HIRING: Bruce Pask, the freelance stylist who has been working extensively with Annie Leibovitz on the “The Sopranos” campaign and various cover shoots for Vanity Fair, is the latest to join the so-called “Lucky for Men” start-up being edited by Ariel Foxman. He’s heading to the new imprint at the end of June as style director.
This story first appeared in the June 3, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Meanwhile, a possible title has surfaced for the magazine. According to a source, a “working title” is Cargo. Editorial director James Truman also had been kicking around the idea of calling it Jake, but seemed to cool on the idea because of the similar sounding “Jaqk,” another men’s upstart that centered on gambling. A spokeswoman for Condé Nast declined comment on its name. — Jacob Bernstein
CLEAN DESIGN, MESSY SITUATION: When did the “Wallpaper look” slip from highly desired to simply distantly admired? Whenever it was, Tyler Brulé seems to have missed it, and his consultancy Winkreative is paying the price.
In April, Brulé discovered he’d been betrayed by the creative director he’d plucked out of design school, Erik Torstensson, who, along with account manager Jen Grede, was caught trying to cajole clients into leaving Wink for the rival consultancy they planned to start, two sources close to Wink said. Both were forced to resign and sure enough, within two weeks, had launched Saturday, an agency specializing in fashion and luxury goods clients.
Torstensson denies ever trying to poach Wink clients, and insists he’d planned to resign all along. “How else would we have Saturday up and running within 10 days of my leaving?” he said. So why did he go? Because the Wallpaper look and its ilk has reached the end of the road, it seems. “We believe that luxury and lifestyle marketing needs to become much smarter,” Torstensson said. “The consumer is not really responding to just a look of sophistication anymore.”
Wink officials declined comment for this story.
Several past and present Wink clients, meanwhile, continue to voice their admiration for Brulé while effacing the work Wink did for them. RJR Reynolds, one of the agency’s first clients, has canceled Wink’s “CML” custom publication for Camel cigarettes, but a company spokeswoman insisted “we may well decide in six months to rethink that. Who knows what will happen in the future, but we do have an ongoing relationship with Wink.”
Ditto at Williams-Sonoma, which commissioned Wink to create the PB Teen magalog for its Pottery Barn chain. After taking receipt of the agency’s typically clean, post-Wallpaper work on the project, Pottery Barn executives decided the work was so off-message they promptly altered it beyond recognition, a source said. Now Pottery Barn has issued a new request for proposals on how to rebuild it from scratch. A company spokeswoman declined comment.
But the biggest blow to Brulé’s aesthetic has been Swiss, the airline he branded from the logo on up last year that put Wink on the map. All that style hasn’t prevented the airline from jettisoning the jet-set customer he felt it should chase in favor of hand-to-hand combat with low-cost carriers. Chief executive André Dosé still stands behind him, however. “Tyler Brulé’s main job was to build up the Swiss brand,” he said. “This was achieved with great success — even our competitors confirmed it. In addition, he advised us on certain products. Now his work is finished, but it’s possible that we’ll contact him to help us on upcoming projects.”
And it’s true that Brulé still has friends in very fashionable places that approve of his signature look. When Brulé’s old friend, Vittorio Radice, left Selfridges for Marks & Spencer earlier this year, Wink’s contract for Selfridges’ house magazine went with him, but now Wink has been hired to design the catalogs, publicity and advertising for the company’s first freestanding store, known as Marks & Spencer Lifestore. Brulé & Wink also will control the image of and develop the concept of Lifestore itself, the company said. — Greg Lindsay
HELP WANTED: Anyone dying to work for Graydon Carter? Send in your résumés! Carter’s longtime assistant, Punch Hutton, is moving up and his second assistant, Matt Trainor, is moving out. Hutton will become an associate editor for the magazine, editing the Fanfair section with Anne Fulenwider. She replaces John Gillies, who recently moved to fellow Condé Nast imprint GQ. “It’s everything that I love and it’s supposed to have its pulse on everything that’s smart and cool,” said an elated Hutton by phone. FYI to potential applicants: Carter likes his coffee black. — J.B.
TOPIC B: Jann Wenner and Maer Roshan will be appearing on Tina Brown’s second episode of “Topic A,” which is slated to air sometime this summer on CNBC. Wenner had actually been booked for the first episode but had to bail at the last minute because it was his night with the kids. — J.B.