutes of fame for her scene-stealing turn in “The September Issue,” the documentary film about the magazine that premiered earlier this week. The September issue of French Vogue, arriving on newsstands Monday, devotes four pages to the flame-haired editor, including one devoted to tear sheets from her modeling days. The accompanying two-page article delves into her sometimes-prickly relationship with editor in chief Anna Wintour and contains this zinger: “Anna and I, we’ve known each other a long time.…We have a real mutual respect for each other, even though sometimes I feel like killing her.” It’s a sentiment Coddington also expresses in the documentary.
The French Vogue piece follows an article in the fall 2009 issue of T magazine, in which Coddington confesses she slyly used filmmaker R.J. Cutler’s crew for espionage purposes. “They were following Anna in the art department, listening to her reaction to my pictures. So I would ask them, ‘What did she say? Did she like them?’” As for stealing Wintour’s thunder, Coddington demurred: “It wasn’t intentional.” — Miles Socha
This story first appeared in the August 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
COMEBACK — SORT OF: Sundance is reviving the “Full Frontal Fashion” brand to encompass a blitz of fashion programming pegged to New York Fashion Week.
The original “Full Frontal Fashion” television show was discontinued in January amid disputes at parent company Rainbow Media Holdings, a Cablevision subsidiary that also owns Sundance. But the show isn’t coming back per se — “We don’t necessarily think that shooting runway shows is a very Sundance way to do it,” said Sundance general manager Sarah Barnett delicately — but a mix of television programming and Web content, much of it original, will fall under its umbrella.
Barnett said that when it comes to fashion, Sundance is most interested in showing the creative process. “For us, it’s not about the trendy — it’s just about this dramatic, entertaining and, above all, creative perspective,” she said.
The four-part “The Day Before” series is the centerpiece of the TV effort. Director Loïc Prigent, whose previous credits include “Signé Chanel” and a 2007 feature on Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, follows four designers in the manic 36 hours preceding their shows. Shooting over the past year, Prigent captured Sonia Rykiel’s 40th anniversary celebration and Jean Paul Gaultier’s haute couture show in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld’s fall 2009 Fendi show in Milan and Proenza Schouler’s fall 2009 collection in New York.
Perhaps an even more ambitious aspect is the Web site, which launches Sept. 1 on Sundance’s own site and will stand alone by spring fashion week, with continuous original content even between seasons. There, Patrick McMullan will file video reports and a photo diary from the collections, alongside contributors such as Lynn Yaeger, former Teen Vogue and Nylon fashion editor Aya Kanai and Robin Sayers, editor at large for the Los Angeles Times magazine. The site also will feature a video and photo exhibition of the work of Bruce Weber.
Also making its debut during the week is “Somebody Told Me About…Carla Bruni,” directed by George Scott, who appears to have had significant access to France’s first lady at home and in the recording studio. The channel will round out the offerings with the documentaries “Seamless,” “Lagerfeld Confidential” and “Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House,” among others.
Sponsorships for the programming are forthcoming, said Barnett, but she was unable to name them as of yet.— Irin Carmon
PAPER’S BIRTHDAY: Paper magazine is marking its 25th anniversary next month — and it includes a rise of 4 percent in ad pages at a time when many other titles are reporting declines. New advertisers in the issue include Chanel, Nicole Miller, Intermix, CW Television, Morgans Hotel Group, Liz Claiborne and Showtime.
“We started as an indie business in a recession and we are celebrating our 25th anniversary, still independent, in tough economic times,” said David Hershkovits, co-founder, publisher and editor. He added the company has evolved and expanded, from just a publishing business to now being in the “content business.” “We have Buzzeteria — our online network, which includes papermag.com — and our marketing division, Extra Extra, which does larger programs for blue-chip companies like Target, Sony and Absolut,” he said.
Paper’s new issue also ushers in a top-to-bottom redesign, including a new logo from design director Andrea Fella. Publisher, editor and co-founder Kim Hastreiter said five different covers will be available on newsstands beginning Monday, each featuring five 25-year-olds, such as Mamie Gummer, Alexa Chung, Lydia Hearst, Zoe Kazan and Jessica White.
LeSportsac has created a limited edition tote for Paper that will retail in stores for $58, and the magazine is teaming up with HP (which is marking 25 years of the ink-jet printer) for an anniversary celebration at the New York Public Library on Sept. 8, to kick off fashion week.
— Amy Wicks
WENDA’S LATEST GIG: Wenda Harris Millard, president of Media Link, has been tapped to manage the day-to-day sales organization at MySpace. Millard will not become an employee of MySpace; her firm has been hired by MySpace, in part, to provide guidance on reconfiguring its ad products. Meanwhile, Jeff Berman, head of ad sales at MySpace, is stepping down “to explore other opportunities,” said chief executive Owen Van Natta in a blog post. Earlier this week, MySpace acquired iLike, a social music site.
