TWEAKY TINA: Last fall’s wave of Spy magazine tributes may have left Graydon Carter nostalgic for the waggishness of those years — or maybe just for the reputed rivalry with his Vanity Fair predecessor and current best-selling author Tina Brown, dating back from when Spy published a fawning note from Brown to Michael Ovitz. The July issue of Vanity Fair excerpted Brown’s book, “The Diana Chronicles,” but one month later comes a parody of the book and Brown’s writing style in the August issue, reprinted from Spy’s British inspiration, Private Eye. Under a photo of Brown giving a thumbs up and a mock byline, author Craig Brown (no relation) takes aim at Brown’s apparent fondness for the hyphenated phrase, for alliteration and for status indicators: “Those regal, rancorous, rough-hewn eyes seared…like a $5,000 kitchen knife from top store Macy’s on New York’s fashionable Broadway through butter served in the in-crowd, book-six-months-in-advance brasserie of super-sassy boutique hotel McDitzy’s, Park Avenue.” Brown’s use of sourcing is also lampooned: “I was informed of it by a highly trained researcher who was told in confidence by a highly regarded source, who heard it from a highly placed member of the household who is now dead, so equally regrettably you have no means of checking it.”
Brown wrote in an e-mail that she was “very flattered and amused by the parody. I have always been some kind of fixation for Craig Brown for some reason.” She said she believed the two hadn’t met, but called him “a very funny writer, especially with parody.” As for whether she saw it as a jab from Carter: “Graydon has been very appreciative and civil” about the book. Carter’s sole comment was, via a spokeswoman, “We thought it was funny.” — Irin Carmon
This story first appeared in the July 11, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
SEE JANE LIVE: Though the magazine Jane Pratt founded was closed Monday, the former editor told several media reporters that she is hard at work on returning to the print world. When Pratt left Jane in July 2005, talk swirled that Pratt would launch a fortysomething women’s title called Elizabeth, which is her middle name. But Elizabeth won’t be her next act in print just yet. Though she did not reveal many details of her upcoming project, Pratt said she is working on a magazine geared toward readers in their teens and 20s. Pratt said she has a launch date and a company through which she will publish the title, but would not reveal either except to say she will not launch the title with Reader’s Digest Association, now headed by former boss and ex-Fairchild chief executive officer Mary Berner. But until her next act in publishing, Pratt can be found on Sirius satellite radio, where she hosts a talk show Friday nights. On Tuesday, she hosted a show where she talked about Jane’s closure and fielded a call from former Jane fashion editor Eric Nicholson, who’s now senior fashion editor at Marie Claire. On comparing his new position to his job at Jane, Nicholson, an obvious Pratt loyalist, lovingly replied, “Yeah, it’s definitely bigger and different. I wouldn’t say better. My heart always will be at Jane magazine with you.” Joanna Coles, are you listening? — Stephanie D. Smith
AND THE BAND PLAYS ON: This summer’s hot invite, feting Valentino’s 45th anniversary and couture collection last weekend in Rome, will soon make its way into the pages of Italian Vogue. Franca Sozzani, editor in chief, asked Mark Seliger to shoot a special editorial Valentino story for the September issue. Seliger was also tapped to shoot the Valentino couture ad campaign, which apparently took place right after the runway show and will also appear in the same issue. But that’s not all for Seliger and Italian Vogue — word has it he also shot Gretchen Mol for the September issue. — Amy Wicks