FERGIE’S SOUR CANDIES: Stacy Ann Ferguson — aka Fergie — may not be that sweet on Candie’s after all. Earlier this week the pop star denied a report in The Sunday Times of London that she planned to name-check Candie’s clothing in her songs as part of a recent deal to front the brand’s fall ad campaign.

“It’s completely false,” she told WWD on Monday, adding that she is taking legal action against the paper. “I don’t know where they got it from. I sing about a lot of things in my songs — from cars to Taco Bell — but not because I’m paid to!”

This story first appeared in the July 12, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The story, headlined “Black Eyed Plugs: Fergie’s Songs to Push Fashion Label,” was published on July 1. It said the name-check clause was part of a 2 million pound, or $4 million, deal between the singer and Candie’s, which is owned by Iconix Brand Group Inc.

The story quoted an unnamed executive at Interscope records, Fergie’s label, as saying: “With record sales in decline, you must find novel ways to make money out of the music. The trick is to make the brand part of the song so that it slips down easily rather than chokes the fan.”

The executive is later quoted as saying: “Candie’s will reach teens, but it has no say over exactly what Fergie will sing, or when. Fans might think she is just singing about candy. But it’s got to work with the song. Fergie does not sing jingles.”

A spokeswoman for Iconix Brand Group also denied that Fergie was being paid to plug the brand in her music. “Contrary to recent reports, Candie’s does not have an arrangement with Fergie whereby she will incorporate the Candie’s brand into her lyrics. Currently, Fergie acts as the junior brand’s spokesperson and appears in its multimedia marketing campaigns including print, national television, Internet and promotions.”

A Sunday Times spokeswoman declined all comment. This is the second time in one week The Sunday Times’ fashion reporting has been disputed. A Prada spokesman denied a weekend report in The Sunday Times stating that U.K. business tycoon Richard Caring is in talks to buy the Italian company. The spokesman said Prada has had no contact with Caring and is still pursuing its plan to go public rather than seek a sale. — Lucie Greene

WEEK END: The Week, soon to be the only title in the U.S. still owned by Dennis Publishing founder Felix Dennis, announced on Tuesday its president, Justin Smith, is stepping down. Smith will join Atlantic Media as president of its consumer division, a new position. He will be responsible for The Atlantic magazine, its Web site, theatlantic.com and its investment in 02138, a new title targeting young Harvard alumni. Steven Kotok, general manager for The Week, will succeed Smith.

Smith joined The Week in September 2001, and in six years helped grow the magazine into a 475,000-circulation newsweekly and turn a small profit. Through March 2007, ad pages for the title grew 28 percent, to 129, over last year, according to Publishers Information Bureau. While his exit comes as Maxim, Stuff and Blender are being acquired by Quadrangle Group in the third quarter, Smith said concern over the future of The Week amidst the transition did not drive his decision. “Felix asked me to bring The Week to profitability. I did, so I consider my work done,” he said. “Simultaneously [Atlantic owner] David Bradley had this incredible opportunity to grow and build this company.” Smith’s departure comes three months after group publisher Carolyn Kremins left The Week in March to join Cookie as vice president and publisher. — Stephanie D. Smith

HOT FLASH: Lots of crazy things can happen on a fashion shoot, but a model’s face catching fire? That’s what’s detailed in one of the wackier scripts Nick Knight received when his Web site Showstudio.com announced plans to do a live broadcast of an Yves Saint Laurent photo session and invited the public to submit ideas for possible scenarios. Showstudio has already received more than 200 scripts for the around-the-clock shoot, slated to get under way Sunday. The unusual initiative is designed to promote — in an interactive way — Stefano Pilati‘s Edition 24 line, a permanent, seasonless and sharply priced collection of YSL essentials that just started arriving in stores. The collection, which can be assembled into 24 looks, comprises all the elements a fashionable woman might need for an overnight trip, from oversize sweaters to a chiffon dress. The results of the Sunday shoot won’t end up as a print campaign, but rather will be assembled into a short film for the relaunch of YSL’s own Web site this fall, according to a YSL spokesman. Pilati and Knight, collaborating for the first time, will select the 24 best script submissions and orchestrate the 24-scene shoot, with model Jessica Miller burning the midnight oil, so to speak, in the starring role. — Miles Socha

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