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EMAP’S BIG BREAK UP: It looks as if Emap, the British publishing giant, will be a much smaller beast — or not exist at all — by year’s end. Industry sources in London say Emap principals plan to start auctioning the group’s three businesses: consumer titles including Grazia; B2B publishing including WGSN, and the radio division, by next week or early next month at the latest. Emap has revenues of more than 880 million pounds, or $1.7 billion at current exchange, a year and a stock market valuation of about 1.8 billion pounds, or $3.6 billion. As reported, private equity firm Apax Partners has expressed interest in purchasing parts of Emap, as has the Italian publisher Mondadori. The sources said Emap may also choose to retain one of its divisions, and remain as a quoted company on the London Stock Exchange. There have also been press reports in London that groups such as Condé Nast, parent of WWD and W Magazine; Hearst Corp. and IPC Media, a division of Time Inc., might be interested in cherry-picking certain titles — such as Grazia — but an industry source said this was unlikely, and that the auction would move forward. An Emap spokesman declined comment Friday. — Samantha Conti
ARTFUL CAUSE: The fashion world isn’t particularly known for its inclusiveness, but come Sept. 4, one window in Barneys New York and Paper magazine will be out to change that — at least for a while. Thirteen artists from the Oakland, Calif.-based Creative Growth, which nurtures the art of the developmentally challenged, have interpreted the fall collections for the September issue of Paper and Barneys. “How can anyone not love seeing this world we call fashion — which is usually such an insider’s game — so purely and gorgeously through the eyes of these magical outsiders?” Paper’s co-editor and publisher Kim Hastreiter, who is on the group’s advisory board, writes in the issue. Photographs and bios of the artists follow. The issue also has a fashion spread in tribute to Isabella Blow with the designs of Blow mainstays like Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen, and an image of a Blow-esque model appears on the cover. — Irin Carmon
MAD ABOUT MAD MEN: Either The New York Times is an extremely big fan of the new AMC show, “Mad Men,” or the cable network has an extremely aggressive publicity team. The drama about Madison Avenue advertising executives in the Sixties has gathered a following among both critics and viewers, and has been covered in the media extensively since its debut (including this paper — see “It’s a Mad, Mad Madison Avenue”; WWD July 17). But the Times in the last 10 days has been especially keen on the program, giving “Mad Men” space on the front page of its Sunday Arts & Leisure section, its House & Home section and its Thursday Styles section. On Aug. 16, House & Home profiled Bryan Batt, who plays art director Salvatore Romano on the show, in his New Orleans home. Three days later, Times critic Alessandra Stanley penned a piece on sex in television that pointed out the sexual contrast between macho male advertising executives in “Mad Men” and the demure wives and secretaries who service them. And on Thursday, Ruth La Ferla wrote a piece on the attention to detail of the show’s styling. La Ferla’s piece coincidentally appeared the same day USA Today ran a piece in its Life section on some of the Sixties props on the show.
This story first appeared in the August 27, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
So is the Times’ extensive coverage simply coincidence? “Some of our critics and editors think it’s a pretty good show, and it’s getting good numbers,” explained Times cultural editor Sam Sifton. “We’re interested in figuring out why people like it, and what that — and it — says about our culture. Is this indicative of an obsession among senior editors? I doubt it.” In contrast, Sifton said, the Times has been captivated more so by another, now defunct, cable show. “We’ve written about ‘The Sopranos’ almost 200 times this year.” — Stephanie D. Smith