EXPENSIVE TOYS: A doll for 33,000 euros. But what a doll. Half a meter tall, with a short black bob, black lipstick and an unusually shapely body for high fashion, it was Yves Saint Laurent designer Stefano Pilati’s take on the Russian matryoshka, or nesting doll. Its new owner? Naomi Campbell.
Campbell, Mario Testino, Darya Zhukova, oligarch Alexander Lebedev and others attended Russian Vogue’s 10th anniversary party in Moscow on Thursday. Thirty-one matryoshkas from designers including Versace, Gucci and Ralph Lauren were offered in a charity auction. Crisis or not, they hauled in 706,000 euros.
Giles Deacon presented a doll wearing bondage gear, with “Hellraiser”-style spikes sticking out of its head. Martin Margiela’s abstract design had partygoers cooing: It was simply painted white, with a black streak of paint on its head. Moschino made their matryoshka into a lamp, while Dries Van Noten’s didn’t have a face. The top lot was Russian designer Valentin Yudashkin’s matryoshka, which the organizing auction house bought for $100,000. Camilla Al Fayed picked up Margiela’s doll for 26,000 euros. Mikhail Kusnirovich, who runs the GUM luxury shopping mall, claimed the Oscar de la Renta design for 14,000 euros. The Versace matryoshka went to a mystery buyer for 36,000 euros. “They’re like my 31 children, I feel like I have a huge family,” Alyona Doletskaya, the Givenchy-clad editor of Russian Vogue, beamed as she surveyed the hall.
Organizers excitedly promised a surprise guest, which turned out to be Campbell. Wearing a little black dress and fur from Alexander McQueen, she strode in to flashing cameras holding the hand of her Russian boyfriend, real estate entrepreneur Vladislav Doronin.
Testino’s design for a doll, he said, would probably include nudity. That’s just the kind of guy he is. “Some people say that everyone ends up naked in my pictures, as well.” The financial crisis was a frequent topic of conversation, though being down the road from the Kremlin also seemed to weigh on some guests’ minds. “The matryoshka reminds me of the independent political institutions that are lacking in our country,” said Lebedev, a part-owner of Aeroflot. Attracting almost as many glances as the dolls was the outfit donned by performance artist Andrei Bartenev. Only the outlines of his facial features could be seen through the crimson sheath over his face, and there was a teddy bear hat on his head. He explained: “I wanted to wear something red today.” — Alastair Gee
THEY LOVE LA: Though publishers are turning a worried eye to the luxury advertising sector, the woes of the newspaper industry are older and greater, and newspapers are still looking to their luxury glossies to bring up revenue. The Los Angeles Times’ effort, LA, launched in September with 62 ad pages and has since both upgraded the paper stock (roundly booed at the launch) and found a new publisher. Valarie Anderson, who came from within the paper, was replaced in mid-October by Penn Jones, who worked for many years at Time Inc., with stints at In Style and who was also corporate sales director on the West Coast. He most recently cofounded and ran a media sales firm he started, Virtus.
The November-December issue will have 69 ad pages, following a weaker October with 48 pages, and among the fashion advertisers are Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Fred Leighton and Giorgio Armani. The staff includes creative director Rip Georges, design and culture editor Mayer Rus (formerly of House & Garden) and fashion director Lori Goldstein, who is fitting in her commitments to the magazine with her existing styling career.
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Times said earlier reports in The New York Times and elsewhere that the magazine would be put under the supervision of the business department — which had raised concerns about the magazine becoming a glorified advertorial — were inaccurate, and Jones said there was still separation of church and state. Both Jones and editor Annie Gilbar answer to John O’Loughlin, president of the Targeted Media division that includes Hoy and Times Community Newspapers, whereas the previous version of the Los Angeles Times magazine was overseen by the editor of the newspaper. The September issue carries a disclaimer on the business-side masthead: “LA is published by the magazine staff of the Los Angeles Times and is a separate and independently edited publication from the Los Angeles Times newspaper.” Depending upon whom you ask, moving LA out of the newsroom means either that it’s being put out by people who know how to put out glossies, or that it frees the magazine to put out advertiser-friendly (if not advertiser-dictated) content without compromising the newsroom’s standards.
The Times plans to publish 11 issues next year. — Irin Carmon
PACO’S WOMEN: The lighter side of Paco Underhill, the keen-eyed, ironic critic of the shopping scene, will be on display in his forthcoming Simon & Schuster book, whose working title is “The Female Factor: The Worship of Goddesses.” Underhill, whose name was often on the lips of fashion marketers following the 1999 publication of his book “Why We Buy,” believes women’s growing economic and social influence on spending makes the time right for another look at catalysts for consumer purchases. “It’s meant as a humorous look at an uncomfortable subject — how the status of women is changing the world we live in,” said the author, who is also managing director of consultant Envirosell.
The “Female Factor’s” narrative will examine the influence of women on a range of purchases, Underhill noted, like fashion, houses and hotel bookings, to name a few. Alice Mayhew — the Simon & Schuster editor who brought the feminist volume “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to the commercial marketplace in 1973 — acquired “The Female Factor.” Underhill anticipates it will be published by the house next fall or in spring 2010. Also in the hopper is a new edition of “Why We Buy,” which the author says he has “entirely rewritten” for a global economy, one increasingly shaped in cyberspace. Due out in January, Simon & Schuster says the updated version will evaluate what leading online shops such as Amazon.com and iTunes are doing right, doing wrong or could be doing better, and will review extraordinary shopping environments, from a South African mall with a wave pool for surfing to an indoor ski slope intended to draw people to a mall in Dubai. — Valerie Seckler