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CATHIE’S HANGING IN: Cathie Black is keeping her options open. As the newly appointed chairman of Hearst Magazines, she said that life is very similar to how it was as president of the division, cryptically adding that “perhaps I will go on for a long time.” Black was interviewed by Vanity Fair’s Vicky Ward at the WIE symposium at Skylight Studios in New York on Monday afternoon. Black went on to list some of the company’s most recent accomplishments, including the rise of Food Network magazine, which will turn a significant profit in its first year on newsstands. She drove home the continued success of Cosmopolitan, noting the May issue with Lady Gaga sold 1.8 million copies, and also claimed that Oprah’s move to a new TV network will be a “win-win situation” for Hearst, adding that at some point the talk-show queen will probably want to stop appearing on monthly covers but “that time hasn’t come.”
Earlier in the day, there was a fashion and philanthropically focused panel discussion with Diane von Furstenberg, Tamara Mellon, Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey, Lauren Bush and BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, moderated by Donna Karan. Mellon said she started Jimmy Choo both out of a love of fashion and a yearning to escape a dysfunctional and alcoholic family. “I didn’t want to be looked after by a husband or a father. For me, in a sense, I knew I had to buy my freedom and this was a way to do it.” Since growing Jimmy Choo into the company it is, Mellon has worked with the Elton John AIDS Foundation on programs geared specifically toward women in Africa.
Bailey recalled overcoming the early deaths of her parents to go on to edit both Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar, despite having little magazine experience. “When I was in college, my mother died of cancer when I was 21,” said Bailey. “I was out of college for one year and my father contracted cancer and I gave up everything to return home and nurse him. There is nothing like losing everything to really focus on what you want.” Of her subsequent philanthropic efforts, she added, “Fashion is all about feeling good, but there is no better way of feeling good than doing good.” Donna Karan agreed, noting: “The one thing about the fashion industry is it really comes together as a whole. I think when people think about fashion, it’s not about dressing on the outside but what’s going on in the inside.” — Amy Wicks and David Lipke