STATUS REPORT: Since Ron Galotti moved back to Condé Nast following the demise of Talk, there have been questions as to whether his appointment at GQ was just a temporary gig — or whether he was being placed in permanent purgatory for having defected. Now, sources close to Galotti say that with Art Cooper out, or on the way out, and a new editor coming in within the next few months, the most likely scenario entails the publisher spending some more time at GQ — even as they confirm growing speculation that an eventual promotion (putting him upstairs with Richard Beckman and Steve Florio) might be in the cards. “It’s probably not going to happen at the moment,” said one source within the company, before adding a big but: “I think in the long term it might happen. Ron’s a great salesman. They don’t plan on having him there forever.” At the same time, others said, “Upstairs is Siberia. Richard Beckman went upstairs after he broke a girl’s nose, and I think he’s done well, but what the hell do you hear about him now?” Which is just to say that at Condé Nast, everything besides getting fired is a Rorshach blot. Condé Nast declined comment.— Jacob Bernstein
This story first appeared in the March 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
MACBAIN’S NEW ART: Some women buy lipstick when their boyfriends dump them, but Louise MacBain has bought a magazine instead. MacBain quit as chief executive officer of the Phillips auction house in December, separating from her then-boyfriend, Phillips co-owner Simon de Pury, in the process. Now MacBain has bought Art & Auction — which regularly covers her old flame. She acquired the title from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Bernard Arnault — who’s on a disposing spree at the moment — for approximately $320,000, according to a source close to the sale.
While MacBain has taken pains to spin her breakup with de Pury as one where she walked out on him, the source said the opposite is true, and that MacBain is desperate to be involved in his world in whatever capacity she can. And running Art & Auction presumably should come easier than her 10-month stint at Phillips, since she made her fortune building the classified ad empire Trader.com with her ex-husband John MacBain. Louise MacBain, traveling in Europe, could not be reached for comment.
As far as LVMH is concerned, Arnault, who could not be reached for comment, has said publicly that he plans to divest the company of “marginal” assets, and a money-losing art magazine might certainly be construed as that. — Greg Lindsay
THE KOOLHAAS ISSUE: When James Truman told Condé Nast’s editors almost two years ago that he’d hired rock-star architect Rem Koolhaas as a consultant, no one thought it would take so long to see the proof that Koolhaas was doing more than filing expenses.
But the word out of Wired is that Koolhaas is hard at work as a special guest editor of its June issue, which is being hung on the peg of “space” and spaces both real and imagined. Condé Nast has a long and glorious tradition of guest editors at its magazines (Roseanne Barr’s stint at The New Yorker comes to mind) but Koolhaas’ efforts have so far extended to rubber stamping copy and using his star power to recruit marquee names like Martha Stewart, who will be one among many thinker-ceo celebrities with short pieces in the mix.
Sources close to the magazine say the issue’s final contents are still up in the air, and it seems a few editorial control issues need to be worked out. Wired articles editor Thomas Goetz, who’s Koolhaas’ liaison on the project, said the magazine brought the space idea to him, and has merely solicited advice from the architect while Wired editors did all the work. The writers tell a different story. “It wasn’t that Wired could just pick things,” said one contributor. “I think he has a pretty good amount of control over it.” —?G. L.
WE DON’T GIVE A FLAIR: In more than 20 years as the editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani has operated as Italy’s closest comparison to Diana Vreeland, with little competition in her way. But the surprisingly fast advent of Flair, which is published by Italian publishing powerhouse Mondadori and has more than 300 pages of ads in its second issue (think In Style for Italy) has begun to make the team at Italian Vogue sweat.
According to several sources in Milan, Condé Nast management, which publishes Vogue Italia, has told all stylists and photographers that if they work for Flair, they will never work again at any Condé Nast Italia publication. “It’s even gone beyond photographers,” said one source familiar with the situation. “They’re also threatening models and makeup artists — everyone involved in creating a fashion magazine.”
But when called for comment, Sozzani, played down the aggressive tactics, calling it business as usual. “First of all,” she said, “I never said anything such as that. Ever since I can remember working here, more than 20 years, the policy has always been that a photographer who works for Condé Nast Italia cannot work for any other Italian magazine, whether it’s [the news weekly] Panorama or Amica. It’s the same way with Condé Nast in France.” — Courtney Colavita
HOMME ALONE: It looks like Vogue Hommes International soon will be getting a new creative team under editor in chief Richard Buckley. Sources said longtime features editor Prosper Keating was shown the door last week and creative director Donald Schneider has been moved on to other new projects at Condé Nast France. Also, several key contributors were told their services are no longer needed and sources said the changes have spawned three separate lawsuits against the magazine. Buckley was traveling Thursday and could not be reached for comment. Condé Nast France president Didier Suberbielle declined all comment. — Miles Socha
CARPET BAGGER: Never mind war jitters. Indefatigable Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, plans to attend the Oscars on March 19 for the first time. “This is the year to go to the Oscars. It’s a real red-carpet moment,” she said. And so what will Menkes grace it with? “That’s what everybody’s asking, but they won’t know until I’m on the red carpet,” she quipped. “It might have a perfume of Asia. That’s the only clue I’m going to give.” — M. S.
FASHION APPEAL: One part fashion, two parts humor and a dash of sexy sophistication sums up the print ads breaking this week for orange-peel-flavored liqueur Cointreau. The campaign, shot by fashion photographer Richard Burbridge (CK One; Gucci timepieces), features the tag line “Be Cointreauversial,” below the image of a model clad only in two strategically placed pieces of orange peel. The target of the latest play by the clear liqueur — created in France 150 years ago by Edouard-Jean Cointreau — is professional women, ages 25 to 35, who pride themselves on their individuality (but presumably wear more than orange peels). Thus, the catch phrases (in three versions of the ad): “Sip out of the mainstream,” “Good things come to those who taste” and “To the beat of a different drum.”
The Cointreau ads will appear in April issues of Marie Claire, Vogue, InStyle, Jane, Interview, Lucky, Cosmopolitan, Blackbook, Flaunt, Surface and Entertainment Weekly. Billboard and bus shelter ads will go up next month in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco; bus wraps will roll on Long Island’s Hampton Luxury Liner, from May through July. — Valerie Seckler