IN THE HUNT: Inspiration first struck producer Fenton Bailey walking past an Anthropologie store with his producing partner; the two casually remarked what a great basis it would make for a television show. The very next day, Bailey read a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Keith Johnson, the globetrotting buyer at large for the stores, and he knew he had his concept.
The result was “Man Shops Globe,” an eight-episode series premiering on the Sundance Channel on Oct. 7, following Johnson’s eye at flea markets and artisans in France, Turkey and South Africa, among others. At a launch party at Anthropologie’s Rockefeller Plaza store Tuesday night, Glen Senk, chief executive officer of the retailer’s parent, Urban Outfitters Inc., said getting there meant getting assurances the project wouldn’t undermine the brand’s integrity. “We had been contacted many times,” he said, “but we had an instant connection with the team,” including director Jeremy Simmons. Senk described Johnson, who is also his longtime companion, as “shy — not a reality TV person. It was insightful for them to see what the show could be.”
This story first appeared in the October 1, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Said Johnson, “I’ve been doing this for so long, it actually gave me a little bit more energy. I saw the world through Jeremy’s eyes.”
“Man Shops Globe” has already been picked up for another season, which begins filming shortly.
— Irin Carmon
LAST-MINUTE BID: Mort Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, has submitted an 11th-hour bid for BusinessWeek. Zuckerman, who is also the former owner of Fast Company and The Atlantic Monthly, joins Bloomberg LP, OpenGate Capital and ZelnickMedia, which all submitted bids by Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Zuckerman confirmed the bid but declined to elaborate further. Sources said Bloomberg is said to still be the front-runner to buy BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill Cos.
— Amy Wicks
NOW IT’S THE FT’S TURN: The Financial Times’ glossy, How to Spend It, has been something of a pioneer in the space — it celebrates its 15th anniversary this fall, and while other supplements are reducing frequency or scaling back expansion plans, it has been expanding, from 26 issues last year to 28 this year, with 29 planned for 2010.
Now the magazine has a new Web site, which goes live Saturday. As competitors like The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ. experiment with static online-only editions, and The New York Times’ T steadily ramps up its multimedia offerings at The Moment blog and on Twitter, How to Spend It will offer its own take on how to do luxury online.
The magazine’s previous online presence was a three-year-old digital edition that was an unchanged representation of the magazine’s pages — now acknowledged as a model that lacks both the interactivity of the Web and the tactility of the page. Now, said editor Gillian de Bono, the emphasis is on “deconstructing and reinterpreting” the magazine online.
In an attempt to bring a fashion shoot to life, for example, the site will employ a three-dimensional tiled imaging system that allows the reader to move through different angles and zoom in. There will also be multimedia related to magazine content, including a video of an underwater fashion shoot at launch. Founding editor Lucia van der Postings will be blogging at “Van der Posts” three times a week, alongside video bulletins from tech columnist Jonathan Margolis, daily posts from regular contributors at The Reconnoisseur blog, and a daily gift guide launching in November.
Krug, Harry Winston and Rolex are the launch sponsors. Dominique Moseley, magazine publishing director at the Financial Times, said the new site would also provide opportunities for luxury brands that want to advertise online but are concerned about quality control. To try to replicate the experience of a double spread in a magazine, howtospendit.com has a large-canvas ad format that appears after a reader’s first click, and takes place only once per visit. Advertisers will also have the option of dedicated microsites that are integrated with the homepage.
Most of the Financial Times site is behind a paywall. How to Spend It’s site is free for now, but a spokeswoman said the company had not ruled out the possibility of paid content in the future.
MALE ENHANCEMENT: Fashion Group International and GQ hosted a panel discussion Tuesday at 4 Times Square on the male consumer and the economy. Dana Telsey, chief executive officer of Telsey Advisory Group, warned tight inventories and lower prices will make for a challenging holiday season. “If people are expecting an up holiday, that’s pretty tough to do on down prices and down inventory,” she noted.
Telsey said creating “retail as theater” through events such as Fashion’s Night Out is key to keeping consumers excited about shopping in the tough economy. Martine Reardon, executive vice-president of marketing and advertising at Macy’s, agreed, noting Fashion’s Night Out “gave people permission to go shopping again without feeling guilty.” She added that cause marketing platforms, such as the retailer’s current “Come Together” promotion, aimed at providing 10 million meals to needy Americans, connects the brand to shoppers “on an emotional level so they want to be your friend.”
Marc Schneider, president of dress furnishings at Phillips-Van Heusen, decried the industry’s current reliance on lowering prices. “Price is only one dimension of value,” he said. “Real value is a combination of great product, great design, great logistics, planning and allocation and great in-store POS and marketing.”
John Bartlett, creative director of the Claiborne by John Bartlett label, said he is influenced by technical advances in fabrics and pointed to activewear maker Lululemon as a trailblazer in this area. “Their silhouettes are great. They’ve got the best T-shirts on the market, and they combine techno-fabrics with something that could be sexy and you could wear out at night.”
— David Lipke
HERE COMES THE BRIDAL MAGAZINE: American Media Inc. is about to enter the bridal category with a new magazine that will focus on the bride, not the occasion. The title, Shapebride, will be an extension of Shape. “Other bridal books focus on the wedding-occasion rather than on the bride herself and her personal process,” said vice president and publisher Sabine Feldmann. “She may look to other titles to find her dream dress, but she’ll look to Shapebride to look like a dream in the dress.”
Feldmann just received the green light a few days ago to sell advertising. “Our sales team is gearing up for back-to-back meetings with both existing and new advertising partners,” Feldmann noted, adding that she anticipates ads from endemic brands, from nutrition to beauty and fashion, to jewelry ads, as well as wedding registries and travel. Ad space will close on Dec. 17, and the issue will hit newsstands the weekend of Valentine’s Day. At this point, Feldmann said the magazine will launch during the spring 2010 bridal season, but she hopes to increase frequency in the future. A spokeswoman said 325,000 copies will be available on newsstands for 90 days.