GENTLEMAN’S HOURLY: GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson continues his slow dance with young Hollywood. Last Thursday, Nelson hosted a party for Jake Gyllenhaal, who graces the June cover, in the penthouse of L.A.’s Chateau Marmont. Mark Ruffalo, Jimmy Fallon, Chloë Sevigny and Kirsten Dunst mingled to the sounds of DJ Aristocrat. When asked about his criteria for choosing cover subjects — which in the past few months have included such males as Viggo Mortensen, Ashton Kutcher and Orlando Bloom — Nelson said, “We have to believe in the person, that their success is meaningful, or that it says something about the state of the American man. Jake, in particular, is an actor who is forging his own way. He’s picked roles that mean something to him, and begun what we think is a very interesting career.”
Nelson’s own instincts certainly seem to be paying off. Newsstand sales of GQ (which, like WWD, is owned by Advance Publications Inc.) are estimated to be up more than 40 percent in the first quarter of 2004, according to the publisher’s estimate. But ad sales remain a challenge — pages were down almost 13 percent in the first half of 2004 to 585.
Meanwhile, a June story on Colin Powell’s frustration with the Bush administration was broken by GQ writer Wil Hylton. “You will see many more stories like this from us,” said Nelson. “We have an absolute commitment to this type of piece, and can devote all our energies, resources and intellect to making them succeed. We’re your 24-hour men’s magazine.” — Sara James
THEIR PIECE OF THE PIE: As if Maxim and Stuff don’t already have the juvie market cornered, Dennis Publishing is said to be eyeing the launch of a lad mag for teens. Sources close to the company said an internal announcement was made last week. However, a spokesman for Dennis denied that Monday, saying, “The only internal memos being distributed these days are regarding pizza toppings for our NBA playoff party. Pepperoni, anchovies or mushrooms? Looks like the pepperoni is going to win!” — Jeff Bercovici and S.J.
HELTER SHELTER: Deborah Needleman is two steps closer to having a prototype of the new Condé Nast shelter shopping magazine in hand. The editor in chief has tapped the firm Helicopter to design the launch issue, while Julie Mihaly has come on board as photo director. Still no word on a title, though. — S.J.
MEET THE FROCKERS: Elle is having a branding moment it didn’t exactly expect. When Barbara Friedmann, the magazine’s vice president of marketing, hired news producer Tim Braun to film a short sales video for advertisers, she didn’t think he would deliver a virtual minidocumentary that would attempt to display Elle’s impact on the industry and make stars of its fashion department. Braun, who’s worked on news programs at several of the major networks, said, “I was in the presence of these important fashion figures. I had to earn their confidence, but when I did, they gave me the sort of access that enabled me to tell the story through their voices.” Friedman has decided to give the DVD a wider release and is distributing copies to major news outlets in the hopes of securing more television spots for editors. — S.J.