HOMMES SWEET HOMMES: Taking over a magazine is never easy, but it’s a little less daunting when you can hit someone such as Graydon Carter up for an assist. That’s what Bruno Danto, the new editor in chief of Vogue Hommes International, did Monday, hours before catching a plane back to Paris. Having succeeded Richard Buckley in February, Danto, who had been deputy editor, is looking to broaden the title’s appeal beyond hard-core fashion insiders. His model for the transformation is Vanity Fair, he said. “They have the best writers and photographers, but they still have the mass audience.” (Both titles are part of Advance Publications Inc., parent of WWD.) Hence his hour-long sit-down with Carter, Vanity Fair’s editor in chief. According to a Vanity Fair spokeswoman, Danto even asked Carter to write something for the next issue of Vogue Hommes, but Carter, who is getting married next weekend, declined, saying he was too busy.
Danto seemed less interested in getting pointers from other Condé Nast editors. He said he wouldn’t be involved in any way with Men’s Vogue, which will launch this fall, around the time the next issue of Vogue Hommes comes out. “I see it as a competitor within the group,” he said. As for Cargo, Danto said he doubted European men would have much interest in the shopping magazine format. “Taste is a French game. People like to have their own style. They’re very picky about this. Shopping, to me, is not really a vision for a magazine.”
— Jeff Bercovici
LOCKED AND LOADED: With its official launch just days away, Radar has moved to solidify a couple of key positions on its masthead. Last week, the magazine hired Grayle Howlett as publisher, replacing Linda Sepp, who left in April. Howlett was most recently publisher of Tracks, the ill-fated music title for people older than 35. He was also an associate publisher at Sports Illustrated.
Meanwhile, Radar’s creative director, Richard Christiansen, has agreed to come on board full-time, according to editor in chief Maer Roshan. Christiansen, who was creative director of Suede until its February demise, originally signed up only for the now-completed first issue, and the talk was that he didn’t plan to stick around longer than that. But that gossip appears to be wrong — for now, at least. (Christiansen did not return calls.)
Speaking of the first issue, one story that’s sure to cause a stir in media circles is Jay Cheshes‘ article on lunchtime at the Four Seasons. For the piece, Julian Niccolini, co-owner of the popular power-lunch spot, agreed to draw up an annotated seating chart for 27 editors, moguls, politicians and celebrities. Here’s him on Michael Eisner: “He’s clearly in love with Michael Ovitz.” And on Ovitz: “No one goes over [to talk to him] anymore.” And on Bonnie Fuller: “I’m not impressed with her at all.” Didn’t anyone ever tell Niccolini — who also pens a column on manners for Details — that you’re not supposed to talk about your famous patrons? Reached by WWD, he said he hadn’t seen the article, but didn’t think it would be bad for business. “A lot of this stuff is taken totally out of context. My intention was not to upset anybody.”
UNDER COVER: Imagine finding out you and your toddler are on the cover of a magazine just days before it hits newsstands.
Back in January, Marisa Noel Brown was photographed with her four sisters and their various offspring at their parents’ new home on the Caribbean island of Mustique. The images were supposed to be for the interior of Town & Country’s May special home issue, but about a week before the issue shipped, Brown’s mother, Monica Noel, received an e-mail with the surprising news that Brown’s family had become the cover story. The e-mail didn’t indicate which image had been selected for the cover, but a few days later, when Brown received her comp issues at home, she discovered that she and her 18-month-old son, Ford Brown, were featured on the glossy.
“I was happy. It was a cute picture,” said Brown. “But I was wondering how it happened. Do they not know who it’s going to be? Do they know and not say anything? Maybe they don’t want to get your hopes up.”
Editor in chief Pamela Fiori demystified the process, saying, “We never go into a photo shoot knowing which image will grace our cover. Rather, we review all of the images once they are shot and select the one that we feel best represents that particular issue.”
Brown added, “My husband was like, ‘Was [our son being on the cover] ever going to be discussed? Was anyone going to ask?’ But Ford thinks it’s hysterical. Whenever he walks by, he says, ‘Mommy and Fordy?’ I don’t think he quite understands yet. I’ll have to save a few issues for his scrapbook.”
— Sara James
TODAY IN COURT: The suspect in the Christa Worthington murder, Christopher McCowen, is expected back in court today for a pretrial conference. McCowen, the garbage collector at Worthington’s Cape Cod house, has pleaded innocent to charges of murder, rape and armed robbery in the fashion writer’s 2002 stabbing.
Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, who was criticized for making disparaging remarks about the victim in Maria Flook‘s book, “Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod,” said it has not been determined who will prosecute the case. “I don’t know. That’s a year away. We will look at people’s schedules and make the decision at the appropriate time.”
Both sides agreed that it may take up to a year for the case to go to trial. McCowen’s lawyer, Francis O’Boy, said he is considering requesting that the trial be moved or a jury be selected from another county due to the investigation’s heavy media coverage. He plans to request funds to hire an expert witnesses to review the DNA evidence.
— Rosemary Feitelberg