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SO IT WASN’T ANNIE’S FAULT AFTER ALL: At least one of financial adviser Kenneth Starr’s former clients was unfazed by his arrest on fraud charges Thursday. “News of Kenneth Starr’s arrest does not come as a complete surprise to me, and I will follow this story with great interest,” Annie Leibovitz said after the accountant was taken in on allegations he used his clients’ funds to run what prosecutors called a $30 million fraud. Leibovitz had been a Starr advisee before her much-publicized money troubles in recent years. It was Starr who reportedly introduced the photographer to Art Capital Group, the investment firm that traded $24 million in financing to Leibovitz for the rights to her life work. The loan led to a lawsuit that saw Art Capital attempt to sell the photographer’s two homes, among other means of collection. In the criminal complaint against Starr, authorities allege he funneled investments from his clients to his own interests, and, in some cases, directly transferred money from their accounts to his own. According to the filing, he used clients’ funds to buy a $7.5 million Upper East Side apartment last month. Uma Thurman and Martin Scorsese are said to be among Starr’s clientele. Maybe Leibovitz will take his perp walk photo.
— Matthew Lynch
This story first appeared in the May 28, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
GOING LATE NIGHT: Details has decided to cancel its annual bash at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan during Men’s Fashion Week in favor of something “more on the DL and not as over-the-top,” a spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail to WWD. Translation: something more on-brand.
Instead of the garden party the title has thrown at the Bulgari for the past several years, Details is opting to host two smaller after-hours events on June 20 and 21 during the Milan men’s shows, which extend from June 19 to 23. In lieu of invitations, guests will at some point receive matchbooks (Isn’t smoking out? Oh, wait — it’s Italy) inscribed with the location and exact time of the parties — details, as it were, that are being kept secret for now.
Bill Wackermann, the Condé Nast senior vice president and publishing director who was given oversight of Details in October, was behind the change in plans. “It just didn’t feel right for the brand,” Wackermann said of the Bulgari concept. “Where we’re taking the brand is not a sweaty-cheese-plate party. That’s not where Details should be.” (Note to guests: Don’t expect cheese or, perhaps, food at all.)
“Details isn’t prime time,” Wackermann continued, “we’re late night.” So think Jimmy Fallon and not Jay Leno, at any hour.
Both Wackermann and the magazine’s spokeswoman denied cost cutting was a factor in choosing to go low-key this year, claiming advertising is up for the June-July and August issues. (It is believed the two smaller events will actually cost the magazine more than last year’s garden fete.) Whether or not the move is to save euros, there’s no doubt Details has been struggling along, hence the move into Wackermann’s first aid ward. According to Media Industry Newsletter, Details’ ad pages are down 24.5 percent year to date, whereas it’s main competitors, Condé Nast’s GQ and Hearst’s Esquire, have seen increases in pages — 10.6 and 15.5 percent, respectively.
— Nick Axelrod
SPEAKING OF WACKERMANN’S WARD…: Over at W, the business operations of which also fall under Bill Wackermann’s purview, new editor in chief Stefano Tonchi has hired Joseph Logan, most recently design director at Artforum and senior art director at Baron & Baron, to be the magazine’s new design director, effective Tuesday. Logan, 38, succeeds W’s longtime group design director, Edward Leida, who was shown the door soon after Tonchi came into power. Logan — who has also worked at French Vogue and Arena Homme Plus — will report to W’s new creative director, Jody Quon. In a conversation with Tonchi and Quon, Logan told WWD, “What we’ve talked about is making something extremely refined and something in line with, or maybe built around, the interests of the first W that existed under Mr. Fairchild.
“I think we want to make [the design] bold and yet have a kind of classic beauty to it,” Logan added. “But it’s really going to be about the imagery. I think the design is always in the service of the imagery.” As for the white space that has defined W’s look and historically dominated the front of book, Logan said: “I think there will be white space when it works, but it really depends on the imagery.”
Added Quon: “I think the front will probably be a place where we’ll flex our muscles a little more than they’ve done so in the past.” While Tonchi is putting his mark on the August issue (among other things, he selected the cover stars, Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall), Quon and Logan will be starting in on the September issue, which will be Tonchi’s first full effort. No pressure or anything.
IT’S ALL OURS — UNTIL WE DECIDE TO SELL IT: Remember all that speculation Time Warner might be looking to unload its publishing division, Time Inc.? Well, maybe it will — but not this year. Chief executive officer Ann Moore spoke to investors on Thursday, noting the business is reviving and she was optimistic about its digital future. According to reports, Time Warner honcho Jeff Bewkes also reiterated that Time Inc. is safe for the time being. Earlier this month, Time Warner posted its first-quarter earnings, which included a 5 percent increase in advertising at Time Inc. The top seven ad categories all posted upticks in spending, and in the style and entertainment group (which includes People and InStyle), advertising was up in the double digits.
— Amy Wicks
WIRED READERS ARE…WIRED: The iPad was seen as the salvation of print magazines by some, and while the jury is still out — way out — on that fact, there are titles making healthy forays into the device-that-can-do-everything-but-make-coffee (or run Adobe Flash). After just one day on the iPad, Wired has sold 24,000 copies of its app, according to the magazine’s Web site. The app costs $4.99 a pop. This is a significant figure in comparison with Wired’s numbers on the newsstand — the magazine sells about 82,000 single copies a month, according to the latest figures reported by Audit Bureau of Circulations. Wired’s app is Condé Nast’s third magazine on the iPad, since launching GQ in early April and, recently, Vanity Fair. The magazine has a universal app that runs on the iPhone and iPad. Since December, GQ has sold 63,000 copies on both devices (the company isn’t breaking out the figures separately).