KEEPING IT REAL: Just call it “J. Crew: The reality show.” The retailer has turned to real men for its November catalogue, showcasing 11 “cool guys” for its latest mailer, entitled “The Real Guy’s Style Guide.” Among those featured are hotelier Sean Macpherson, musician Smitty, author Tom Folsom, designers Byron & Dexter and filmmaker Lee Daniels. Each wears some iconic J. Crew looks, and customers can click on the photo to purchase all or a portion of the outfit. Another click takes the user to a question-and-answer article with each of the men — a feature called “Real Guys Relate” — printed in their own handwriting and talking about their projects, influences and craft.
The idea came about after Macpherson sent an e-mail to J. Crew chief executive officer Millard “Mickey” Drexler telling him he was unhappy with the wash of the cashmere, related Jenna Lyons, the company’s senior vice president of women’s design. “He brought in all of his personal J. Crew sweaters — at which time I thought to myself, ‘He’s kinda hot’ — and we went back and forth working on perfecting the wash and sending him samples to wear test. We were thrilled when he said we had fixed the problem, at which time we asked if he would be in the book.”
Drexler said the company is “always inspired by cool guys. They get it.” The catalogue was mailed late last month, and a Web site went live last week.
— Jean E. Palmieri
STEFANO’S TWEETS: As WWD previously reported, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana hit New York City last week to shoot their spring-summer advertising campaigns for women and men. According to Gabbana’s recent tweets on Twitter, the duo was in the middle of a Sicily-themed photo shoot with Steven Klein in a Brooklyn studio on Wednesday. “Shooting is going very well — very Dolce & Gabbana,” the fashion designer posted, adding a shot of Dolce from the set. He also uploaded a few backstage images that revealed the faces of the next Dolce & Gabbana campaign, including David Gandy, Adam Seen, Noah Mills and Sam Webb.
While in Manhattan, the Italian designers dined with photographer Mariano Vivanco on Wednesday, lunched with Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour on Thursday and had a banquet at Monkey Bar restaurant, where they met Daphne Guinness, Kylie Minogue with Spanish fiancé Andres Velencoso, Marc Jacobs and Valentino.
— Chiara Hughes
O-REVOIR: Leslie Richardson has left her post as art director of O, The Oprah Magazine. Gillian Berenson, who previously held design positions at Town & Country, Men’s Journal, Gourmet, GQ and Travel & Leisure, succeeds Richardson. Berenson will report to design director Patrick Mitchell.
— Amy Wicks
MOVING ON: People senior writer Mark Dagostino left the magazine after 10 years before the company began a round of layoffs this week. For the past few months, he’s been working from New Hampshire as a contributor, but left this week to start a new gig. He will become a senior editor for Tonic.com, a Web site about good news. (Who doesn’t need that these days?) The site reports upbeat celebrity, human interest, technology, science and business info.
“There are lot of people out there who are working hard to make the world a better place,” said Dagostino of the site. “And yet the stories of people doing ‘good things’ are afterthoughts in most newspapers, or reduced to two-minute quickie segments at the tail end of the evening news.”
The site also has an e-commerce arm that sells eco-friendly goods where a portion of sales goes toward various charities. The site has collaborated with designers Donna Karan and Luella Bartley for various product offerings.
— Stephanie D. Smith
THE MJ EFFECT: Celebrity weeklies weren’t the only ones that saw a boost in readership when they put Michael Jackson on their covers. Architectural Digest put the King of Pop on its November cover with images and a story composed by photographer Harry Benson, who shot the singer several times during his career, dating back to 1984. On Sept. 29, the first day the magazine’s Jackson story appeared on architecturaldigest.com, the site attracted 1.5 million page views, and through Sept. 30, subscription sales increased 700 percent.
The results left Donna Karan with some big numbers to live up to — she and her daughter are on the title’s December cover, while inside there are looks at the homes of Ralph Rucci, Elton John, Kelsey Grammer, Ferruccio Ferragamo and Patricia Heaton.
Meanwhile, rumors of the departure of editor in chief Paige Rense Noland from the magazine have swirled around the mediasphere for months. Asked whether Condé Nast was looking for a replacement for Rense Noland or if she is leaving the magazine, a spokeswoman for the magazine said both were “absolutely not true.”