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- Magazine Execs Mull the Future of Industry
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SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU’VE GOT ‘EM: A few months ago, 41 members of Congress sent out a plea, in letter form, asking certain women’s magazines to stop accepting “misleading advertising for deadly cigarettes” and, more specifically, to stop running the Camel No. 9 ad from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The letter claimed the hot pink ad was developed to encourage young women to smoke. Apparently, among Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, In Style, Vogue, W, Lucky and Marie Claire, the only response Congress garnered was a phone call from Glamour’s editor in chief, Cindi Leive, followed by a letter.
So a second batch of letters was recently sent out, this time clearly asking for a response by Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Congresswoman Lois Capps (D., Calif.), one of the leaders on the issue, was perplexed at the lack of contact the office has received to date, although a Vogue spokeswoman pointed out Congress did not clearly request a response in its first letter. Regarding that statement, Capps’ spokeswoman said: “When people get letters from Congress, they generally respond.”
And, while this topic is debatable, what’s certain this time around is that if magazines don’t play ball with Congress, there are several options on the table, such as a hearing or drafting legislation. One media observer pointed out that tobacco ads represent a small percentage of most magazines’ overall advertising, and said titles such as Vogue aren’t breaking any laws by publishing Camel No. 9 ads. “Bring on the legislation,” added the observer. It appears Congress’ second letter-writing campaign is gaining more steam, as Kim France, editor in chief at Lucky, said she is planning to respond to the second letter, while the Vogue spokeswoman said it has sent a letter, but declined to disclose its contents. A spokeswoman for W said the magazine is working on a letter and will reply this week. A Hearst spokeswoman didn’t comment on whether its magazines are responding to Congress, but said: “At the moment, our policy regarding cigarette advertising is that the decision on whether to accept or reject it is at the discretion of our individual publishers.” At In Style, a spokeswoman said management is aware of the letter from Congress and added the July, August and September issues combined carry only two pages of tobacco advertising. Elle did not respond by press time. — Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the August 13, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
SECOND COMING: After four months of gestation — and media critics sharpening their knives — Condé Nast Portfolio will drop its September edition on newsstands Wednesday with profiles on both blue-blooded and well-tailored industries. The business magazine’s cover story will focus on Cerberus Capital, the investment group that took over car manufacturer Chrysler Group. And, as a fashionable counterbalance, Portfolio also has a 10-page feature on François-Henri Pinault, head of PPR, owner of Gucci Group and recent acquirer of active brand Puma. The story, written by Nancy Hass, outlines PPR’s business strategy, which includes emphasizing its brands instead of the designers who create them, but also details the relationship and passing of the torch between Pinault and his father, François, and the challenges at PPR divisions Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, where, Hass writes, “Pinault will not name a year, much less a quarter,” that the YSL division will turn a profit. But those scouring the magazine more for gossip than news will be disappointed: Not much is revealed about the relationship between the young Pinault and his pregnant fiancée, Salma Hayek, who is only mentioned briefly.
But the second issue wasn’t produced without its share of turmoil. As reported last week, editor in chief Joanne Lipman dismissed deputy editor Jim Impoco after numerous clashes. Meanwhile, the New York Observer reported Friday that embattled senior writer and investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald had resigned. Calls to Portfolio were not returned as of press time. — Stephanie D. Smith
DOT (NEW)COMER: Glamour’s Web site has hired new editor Anne Sachs from ellegirl.com, where she was executive editor. Sachs will help manage the growing site, which this summer has been adding blogs by the minute. The latest include “Storked,” penned by a pregnant 26-year-old and soon-to-be single mother. On Friday, blogger Perez Hilton began contributing “Pereztastic” — a weekly guest blog providing his trademark snarky commentary on celebrity fashion, though a quick perusal of his glamour.com content turned up more tame blog entries than the harshly critical opinions he often shares on Perezhilton.com. This fall, glamour.com also will roll out a political blog featuring commentaries on the presidential campaigns. — S.D.S.
A MOSS IN THE GARDEN: On his upcoming guest editorship of House & Garden, Murray Moss — who The New York Times recently described as being “widely acknowledged to be the king of high-design retailing in this country” — is already trying his hand at magazine-ready metaphors. “I thought, it’s like acting,” he said. “You get to play the part of editor in chief of a magazine, but there’s a beginning, a middle and an end.” And then again: “I needed to curate it, because that’s what I do. I needed it to be an exhibition. Everything in the room relates. I needed to be a through-line, so that everything in the book makes sense, like a novel. I wanted to have my say on a subject that’s actually a complete narrative.”
The guest editorship, a first for both Moss and the magazine, came about in part through the style maven’s long friendship with House & Garden’s design director, Wendy Goodman, and will be for the January issue. He’ll squeeze it into his newly bicoastal life — a Los Angeles branch of his store opened just over a week ago. But that doesn’t mean he’s stopped searching for new frontiers. He plans to visit the Nymphenburg Palace in Germany in the near future for the magazine. Moss conceded rather modestly, “I do think they’re mad to have me do it.” — Irin Carmon
OOPS…WON’T DO IT AGAIN: The Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker handbag used to illustrate a story about unauthorized copies, “Senate Joins Knockoff Battle,” in Thursday’s New York Times, was “inadvertently” produced, said Steve & Barry’s, the low-priced chain that exclusively sells the Bitten collection. In the story by Eric Wilson, the Bitten City handbag, priced at $9.95, was shown beside Anna Corinna’s City Bag model, which ranges in price from $384 to $480, with the implication the higher-priced handbag inspired the design of the lower-priced one. “A prototype of a bag Sarah Jessica Parker and the Bitten design team never approved for production was inadvertently produced by Steve & Barry’s,” Howard Schacter, chief partnership officer, said in a statement. “When the error was discovered, production of the bag was immediately stopped. It was never put on sale at Steve & Barry’s stores, and images of it were eliminated from all marketing materials. This unfortunate incident has resulted in Steve & Barry’s examining its entire production process and making appropriate changes to help ensure this type of error doesn’t happen in the future.”
Wilson said Steve & Barry’s requested The Times publish a clarification, but the newspaper declined. “They contacted me and asked for that, but it was not wrong what we showed,” he said. “All the images came from Fashionista.com.”
A photo of the handbag appeared previously in The Times, on June 20, in a Q&A with Parker written by Cathy Horyn. The photo was credited to Steve & Barry’s. — Sharon Edelson