And if you're a ladymag, that's a problem. The entire magazine industry saw a circulation slump in the second half of 2011, with newsstand sales declining by 10% on average. But many ladymags fared worse: Elle was down over 18%, year-on-year, InStyle fell by over 14%, and Allure declined by over 13%. Glamour, Marie Claire, and W were down by 10%, 9%, and 7%, respectively. The "winners" in this dismal six months were Vogueand Lucky , which still saw their newsstand sales fall by 5% each. Aside from terrible cover lines, stories that underestimate the intelligence of their readers, and predictable fashion spreads that present an extremely narrow idea of female beauty, what's wrong with today's ladymags? [WWD]
- Fern Mallis says the most important advice she has for anyone interested in working in fashion is to be nice, because "you never know where anyone will end up in this business." [NYTimes]
- Alexander Wang, who currently has just one store, in New York City, is planning to open 14 more by the end of 2012. All will be in Asia. Wang says that when he was growing up in the U.S., his Shanghai-based mother foreshadowed the development of his business. "My mom was the first to tell me, 10, 15 years ago: ‘China, one day, is going to be the next fashion capital.' At that time, I was like, ‘Mom, you're just trying to get me to move here with you!' But then, I saw the progression." [WWD]
- Rejoice, lovers of pretty, feminine designer Jenny Packham (and/or people who envy Kate Middleton's style): Packham is launching a collaoration with U.K. mass retailer Debenhams in April, which will include dresses priced at £85 to £160. [Daily Mail]
- James Franco directed some ads for 7 For All Mankind jeans. "I guess you could say it's a vintage 1970's California dreamy feel," says the actor. "The movies that I cut together have a lot of weird double exposures and super- imposed images over other images, so it's a real, I guess you could say, trip." [WWD]
- Obligatory tranche of Model Alliance-related news:
[Disclosure: this writer sits on the Model Alliance board.] [WWD]
- The Cut's Shakthi Jothianandan interviewed Shalom Harlow at the Model Alliance launch:
"The issue of an underage girl working without any kind of mentoring or chaperoning is really critical, because at that age you're still learning boundaries, you're still learning how to stand in your right and say no," said [Shalom] Harlow. She knows from experience: "It took tremendous will for me to say, ‘No, I'm not going to walk down the runway naked, even though it's my first time doing a show for you, and you're threatening to cancel me, and you're this huge designer I've seen on TV my whole life, and I'm standing up to you and I'm 16 years old.'"
29-year-old [Sara] Ziff knows something about how models are treated. She's spent more than half of her life working as a model and in that time says, "It just became more and more evident to me that this was a wonderful industry filled with strong, powerful, creative women but which lacked any regulation–and so was putting very young girls, often children, in compromising situations." She learned a lot more about the compromising situations models find themselves in–facing sexual harassment, in severe debt to their agencies due to lack of financial transparency, alone and vulnerable and often without a chaperone–while documenting the plight of other models for her documentary, Picture Me, which debuted in 2010. Fordham Law professor Susan Scafidi, who heads up Fordham's Fashion Law Institute, saw a screening and wanted to help. So did Jezebel's fashion writer (and former model herself), Jenna Sauers. And so the wheels for the Model Alliance were set in motion.
"Models in the U.S. lack basic workplace protections," Ziff explains with the vigor you'd expect of a community organizer in the streets, not one in a sparkly dress and stilettos. "Generally we're considered independent contractors, which basically means that the rule of law in terms of workplace standards does not exist." The organization hasn't fought the government yet, but they have gotten the recognition and support of the CFDA and Vogue. It's a not-so-humble start for sure.
- Model Marihenny Rivera Pasible has some advice for new faces: "Don't get your hopes up. Last season I went to the same client five times. The day of the show, I was still waiting for the e-mail with the call time. Nothing. It broke my heart. Now I tell my agent I only want to know about confirmations, not options." [WWD]
- Oh, by the way? A few years ago, when Karolina Kurkova put on a little weight and people on the Internet started making fun of her for being "fat"? It was because of a thyroid condition. "I was 24 and going through menopause — that was one of my side effects," she said yesterday at a CFDA Health Initiative event. "I thought I was going crazy. I was having panic attacks every minute and I didn't know what was happening." [The Cut]
- The Telegraph believes it has identified the 20 richest supermodels. Unsurprisingly, Gisele Bündchen (Victoria's Secret), Tyra Banks (everything), and Christie Brinkley (real estate) top the list. [Telegraph]
- Anna Wintour held another Obama fundraiser with Karolina Kurkova, Scarlett Johansson, and Solange Knowles. [The Cut]
- In other news sartorio-political, Joe Biden's nephew is going to DJ a fashion party tonight. [P6]
- Famous face of the '60s Penelope Tree makes a return to modeling in the new Barneys catalog. [WWD]
- Naomi Campbell says she would never call herself a supermodel. "I would never call myself that. I don't have any superhuman powers." This has been an important update on Naomi Campbell's self-identification. [People]
- Kanye West will be showing at this coming Paris fashion week, again. [WWD]
- Ralph Lauren's profits rose 0.4% during the last quarter over the same period last year. Sales overall rose over 17%, but higher production costs ate into that jump. [WWD]
- If you've ever wondered about the man behind BryanBoy — the story of who he is, where he came from, and how we was able to afford all those handbags — the Observer profiles him for this week's cover. The piece was written by, well, me. But don't read it because of that, read it because how could you not click through after this tantalizing intro:
While Bryan has the rare quality of appearing to offer total, unvarnished honesty, his blog readers — and even many of his friends — are privy to surprisingly little information about him. He rarely mentions his family, and never by name. BryanBoy will tell his readers about discovering he was gay at age 12 when he had feelings for a classmate called Emanuel, but he will not post any pictures of or give even a first name for the boyfriend he has been dating since 2010. (He is a Swedish commercial banker, and he is said by those who have met him to be a nice man who guards his privacy closely.) BryanBoy will scan and post the results of an HIV test (negative) along with a safe-sex message, but he's never mentioned his parents' professions. BryanBoy will live-tweet a threesome (in 2010, he took the time to mention that his partners were wearing Lanvin Homme and Damir Doma, respectively), he will even tweet about his bowel movements, but he will not talk about where he grew up.
"He has the most entertaining Twitter account of anybody that I follow," said [Isaac] Hindin-Miller. "But no, I don't know what his parents do. I guess you don't interrogate your friends."
"He writes about everything," said [Alex] Gilvarry. "But I really don't know anything about him."
So, who is BryanBoy?
As with many mythologies of self, there is an alter ego involved.