NO LONGER GIMME A T: Leave it to the Republicans to unravel over a button.
The scuttlebutt from Wednesday’s launch party for T: The New York Times’ Style Magazine, was that the Republican National Committee purchased 9,000 copies to be distributed in hotel room welcome bags for delegates during next week’s Republican convention. But when GOPers saw a story on page 136, featuring Barneys New York fashion director Julie Gilhart’s must-have list for the season, they evidently reconsidered. The offending item? Number 14: “Even though Barneys doesn’t carry it, Gilhart says with a laugh that her most important accessory for fall could well be this John Kerry campaign button.” A 1.5-centimeter image of the pin is shown on the page, which apparently didn’t sit well with the RNC. Their buttons were sufficiently pushed for the committee to cancel the order. Which should make for interesting vibes at Barneys’ cocktail party Monday night for delegates who gave to President Bush’s reelection effort and at the Times-sponsored RNC party the same night. The RNC, the Times and Barneys did not return calls for comment. — Sara James
THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS: Sure, next week’s Republican convention will be swarming with representatives from just about every media outlet in the Western Hemisphere. So do they really need another one? Well, New York magazine thinks so, and it’s rationale for serving up daily coverage of the convention is no less compelling than Sir George Mallory’s reason for tackling Everest: because it’s here. “Clearly this is a defining event for New York City,” said Maer Roshan, who consulted on this week’s special RNC issue and will oversee the convention daily. “New York is the only magazine called New York. It needs to have a prominent voice and high profile in covering it.” Starting Sunday, Roshan, a former deputy editor at the magazine, will act as field marshal to 25 staffers and stringers operating out of their own temporary newsroom within New York’s offices. The crew will put out a four-page, oversized issue on each of the convention’s four days — but even that doesn’t communicate the full extent of the effort, said Roshan, noting correspondents will be posting their reports continuously on New York’s Web site. And lest you should worry that New York’s editors and reporters will be at sea writing for an audience of Republicans from beyond the Hudson, Roshan pointed out that the daily will also be distributed to a more familiar group: journalists, who will outnumber delegates three to one. — Jeff Bercovici
STILL SPINNING: Writing “Spin Sisters” may not have done much for Myrna Blyth’s popularity among her fellow women’s magazine editors, but it seems to have launched her on a second career — as media critic from the right. In last week’s edition of her National Review column, the former editor in chief of Ladies’ Home Journal and More pondered the meaning of Shop Etc., opining, “[F]eminism has morphed into a kind of self-indulgent narcissism.” Also last week, she wrote about the launch of another women’s magazine, Cottage Living, for another conservative publication, the New York Sun. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Blyth told WWD she admired the new shelter title’s populist approach. “This is very much a magazine for people who decorate for themselves,” she said. “It’s not experts telling you how to decorate.” “Spin Sisters,” which came out in March, was full of scorn for what Blyth saw as the magazine industry’s high-handed, knee-jerk liberalism. Though the book provoked angry reactions from her former peers, Blyth said it had the desired effect. “I do think women’s magazines, for example, have been much more fair and balanced this election season than last,” she said. — J.B.
THE OTHER TEXAS RANCHER: Tom Ford talks tough in the “Election Special!” September/October issue of Index, which hits newsstands Sept. 7. In an interview with the magazine’s founder and creative director Peter Halley, Ford gripes about fellow Texan President Bush, saying, “Bush has embraced the stereotypical good-ole-boy side of Texas, which can be racist, narrow-minded, and self-serving.” Yep, them’s fightin’ words. “The U.S. used to be perceived as the moral leader of the world, and we have absolutely lost that. I think we appear as the most morally corrupt country on the planet,” the former Gucci designer continued. Though he’s still talking up his planned foray into film — the right script has yet to materialize — one thing Ford’s second act will not include is a run for office. “Think of the scrutiny politicians have to endure. The other day I smoked a joint, what am I gonna do?” The cannabis apologist now splits his time between Los Angeles and his ranch in New Mexico, but he’ll be taking one for the Democrats and voting in Longhorn country come November. Said Ford: “I’m a Texas resident, so my vote will be cast in a red state.” — S.J.
CLOTHES ARE PRETTY, TOO: The world according to Linda Wells: “Fashion and beauty go hand in hand. You don’t start or stop being pretty from the waist down or the neck up.” No wonder Wells is expanding her beauty book’s fashion coverage, which also makes sense because the fashion books have long been encroaching on her turf and because, well, more fashion pages equals more fashion advertising. During the calendar year beginning this month, Allure will run 48 new fashion front-of-book and well pages, one of which will be similar to the magazine’s “Fashion Bulletin.” Using a collage of stills from old movies, photographs of style icons, runway photos and fabric swatches, much like a designer’s inspiration board, Allure (which, like WWD, is owned by Advance Publications Inc.) will attempt to deconstruct current trends. “It sometimes looks as if these ideas fell out of the clear blue sky,” said Wells, referring to fads like fur embellishments and sequined knits. “We want to ground them in information.” So now Allure readers will know they’re wearing jewel-encrusted cardigans — presumably over their freshly exfoliated, waxed and stone-massaged bodies — in part because of Sophia Loren’s matador phase and Deborah Kerr’s penchant for appliqués. — S.J.
VANITY FAIR-WELL: Think Gisele Bündchen is overexposed? Enjoy it while you can: The Brazilian über-supermodel plans to hang up her 6-inch stilettos two years from now, according to an article by Suzanna Andrews in the October issue of Vanity Fair. And no wonder. As part of the magazine’s photo shoot, photographer Patrick Demarchelier ordered Bündchen to ride a horse through the surf on Georgica Beach clad in only boots and a bikini, and walk barefoot along a stone jetty wearing a 20-pound Galliano skirt. “Watching her, I realized that if I had been a supermodel, I would have been on the order of the diva,” said Andrews. This fall, Bündchen will make her acting debut in the movie “Taxi.” Andrews hasn’t seen the film, so she couldn’t comment on the quality of Gisele’s performance. But, she added, “I think the part is very Gisele — it’s a smart, sexy, loud, energetic bank robber,” she said. Newsstand sales for Vanity Fair (which, like WWD, is a unit of Advance Publications Inc.) were up 9.8 percent in the first half of the year, averaging 407,677, according to the magazine’s circulation statement. — J.B.