WHERE’D THE ADS GO?: What a difference three months make. It was greeted like the second coming when it was launched in September with 207 ad pages, but Conde Nast’s House & Garden is mighty thin this month. According to David Carey, publisher, the December issue contains 70 ad pages. That’s quite a drop off even from October’s 103 pages and November’s 114.
What’s worse, the magazine’s in-house competitor, Architectural Digest, has almost double the number of ad pages in December, more than 135. Another competitor, Elle Decor, has weighed in with 122 ad pages.
Still, Carey argues that December is just not a good month for shelter magazines. “December, January and February tend to be lighter months in the category,” he said. He expects business to pick up again in March and April, and then hit a lull in June, July and August.
Even so, the light showing is adding fire to the rumor that Conde Nast is unhappy with the direction of the magazine and editorial staff changes are imminent.
SISCHY ENDS DOUBLE GIG: Ingrid Sischy has resigned as a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she’s been writing pieces on fashion and photography. “The demands on me as editor of Interview and its growing success, as well as related outside projects, make it necessary for me to step aside at this time,” said Sischy. Sischy began writing for The New Yorker in 1987 and became editor-in-chief of Interview in 1989. According to Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The New Yorker, Sischy wrote her last fashion piece in April, and she’s been using other writers to cover the beat.
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING: An item in New York magazine’s Nov. 18 Intelligencer alleges that the clothes used in the current Halston ad campaign were not, in fact, label-bearing Halstons. Instead, says the story, the clothes came from other manufacturers, such as Agnes B.
Not so, said an incensed Carmine Porcelli, director of licensing for the Halston endeavor. On Wednesday, Porcelli sent a letter to New York’s new editor, Caroline Miller, saying that Intelligencer editor Beth Landman Keil, who wrote the item, didn’t return his phone calls and calling reporting “irresponsible.”
“They haven’t returned one phone call,” said Porcelli. “I’ve called Miller half a dozen times. I had the samples sent to Beth Keil — two matte jersey dresses and one woven — so she could see that they were real.”
What about the quote at the bottom of the story that came from Halston design consultant Randolph Duke, where the designer appeared to admit that the clothes weren’t genuine?
“The way it was written took my quote out of context,” said Duke, who is working on the Halston effort. “The campaign was done before I joined the company, but when I came on board, I saw the clothes. Besides, what’s the big fuss? You can barely see the clothes. I don’t understand why [New York] is making such a fuss about a shoulder strap.”
UNABASHED BRITS: It scandalized New York but maybe it will soar in London. The Donna Karan Beauty Co. this week unveiled its notorious ad of a naked Carre Otis on 500 bus shelters in London to boost sales of its fragrance, bath and beauty lines. The ad, which shows a back view of Otis, was banned by the New York Times Magazine last spring because it revealed a fair portion of her derriere. The London bus-shelter campaign is scheduled to run until the end of November, and so far there haven’t been any complaints from the more open-minded British.
FIGURE ON COTTON: Cotton Inc. will be the entitlement sponsor of a live, nationally televised skating competition called “The Cotton Incorporated Gold Championship.” The two-hour event will be broadcast live from Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, on NBC. The program features three Olympic gold medalists in the men’s competition and three in the women’s. Cotton Inc. will air seven of its “Fabric of Our Lives” TV commercials, as well as three billboards, throughout the event. Cotton Inc. is spending in excess of $1 million for its entitlement sponsorship.
Among those scheduled to participate are Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, Victor Petrenko, Oksana Baiul, Katarina Witt and Kristi Yamaguchi.
GEORGES TO FISHER: Rip Georges, who has been working on the Eileen Fisher campaign the past year as part of his own graphic design studio in Los Angeles, has joined Fisher as art director. Georges, who is moving to the East Coast, will continue his freelance projects, as well.
Georges is currently working on Fisher’s spring campaign, using photographer Patrick Demarchelier. The firm boosted its spring budget to $500,000, up from $350,000 a year ago.
COMINGS AND GOINGS: Sandra Bass, former editor-in-chief in the Hearst Business Publications Group, has been named editor-in-chief of Avenue. She succeeds Laura Fisher, who left the magazine.
Kim Cihlar has resigned as director of publicity for Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. to pursue a freelance career. She was with Polo a little more than a year, prior to which she was fashion director of Fairchild’s Daily News Record.