CHANGE AGENT: Is another magazine already haggling to become a partner with “Project Runway” once its contract with Elle runs out? The Hachette Filipacchi Media title is contracted to the reality show through its fifth season, the last on the Bravo network. But season six of “Project Runway” will be broadcast on Lifetime, and the existing contracts between the show and its partners are being renegotiated. Though Elle’s contract could be renewed, sources close to “Project Runway” say Marie Claire is expressing an interest in participating. Such a partnership is ripe for synergy: Marie Claire is published by Hearst Magazines, whose parent company jointly owns Lifetime with The Walt Disney Co. Hearst also published Lifetime magazine in 2003, but the unsuccessful launch shuttered after a year. A spokeswoman for Marie Claire said, “We think ‘Project Runway’ is a fantastic show, but to speculate at this point beyond season five would be, as [season four winner] Christian Siriano says, ‘A hot mess!'”

Nevertheless, season six will bring at least one new feature to the show: As reported by Entertainment Weekly’s Web site last week, the program will film half of the episodes in Los Angeles to accommodate host Heidi Klum’s schedule and family commitments. The show’s presence in Los Angeles will bring more Hollywood-focused challenges, but the finale will still be taped in New York around fashion week in February.

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

— Stephanie D. Smith

FOR THOSE WHO WEREN’T THERE…: On “the one night of the year when magazine editors resemble the people who play them on TV,” as Cindi Leive, Glamour editor in chief and outgoing president of the American Society of Magazine Editors, put it from the stage, not everyone was as edited as they are in their pages.

Outside Rose Hall in Jazz at Lincoln Center Thursday night, Wired’s new publisher, Chris Mitchell, stood beside editor in chief Chris Anderson. Both Chrises joked about their passing physical resemblance (both are tall with shaved heads) and the possibility of switching places. “Can I get the speaker’s fees?” joked Mitchell. “Can I get the commissions?” countered Anderson.

On stage, Padma Lakshmi cooed about fiction’s effects on one’s loins, an apparent and uncomfortable reference to her ex-husband, Salman Rushdie. (Meanwhile, the women in the room couldn’t stop talking about David Willey, newly elected ASME president and Runner’s World editor in chief, whose good looks had some normally very composed female editors and magazine staffers giggling like teenagers.)

When Backpacker won for General Excellence, preventing New York magazine from winning the honor a third year in a row, Jonathan Dorn, the editor in chief of Backpacker, confessed Adam Moss had been haunting his dreams, taunting him with the word “threepeat.” And when Rolling Stone won for columns and commentary, the announcer boomed that Jann Wenner was accepting the award — except he was noticeably absent. “That’s not the Jann I know,” presenter Charlie Rose blurted out. A spokesman for Wenner said he had a long-standing family commitment, and Will Dana accepted in his place.

When Tina Brown handed Graydon Carter the award for profile writing, those with long memories wondered about long-standing rumors of ill will. (Carter, who succeeded Brown at Vanity Fair, may have excerpted her Princess Diana book years later, but he also published a parody of it.)

Brown’s successor at The New Yorker, David Remnick, accepting his one Ellie for General Excellence after leaving the ceremony empty-handed last year, remarked, “I kind of forgot what you’re supposed to do.”

As for Condé Nast Portfolio editor in chief Joanne Lipman, she received perhaps the biggest endorsement of the night. After accepting the magazine’s award for best section, Advance Publications chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. — who sat beside her throughout the ceremony — gave her a big hug as she returned to her seat.

At an after party at Porter House drawing top New Yorker and Portfolio staff, plus corporate brass, The New Yorker’s Ellie eventually ended up on the floor in a corner — it was, after all, its 47th. Lipman, group president David Carey and publisher William Li dined on sliders and seafood, Landmarc and Stone Rose being already full of other after parties and nonaffiliated drinkers. People staffers, including managing editor Larry Hackett, gathered at the front bar of the restaurant.

A few blocks north, Jim Nelson — who had partially dedicated his award to GQ’s longtime editor in chief, the late Art Cooper — corralled his staff to a private room at Bar Boulud to celebrate GQ’s win for General Excellence. The Ellie sat in a lit cubbyhole until the party broke up at 1 a.m., and the after-after party moved to the Emerald Inn. Upstairs at Bar Boulud, Gourmet toasted its win for photography, its third since 2004, and editor in chief Ruth Reichl had the Ellie as the centerpiece of the table. New York magazine celebrated its Ellie for Leisure Interests at The Spotted Pig, and the staff from National Geographic celebrated its relative sweep with Champagne and dumplings at Shun Lee. Their Ellies sat clustered in the middle of the table — until the food came.

— S.D.S., Irin Carmon and Amy Wicks

LOVELY KITTY: The fashion world’s love of Hello Kitty shows no signs of abating — especially in the feline’s home country of Japan. To wit, Vogue Nippon has dedicated seven pages of its June issue to the queen of cute. (Vogue Nippon, like WWD, is published by Condé Nast Publications.) The issue features sketches of the cartoon cat wearing no fewer than 55 looks from Dior’s fall-winter collection, two of which were developed into limited edition figurines available at Colette come July. Those who can’t make it to Paris will have to settle for the commemorative charm pasted into each copy of the magazine. Elsewhere in the issue, Hello Kitty (or rather an individual wearing a suit bearing her likeness) frolics through the Dior store in Paris and takes in the Eiffel Tower. There are also tons of photos of celebs clutching or wearing the Sanrio character in some form, including Cameron Diaz, Carine Roitfeld, Ashley Judd and Paris Hilton. A portrait of John Galliano kissing a plush version of his new muse kicks off the spread entitled “Bonjour! Kitty.”

— Amanda Kaiser

FRIENDS, INDEED: Eva Mendes and Steven Meisel have been hanging out a lot lately. Meisel recently shot the actress for Calvin Klein’s fragrance and underwear campaigns, which will make their debuts in fall fashion magazines as well as the May cover of Italian Vogue at a private home in the Pacific Palisades. The May issue hit newsstands on Friday. — A.W.

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