PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE: “I’ve never been freaked out or weird about sex” is sort of an odd way to explain your decision to pose naked in a photo spread set in a futuristic factory populated by clones and sex dolls. But, then, Tom Ford has always been an unconventional thinker. He and photographer Steven Klein conceived the 22-page photo feature in the November issue of W (sister publication of WWD) as a commentary on the way cosmetic surgery and the beauty industry have conspired to yield an ever-more-artificial ideal of human attractiveness, said Ford.

“We’ve become plastic, objectifying the human body,” he tells the magazine. “We’re no longer animals. Women and men are so waxed and polished and buffed and shined up and manipulated. We don’t age. We’ve got these weird lips that don’t really look like lips. We’ve started to lose touch with what a real breast looks like; we’ve started to lose the animal side of our nature.”

Most of the photos show Ford in various provocative poses with the dolls or male models. As for posing nude himself — which he does between two semiclad dolls — the former Gucci creative director also offers a more straightforward rationale: “I’ve had a little criticism for objectifying women and always taking their clothes off. I thought, ‘Well, why shouldn’t I take my clothes off?'” Besides which, he added, it’s in keeping with his belief that most people look better without clothes on. “Being naked is the great equalizer; there are just less ways to screw up,” he said. A strange sentiment for a clothing designer, but, again, unconventional thinker.
— Jeff Bercovici

BIG DADDY: Vogue’s offshoot, Men’s Vogue, got the greenlight for a launch on Wednesday, and now it has its own publisher. William Li, associate publisher of The New Yorker, was named publisher of Men’s Vogue by Vogue publisher and Men’s Vogue publishing director Tom Florio on Thursday. A replacement for him at The New Yorker has not yet been named. (Vogue, Men’s Vogue and The New Yorker are, like WWD, units of Condé Nast Publications.)

This story first appeared in the October 7, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Thursday, Li said he found the test issue of Men’s Vogue “lush, witty, smart, funny. The writing is superb. I’m looking forward to working with [editor in chief] Jay [Fielden].” Unlike skeptical media watchers, who’ve expressed doubt about a Vogue magazine aimed at men, Li said he has full confidence in the brand’s extensions. “Anything Anna [Wintour] touches seems to turn to gold,” he said.
— Sara James

ANNA’S APPRENTICE: Camilla Al Fayed, the pretty brunette daughter of Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, is the latest Brit to make the pilgrimage Stateside to work for American Vogue. Her anticipated arrival already has provided grist for the rumor mill: Several erroneous reports earlier this year announced that she would be Anna Wintour‘s assistant. In fact, Al Fayed will be interning for Vogue starting in November, a spokesman for the magazine confirmed this week. Her approximately four-week stint will be spent not in Wintour’s office, but in the fashion closet and the ad sales department.

Al Fayed was so excited about the position she was overheard eagerly telling friends about it while in Milan for the fashion shows. She’s also been practicing for her time in New York by hitting the party circuit, including Dolce & Gabbana’s recent blowout bash, in the company of Bungalow 8 owner Amy Sacco. And since she’s hardly the type to endure a cramped studio like most New York interns, Al Fayed is expected to live in her family’s apartment in the Pierre.
— Elisa Lipsky-Karasz

BLOGGERMOUTH: Have a top-secret project you’re trying to keep under wraps? Don’t hire a blogger. Former Maxim editor Mark Golin hasn’t said boo about the new humor Web site he and Mark Remy are developing at Time Inc. He hasn’t even publicly confirmed its existence. What he has done is hired Chris Kula, a comedy writer who performs sketch and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. Three weeks ago, on his blog, Pop Stand, Kula wrote he had quit his day job as a receptionist after landing a “full-time writing gig. Starting in October, I will be an employee of Time Inc., developing content for a new humor site they’re launching later this year.” Golin, via e-mail, confirmed the hiring of Kula (and of former Stuff associate editor Dan Bergstein), but said the launch date was not accurate. Within minutes of his reply, Kula’s blog had been modified to erase any mention of Time Inc. or a humor site.
— J.B.

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