WHITE HOT: Riccardo Tisci has earned a reputation for unexpected and trend-setting casting for Givenchy’s advertising: mixing girls and boys, celebrities and models. Last season, he added a frisson of controversy by casting a transsexual, and for next spring-summer, look out for strapping albino model Stephen Thompson. In pale black-and-white portraits shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Thompson appears along with other Givenchy regulars like Mariacarla Boscono, Daphne Groeneveld and Iris Strubegger in overlapping exposures reminiscent of fashion photography experiments in the Fifties. During an exclusive preview, Tisci explained that he’s long admired albino people, reflected in the pale flesh tones that are recurrent in his fashions. “They’re very near my world,” he enthused. The campaign is set to break in the January issue of L’Uomo Vogue, French Vogue in February and several American titles in March. Tisci said the idea for his latest collections — and the campaign — dovetailed from a Robert Mapplethorpe photo of an alabaster Roman bust atop a stretch of leopard-print fabric.
— Miles Socha
COMING OUT PARTY: Express is being especially extroverted this holiday season. The retailer, which has never been shy about flaunting its stuff, launched a trifecta of marketing initiatives that include its first-ever national TV campaign, largest catalogue at 48 pages and new mobile app. “We keep learning that the more we put the brand in front of the customer, the more often she comes in,” said Lisa Gavales, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Express Inc. The specialty chain bought time on four networks that target its 18- to 34-year-old core demographic — ABC Family, E network, MTV and VH1. A five-week flight kicked off on shows such as “90210,” “Gossip Girl,” “One Tree Hill,” “Life Unexpected,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Nikita” and “Smallville.” “Dashing, Dancing, Prancing…Vixen,” a theme for the holiday, refers to flirty, festive LBDs for women and a velvet one-button jacket for men and appears in TV spots, a look-book-style catalogue shot by Patrick Demarchelier and Greg Kadel and a new mobile commerce marketing site, m.express.com, billed as “fashion’s sexiest app.” But all is not superficial on the mobile app for Android and Blackberry; they include real-time promotions, new arrivals, account and wish list functionalities and Proximity Perks, as well as geo-targeted promotions.
— Sharon Edelson
MILA’S MOMENT: Natalie Portman has been quite busy of late, between “Black Swan” and promoting her new Dior gig, so Nylon editor in chief Marvin Jarrett did what any editor would do — he put Mila Kunis, the movie’s second and equally comely star, on his December/January cover. “We’ve always liked her, we were just waiting for her to have the right project,” he said. Kunis herself could barely find time to come to the Thursday night dinner in her honor at Hollywood’s new Redbury hotel. “I can’t even recall when we did the cover shoot since there have been so many photo shoots. And interviews. And plane rides. It’s been nonstop,” said the hoarse actress, who made “Friends With Benefits” right after “Black Swan,” then went straight into promoting the ballet-horror flick. However she did perk up when she walked into the party. “It’s always trippy to walk into a room and be confronted with a life-size cardboard image of yourself, and to have to pose next to it is even weirder.”
As for Nylon, it’s expanding its daily localized e-mail newsletters from New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin to other U.S. cities and growing its international print editions, currently in Japan, Korea and Mexico, to include Jakarta this spring. The magazine is also reprising its YouTube partnership for the May Hollywood edition, in which it took over the site’s homepage and tagged every article in the issue to a YouTube video. And The Plasticines, the band under its in-house record label, are releasing a new album next year.
— Marcy Medina