FAIR-Y TALES: Whatever Michael Roberts‘ workload was as fashion director of The New Yorker, he seems to have at least tripled it since taking on the role of fashion and style director of Vanity Fair. In his first month on the job, Roberts has sent tremors through the magazine’s fashion department, prompting title changes and reshoots for two upcoming potential covers — one with Sandra Bullock and one with Hilary Swank — according to sources with close ties to Vanity Fair, and at two competing titles.
A Vanity Fair spokeswoman said, “We just don’t comment on covers,” but the sources said Patrick Demarchelier was called in to shoot Swank after earlier photos of her taken by Mario Testino came in looking “too harsh, and not sexy or summery enough” for editors.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Vanity Fair’s fashion director since 1994, and a longtime friend of Roberts, no longer holds that title and will now be fashion and style director at large, the spokeswoman confirmed Monday. Though Saltzman has been based in London for several years, and until recently shared her title with Anne McNally, her shift to at-large status is expected to have some fallout. “It’s inevitable that feathers will be ruffled in a situation like this,” said an editor who knows Saltzman and Roberts, “but hiring Michael was the best thing [Vanity Fair] could have done. He has the right instincts, and he obviously has the right taste.”
Alexis Bryan, daughter of Shelby Bryan, the companion of Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, is also getting a title change. Bryan, currently listed as fashion and jewelry editor, has been promoted to executive fashion editor. “She’s a great representative for the magazine,” said one person who has dealt with her. “People have high hopes for her.”
— Sara James
HALF EMPTY: There’s more bad news than good in the magazine advertising data for the first half of 2006 published in this week’s Media Industry Newsletter. For the most part, the major fashion and lifestyle monthlies muddled through the half, either down a few percentage points or, somewhat less frequently, up a few points. One notable exception was Martha Stewart Living, which was up 74.3 percent, with 586 pages through June. (Everyday Food, another Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia title, was also way up, with 253.4 pages, a 25.7 percent rise.) Elle (979.8 pages, up 13.6 percent), Esquire (495.5 pages, up 15.9 percent) and Teen Vogue (484.7 pages, up 12.1 percent) were all double-digit gainers.
Elsewhere in the core fashion category, Vogue was up 4.7 percent, to 1,252.4 pages; W was up 2.3 percent, to 824.5 pages, and Harper’s Bazaar was up 3.5 percent, to 720.8 pages.
On the negative side of the divide were Maxim (394.6 pages, down 15.7 percent), Men’s Health (436.7 pages, down 14.3 percent), Teen People (305.8 pages, down 13.6 percent); Vanity Fair (789.2 pages, down 15.7 percent); Seventeen, down 2.5 percent, to 441.8 pages, and In Style, down 2.5 percent, to 1,603.4 pages. One of the biggest drops was at Jane, where, despite improved newsstand sales, pages fell 41 percent, to 235.8.
Vogue, Teen Vogue, Jane, W and Vanity Fair all are owned by Condé Nast Publications, parent of WWD.
— Jeff Bercovici