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COLD FRONT: Was there a chill between Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld during the Milan shows this week? Speculation bubbled up that the editor in chief of Vogue was ruffled by a profile of her Paris counterpart in New York magazine that carried the title “The Anti-Anna” and had Roitfeld commenting on the celebrity editor phenomenon: “It is very difficult not to become a puppet,” Roitfeld is quoted as saying. “Like Anna, she becomes so iconic that she becomes like a puppet. I don’t want to be like that, I don’t want to wear this uniform, I don’t want to be just an envelope.”
Elsewhere in the article, Roitfeld talks about fashion’s strong commercial bent: “I will never be a business girl, but I will say, for Anna Wintour, that I respect successful people, I like things that are success. But this is really American.”
Asked about the article as she exited Fendi’s show on Thursday, Wintour replied, “Maybe you should ask Carine,” adding, “I have no comment.”
For her part, Roitfeld said Wintour is “right to be upset” and charged that the writer, Amy Larocca, misinterpreted her remarks. “Maybe my English is not perfect,” Roitfeld said. “Sometimes journalists look for problems where there aren’t any. I am extremely sorry. I am very respectful of Anna. She has always been excessively helpful ever since I’ve had this job…and I don’t forget people who have helped me. She is an icon in the best sense of the word.”
Asked for comment from Larocca, a spokeswoman for New York magazine said: “Amy had a wonderful time talking to Carine, who she respects immensely. In their conversation, and as Amy wrote in her story, Carine was very candid about her admiration for Anna Wintour, saving any negative comments for the media spotlight that makes their jobs more difficult. The magazine stands by the story.” — Miles Socha and Stephanie D. Smith
SPREADING THE WORDS: Condé Nast International is rapidly making inroads into new markets and, in response, has beefed up its management team. The company has promoted Carol Cornuau and Anna Harvey to vice president, new markets, and vice president, editorial director, respectively. The positions are new ones, and both will report to Bernd Runge, vice president of Condé Nast International and head of the New Markets Europe, Africa and Brazil division. That operation oversees more than 20 titles in Europe, Africa and South America, and plans to launch five further titles later this year, including Russian Tatler and French GQ. Most of the magazines are directly operated by Condé Nast, while others are licensed with local partners. Cornuau, whose previous title was division director, will continue to oversee the Russian market and the daily business of the division. Harvey will continue to manage the general editorial development and direction in the various markets.
This story first appeared in the February 22, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Samantha Conti
VARIETY ON THE BLOCK: The Anglo-Dutch parent of Variety, Reed Elsevier Group, plans to sell its Reed Business Information division, which includes the show business trade title. The company said in a 2007 preliminary results statement Thursday it wants to reduce its exposure to “advertising markets and cyclicality,” and build a more cohesive portfolio. “RBI is a well-managed, high-quality business as evidenced by the success of its online growth and the control of costs,” the statement said. “Its advertising revenue model and the inherent cyclicality fit less well, however, with the subscription-based information and work-flow solutions focus of Reed Elsevier’s strategy.” Other magazines up for sale in the RBI division include New Scientist, Estates Gazette, Flight International and Caterer and Hotelkeeper. — S.C.
NEW HIRES: Paula Fortgang is returning to Vanity Fair after hopping around to other advertising departments of 4 Times Square. She will become advertising director, international fashion, for the title as of March 3. Fortgang was the magazine’s fashion and retail director from 1999 to 2005, then became corporate fashion director for the Condé Nast Media Group. Most recently, Fortgang was fashion director at The New Yorker, where she directed U.S., international and retail sales and marketing efforts.
Meanwhile, Blender has hired Jim Sammartino as associate publisher, reporting to publisher Ben Madden. Sammartino was most recently publisher of The Knot, where he oversaw both online and print advertising sales. Sammartino also served as associate publisher of Guideposts, and was vice president, publishing director, for Men’s Fitness. He takes his new position Feb. 29. — S.D.S.
ONE WORLD: With the growing number of celebrities such as Oprah and Scarlett Johansson pledging support for presidential candidates, it was probably only a matter of time before Hollywood would decide to capture the movement on film. During the Sundance Film Festival, shooting began on “PoliWood,” a documentary that will feature celebrities such as Kerry Washington (who has stumped for Barack Obama at several college rallies) and Quentin Tarantino, and show where politics and Hollywood intersect by exploring the historical relationship between the two power bases. The film’s producers include Cynthia Parsons McDaniel, former special projects editor at In Style and assistant features editor at the New York Daily News, and actor Tim Daly, who stars on the “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off “Private Practice.” They’re shopping the Creative Coalition film to distributors, but they have some time yet — filming will, naturally, continue until the election on Nov. 4. — Amy Wicks