WALTER’S WORLD: Pringle of Scotland has snagged Walter Pfeiffer, the Swiss art photographer, for its spring campaign, a romp at the restored Art Nouveau hotel near Saint Moritz called the Kurhaus Bergun. Pfeiffer, who rarely does commercial work, said he took the job because“pretty boys and girls in cashmere are a combination made in heaven,” adding, “I always want to see new things.”
The campaign features the Scottish model Freya Mavor, who stars in the British teen drama “Skins,” and will break in the February issues of Tatler, Wallpaper and Another Magazine, and in the March issues of W and Vogue. It will also appear in the online editions of Elle Magazine and The New York Times. Benoit Duverger, Pringle’s director of global communications, said this is the first time the brand — which last year launched e-commerce — has split its ad budget evenly between print and online.
As for Pringle’s choice of Pfeiffer, Duverger said: “We didn’t want a commercial photographer, and we wanted someone who was respected in the editorial and art worlds.” Previously, Pringle has worked with the photographer Ryan McGinley. Pfeiffer has also produced a short film for Pringle that will make its debut in Milan later this month during the men’s wear shows. The film features the men’s fall collection, and was shot in the Albula Pass in the Swiss Alps.
— Samantha Conti
NEW TEAM: Could Balenciaga be back on the New York runway one day? Why not, said Nicolas Ghesquière, who has tapped Katherine Ross as his new consultant for the U.S., an important market for the French house. Moreover, Ghesquière plans to partner with Ross — known for her brainy approach and art-world ties during stints at Prada and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — to develop a communications strategy to match Balenciaga’s experimental and innovative bent.
“I’m questioning if there is a new way of communicating about a fashion brand,” the designer told WWD. “It could be an art proposal, it could be a movie. [The scope] is very open, very large.”
Ghesquière stressed he and Ross have no concrete plan yet, and for the moment he’ll guard his spot on the Paris show calendar. But he said he would likely ramp up his and Balenciaga’s visibility in America via events and special projects that could have artistic or historical bents.
He said he first met Ross on a Steven Meisel shoot during her Prada days and was struck by her charisma, elegance and broad-screen perspective.
Balenciaga president and chief executive officer Isabelle Guichot said the brand would benefit from Ross’ “exceptional track record in the luxury industry and her sensibility in ensuring the consistency of our brand’s expression in the USA.”
For her part, Ross said, “Balenciaga is poised for significant growth and increased recognition in the U.S.”
As part of its global retail expansion, the brand has opened boutiques in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., in the last few years. Ghesquière said he continues to scout new boutique locations on a worldwide basis, including a second site in Manhattan.
Balenciaga appointed an in-house U.S. press officer, Cynthia Leung, last June after severing ties with PR Consulting, the Pierre Rougier-led firm that had handled Balenciaga’s public relations for a dozen years.
— Miles Socha
NEW YEAR’S RETURN?: Publishers in the hallways of Condé Nast might be a bit gloomy these days given that Revlon is said to have pulled its ad spend from the publisher’s titles. But they may be about to get a New Year’s treat: Revlon is said to be reevaluating the situation, and could return at least some of those pages to 4 Times Square.
The beauty firm previously chose five magazines to invest most of its ad dollars into this year: Elle, Cosmopolitan, People StyleWatch, Shape and People — although additional titles might have gotten pages here and there due to product launches. Now Revlon is reviewing its spending although it, like many other beauty firms, also is cutting back on print to focus more on social media. Condé’s lost pages are said to be worth up to $10 million.
Revlon officials could not be reached for comment, while a Condé Nast spokeswoman declined comment beyond saying the company’s titles will carry some Revlon ads in 2011.
— Amy Wicks
ELLE ON EARTH: French conglomerate Lagardère’s sale of its international magazine business could well be a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it. That was the impression, at least, after chief executive officer Arnaud Lagardère said in an interview published on Thursday that he planned to not only retain ownership of the French edition of Elle magazine, the group’s crown jewel, but also keep licenses for 25 of the magazine’s 43 international editions. Hearst Magazines on Monday confirmed it has entered into a period of exclusive negotiations with Lagardère to acquire a majority of its global magazine portfolio.
A spokesman for Lagardère, Ramzi Khiroun, declined to confirm the comments attributed to Lagardère in French daily Le Figaro. “I confirm that Mr. Arnaud Lagardère granted an interview published this morning,” he said in response to requests for confirmation and clarification. Lagardère was quoted as telling the paper he expected to strike a “master license” agreement with Hearst, similar to arrangements Hearst has for publishing other magazines, like O, The Oprah Magazine. Strategic decisions regarding Elle for those countries that would be controlled by Hearst in future will be taken in close cooperation with Lagardère, and the magazines would continue to share content across borders, the ceo added. Khiroun also declined to comment on whether the proviso risked jeopardizing the negotiations. The two companies have given themselves until Jan. 30 to negotiate the sale in an all-cash transaction.
— Joelle Diderich
MOVING IN: “I’ve unloaded my busts,” said former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham Thursday morning over the phone from his new office on the 22nd floor of the Random House Tower on 56th Street and Broadway. “I found a place for LBJ, Lincoln and George Herbert Walker Bush. So, that’s a victory.”
This week, Meacham reported to his new role in the book world — his first day job since he left the weekly magazine in August.“It’s quieter, let me just put it that way,” he said.
After spending the morning and early afternoon in the office on Thursday, he walked 12 blocks over to the PBS studios in Lincoln Center to record his Friday night television show, “Need to Know.” Meacham’s arrangement with Random House has him in the office three or four days a week. He described his first days as “a lot of flirtation and first dates” with potential authors and his new co-workers; weekends are for work on his single-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, which will be published by Random House in fall 2012.
He said it was nice to slow down from the pace of editing a weekly. “I was at Newsweek for a long time and I’m still unwinding a bit,” he said.
As executive editor and executive vice president at Random House, Meacham will split his time in the office acquiring and editing roughly three books a year and helping to steer the company’s growth in the e-book market. “This is a great place for me to be right now,” he said. “When we were talking about it I kept trying to find a downside and I couldn’t. I looked hard, believe me.
“Digitally the definition of a book is going to expand, and that’s exciting,” he continued. “Who wouldn’t want that? I also think that there are people who want to read books. I know I do.”
Asked how closely he was following all the new hires at the magazine — for instance, had he caught wind of Newsweek’s new interim creative director from Time? — Meacham said, “Oh, who’d they hire?.…Arthur Hochstein. That’s interesting. Good for them. That’s interesting, that’s interesting. As you can tell, [I’m] not [following] very [closely]. Again, nobody’s rooting harder than I am.”
— Zeke Turner