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THE GOSSIP ON MICHAEL: Michael Kors’ star turn on “Project Runway” has turned him into a household name. Now the designer will take his TV-friendly persona one step further and appear as a guest in the next season of “Gossip Girl,” which launches on the CW network Sept. 1. Kors spent part of Tuesday taping the fashion week-themed episode at Capitale on the Bowery, where a fashion show took place. “I was glued into ‘Gossip Girl’ from Day One,” Kors said. “I think it truly is the ‘car-crash-that’s-glamourous.’ Probably to the consternation of certain people on the Upper East Side, they really get it. It’s a pretty clear picture of how a lot of these kids really are.”
Kors’ affinity extends to central characters Blair, Serena, Chuck and Nate. “I love the clothes, everyone is good-looking, the plot line is a riot,” Kors said. “I love the show. They called and said, ‘You are very Gossip Girl.’ I thought, ‘Finally, I am a teenager.’”
— Marc Karimzadeh
This story first appeared in the August 7, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: Though there are two new chief executives at the helm of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., one thing hasn’t changed: the incremental, under-the-radar layoffs. Reports have spread throughout the company in the past few days of at least a dozen departures, possibly more, across several divisions. The highest-level cut seems to be president of broadcasting Sheraton Kalouria, a 2005 hire by previous chief executive Susan Lyne, who had worked with Kalouria at ABC. A call to the company confirmed Kalouria was no longer working there. Brent Ridge — a fixture at Martha Stewart Living media properties, including radio, who has the title of vice president for healthy living — is also said to have seen his role reduced, but it could not be confirmed by press time. A spokeswoman for the company did not respond to a detailed request for comment.
In the second-quarter earnings call last week, an analyst asked chief financial officer Howard Hochhauser if a “specific new cost program” was being implemented at the company. Hochhauser said it was not.
— Irin Carmon
DID THEY SERVE HER A BUD?: News of Tyra Banks’ homage to Michelle Obama in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar broke Tuesday, but that didn’t stop Cindy McCain from stopping by the Hearst Tower that afternoon to have lunch with Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black, Cosmopolitan’s Kate White, Joanna Coles of Marie Claire and Rosemary Ellis of Good Housekeeping. During the lunch, McCain’s daughter, Bridget, sent her mother a picture via BlackBerry of a new dress, seeking approval before leaving the house. The potential first lady approved.
— Amy Wicks
BROADER HORIZONS: Vanity Fair’s Elizabeth Saltzman has been given a new title at the magazine — one that will allow her more freedom to work on other projects. Saltzman, who was based in London as the magazine’s international social editor, will become a contributing editor, Vanity Fair said Thursday. She will take on her new role as of Oct. 1, and plans to fill in her time by consulting with fashion and luxury-related brands. Sources close to the magazine speculated the new role could signify a falling out of favor with editor in chief Graydon Carter, but he gave no indication of that in his comments on Saltzman. “We’re delighted that Elizabeth will continue to be a part of Vanity Fair,” Carter said. “She has been a tremendous asset to the magazine, especially in the fashion world, for many years in both New York and London.” Saltzman joined Vanity Fair as fashion editor in 1994 and was promoted to fashion director in 1995. She was named fashion-and-style director at large in 2006, and later that year became international social editor. Prior to joining Vanity Fair, Saltzman worked at Vogue, first as senior fashion editor for eight years, then as a contributing editor.
— Stephanie D. Smith
ONE UP, ONE DOWN: Rodale reported an increase in second-quarter print advertising revenue Wednesday, up 8.3 percent from a year ago. Online revenue rose by 27.1 percent and, on the Web, uniques and page views were up 74 percent and 94 percent, respectively. But despite an overall rise, Men’s Health reported flat revenue for the quarter, with ad revenue down 7.8 percent and ad pages down 13 percent. Ad revenue on the magazine’s Web site was a different story, however, up 42.4 percent from last year. Men’s Health is also planning to publish a second Men’s Health Living special in December.
Women’s Health continues to increase revenue and ad revenue, up 40.4 percent and 89.5 percent, respectively. Web site revenues rose by 100.7 percent and the magazine is planning another rate base increase to 1.35 million, from 1.1 million, set for the January/February 2009 issue.
The company reported Best Life added 26 new advertisers during the quarter and was up 38.9 percent in ad revenue and 22.5 percent in pages. The privately held Rodale reports percentage increases or decreases in revenues, but not actual figures or profits.
Also reporting second-quarter earnings Wednesday was Time Warner Inc., which saw overall revenues at its publishing division Time Inc. fall 6 percent to $1.2 billion, due to a decrease in ad and other revenues. Ad revenue fell primarily because of reduced domestic print magazine revenues and declines in custom publishing, offset by higher online revenue, at $19 million, led by People.com, Time.com and CNNMoney.com. Ad categories that contributed to the decline include pharmaceuticals, automotive, financial services and cosmetics.
FASHION CHIEF SIGNS ON AT OUT: Out magazine has filled a key slot that sat empty for the past four months, with the appointment of Grant Woolhead as fashion director. Woolhead last held the post of fashion director at Arena Homme Plus, where he worked from May 2002 through September 2006, and has spent the past two years as a fashion stylist for Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Paul Smith and Calvin Klein Jeans, among others. Woolhead is joining Out, recently acquired by Regent Media, as it publishes its September fashion issue. The issue, due to hit Aug. 12, features Neil Patrick Harris on the cover and has 188 ad pages, up from 172 last year, according to Aaron Hicklin, Out’s editor in chief. Woolhead, a 30-year-old native of Dunstable, north of London, described his style sensibility as “eclectic” — influenced by the British, Italian and French. “I’d like to bring this to the U.S.,” he said in a phone interview from the Covent Garden Hotel, where he was reviewing clothes for a Burberry shoot today.
— Valerie Seckler