I WILL FOLLOW: Louis Vuitton set the bar high for its “core values” campaign by casting the likes of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and, more recently, soccer legends Pelé, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, who appear playing Foosball in a Madrid cafe for the next series, shot by Annie Leibovitz and slated to break in June magazines. Next up is another towering and surprising personality, but one closer to home: Bono. Rumor has it the U2 front man and activist, whose eco-friendly brand Edun is partly owned by Vuitton parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has agreed to appear in the next spots, which trumpet Vuitton’s travel roots and its monogram leather goods. Vuitton declined to comment.
— Miles Socha
This story first appeared in the April 30, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WISE DEAL: Former Dolce & Gabbana publicist Ali Wise on Thursday admitted guilt in an electronic snooping case, and likely ended a legal drama that had made for tabloid fodder for the better part of a year. Wise avoided any jail time by pleading guilty to two counts each of eavesdropping and computer trespass. Both are felonies that can carry a prison sentence of up to four years. As part of an agreement with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Wise was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service and to pay a $1,000 fine.
Police arrested Wise last July on charges she had used a service called SpoofCard to break into and tamper with the voice mail account of social rival Nina Freudenberger. Both women had dated Downtown Records founder and chief executive officer Josh Deutsch. Authorities later added other victims and hundreds of other electronic break-ins to the charges. The case launched Wise from gossip column fixture to page-one billing, where headline authors haven’t hesitated to pair the words “hack” and “flack.”
“I’m glad that there’s resolution,” said Wise, who’s been doing consulting work on her own since parting ways with Dolce & Gabbana following the arrest. “I’m happy to put this behind me and move forward.”
Wise wore a trenchcoat and matching heels to a midmorning hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court, where she formally entered her plea. Justice Jill Konviser explained to Wise that if she completes the conditions of the agreement and stays out of trouble for two years, the court will downgrade the felony charges to misdemeanors. Konviser also extended an order of protection that bars Wise from contacting two unidentified victims through the length of her court supervision. The social media-savvy judge made sure to note the order applied to Facebook and Twitter.
— Matthew Lynch
ANOTHER DEAL: Mail.com Media Corp., the Internet firm behind Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com and Bonnie Fuller’s Hollywoodlife.com, has acquired BGR.com (formerly known as Boy Genius Report), a mobile gadget site that counts Gizmodo.com and Engadget.com as competitors. The site is run by 23-year-old Jonathan Geller, who will stay on with BGR to edit the site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
— Amy Wicks
LOOK NORTH: Where is the future of fashion? VMan is putting its money on Scandinavia. And Scandinavia, in return, is putting its money into VMan — at least via advertising. This much is evident from the quarterly’s summer issue, out now, which is devoted almost exclusively to the fashions and faces of the northern European region (from Swedish cover boy and “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgård to the Hedi Slimane-shot portfolio of Danish youth to page after page of comely as-yet-unknown actors, musicians, artists and models wearing designers you haven’t heard of yet).
“It just felt like Scandinavia was having its moment,” said Stephen Gan, editor in chief and creative director of V and VMan, of the issue’s geographic focus. Gan had the idea after attending Copenhagen Fashion Week last summer. “I was really surprised at the whole energy. It felt like such a foreign, remote part of the world, and you just don’t imagine [that] they’ve got a real, booming business going over there,” he said.
So healthy, in fact, that many Scandinavian brands — among them Kopenhagen Fur (who also scored the back-cover credit and provided the magazine with V-shaped pieces of mink, used to luxe up the VMan logo on 100 VIP copies), Shamballa Jewels, Royal Copenhagen, WeSC, Bruuns Bazaar and Mads Nørgaard — decided to advertise in the issue. Most, if not all, of them received editorial shout-outs in the form of fashion credits or news items. And as a result, ad pages in the issue are up 50 percent, to 39, compared with last summer’s issue, which featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the cover and 26 pages of ads inside. (The magazine maintains it didn’t offer discounting or change page rates.)
So, it makes sense that Gan and VMan editor Jacob Brown plan to do a second Scandinavian issue for winter, though Gan, who is also the magazine’s de facto publisher, said it won’t just be for the ad pages. “I kind of go with that gut instinct, with what people and places enchant me and intrigue me at the moment. I always believe that business follows. I don’t believe in ever doing anything because it was purely driven as a marketing strategy. I think, in this climate, that’s just suicidal.”
— Nick Axelrod
FASHION TV OFFER: Open trading of the Vienna-based fashion channel Fashion TV is scheduled to start today on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. A spokesman for FTV explained this is not a classic public offer, but an open market offer to institutional investors. “There have been so many private investors interested in taking part in Fashion TV that the owner [Michel Adam Lisowski] decided to restructure the company to allow for a stock exchange listing,” he said. Lisowski, who founded FTV in 1997, will remain the major stockholder.
“He’s willing to put a maximum stake of 49 percent on the market, but this will probably happen in several steps,” said the spokesman. He added that, in this type of transaction, no opening price is set, and Lisowski can decide if he wishes to accept the individual offers. According to the European Brand Institute, the FTV brand is valued at 245 million euros, or $324.4 million.
Fashion TV reaches more than 400 million homes and also is to be seen in what sources estimate are almost 7 million public spaces, including bars, fitness and cosmetics studios and fashion stores. New fields of business for Fashion TV include hotels and resorts, plus beverages such as Fvodka, with FChampagne and Fenergy drinks also in the planning. There are licensed FTV bars and clubs, and the debut F Fashion shop in Bangkok was launched about a month ago. It was the first of 40 stores slated to open in the next 18 months. The F Fashion collection, which includes accessories, is designed in Italy and manufactured there and in the Far East. Priced about 20 percent below Guess, it features “lots of crystal and is dedicated to party people,” the spokesman said. The line will be sold in freestanding shops, shop-in-shops such as that in the Vienna airport, as well as online.
— Melissa Drier