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LIVE ON TV: “‘Tis the season to deck the halls, Blueprint-style,” intones the announcer in a Web video teaser for the “Martha Stewart Show” set to air today. Unfortunately, Blueprint’s own halls are pretty empty now, since Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. closed the magazine Monday. But sources said the previously planned Blueprint special episode will still be taped live, despite some reported internal opposition. After all, the current issue is still on the newsstands, and there’s the January/February issue to promote. The preview features Blueprint editor in chief Sarah Humphreys and fashion editor Katie Hatch, both of whom are still with the company, though others will have their last day as the show airs. The audience will be made up of Blueprint subscribers.
According to sources at the magazine, earlier this year, several top-level editors threatened to quit, complaining of overwork, until MSLO chief executive officer Susan Lyne and president of media Wenda Millard mollified them by promising to hire more people and assuring them of the company’s commitment to the title — a source of particular bitterness now to former Blueprinters. To be sure, that also may have been a signal to MSLO that the magazine would require more investment than was considered tenable. (According to earnings reports, the company spent about $5.5 million on Blueprint in the first three quarters of this year.) The company declined comment.
Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, the decision to fold the magazine into Weddings drew its own fire, exemplified by a commentator on ApartmentTherapy.com (which cosponsored a contest with the magazine): “I’m certainly not liking the old-fashioned suggestion implicit in this statement that [the] only reason to be interested in creating a nice home is for a husband. Since when are married women the only people who need or have a ‘special interest’ in home/decor?” — Irin Carmon
ENOUGH WITH CONTROVERSY: Leaving behind the cheeky, and often controversial, FCUK campaigns of the past, French Connection plans to focus more on luxury and sophistication for spring. “That is really the challenge,” said Fabien Baron, on changing the way people see the brand. His agency, Baron & Baron, was in charge of art direction and he also shot the campaign. “FCUK was not about the product, but it got attention. Now, for the first time, we want to establish an image drawn from fashion and lifestyle to elevate the brand.”
Baron’s work will make its debut in January, on two adjacent walls in New York’s SoHo, on the corner of West Houston and Thompson Streets. The campaign also will run in a variety of fashion and lifestyle magazines in the spring, although a spokeswoman said it’s too early to say which ones. For spring, Baron said he also shot the Calvin Klein Collection campaign and worked on the upcoming Balenciaga ads, which were photographed by David Sims, and Pringle, shot by Steven Meisel. — Amy Wicks
BLUE JEANS: Given that the majority of its readers probably spend their days (if not nights) in them, it’s perhaps only natural that, come October, Men’s Health will provide men with a service not offered since the folding of Condé Nast’s men’s shopping magazine, Cargo — a comprehensive guide to jeans. The magazine will produce a 24-page pull-out section on denim, a topic women’s magazines usually consider core fashion copy. The issue will include celebrity recommendations, a “Fit Guide” and a denim directory so men can tell the difference between Earnest Sewn and Citizens of Humanity. Aside from attracting fashion advertising, why does Men’s Health feel denim is a topic worth championing?
“Because it’s one relationship a guy can really count on,” said editor in chief Dave Zinczenko. “A lot of guys have longer relationships with their Levi’s than they do with their girlfriends, bosses and cellphone carriers.” This from the author of last year’s relationship how-to, “Men, Love & Sex: The Complete User’s Guide for Women.”
Men’s Health is known more for its diet and exercise expertise than for its fashion sense, a topic generally the purview of GQ and Details. Zinczenko, along with Men’s Health food and nutrition editor Matt Goulding, just penned “Eat This, Not That!,” a nutritional guide based on one of the most popular columns in the magazine. The book suggests what to eat at fast-food restaurants, the grocery store and during the holidays — including Black Friday, for which the book recommends Panda Express mushroom chicken and TCBY nonfat frozen yogurt as opposed to a Cinnabon roll (don’t its readers have families who cook turkey?). Zinczenko said the guide seeks to expose the hefty caloric truth in fast food, since the restaurant industry does not readily provide nutritional information.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to advocate for our readers and get the restaurant industry to do the right thing,” he said. “If you underestimate your intake by 600 calories a week and you do that for a year, you’ve just gained 10 pounds and you never saw that coming.”
Interestingly for the man who built his reputation on abs, the guide says nothing of the need for regular exercise. Zinczenko explains that the book honed in on the nutrition side of weight loss. “The book has no exercise in it for the same reason that ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ has no quilting information. It’s just not relevant.”
“Eat This, Not That!,” published by Rodale, will have an initial print run of 100,000 copies, and will be released early in the New Year. — Stephanie D. Smith