VUITTON’S MATERIAL GIRL: Will Madonna be the new face of Louis Vuitton? Sources close to the brand said Steven Meisel shot the pop icon for the spring ad campaign. Meisel and Madonna have a long history together, most recently seen in the May issue of Vanity Fair, as well as that infamous collaboration back in 1992 for the book “Sex.” It’s also rumored that after seven years, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott are no longer shooting for the brand. A spokeswoman at Louis Vuitton declined to comment on anything related to the campaign.

This story first appeared in the November 13, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

— Amy Wicks

CANCELING RESERVATIONS: Two perennials of the holiday season have been cancelled because of the poor economy: The Estee Lauder Cos. annual Christmas party and the Conde Nast lunch at the Four Seasons. The Conde Nast lunch is usually thrown in early December and hosts nearly 100 of of the company’s editors and publishers (the seating chart is dissected endlessly by media watchers to determine if proximity to chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. indicates anything). Chief executive officer Charles Townsend informed his executives Wednesday afternoon, via an interoffice memo. “Given the times we’ve decided to forego our traditional holiday lunch,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Estee Lauder cancelled its holiday party for the media, which was set for Nobu 57 on Dcec. 1. “After much thought and consideration, we have decided that, at this moment in time, it is more appropriate to thank you and celebrate in another way,” the company said. “To express our gratitude for your support and to recognize our invaluable, deep relationships, The Estée Lauder Cos. will be making a donation in your honor to Dress for Success. So, although we will be cancelling the party, you are very much in our hearts as we give to others less fortunate at a time when many are in even greater need than ever before.”

The two firms aren’t alone. Hearst Magazines had already cancelled its holiday party at the Hearst Tower, while Marc Jacobs International also dropped plans for a “rock ‘n’ roll circus” themed holiday party.

— Stephanie D. Smith

THE HOMECOMING: A week after the election, politics is still on many fashion minds. At Diane von Furstenberg’s party to welcome The Financial Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman back to New York from London, Barack Obama’s victory last week dominated many conversations, not least because André Leon Talley’s coat — spelling out the words “The New American Dream” in crystals across the back — drew much of the attention. Even Friedman herself – who will continue as the FT’s fashion editor – couldn’t help but get swept up by the spirit. “Since Tuesday, it’s been fantastic,” she said, of settling back in Gotham. The party, also hosted by members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and held at DVF’s studio in the Meatpacking District, brought out the likes of Steven Kolb, Catherine Malandrino, Derek Lam, Richard Lambertson, Yeohlee Teng, Rebecca Moses and Prada’s Graziano de Boni. “She arrived at a perfect time, she missed the last eight years,” said Peter Som. With all the excitement, though, there is one thing Friedman will miss about London — “Taking the train to Paris,” she said.

— Marc Karimzadeh

ANOTHER TIMES MAN: Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson took another step in putting his stamp on the paper in the era of Rupert Murdoch ownership by tapping former Times of London colleague Gerard Baker to serve as deputy editor-in-chief. Baker, who also worked at the BBC and The Financial Times, is currently U.S. editor and assistant editor of The Times, based in Washington. When he moves to New York to start at the Journal in January, he’ll workalongside a few other ex-Timesmen, including WSJ. magazine editor Tina Gaudoin and design director Tomaso Capuano. After Wednesday’s announcement, several journalism Web sites instantly took note of his vocal expression of his conservative political views, traditionally taboo on the Journal’s news side. (A February Times piece was headlined “Obama: is America ready for this dangerous left winger?” and his satire of Obama as Messiah also made the rounds). Managing editor Robert Thomson’s memo to employees dealt with the issue rather obliquely: “Gerry has been a commentator and reporter, and so has a clear and principled understanding of the objective of objectivity.” A spokesman for the Journal added, “Additionally, he must adhere to the code of conduct and our existing newsroom policies about political and civic activities.”

— Irin Carmon