Jesus Christ Belles on Wheels. Is this fashion spread as stupid as Keira Knightley in Africa with the Louis Vuitton blanket draped over the baby elephant, you ask?* No, but the thing is they have totally run a fashion spread featuring Agyness Deyn's stupid bicycle before. This is not even a new stupid idea! Even Vogue publisher Tom Florio thinks the magazine has gotten stale. And publishers of cash rich magazines are usually too busy counting money and launching international editions in developing countries with emerging plutocracies to care!
Though Florio says Vogue is set to have its second-best year of ad sales ever, he's worried about keeping the brand relevant for the next generation of readers. So he—not Wintour—is creating Web shows like Model.Live with his 16-year-old daughter in mind. "I'm comfortable with it, because I feel that the principals of what we're doing are based on the same principals as the brand," he says. If Wintour objected to the content, he says he would kill it. A Conde Nast spokesperson said that Wintour understands Vogue.TV is run by the business department and stays informed about its programs. Wintour is attending Fashion Weeks in Paris and Milan and was unavailable for comment.Model.Live, if you were unaware, is Vogue's big-budget online reality show about the modeling industry, and apparently, at one million viewers so far compared to basically half that in terms of unique users on all Style.com in August, it is basically the most successful thing Vogue has ever done on the internet. (I rely on Tatiana to watch it for me — my god that girl can write the shit out of a reality TV recap! — but from what I can tell it's interesting, nuanced, occasionally dull and not infrequently poignant. Guess which one of those adjectives is the only one I'd generally apply to the content of Vogue?) Wintour famously turned down the chance to sponsor Project Runway back in the day, and one of its founding producers told me Tom Florio tried desperately to change that after the first season. So it's understandable how he managed to pry this critical component of the future of Vogue's business model away from her, but the interesting thing to anyone who ever worked at magazines is this: at what other publication is the most interesting content being produced by the business side?
*In this and many other cases, "you" = "me."