VANITY HEIR: Boorish playboy ad sales guys may be out of fashion at Condé Nast, but the progenies of New York royalty are not.
This story first appeared in the July 22, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Coming on board to replace Patricia Herrera as the associate fashion editor at Vanity Fair is Alexis Bryan, daughter of Anna Wintour’s paramour Shelby Bryan. “I saw her at the Goddess Ball,” said VF’s fashion director Elizabeth Saltzman. “And she just blew me away. We thought she had the most style and she looked the best. After a long search, she fit the bill on every count.”
And how could Saltzman hold Bryan’s genes against her, since she too began her career as the child of a fashion royal? “I remember going in on my first day walking on clouds,” Saltzman recalled, “and they were pierced hearing people gossiping about me. Everybody is the daughter or son of somebody. It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard, as I can attest to. And so can you,” she said to this half of Memo Pad.
Oh yes, forgot about that. Fair enough. — Jacob Bernstein
CHILDREN OF CELEBRITIES PART II: Alexis Bryan isn’t the only well-connected junior at Condé Nast. A few floors below Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue summer intern Bee Shaffer has become something of a one-girl focus group, sources close to the magazine said. Shaffer, whose mother is Anna Wintour, has offered advice and suggestions on everything from copy to sources. A spokeswoman for the magazine said Shaffer isn’t really editing at all, but is being used more as a sounding board. “She helps with providing sources,” the spokeswoman said. “Or they’ll check in on a certain topic.” After all, the magazine’s target reader is a supremely stylish 16-year-old girl. — Greg Lindsay
SAFE HAVEN: Don’t call it their comebacks, but Reader’s Digest is proving to be quite hospitable to former editors in chief who may still have what it takes. First came Money’s Frank Lalli, who got axed by that hard-charging dynamic duo, Norman Pearlstine and John Huey. Then came Catharine Romano, who joined Reader’s Digest as a deputy editor after stints at Details and Maxim. The latest to come along is former TV Guide editor Steve Reddicliffe, who will be working with former Entertainment Weekly editor Jim Seymore on a prototype for an eBay magazine. (Seymore, like Lalli, got pushed out of his title, by Huey last September.)
And Reddicliffe is not the only newbie trecking out to the Readers Digest think tank in Pleasantville, New York. Also getting 914 extensions are Analyn Swan (of Rosie Magazine fame) and Peter Bernstein, a former Random House editor.
“Who knows who’ll be here next week,” joked an insider. “Bonnie Fuller?” — J. B.
BACK IN BLACK: While Bonnie is down in Boca Raton busting deadlines at his tabloids, David Pecker’s other hired gun, designer Roger Black, is in New York completing total overhauls of two of his glossies, Men’s Fitness and Natural Health.
Pecker brought Black’s firm, Danilo Black, on board shortly after acquiring both magazines in American Media’s purchase of Weider Publications last year. Black, who has seemingly redesigned everything at one point or another (Rolling Stone, Esquire, Newsweek, etc.) has them on course for November relaunches. Both are getting clean looks with lots of white space, the better to help Men’s Fitness stand out from the lad books and help Natural Health go toe-to-toe with Real Simple.
Men’s Fitness plans to battle Rodale’s Men’s Health for the service journalism crown. “It has this core of fitness coverage, which the other men’s magazines don’t,” said Black. “Men’s Health thinks it does, but I think maybe it’s gotten too broad. And they’ve always been scared of fashion.” Enter Men’s Fitness new fashion director, Warren Christopher, who spent six years in the same job at…Men’s Health. “It’s going to be a little more casual, a little more ‘street,’ although I wouldn’t want to get it mixed up with ‘urban,’” Christopher said.
When Black and his teammates finish up, they’ll be handing off the work to new art directors Matthew Guemple (at Men’s Fitness) and Campion Primm (Natural Health). Next up is Muscle & Fitness Hers, plus general consulting for American Media’s other art directors, including new arrival Heidi Wolte at Muscle & Fitness. And after that, Bonnie just might let him touch her tabloids (which he redesigned once before, naturally). “It’s now essentially waiting for Bonnie to restack the cards and deal them,” Black said. — G.L.