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OFF THE WALL: Michael Jackson, the man who moved to Dubai to dodge the paparazzi, is making up for lost time in front of the cameras. L’Uomo Vogue’s October issue, due out next week, will feature a 20-page spread on the musician, shot by Bruce Weber, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s smash album “Thriller.” “It’s magnificent,” editorial director Franca Sozzani boasted Tuesday at the Milan shows. “He hasn’t allowed himself to be photographed for 16 years!” — Amanda Kaiser
WHERE’S MY COUTURE?: Word to editors traveling in Europe: take a carry on. Condé Nast Traveler’s style director Mark Connolly should have thought to do so when five trunks with $50,000 worth of couture went missing during a stopover at London’s Heathrow Airport on his way to Singapore. The trip was for a shoot in the magazine’s October issue on Singapore style, complete with a Dolce & Gabbana dress that was worth $12,950 and a Versace dress worth $23,000. “We probably had Victoria Beckham’s annual clothing budget in five trunks,” joked Connolly in an e-mail exchange from Milan. Connolly and his crew were able to get half the clothing delivered by the third day of the shoot; the rest had to be replaced after frantic phone calls to designers’ publicists and Connolly repurchasing items locally. “A grown man buying designer stockings in the department store was an eye opener,” he said. And quite an education. “Stockings in Asian large are not the same as American large.” — Stephanie D. Smith
NEW LOOK: Just as Condé Nast Portfolio settles into a monthly schedule, BusinessWeek will finally unveil on Oct. 12 an extensive redesign that has been in the works since last fall. The overhaul was overseen by art director Andrew Horton, who joined BusinessWeek in January, and Boston-based design firm Modernista. “It’s very much reader-focused,” said Horton of the redesign, which will have cleaner covers and an easier-to-navigate layout. Some who have seen the new version say the magazine has a more global focus, reflecting The Economist more than a typical business title — but they stress it isn’t a weekly version of its monthly competitor at 4 Times Square. — S.D.S.
SWEET SEARCH: Lifestyle and entertainment blog network Sugar Publishing Tuesday said it is moving into the search business and intends to acquire fashion search engine ShopStyle. The two companies will have more than 5 million unique visitors a month, said Sugar founder and chief executive officer Brian Sugar. “There will be a lot of traffic going back and forth,” he predicted. Sugar Publishing will also change its name to Sugar Inc.
This story first appeared in the September 26, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company is one of a handful of fashion-related blog networks. Competitors include Gawker, Glam and Coutorture. Such networks can provide an easy way for apparel companies to place banner ads on many fashion blogs at once. The company intends to acquire ShopStyle with stock. In June, Sugar raised a second round of venture financing of $10 million from NBC and blue-chip venture firm Sequoia, bringing its total funding to $15 million. By next month, the site will be cash-flow positive, said Sugar.
ShopStyle will become a wholly owned subsidiary and continue to operate with its same name and site. ShopStyle founder Andy Moss will become general manager for ShopStyle and report to Sugar. NBC sells Sugar’s advertising and cross-links content with its women’s online site, iVillage Inc. — Cate Corcoran
DESIGNER DOLLS: Big brands are coming to the virtual mall in Stardoll, the virtual world for tweens. DKNY and Sephora plan to reveal today that they will open virtual stores where girls can see the brands’ latest lines, try them on, and buy them for their avatars for about the equivalent of $1 or $2. Stardoll has more than 10 million registered members and more than 6 million unique visitors a month, making it larger than Second Life. The terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Stardoll’s team created a three-floor flagship that closely resembles DKNY’s real-world stores. “Choosing different clothes and styles is very important for our users,” said Stardoll chief executive Mattias Miksche. “They are expressing themselves online, and also it is the foundation of who you choose to connect with.” — C.C.
RIGHT FIT: Four years ago, Playtex relaunched its MySize bra in the U.S. and, since then, the company has seen that style’s sales climb by 643 percent. Now Playtex is taking its half-size bra to the U.K. market and will spend 1.6 million pounds, or $3.2 million at current exchange rates, on a multimedia campaign that will run in the November issues of Eve, Red, Grazia, You and Good Housekeeping, said a spokeswoman. The MySize TV ad opens with the “Playtex Angels” (déjà vu, Victoria’s Secret?), and online, ads will run on iVillage, Google and Handbag.com. The campaign will run from October until the end of December. — Amy Wicks