WHO WANTS TO BE A LICENSEE? The bidding for the rights to manufacture Regis Philbin neckwear and dress shirts has reached such a fever pitch that manufacturers might pay an unprecedented royalty rate — perhaps as high as 12 percent — for what some believe could be a $100 million retail business.
And the big winner could be Regis, whose dark tone-on-tone shirt-and-tie combinations have helped create the surreal sense of drama on the top-rated television show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Wholesalers are waiting in line to cut a deal with Regis.
“It is true,” said Jim Griffin, Philbin’s agent at William Morris. “We’re not prepared to say anything yet. We are going to be announcing something soon in the shirt-and-tie area.” Among the contenders? Shirtmaker Phillips-Van Heusen and neckwear firms Mulberry, Randa and Superba.

MORE DETAILS: Details magazine has made two key appointments: Degen Pener has been named entertainment editor and Phoebe Eaton has been named executive editor. Pener most recently was a contributing editor for Entertainment Weekly, which he joined in 1995 as a staff writer, covering style. Last year, he published a guide to swing dancing called “The Swing Book.” Eaton had been features editor at New York magazine.
As reported, Details will be relaunched by Fairchild Publications with its October issue.

A&F’s SUMMER FLING: It still has to be shrink-wrapped, but the new Abercrombie & Fitch summer quarterly isn’t as sexually explicit as the Christmas catalog that led to a ruling requiring an ID to buy it. But it doesn’t exactly get a G rating, either. It still has its share of titillating photographs, and some talk about masturbation, sex toys and not being out “humping pies every night.”
There’s a topless romp, a girl pulling down a guy’s swimsuit, a guy lying on a saddle with his derriere exposed, a cartoon of a bare-chested woman and page after page of great-looking hunks. Called “Go Play,” the catalog was shot by Bruce Weber.
“It doesn’t need sex to sell. It’s sexy in its own way. It has a great emotion to it. You feel the kids,” said Sam Shahid, partner in Shahid & Co., the creator of the catalog.
Besides numerous photos, there are interviews with young actors like Carly Pope of “Popular,” James Duval of “Independence Day,” Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle,” Jason Biggs of “American Pie” and Janeane Garofalo.

STARTING LINE: Wallpaper’s new sports magazine, Line, is out of the gate. The first issue is 202 pages with about 72 ad pages featuring such companies as Nike, Fila, Gucci, Banana Republic, RLX Polo Sport, Prada Sport, Adidas, Versace Sport, Emporio Armani Swimwear, Fendi, Moschino, DKNY, Wally Boats and Paul & Shark. Tyler Brule, editorial director of Wallpaper and Line, said the first issue was in line with expectations. The surprise was the ads from yachting companies, “which was an area we never expected.”
Brule is aiming for a stand-alone circulation of 100,000 for Line, with the next issue due in August. In addition, about 230,000 copies of Line have been banded onto Wallpaper’s April print run. If the first two are successful, Wallpaper’s parent, Time Inc., will consider doing more issues in 2001.

TAHARI’S TRADE OFF: Elie Tahari launched his first TV ad campaign last week, and, according to the designer, it was quite a bargain. The 30-second spot, which was inspired by a scene from “The Matrix,” cost about $50,000 to make and even less to air. Tahari’s new bride, Rory Green, a former film producer who now works on Internet projects at Tahari, worked a deal with Time Warner Cable to broadcast the commercial 800 times — on channels like E! Entertainment Television and The History Channel — in exchange for wardrobing Time Warner cable staff and on-air personalities. In all, he estimated the trade was for about $800,000 of Tahari clothes, valued at retail prices, so the cost was actually a lot less.
The spot features a man dressed in black, walking down the street and catching the eye of a young woman in a red flounce dress from the fall collection. The tag line is, “When your eyes can no longer lie,” followed by a shot of Tahari.
“We work on low budgets,” Tahari said. Indeed, the most expensive budget item was a helicopter rental, used to catch aerial images of Manhattan — it cost about $5,000.

ANKETELL IS BACK: Michael Anketell founded the California Fashion Industries Friends of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) gala back in the Eighties. He was removed as producer of the annual event in 1996 — the same year he accused APLA of squandering money to appease the egos of celebrities and designers. But Anketell, who has since written a book about his APLA experience called “Heavenly Bodies,” is back. This fall he’ll relaunch the fundraiser with a new name: The California Fashion Industries Friends of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The party, to be held at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 — World AIDS Day — will honor Nicole Miller and, says Anketell, might include a special tribute to Norma Kamali and her swimwear.
As reported, the APLA gala returns Nov. 2, without Anketell, honoring Mark Badgley and James Mischka.

BEST FRIENDS: Interview has dedicated its May and June issues to candid portraits by Bruce Weber of celebrities and their pets. Among the shots are Benjamin Bratt with a llama, Charlize Theron with her dogs, and Joni Mitchell with her cats. The portfolio will be posted on the Web site starting Tuesday.

MILLIE UPDATE: Now that new editor Mandi Norwood is officially in place, the masthead dance at Mademoiselle has begun. Fashion director Evyan Metzner and senior fashion editor Stacy London are gone. No replacements have been named, but a spokeswoman said both posts will be filled.
In other Millie news, Mademoiselle and CTN Media Group, the parent of College Television Network, will launch a weekly broadcast in October featuring editors and experts from the magazine. The show will be seen exclusively on CTN’s college network, reaching 1,600 college campuses. It will also tie in with an advertorial section in the October Millie.