MONEY CROWD: French luxury titans Bernard Arnault and François Pinault are together at last — on the cover of this week’s issue of French business magazine Challenges. Its annual ranking of the country’s biggest fortunes put Arnault (14.58 billion euros) in second place, under Gérard Mulliez, founder of supermarket giant Auchan (15 billion euros). L’Oréal shareholder Liliane Bettencourt comes in third (10.07 billion euros), the Hermès family in fourth (7.68 billion euros) and Pinault in sixth (4.95 billion euros). Also making the top 10 is Alain Wertheimer and family, owner of Chanel, at No. 10 (3.5 billion euros).
Meanwhile, the cover points to a four-page article inside describing the recent détente between Arnault and Pinault, with the war over Gucci well behind them. It credits Arnault’s wife, Hélène, for taking the first steps to break the ice, warmly embracing Pinault’s wife, Maryvonne, at a charity event last November. Since then, the two men had lunch at the invitation of Belgian financier Albert Frère, as reported. The article also says the Arnaults invited the Pinaults to dinner on May 26, but the possible topics for conversation — art, football, wine, fashion? — are pure speculation.
— Miles Socha
HIS FAVORITE THINGS: Music, wine and song were in the air at Vanity Fair’s 4 Times Square offices Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Graydon Carter’s 60th birthday. Vanity Fair deputy editor and classically trained pianist Doug Stumpf played “My Favorite Things” on an electric keyboard, while staffers sang lyrics written by contributing editor David Kamp, “My Graydonish Things.” Lyrics included: “Mid-cent’ry modern and books by O’Hara/ Pear liquer poured by Reinaldo Herrera/Mac and cheese garnished with truffle shay-vings/These are a few of my Graydonish Things…” Collegue Matt Tyrnauer hailed Kamp’s songwriting as “charmingly goofy” on his Twitter Tuesday night.
Other gifts Carter received for the big 6-0 included a Risko caricature of himself and a one-star review from the New York Times of his midtown restaurant, The Monkey Bar. The restaurant recently swapped chefs after getting low marks for the food when it first opened. “Frank Bruni’s review in The Times was the perfect nightcap to the perfect birthday,” Carter said.
One of the cheekier ideas, however, didn’t quite work out. A few inspired staffers had called in a seductively tight, beaded sheath dress for a mystery staffer to do a kind of “Happy Birthday Mr. President” number for the celebrating editor in chief. “We called in the dress for Christopher Hitchens,” lamented a Vanity Fair spokeswoman, “but alas it didn’t fit.”
—Stephanie D. Smith
RACY TRACK: Danica Patrick seems as comfortable in an Indy racing suit as a swimsuit these days, given the photo shoots she’s doing for publications such as Sports Illustrated, Shape and, now, Tissot. The Swiss watch brand had Patrick posing in a Norma Kamali swimsuit in the rooftop pool of Soho House in New York City for its new campaign for the Tissot Touch Collection. The campaign will break in the September issue of GQ and run in a future issue of Details. “She is the most googled female athlete and she is really a woman in a man’s world,” said Sharon Buntain, president of Tissot U.S. “She is the face of this collection because she really appeals to both men and women.” She declined to say whether the media buy will be up or down versus last year.
Patrick was as involved as any model would be on the shoot, hiking up her dress to show more leg for photographer James White and creating new poses on the spot. “I love fashion and this is fun for me,” Patrick told WWD. “I like getting done up and showing a different side.” The 27-year-old is also on Twitter and her page is sponsored by Tissot, although Buntain said the brand has no influence over what Patrick writes day to day. “It’s a great way to show my personality, unfiltered and on my terms,” Patrick said. She now has nearly 29,000 followers.
— Amy Wicks
IT’S OK NOW, SPEND: It’s clear retailers need consumers to feel at ease about shopping, but consumers are hard pressed to find emotional comfort from spending money on luxuries in the dismal economy. “Whether you have $10,000, $200, or $1,000, people are sitting on that money, and then looking at it eight ways before they spend it,” said Susan Plagemann, vice president and publisher of Marie Claire. The magazine in September is hoping its booklet, “The New Way to Shop,” will give fashionistas the confidence to start buying again. The booklet will be polybagged with 750,000 subscriber copies of Marie Claire, with 200,000 copies on newsstands beginning Aug. 15. The 100-page mini issue will cover boutiques across the country, including Ikram in Chicago, Heist in Los Angeles and V.O.D. in Dallas, various Web sites, beauty products, accessories and product recommendations from Jason Wu, Elle Macpherson, Tory Burch and Robert Verdi. Marie Claire also tapped buyers at Nordstrom and Sephora to provide their picks for what to buy.
“The New Way to Shop” is the largest special issue that Marie Claire has produced, carrying 40 pages of advertising from J Brand jeans, Bebe, Armani Exchange, Nine West, Calvin Klein Jeans and Mango, among others. TRESemmé bought 15 pages in the issue and is the official beauty sponsor. Marie Claire produced an advertorial for the hair care brand that includes a model showing looks from several up-and-coming designers with different hairstyles and products to match the mood and event. The booklet helped Marie Claire increase its pages for September and into fall: most advertisers bought placement in “The New Way to Shop” in addition to their fall schedules in Marie Claire, albeit for a fraction of the cost of a page in the flagship, given the booklet’s smaller size and distribution. An open page rate for Marie Claire — before any of those pesky discussions over discounts — is $116,740.