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Memo Pad: Chip Kidd’s Cover… All Tom Ford, All the Time…

Rolling Stone tapped book illustrator Chip Kidd to design the cover of its decades issue.

THE KIDD IS BACK: Rolling Stone tapped book illustrator Chip Kidd to design yet another cover, this time for its decade issue that will look back at the music of the Aughts. Kidd previously designed three separate covers for the title’s 40th anniversary issues in 2007, one of which featured an oversize rendering of the Rolling Stone logo on foil-treated paper. Kidd again manipulated the logo for this week’s cover, taking the O’s from the name and using them as zeros. “There’s a nod to recycling and re-purposing, which seems to make sense for the decade, the idea of make do with what you have,” explained Kidd. Ironically, music didn’t provide enough inspiration for the issue. Though the last 10 years brought Kanye West, Lady Gaga, The Pussycat Dolls and Fall Out Boy, “I didn’t think of any one artist or performer that I thought embodied the decade, so I thought the cover should be more about Rolling Stone itself,” Kidd said.

The illustrator gave credit to Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner for being risky enough to let him manipulate the magazine’s iconic logo, but said Time magazine wasn’t as open to an idea he had for its cover last week looking back at the last decade. Kidd thought of taking a blank Time cover, with its red border, logo and a white background, and crumpling the image into a ball. After a week of letting the trashed image kick around at the bottom of his work bag, he would flatten out the image and photograph the weathered cover for the shot. Time rejected the idea, opting for a crying New Year’s baby sitting in confetti and balloons with the tag line, “The Decade from Hell.” Kidd understood why the tolerance for artistic license varied for the different assignments. “Though it was a similar subject, Rolling Stone wanted to do the best of the decade, while Time wanted to look at the worst of it.”

— Stephanie D. Smith

ALL TOM, ALL THE TIME: The Tom Ford publicity train rolled on this week, with appearances on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on Tuesday night followed by “Good Morning America” and “The Martha Stewart Show” on Wednesday to promote his directorial debut, “A Single Man.”

On “Late Night,” a jovial Ford complimented the similarly clad Fallon on his dapper duds. Ford then talked about growing up in Texas and some early (embarrassing) commercial acting work, including a commercial for a candy bar. His line? “It’s still big!” It was working on that silly commercial that made Ford realize he wanted to be behind the camera, directing actors.

Fallon asked, “Now, you grew up in Texas and you got into fashion — does that happen a lot?” To which Ford responded, “I don’t know. I mean, it was hard. I think people just come out the way they come out. I think I came out and started moving furniture around. And I probably came out in a little suit.”

After showing a clip from “A Single Man” in which Julianne Moore’s character tries to make out with Colin Firth’s gay character, Ford revealed the scene was one of the only ones in the whole movie (filmed in 21 days) that took numerous takes. “I couldn’t get them to stop kissing,” he said.

Ford had baked pecan pralines on Stewart’s show in 2007, but this time around, the two skipped dessert and got straight down to business. And considering their shared passion for visual aesthetics, it’s not surprising they skipped over the film’s dark and sensual plot and went straight to dissecting the movie’s look. “Your use of color is quite extraordinary,” Stewart said. “Some of it almost looks vintage black-and-white, but then those bursts of color.”

“I did that so we could understand what George was feeling,” Ford replied. “At the beginning of the day he’s very depressed. His life is flat, he sees no color….As George moves through the day and he becomes pulled by the beauty of the world, color starts to increase.”

Conversation then turned to interiors, particularly those in the home of George’s best friend Charley (Moore). “I love that set, the furniture,” Stewart gushed.

“A lot of it came right out of my house,” Ford said. “I painted some of those paintings the night before with house paint. You would have liked that. We should have done that [here].”

— Emily Holt and Nick Axelrod

TOKYO JOE: Monocle’s editor in chief and chairman Tyler Brûlé and publisher Pamela Mullinger were in Tokyo Monday to celebrate the release of the “Madrid City Survey,” a supplement in the magazine’s December-January issue. At a party at the Peninsula Hotel’s grand ballroom, Brûlé spoke with well-wishers and members of the press after a video presentation highlighted the people and places profiled in the guide to all things cutting edge in the Spanish capital. When the tourism board of Madrid, which collaborated with Monocle on the City Survey, suggested Tokyo as the host city for the launch event, Brûlé jumped at the idea. “Tokyo is interesting because, as bad as the economy is, it never seems like a city in crisis, which I think is amazing,” said Brûlé, who visits about once a month. “In the U.S., retailers are competing only on price, not on innovation…but Japanese companies are more concerned with quality.”

— Kelly Wetherille

DEPARTING: MaryAnn Bekkedahl
, executive vice president and group publisher of Rodale, is leaving the company. After 17 years at Rodale, Bekkedahl is moving on to pursue digital and new-media opportunities. She oversaw the sales and marketing teams for magazines such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention and Runner’s World. A successor has not been named.

— Amy Wicks

A NEW LOOK: Whether its humid and 85 degrees in Los Angeles or rainy and windy in Chicago, the Web site StyleCaster provides fashion followers advice on what to wear each morning. Now, six months after its launch, the site is ushering in a top-to-bottom redesign that will allow users to provide their own style suggestions to others. It’s also introducing a points system that eventually will enable users to apply points toward products or applied on an e-commerce shopping site.

Chief executive Ari Goldberg said the redesign reflects users’ requests, and he also plans to introduce a new beauty section sometime during the first quarter to take advantage of advertiser interest. In the meantime, he said visitors can expect to see more episodic video that is updated regularly. Taking a page from YouTube, StyleCaster will offer how-to videos and feature tips from fashion and beauty “influencers” such as Bobbi Brown. “The TV section has been redone, too, and it looks a little more like Hulu,” added Goldberg.

Stylecaster will not have an e-commerce component, but it will act as a “sale aggregator,” posting all of the deals online and redirecting visitors to sites such as Giltgroupe.com or Hautelook.com. “We’re working with these sites, not competing with them,” noted Goldberg. “We’re just informing our readers of what’s out there.”

The site, which has 1.2 million unique visitors since launching in June, will be anchored in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle and celebrity categories. “It’s a lot cleaner and far more intuitive,” added Goldberg. “It’s a place where you can curate your own sense of style.”

— A.W.

 

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