SEEKING SHELTER: The Hearst Corp. has pulled the plug on Chic Simple after polybagging its two test issues with the company’s other women’s titles.
This story first appeared in the April 15, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A catalog-ey, neo-shelter title, Chic Simple was the subject of great fanfare because its editors, Kim Johnson Gross and Jeff Stone, had worked extensively on the front-of-the-book shopping section of In Style, as well as a series of books that have been described as style for dummies. They had also penned a column for In Style.
“Working with Hearst was a good experience for both of us,” said Stone on Monday. “You need to go through those things to have clarity and we’re excited about the next stage,” which he declined to comment on, aside from saying that he has not given up plans for launching a magazine.
“They do well with what they do, we do well with what we do,” Stone said. “It doesn’t mean we do it well together.”
Hearst’s decision not to go forward with the title comes shortly after it folded Victoria, one of its other existing shelter titles. Another, House Beautiful, is being remade under new editor Mark Mayfield, who was brought in last summer to succeed Marian McEvoy. — Jacob Bernstein
ADULT SUPERVISION: Primedia editorial director Elizabeth Crow is keeping a close eye on Seventeen these days, after a pair of cover snafus caused the company more than a little embarrassment, given that the book is on the block.
Valerie Weaver, a former editor of Self whom Crow has described as her “number two,” is back in Seventeen’s offices three days a week after running the magazine on Crow’s behalf last fall when it was between editors. Weaver stepped in then, after Crow had fired Annemarie Iverson and before she hired current editor Sabrina Weill. Weaver returned in the middle of March with the title of editor-at-large, but her real role, a source close to Seventeen said, is that of Crow’s eyes and ears after the May issue went to press with a highly doctored photo of Sarah Michelle Gellar on the cover.
A week after Weaver reappeared, Weill’s handpicked art director, Marcos Gago, left the company at least in part because of the cover flap. “But [Sabrina] was there, too,” the source said. “What editor doesn’t sign off on her covers? And isn’t Elizabeth Crow signing off on covers these days?” Two issues before the Photoshop follies, there was a snafu of a different sort — in that case, cover subject Kristin Kreuk had her first name spelled “Kristen” on the cover and throughout the issue. And that was after a fact checker actually flagged the typo, the source said.
Weaver’s there to prevent that from happening again, and, the source said, “maybe she could guide a transition team if new owners didn’t like Sabrina.”
A Primedia spokesman confirmed Weaver’s title and Gago’s departure, but said that Seventeen occupied Crow’s attention “no more than usual.”
— Greg Lindsay
PARTING WAYS: The exits keep coming at Harper’s Bazaar. Just weeks after it was learned the magazine’s fashion director Mary Alice Stephenson and publisher Cynthia Lewis would be leaving the magazine, fashion features director Jennifer Jackson Alfano is quitting as well. She’s not headed to a new job, but sources said her resignation was “absolutely” voluntary and had been planned for quite some time. Alfano’s resignation is the fifth major defection at the magazine since January, when accessories director Mimi Shin and celebrity wrangler Allison Oleskey departed.
A Bazaar spokeswoman said Alfano would be moving out of Manhattan and that she would continue to contribute to Bazaar on a freelance basis. In her place, the magazine has promoted fashion writer Kristina Richards O’Neill to fashion features editor. — J.B.
STAFFING UP: GQ editor Jim Nelson has found a replacement for managing editor Martin Beiser, who was fired two weeks ago. His replacement will be Robert Sabat, who had been the deputy editor of Us Weekly for about five months. “He made the trains run on time,” said a Wenner source. No small feat. He starts May 5. — J.B.