STARS AND STRIPES: Vanity Fair France is kicking off with a distinctly American accent. For the cover of its inaugural issue, the monthly chose Scarlett Johansson, dubbing the “Lost in Translation” star the “ideal trans-Atlantic muse.”

The magazine, which hits newsstands on Wednesday, features a profile of the U.S. actress by Ingrid Sischy, with photographs by Mark Seliger.

This story first appeared in the June 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Michel Denisot, editorial director of Vanity Fair France, said Johansson, who is dating French creative agency manager Romain Dauriac, was a desirable choice, since she is splitting her time between France and the U.S.

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“She has every quality imaginable — the elegance, beauty, wit and impertinence that would make her a perfectly decent Parisian if she decides to move permanently into the apartment she has bought in Paris not far from here,” he said at a news conference held in the arty Saint-Germain-des-Prés district.

The magazine opens with three sections — Fanfare for culture, Fumoir for debates and Vanity Case for fashion and lifestyle — and contains at least seven features per issue.

The July issue revisits the Bettencourt affair with an interview of Pascal Bonnefoy, the butler whose recordings launched a lengthy legal investigation into whether L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt was relieved of large chunks of her fortune while medically frail.

Another feature tells how Nicholas Vreeland, the grandson of the late fashion icon Diana Vreeland, became a close advisor to the Dalai Lama. Journalist Eric Dahan, meanwhile, pens an account of the Eighties heyday of legendary Paris nightclub Les Bains Douches.

Virginie Mouzat, the editor in charge of fashion, lifestyle and feature stories, styles a fashion spread after the paintings of Balthus, with models including the painter’s granddaughter Anna Klossowski and French actress Ana Girardot.

Condé Nast France president Xavier Romatet said the company was investing 15 million euros, or $19.7 million at current exchange, in the launch. It expects to break even after three years and turn profitable within eight years, he added.

As reported, the magazine aims to achieve an initial circulation of 85,000, rising to 100,000 within three years. Romatet announced that the Web site hopes to attract 500,000 unique visitors.

Condé Nast France is dedicating a communications budget of 5 million euros, or $6.5 million, this year to promote the launch, kicking off on Wednesday with a campaign on 8,000 outdoor advertising panels, in addition to digital supports and trade publications. It consists of three visuals showing salient quotes from the July issue above a visual of the cover and the tag line “Brillant dehors, mordant dedans” (“Bright on the outside, biting on the inside”).

The July and August issues will be sold at the promotional rate of 2 euros, or $2.65 at current exchange, before the magazine switches to its regular price of 3.95 euros, or $5.15. The debut issue features 93 pages of advertising out of a total of 270.

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