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ACROSS THE POND: Though Wall Street continues to struggle as the week progresses, the fashion flock is preparing to pack their Louis Vuittons, Samsonites and Tumis for the shows in Milan and Paris. And while the magazine world might be reeling from the economic climate like everyone else, that hasn’t caused companies to cut the number of staff they’re sending to the shows — or make them stay in hostels. According to one popular Paris hotel, the Plaza Athénée, bookings are on pace with what they were last year at this time, and there have been no cancellations from Americans coming over for the shows.
At Vogue, count on seeing the standard team in the front row, but not all of them will be in both cities — usually half the editors attend Paris and the other half Milan. A spokesman said decisions as to who is going to which city have not been finalized (but better be soon; Milan starts Saturday). Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Allure, Lucky and Style.com will send the regulars as well, as will Elle — although no one from the Web team will go this time. In past years, former elle.com editors Keith Pollock and Joe Berean have filed reports from Europe for the Web site. An Elle spokeswoman said coverage of the shows online would be handled by elle.com editors in London, Paris and Milan. In Style’s regular team is also traveling to Europe, except for Hal Rubenstein, who is said to be missing the shows to work on a television project in Los Angeles.
Joanna Coles and her team will be in Europe for Marie Claire along with publisher Susan Plagemann, but the title’s new fashion director, Nina Garcia, won’t be in Milan because she’ll be taping the sixth season of “Project Runway” during that time. She will, however, be in Paris. Finally, Cosmopolitan won’t be sending anyone to Europe this season. “Due to several staffers being on temporary leave we decided to skip the shows this season but have gone to all shows in the past,” said a spokeswoman. “We will be attending the spring shows.”
Time Style & Design’s Kate Betts is also heading to Europe. She usually covers the shows by herself, but this year will have some help. Marion Hume, who has just been hired as a Time contributing editor in London, will join Betts in Paris and file online reports for the magazine, while Time International editor Michael Elliott will join Betts in Milan.
Some insiders explained that the strong attendance is because budgets for 2008, which included expenses allotted towards European travel, were completed last fall, well before the brunt of the economic impact on bottom lines was felt.
— Stephanie D. Smith
MAYBE THEY’LL BE FACEBOOK FRIENDS: Perez Hilton and Martha Stewart aren’t as odd a couple as one might think. The two first hobnobbed at the White House Correspondents dinner, and during Hilton’s appearance on Stewart’s show Wednesday for a special all-blogging hour, Stewart lamented not getting to talk to him because he was busy with the Jonas Brothers. But Hilton linked to Stewart’s blog post about the night, Stewart rejoiced at the resulting traffic, and an unlikely guest spot was born. Hilton, not quite the decorous role model, offered tips on blogging and defended what he scrawls on Stewart’s face on his blog: “domestic diva,” very mild treatment for him. “I mean diva as a good word,” he said.
Also on deck was Margaret Roach, described by Stewart as her company’s “former editorial director who left to follow her deep passion for gardening.” Politico’s Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin offered a chance to talk politics and reflect on John McCain’s lack of Web savvy, which Stewart called “weird.” To her credit, it’s a skill set she has been assiduously cultivating in herself, and she’s just five years younger than McCain. But her own popular blog is, well, a collaborative work, as she said on the show: she takes photographs and then “leaves them on Web mail online,” for her sister and her executive assistant to cull for a blog post.
(The company’s bid for younger readers, keeping Blueprint alive as a blog after the magazine folded in December, appears to have been abandoned: the Bluelines blog was quietly shut down in July, without explanation.)
The next day, of course, Stewart then blogged about the show and her own love of blogging. “Being in the public eye, I have a devoted following that wants to know more about my personal life and activities. Prior to blogging, we sent out a newsletter dealing with such issues. Although the printed newsletter was charming and informative, it was also a rather slow process and didn’t reach nearly as many readers as this blog does. I really love the spontaneity of blogging and being able to post whatever, whenever,” she wrote.
She also invited readers to submit their own blogs for a competition to be featured on the site. Contestants included, unsurprisingly, food and entertaining blogs, plus a few wild cards — a “fun nun” who is the youngest in her order and a man blogging about overcoming male infertility.
— Irin Carmon
AWARDS MAKE NO GUARANTEES: Though Movies Rocks picked up an Emmy for Best Musical Direction this past weekend, the win doesn’t guarantee its future quite yet. Movies Rock was spun out of Condé Nast Media Group last December with a similar business model as the now five-year-old Fashion Rocks. Movies Rock consisted of a magazine that had Graydon Carter as editorial director and Mitch Glazer as editor, and a concert on CBS that included pop stars such as Chris Brown, Usher, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J performing iconic songs from films. Condé Nast Media Group president Richard Beckman said discussions are continuing about doing the show again, which wouldn’t happen until around June 2009, in hopes the advertising market perks up again. June would be an opportune time, said Beckman, because, “we’d like to do it before the summer blockbuster and before the holiday releases.”