GIVE HIM A RING: Any magazines looking for an art director? George Lois is available for hire. “I’d do it in a minute,” the 78-year-old adman and famed art director told WWD last week at the launch of his new Assouline book, “George Lois: The Esquire Covers @ MoMA,” at the Plaza Hotel. “The problem is you need full control, and they won’t give it to you. [Former Esquire editor Harold T.P.] Hayes gave me complete control. He had the balls to believe in me,” said Lois, the man behind the iconic Esquire covers of the Sixties and early Seventies (including Sonny Liston-as-Santa Claus, Muhammad Ali-as-Saint Sebastian and Andy Warhol drowning in a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, to name a few).

But perhaps all hope is not lost. “I run into guys like Martin Scorsese and Graydon Carter and David Remnick, who were in college back then, and that’s all they talk about when they meet me. They go, ‘Wow, those covers changed my life!’” Lois said. “You don’t look at any cover today and say, ‘Wow, did you see that cover of GQ with Tom Cruise?’ Who says that?”

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

There are, however, a few magazines that manage to pass muster. “Once in a while, New York does a good cover, and once in a while, The New Yorker does a good cover, especially when they do something that’s kind of on-the-nose politically,” he said. “New York is forced into doing an idea on the cover.”

(New York editor in chief Adam Moss has a mutual admiration society. “I think George Lois is a genius. His covers are one of the big reasons I fell in love with magazines in the first place,” Moss offered.)

And Lois’ credo about covers has never changed. “When I tell the world that ideas should be on covers, some people say, ‘You know, covers don’t sell [magazines] anymore.’ What?! Ideas don’t sell? That’s what life is all about — ideas.”

— Nick Axelrod

SHALOM HOLTS EVERYTHING: Holt Renfrew sure got its money’s worth from booking Shalom Harlow for its spring catalogue. During her nine days of shooting in Istanbul, the model was given the Cindy Sherman treatment, donning 45 different designer looks for the book, covering everything from Lanvin to Teenflo. Toronto-based photographer Chris Nicholls captured Harlow and musician Ned Shatzer throughout the capital city. Being respectful of the culture proved to be a little tricky, said Holt Renfrew’s creative director, John Gerhardt. “Our first shot was the one for the cover where Shalom is wearing a Stella McCartney dress that barely covered her private parts. We were all a little nervous about shooting that in front of the Grand Bazaar,” he said.

The crew also worked up a sweat when Harlow was pictured wearing Lanvin and then Naeem Khan in a steamy 300-year-old hammam spa. The following day, hangers-on proved there really was something to be said for blowing smoke — the trail of smoke seen in a photo of Harlow wearing Alexander Wang was provided by 15 smokers in the crew. Aside from her ready-made adaptability, Harlow, who was discovered at a Cure concert in Toronto, exhibited another winning trait. “She’s Canadian, so it’s patriotic,” said Holt Renfrew’s Moira Wright, but her fee was not disclosed.

— Rosemary Feitelberg

KING MCQUEEN: A visual homage to the late Lee Alexander McQueen has hit French newsstands. L’Officiel compiled a 153-page supplement, “Alexander McQueen 1969-2010: A Provocative Genius,” that charts the designer’s career through 1,000 images, from his days as couturier at Givenchy until his signature men’s wear collection shown in January. The cover price is 12 euros, or about $16.50 at current exchange.

— Natasha Montrose

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