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Memo Pad: Speaking of Margiela… Shulman’s Stance… ‘Boring’ Economy…

A book devoted to Martin Margiela includes essays from Jean Paul Gaultier. Also: Alexandra Shulman pans skinny sample sizes.

WHITE PAPER: Alas, his photo is not on the cover. But a book devoted to Martin Margiela as part of his Paris house’s 20th birthday includes essays from luminaries such as Vanessa Beecroft, Andreé Putman and Jean Paul Gaultier, where the elusive Belgian designer started his fashion career. The large-format, 368-page tome, published by Rizzoli, is said to include images from Margiela’s personal archive and offer a rare glimpse into the iconoclastic designer’s creative process. Retailing for $100 and due out in October, the book’s cover is embroidered white cotton, and boasts ribbon markers, silver inks and 12 booklets. — M.S.

SHULMAN’S STANCE: British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has called time on designers’ minute sample sizes and the ultraskinny models that have to be used as a result. Last week, Shulman wrote a letter to designers including Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and Miuccia Prada — excerpts of which were published in London’s Times on Saturday — asking them to rethink their use of tiny sample sizes. Shulman told WWD on Monday she’d written the letter after noticing “more of a problem fitting certain models and celebrities [in designers’ samples],” saying she was prompted to act partly from a practical aspect — “as to what kind of women you can feature in a magazine if you are limited to people that can fit into extremely small sizes.”

But Shulman said alongside the issue of finding samples that fit models and celebs, she’s also seen an increasing appetite among her readers “for a more diverse body type being shown.” “We do an ageless style issue every year and I always get amazing feedback from that,” said Shulman. And it seems designers are also behind a movement away from one physical ideal. “Jean Paul Gaultier has always loved and championed those who are outside of the accepted norms of beauty,” said a spokeswoman for Gaultier on Monday. Meanwhile, Marios Schwab, who’s recently been named creative director at Halston, said he “really supports” Shulman’s move. “We are the trend setters and it’s very important that we can provide a fresh input into the sizing issue,” Schwab told WWD Monday.

However, Shulman said she isn’t on a mission to overhaul the way the industry works. “Fashion is always going to be about models and it’s always going to be aspirational and it’s never going to completely reflect reality,” the editor said. “But I think we can look at slightly broadening the horizons — fashion is meant to lead, not be behind.” — Nina Jones and Miles Socha

BORING WOULD BE GOOD: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. financial system is in the early stages of repair and that broad concern in the markets has dramatically been diminished since earlier this year. Geithner sat down for an interview with Time managing editor Richard Stengel during an economic conference taking place at Time Warner’s headquarters on Monday morning. Geithner sidestepped several direct questions, since President Obama will give a speech on Wednesday that is expected to provide new details on how the government will oversee financial institutions. Geithner contended the new administration has moved forcefully and quickly. “We can’t afford to go back to where it was,” noted Geithner, adding it’s important to act now on new regulations since there is still an acute memory of the financial crisis. He also cautioned that while there are signs of improvement and confidence is up, unemployment will continue to rise. But looking further into the future, Geithner was asked what he hopes the banking system will look like five years from now. “More boring, less drama,” he exclaimed. — Amy Wicks

LITTLE IMPACT: President Obama is expected to sign the bill this week that will give the Food and Drug Administration more power than ever to regulate tobacco and the marketing of tobacco products, which will include banning words such as “mild,” “light” or “ultralight.” But while the sweeping legislation will dramatically alter the way tobacco products are advertised and regulated, it won’t have a major effect on magazine advertising. Last year, tobacco advertising accounted for less than one percent (actually, about 0.3 percent) of total magazine ad revenue, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. — A.W.

 

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