WORDS OF WISDOM: Ruth Reichl might recently have led many to believe she disliked her mother after her harsh words in accepting a Matrix Award from the New York Women in Communications — but it certainly got her attention and, now, a book deal. Penguin Press, inspired by Reichl’s speech, has signed a contract with her to write a tome about the meaning of motherhood past and present and the lack of opportunities available to prior generations. Penguin plans to publish the book around Mother’s Day 2009. Penguin Press president and publisher Ann Godoff also edited Reichl’s three previous autobiographical books.
As for those who don’t recall Reichl’s speech, the Gourmet editor in chief told attendees, including ABC’s Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer, Diane von Furstenberg and Padma Lakshmi, that her mother “was everything I didn’t want to be, and to this day I wake up every morning grateful not to be her.” Reichl’s words caused many to raise their eyebrows at the speech, a somber end note at an otherwise upbeat event. But she said her intention was to express how women of her mother’s generation weren’t encouraged to have career goals to go along with being a mother and wife. — Stephanie D. Smith
TWO NEW FACES FOR TWO ICONS: Thierry Mugler Parfums and Chanel both have new faces. Mugler, a division of Groupe Clarins, on Monday introduced Naomi Watts as the face of its first TV ad campaign for Angel. Sources estimate it will be a $15 million global investment, while Joel Palix, president of Thierry Mugler Worldwide, noted that “little surprises are coming.” Palix opened the door to the possibility of reviving Mugler’s fashion activities.
As for the ad, the 30-second TV spot shows Watts wandering through a roomful of Angel bottles suspended in the air like ornaments. The spot was directed by “Dreamgirls” director Bill Condon and photographed by Al Mazdhar, with Thierry Mugler (who recently has been the center of attention for an entirely different reason, since nude photographs of him have been splashed all over the Internet) serving as creative director and script writer. The campaign will kick off in October and November and will include magazine single- and double-page spreads as well as TV. Palix said the commercial will be broadcast in mostly European markets — France, the U.K., Spain, Greece and Russia. The print advertising will appear in the U.S., said Palix, who noted that the company is still trying to decide how to use the commercial here, since Angel is carried in only 500 doors. He noted that the Internet is a definite possibility.
Watts and the commercial were presented Monday to a Manhattan penthouse full of editors from the U.S. and Europe as part of an effort designed to coincide with Mugler’s participation in the “Superheroes” exhibition at the Costume Institute. As part of the program, Palix interviewed Watts, whose next movie, “The International” with Clive Owen, will be released next year. Asked what personal memories she had of the filming of the Angel ad, which was done in Los Angeles, Watts noted that Mugler’s design philosophy “is about celebrating a woman’s hourglass figure, and my body isn’t so hourglass.” Watts said she remembers “a lot of people roping me in.”
Meanwhile, Chanel said Monday that it signed French actress Audrey Tautou as the newest face for Chanel No.5, confirming a report in WWD on April 16. A TV campaign, which will begin running next year, will be directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who directed Tautou in “Amélie” and “The Long Engagement.” This isn’t the first time Chanel has tapped a leading lady and her favorite director to create a campaign: Nicole Kidman and Baz Luhrmann teamed up in 2003 for a commercial and print effort starring Kidman, who, incidentally, attended the same acting school in Australia as Watts. — Peter Born
HEADING SOUTH: Grazia is coming to Australia in a joint venture between Hearst Magazines International and ACP Magazines. This partnership is also behind the Australian editions of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and Madison. Grazia will launch later this year, with Alison Veness-McGourty as editor in chief. She formerly had the same title at Harper’s Bazaar in Australia. — Amy Wicks