MEET THE BEAST: The Daily Beast is still aggressively staffing up, now adding Newsweek deputy editor Tom Watson to the roster in the same capacity. Watson spent eight years at Newsweek, including as national affairs editor and managing editor of the Web site. “I hear the future of journalism might be moving in this direction,” he joked to WWD, adding he was eager to tackle the “cutting-edge problem of how to do compelling journalism on the Web and make a business out of it. I’m rooting for my colleagues at Newsweek, but the long-term arc of the print magazine business is challenged.”
It’s also something of a Tina Brown reunion for Watson, who was a founding editor at Talk a decade ago. Fellow Talk alums Gerald Posner and Gabe Doppelt also recently joined The Daily Beast, as chief investigative reporter and West Coast bureau chief, respectively. Watson starts Aug. 31.
MONEY TALKS: Rupert Murdoch is clearly serious about making readers pay for their news. On Thursday, the Murdoch-owned News International said it had begun a 30-day consultation period with 60 staff on the proposed closure of The London Paper, the free evening tabloid the company launched in 2006. During consultation periods, U.K. employers talk to staff and unions about proposed job cuts.
James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. in Europe and Asia, said, “The performance of the business in a difficult free evening newspaper sector has fallen short of expectations. We have taken a tough decision that reflects our priorities as a business.”
He added the proposed closure reflects the company’s aim to “streamline our operations and focus investment on our core titles.”
News International said The London Paper recorded a pretax loss of 12.9 million pounds, or $21.2 million, in the year ended June 2008, and turnover of 14.1 million pounds, or $23.2 million, during the period. The company will continue to publish the paper during the consultation period.
The paper, which focuses on news, celebrity gossip and events in London, is distributed free during the week by staff near London Underground stations. It recorded a circulation of 500,348 in July. The title competes with London Lite, a free paper owned by Associated Newspapers, the Daily Mail’s publisher, which also launched in 2006. London Lite recorded a circulation of 400,347 for July, according to the U.K.’s Audit Bureau of Circulations.
— Nina Jones
MORE AVEDON: The International Center of Photography in New York has extended its “Avedon Fashion” exhibition through Sept. 20 and also is planning an “Avedon and Fashion” panel for Sept. 10. Harold Koda, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; China Machado, Richard Avedon’s Sixties model, and photographer Lizzie Himmel will talk about the changing paradigm of fashion with ICP curators Carol Squiers and Vince Aletti. The event will be held in the HBO auditorium at 1100 Sixth Avenue, at 7 p.m.
FUN AND GAMES: HSN’s iPhone app is more playful than most. You can watch HSNtv live and play a slot machine-type game. Shake the iPod to spin the machine. If the right discount coupons line up, you can win as much as $100 off your next purchase. If not, at least you’ve looked at a whole bunch of products.
“This gives us the ability to be anywhere our customer is,” said Brian Bradley, executive vice president and general manager of HSN Online & Advanced Services. “We believe with the Apple iPhone, we will see some new customers and probably some younger customers.”
To complete a purchase, iPhone users call HSN or access the Web site. The retailer plans to introduce shopping on the mobile Web later.
“Our customers who shop multiple channels — TV and Web — are without a doubt our best customers,” he said.
— Cate T. Corcoran
CRASH BOOM: Motion comics, cell phone comics and scented comics are sure to come, but Wednesday’s “Comics: From Every Angle” discussion in Bryant Park focused mostly on the here and now. Chip Kidd, the creative force behind “Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan,” said comics need to be viewed as a genre as opposed to being a medium. “It’s like saying, ‘Let’s do a panel on movies.’ Uh, don’t you think we ought to narrow it down a little? Not that I have a problem with this panel,” he said with a laugh.
Panelists, which also included Marvel Comics’ editor in chief Joe Quesada, artist and illustrator David Mazzucchelli, blogger Heidi MacDonald and moderator Danny Fingeroth, Superhero Comics writer and editor, agreed that comics should no longer be lumped together in one category, whether they be superheroes, indie, “Naruto,” manga, graphic novels or anything else. Quesada said giving artists and illustrators the respect they deserve helped his company go from “bankruptcy to resurgence.” He said, “My job is just to get out of the way and let people do what they do.”
Producing movies such as “Iron Man” and its sequel, which is in development, as well as dropping 80 to 90 comic books a month and having a digital strategy helps his cause, too. Surprisingly, Quesada said he is confident that paper comic books will be around for the next 10 years.
MacDonald said, “I like to say, ‘Comics are kind of too small to fail.’”
Mazzucchelli, whose “Asterior Polyp” topped the bestseller list this week, joked, “A lot of cartoonists and publishers are used to clawing their way out of things. We’re constantly redefining what failure is.”
Each had their own take on how a magic wand or cosmic cube might make the world better with comics. “It would all be drawn by Maurice Sendak,” Mazzucchelli said.
“It would be mandatory to buy them or they would send you to a camp of some kind,” Kidd offered.
“They would come with free shoes,” MacDonald added.
“We would have a world where comic book illustrators were as revered as filmmakers,” Quesada said.
— Rosemary Feitelberg