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FAR AND AWAY: Those who ever wondered about Tommy Hilfiger’s favorite eatery in the world (Bukhara in New Delhi), Diane von Furstenberg’s airline of choice (Air France) or Simon Spurr’s go-to hotel (The Dylan in Amsterdam) should look no further than the latest Council of Fashion Designers of America’s book by Assouline. “American Fashion Travel: Designers of the Go” gives readers an insider view into the travel preferences of CFDA members, and from Donna Karan to Elie Tahari and Francisco Costa, the designers have supplied travel photos and other mementos to illustrate their lists. The foreword of the $45 book, which hits stores May 15, is written by von Furstenberg, which makes sense, considering that she is one of the more globe-trotting American designers. The CFDA president has a good piece of advice for those who can only dream about far-flung destinations. “Reading is another way to travel, to discover,” she said in the foreword. “Within a book’s pages is the opportunity to take a trip, one that can be further informed by maps.” It seems like she already has a book in mind that fits the bill.
— MARC KARIMZADEH
This story first appeared in the April 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WHAT A WRITE-AROUND: Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson did not agree to an interview for a profile written about him that is published in this week’s New Yorker. The magazine’s media writer Ken Auletta also was denied interviews with Rupert Murdoch and Dow Jones chief executive officer Les Hinton. In the piece, Auletta writes that Murdoch has long harbored a grudge toward him because of a 1995 New Yorker profile that was fairly critical of the media titan’s type of journalism. Among other things, in the ’95 piece Auletta referred to Murdoch as “coldly amoral” and a publisher who “has rarely elevated taste or journalism.”
“To advisers and friends, Murdoch makes plain that he remains angry,” Auletta writes in the Thomson profile. “Whether following instructions or not, Thomson declined to cooperate.”
Auletta writes Thomson’s absence into the piece and describes the Journal editor — who will be three years into the job next month — as someone who “likes to remain slightly hidden.” Auletta describes Thomson’s incredibly close relationship to the News Corp. head — Murdoch is the godfather of Thomson’s two children and both are raising their youngest children as Catholics — and the piece is headlined “Murdoch’s Best Friend.” (Wonder how Fox News president Roger Ailes will feel about that.)
Auletta also details how morale at the Journal newsroom is improving after a few rough years of change under the Thomson and Murdoch regime. Several editors — deputy managing editor Alan Murray, economics editor David Wessel and Washington bureau chief Gerald Seib — all come to bat in enthusiastic support of their leaders.
“Rupert Murdoch just turned 80,” Auletta writes, “and the original newsroom fear — ‘What is Rupert going to do to us?’ — has been supplanted by: ‘What will happen when Rupert Murdoch is gone?’”
— JOHN KOBLIN
OFF THE RECORD, THEN ON: People managing editor Larry Hackett addressed journalism students and interested members of the public — about 35 people all told — for 98 minutes, off the record at his insistence, on Thursday evening at Columbia University. There were free copies of People StyleWatch and People en Español up for grabs at the back of the lecture hall. Hackett was joined by the editors of those titles, Susan Kaufman and Ernesto Sanchez, respectively, and People.com editor Mark Golin on stage.
Afterward, Hackett agreed to chat for a moment on the record. He said the royal wedding is without a doubt the biggest story for him at the moment. “I think as we get into the springtime and people are feeling better, there is great interest in this couple. They’re good-looking. It’s a fairy tale, right?” Hackett said. “He’s a good-looking guy, he’s Diana’s son, she’s adorable, and I think it’s what we do very well.”
Hackett will need some fairy dust to close his issue. The wedding will take place on Friday, April 29, in London, at 5 a.m. New York time, and the magazine closes the following afternoon. If that weren’t tight already, Hackett’s hosting a party for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Friday night. He hopes to be through cover selection before he heads south. “I’m not coming back to New York, but I’ll be in consultation with my guys here,” Hackett said.
He said it has been business as usual in the magazine’s offices since the ouster of Time Inc. chief executive officer Jack Griffin in February. “John [Huey] and Maurice [Edelson] and Howard [Averill] are running things, and it’s been fine,” Hackett said about the company’s interim chief executive triumvirate — cobbled together from Time Inc.’s chief financial officer, editor in chief and general counsel. “The fact of the matter is, many magazines at Time Inc. run themselves — I mean, we’re in the style and entertainment group run by Martha [Nelson]. We know what we want to do for 2011 and, not that Jack disagreed with that, but we’re continuing with that plan.”
Asked if he was invested in who would become the company’s next ceo, Hackett said, “Sure.” And did he think the next ceo will come, like Griffin, from outside Time Inc.? “I don’t know, and I probably wouldn’t tell you,” Hackett said. “Listen, I got to run.”
— Zeke Turner