LUXE FOR LIFE: As Harry Winston’s global director of communications for the last eight years, Carol Brodie frequently found herself lecturing on the finer points of fine jewelry to a TV audience that by and large couldn’t afford the merchandise.
She won’t have that problem in her new job. On June 14, Brodie starts in the new post of chief luxury officer at CurtCo Media, publisher of Robb Report, Worth, ShowBoats and nine other titles catering to some 880,000 “ultra-affluent” readers a month with average annual incomes of $1.2 million.
When Aber, the Canadian diamond mining firm, acquired a controlling stake in Harry Winston in April 2004, it was time for Brodie to search for other fortunes. “There were a lot of new layers of management. I realized I wanted to be in top management. I realized that was a signal,” she said Monday. “Going to Robb Report is just the natural next step.”
She’ll work out of the New York office of CurtCo, which has its headquarters in Malibu, Calif. The publishing house, said its chief operating officer, Dan Galpern, is “growing by leaps” so “it was necessary to create such a position. When speaking to the highest end of the marketplace, we feel we have to have someone specifically focused on luxury.”
Besides serving as primary spokesperson for the titles, Brodie will direct branding and corporate positioning and oversee events around the world. And her world of luxury will grow beyond jewelry to include yachts, wines and personal jets. “Affluence is defined by connoisseurship and experiences money can’t buy but power can,” she said. “That is true luxury.”
— Rose Apodaca
MATERNAL MATERIALISM: When you reinvent yourself as often as Madonna does, it’s inevitable you end up sending out some mixed messages. The singer addresses some of those contradictions in a lengthy interview in the July issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, which goes on sale next Tuesday. “I hurt people by confusing them,” she told LHJ contributing editor Jeanne Marie Laskas. “One minute I was saying believe in yourself, and the next I was saying just be sexually provocative for the sake of being sexually provocative. Now that’s confusing.” Madonna also explained why she feels comfortable disparaging organized religion in one breath and extolling Kabbalah in the next. “It’s not a religion — it’s a belief system.” And then there’s her slightly dissonant ambition to develop a television series based on her children’s books, even though she doesn’t allow her own kids to watch TV. Her rationale: “TV is poison.” Except, presumably, her own series.
Speaking of her books, her newest one, “Lotsa de Casha,” comes out today, which explains why the exclusive spread — for which she was photographed wearing Chanel Couture, Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood, Lagerfeld and Reem Acra — is in mom-friendly LHJ rather than a fashion magazine. Madonna, who posed for the cover of Good Housekeeping in 2000, appeared with LHJ editor in chief Diane Salvatore at the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem on Monday, where Salvatore presented a check for $5,000 on Madonna’s behalf to the children’s library. Her media blitz continues Wednesday with an appearance on “The View.”
— Jeff Bercovici
HOLLY’S HOBBY: Holly Brubach reconnected with a number of longtime friends and former co-workers recently when she hosted a showcase of Birks jewelry in her loft in lower Manhattan. Brubach, who wrote for Vogue, Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker before becoming a style editor at The New York Times in the Nineties, segued into commercial work with a job directing the home and sport lines for Prada in Milan. She has since returned to New York and two years ago was named creative director of Birks, a Canadian fine jewelry company.
Stopping by to say hello and view the Birks Blue Label collections, which include a signature line by Michele Della Valle, were Judith Thurman, staff writer of The New Yorker; Anne Fulenwider, articles editor of Vanity Fair; Nancy Novogrod, editor in chief of Travel + Leisure, and Andy Port, deputy style editor of the Times. Not a bad turnout for a press preview, no?
— Sara James