YES, WE…MIGHT?: Could we see Michelle Obama on the cover of Vogue soon after the inauguration of her husband, President-elect Barack Obama? The next first lady appeared on a slew of magazine covers as the presidential race entered its last months. But Vogue has been campaigning for a Michelle Obama cover since last September — both in print and in person. Editor in chief Anna Wintour and contributing editor André Leon Talley hosted several fund-raisers for the Obamas last summer, rallying the fashion community’s support for the Illinois senator. The magazine profiled Michelle Obama in its September issue and featured her as an “It” girl in the April one. Obama campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett was profiled in October. Vogue even spread its affections to the Democratic vice presidential candidate — the magazine photographed in November four generations of Biden women, including Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s wife, Jill. (Vogue showed some love to the Republican ladies, too. Cindy McCain was profiled in the May issue and Roberta McCain was featured in the August Age issue.)
“Starting with Eleanor Roosevelt, it’s been a long-standing tradition to photograph the new first lady. So needless to say, we are very interested in working with Mrs. Obama. Precisely how is still being discussed,” said a Vogue spokesman. If Obama does land the cover, she’ll be only the second first lady to do so in Vogue’s 116-year history; Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared on the December 1998 issue.
This story first appeared in the November 6, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Despite Vogue’s best efforts, Ebony might get to the Obamas beforehand — the Chicago-based title is quickly assembling a special January issue dedicated to Barack Obama’s candidacy. The issue will be a reflection of Ebony’s coverage of the campaign and the First Family over the past 18 months, but the magazine is extending the close on the issue in hopes of getting a last-minute interview with the President-elect and his family before closing. Essence is also said to be working on a special package for its January issue, but details have not been hammered out. — Stephanie D. Smith
DIG THAT TIMES OUT OF THE TRASH: From Los Angeles to New York, President-elect Barack Obama’s win over John McCain provided a much-needed boost to the newspaper business Wednesday, with companies printing thousands more editions than usual and still selling out on the newsstand in a matter of hours. Over at The New York Times building on Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue, there were lines around the building to buy copies. On an average day, 220,000 copies are sold on newsstands but Wednesday, anticipating there would be higher demand, 400,000 copies were printed and, later in the afternoon, there was another press run of 75,000 more copies.
Compared with the day after the last presidential election in 2004, when there was an increase in sales of around 50,000 copies, a spokeswoman said she expects Wednesday’s final count to “significantly surpass those sales.” She added the Times is receiving inquiries to buy the paper around the world and there are plans to increase newsstand sales today, although not as much as Wednesday. And it appears demand isn’t only at the newsstand: Copies of Wednesday’s edition are already on eBay, with some bids as high as $100.
The Washington Post printed 30 percent more single copies than normal and all copies sold out within a few hours. In addition, 350,000 copies of a commemorative edition were printed and arrived Wednesday afternoon at major retail outlets. Each edition costs $1.50 (the daily paper costs 50 cents). And, Tribune Co. papers also increased their press runs across the country, in some markets by as much as 10 to 100 percent. The Los Angeles Times expected to sell 100,000 more copies than a typical Wednesday and Obama’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, increased its press run with an additional 200,000 copies distributed Wednesday. “This kind of demand for our newspapers is unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent history,” said Randy Michaels, chief operating officer at Tribune.
The Wall Street Journal and New York Post were a little less effusive regarding their success on the newsstand. A spokesman at the Journal said: “We are seeing very high sell-through at newsstands and we have had to restock several locations in major markets,” while a spokeswoman at the Post added, “We had a great sale. We are delighted.”
The final days of the election have also resulted in record traffic to newspaper’s Web sites. Internal numbers are showing a record day, trafficwise, at nytimes.com on Tuesday. There were 55.1 million page views, shattering the previous record by 29 percent on Sept. 29, when the House of Representatives rejected the financial bailout. The Washington Post broke its single-day record of 15.2 million for page views, which occurred on Nov. 8, 2006, for the 2006 mid-term elections, reaching upward of 16-million page views as of press time. And, over at Tribune, Michaels said the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times sites both had a record-breaking number of page views. — Amy Wicks
CELEBRATING THE NIGHT: Harvey Weinstein stood with an eye to the screens, willing to crunch numbers with anyone present at the election party at Public House he hosted with Georgette Mosbacher, Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive and GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson. “The first thing Obama will do is restore the world’s confidence and rebuild our country,” he said, reminiscing about the Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen concert he helped put together for Obama. “He’s a good man,” Weinstein said of Obama, before the race was called. “Let’s pray that it’s all over.” He then added, “The last two of these I threw, we lost.”
“I think this is a safe space for Republicans,” said Leive, having just been photographed with Mosbacher. In the Sunday Styles story on the party, Leive had been the only party host listed as undeclared. “I personally don’t see any benefit in [broadcasting views.] Who gives a s–t what my political leanings are? I’m editing a magazine for all women.”
She said normally Glamour has to convince politicians that it’s a serious magazine deserving of their granting access. “It’s usually a hard sell, but this time, no matter who you were, you understood that women mattered in this race.”
Meanwhile, downtown at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, the art world was anxiously awaiting to hear the country’s fate. The gallerist (who despite his British citizenry hosted an Obama fund-raiser earlier in the year) had divided his Greenwich Street space into a blue-carpeted Democrat side — complete with a flat-screen broadcasting CNN — and a red-rugged Republican side tuned to Fox News. (Needless to say, his decidedly partisan guests crowded onto the Dem side).
As painter Elizabeth Peyton handed out Obama pins, guests including Cecily Brown, Yvonne Force Villareal, Cynthia Rowley and a late-arriving Mary-Kate Olsen sipped beer and chowed on the veggie burgers and chili made from the official Obama family recipe.
As for all the balloons tethered near the ceiling? “Only if he wins!” crowed Brown. Lucky for him, they didn’t go to waste.
All in all, there was probably only one disappointed guest: a young child who asked her dad, “When is Barack Obama coming?” — Elisa Lipsky-Karasz and Irin Carmon