POSH UNDER THE LIGHTS: Leave it to Marc Jacobs to convince a Spice Girl to go unplugged. For his hotly anticipated signature campaign for spring, Victoria Beckham put herself in front of the often harsh and unforgiving lens of Jacobs’ regular lensman, Juergen Teller.
“She was a great sport. She agreed to do something rough and tough and quite raw,” Jacobs said Thursday. “It wasn’t days and days of hair and makeup.” Confirming details about their collaboration, first reported in WWD on Oct. 17, Jacobs said the campaign depicts Beckham amid giant Marc Jacobs gift boxes and shopping bags, a sly allusion to how celebrities today are packaged and marketed like products.
In fact, Jacobs’ favorite images depict Beckham popping out of a box — or her head buried in a bag, with only her legs sticking out. The designer is also quite fond of one in which she is posed next to a car, a VB logo visible on the hubcaps.
A recent front-row regular at Jacobs’ shows for both his own label and Louis Vuitton, Beckham, married to soccer star David, is out to build her own lifestyle brand, dVb, with products such as sunglasses, denim and fragrance. To be sure, Jacobs is “fascinated with the cultural phenomenon of the Beckhams” and today’s tabloid culture. Indeed, when he approached Beckham, he wanted to make sure she went into the project with eyes wide open. “I said, ‘People are going to think this is pretty odd,'” Jacobs said, also explaining how his controversial spring collection, which included a suite of numbered dresses designed with football players’ wives in mind, played with “ideas about sexuality and what that means today.”
Jacobs even brought up the e-word, exploitation, to Beckham, since some accused the designer of that when he used convicted shoplifter Winona Ryder for a campaign in 2002 (he also dressed Ryder during her trial). But he was wasting his breath.
“She was like, ‘I totally get it and I’m totally into it,” Jacobs said. “She has an amazing sense of humor about herself….She just gave herself over to it.”
Jacobs could not provide images of the campaign at press time.
Meanwhile, Jacobs cast “Gummo” director Harmony Korine for his signature men’s wear campaign. — Miles Socha
SHOP TILL YOU DROP — OR JUST READ ABOUT IT: Black Friday was experienced by shoppers and couch potatoes alike, thanks to the media. The phrase, formerly used only in the retail community, has become an easy top story for the day after Thanksgiving, but many retail executives told WWD that the day now gets more media hype than is warranted.
And do consumers really want to read about, well, shopping? “I want an iPhone, too, but do I want to read a story about that? Not really,” said New York Times media columnist David Carr. “I don’t think we should pretend consumers need this.” He went on to say that, for a media organization, Black Friday provides some stability to schedule a story a year in advance. “But I think readers are a little left out of the conversation,” he added. And what really advances the story from year to year, he wondered? The fact that Best Buy opened an hour earlier?
Not that Carr’s own paper didn’t join in the crush. The Times ran a cover story Saturday, “Bargains Draw Crowds, but the Thrill Is Gone,” while over at the New York Post, a “Black Friday Survival Guide” was teased on the front page of Nov. 21’s issue, followed by a hot list of holiday gifts in the Nov. 23 paper. Meanwhile, at the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman said there was no mention of Black Friday or holiday spending in any stories in the Nov. 23 paper, but its blogs were filled with information.
Not that major city dailies were the only ones to blame for the frenzy. Local papers and newscasts also covered the day ad nauseam, complete with bargain-crazed shoppers stampeding aisles in the wee hours of the morning.
The national network morning shows were all over Black Friday, too, treating it breathlessly as a major world event. “Good Morning America” anchor and correspondent Dan Harris said there was a huge push this year, led by Diane Sawyer, to cover it differently. For instance, one story looked at the movie, “What Would Jesus Buy?” However, Harris acknowledged that all the coverage “might just be a media reflex. People care about what item is hot, where the discounts are, but less about the shopping season as a whole,” he said.
At the “Today” show, senior broadcast producer Don Nash said the show aimed to cover the event with more intensity this year because of the state of the economy. “We had more coverage this year, but that’s because of the fourth hour” of the program added earlier this year, he added. “But now there’s Cyber Monday, which has definitely arrived. Although next year, it will probably be even bigger.” — Amy Wicks
OUT OF THE RED: After just six months as Redbook’s creative director, Jenny Leigh Thompson has parted ways with the magazine, a spokeswoman for the title confirmed. Thompson had come over from Marie Claire, where Redbook editor in chief Stacy Morrison once served as executive editor. Redbook’s newsstand has seen double-digit declines in the last three reporting periods — 12.9 percent in the first half of this year, to 244,500; 28.6 percent in the second half of last year, and 20 percent in the first half of last year. Michael Picón, who was design director at New York magazine until 2002, will sub in the interim, though a permanent replacement is being sought. — Irin Carmon