SCARLETT MARK TWO: For her sequel as the face of another Louis Vuitton campaign, Scarlett Johansson played a role with which she’s extremely familiar: movie star. Evoking at turns Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, Johansson displays voluptuous glamour in the color-drenched fall spots, slated to break in August fashion magazines.
“In this one, she’s much more recognizable,” said Antoine Arnault, Vuitton’s communications director, who allowed that the actress is not always immediately identifiable in the current spring ads in her role as the French-coquette-on-a-swing.
Nevertheless, Arnault dubbed the current campaign a success. He noted that Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs “adores” Johansson and based his fall-winter collection for the house around her character in “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the 2003 feature film about a peasant girl who becomes the model for 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s most famous work.
The fall campaign, lensed by Vuitton regulars Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, plays up the painterly colors of the ready-to-wear. “It’s probably one of the most beautiful campaigns Mert and Marcus have ever shot,” Arnault said. “It’s a very iconic campaign.”
Arnault, son of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault and a member of LVMH’s board, said Johansson was at ease during the shoot, held in a studio in her hometown of Los Angeles in late March. In fact, during a lunch break, the photographers were so struck by the combination of light and Johansson that they snapped some impromptu black-and-white portraits that will be featured in a future issue of Pop magazine.
Jacobs, who had been undergoing rehabilitation treatment in Arizona, was not present at the shoot, but had given the impetus and direction for the campaign, in sync with a collection based on a rich, earthy palette and feminine glamour, Arnault noted.
Each image highlights Vuitton’s leather goods — entry-priced totes one month, degradé or shearling monogram handbags the next — with Johansson reclining against a simple backdrop of curtains and divans.
Arnault declined to pinpoint budgets, but said investments would be higher for the crucial fall-winter selling season. Analysts have estimated Vuitton spends more than $250 million annually on advertising, most of it print-driven.
A fan of outdoor advertising, Arnault said he would seek out premium, large-scale spaces. Vuitton also is keen to ramp up its online advertising presence, although Arnault lamented a lack of quality luxury portals. — Miles Socha
NOT FOR SALE: Time Inc. is not up for sale and there are no plans to spin off the company anytime soon, said Ann Moore, chairman and chief executive officer, during a talk Wednesday at a breakfast with the Magazine Publishers of America. But never say never: Moore went on to offer a bit of advice for the Time Warner suits who may have been listening: “If you’re going to spin me off, you better get a good price.”
On that note, the Time Inc. ceo discussed the division’s many digital expansions, adding that Sports Illustrated is predicting that 18 percent of its overall revenues will come from digital this year. She added that Time Inc.’s digital strategy is simple: Build a great product, build an audience and then monetize that audience.
But in addition to lauding the division’s successes, she didn’t hesitate to point out failures, such as Office Pirates, a now-defunct Web site that provided a humorous spin on corporate America. Moore also touched on the layoffs that took place earlier this year and made it clear to the reporters in the room that she was disappointed in the press coverage surrounding the closure of several bureaus. While fielding questions on the topic earlier this year, she said no reporter ever asked why People had an Austin, Tex., bureau in the first place.
Moore went on to praise the division’s new Web sites, but said more work needs to be done on those for the women’s service magazines, such as In Style. “We’re working on that now.” And in the near future, Moore said an editorial audit will commence. The last one, which she referred to as a “checkup,” was done a few years ago and resulted in unspecified changes and layoffs. — Amy Wicks
YURMAN’S NEW FACE: David Yurman has tapped Natalia Vodianova, longtime model for Calvin Klein, to join Daria Werbowy and Kate Moss for the jeweler’s fall ad campaign. Peter Lindbergh shot the trio in St. Barth’s in April and the images will run in the fall issues of most major fashion titles. — A.W.
NEW KINGDOM: In naming Suzanne Sykes as its new creative director, Marie Claire has in a sense gone back to its roots — if not all the way to France, then to the United Kingdom, where Sykes worked on the launch of the magazine’s British version under editor in chief Glenda Bailey, subsequently editor of its U.S. edition and now editing Harper’s Bazaar. Sykes most recently has been art director of Britain’s successful glossy weekly Grazia, which she also helped launch. On that magazine, The Observer of London recently remarked: “Every now and again a magazine comes along that captures the moment. Marie Claire did it in the Eighties, the lads’ mag Loaded did it in the Nineties. Grazia’s news-‘n’-shoes format is doing it right now.”
Praised for her Grazia designs in Britain, Sykes is moving to New York to join a magazine whose redesign has been critically acclaimed (former creative director Paul Martinez, now at Men’s Journal, won a Society of Publication Designers gold medal for best redesign), but one that faces declines at the newsstand. — Irin Carmon
THIRD TRY’S A CHARM?: LTB Media’s Culture & Travel finally has its third editor since its September launch: Food & Wine contributing editor Kate Sekules. Previously the magazine’s travel editor, she is the author of a memoir, “The Boxer’s Heart.” Dana Cowin, editor in chief of Food & Wine, praised Sekules for possessing “the world’s best instincts,” and called her “a dazzling writer.”
She has an uphill journey ahead of her. The magazine and its parent company have been beset by turnover, starting with the October departure of editorial director James Truman and continuing with Culture & Travel’s launch editor, Michael Boodro, in late January and his successor, Peter Terzian, in early March. Art + Auction editor Anthony Freund reportedly had been leading the editor search, with his executive editor, Ted Loos, said to be taking on some Culture & Travel editing duties. Sekules declined comment, while Freund and a spokeswoman for LTB Media did not return calls by press time. — I.C.