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A PAUL SMITH MAN: Paul Smith is dressing up his windows to mark the spring-summer issue of GQ Style, the men’s fashion biannual published by British GQ. Smith’s boutiques in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and New York all will have window displays inspired by the spring issue of GQ Style, called Man Up, which aims to celebrate ambition, and their windows will bear the issue’s logo. The stores also will sell Paul Smith T-shirts inspired by the issue, along with copies of GQ Style, which will be packaged with a Paul Smith designed tote bag. In turn, Smith has penned an essay on ambition for GQ Style’s spring issue, along with interviewing British cyclist Mark Cavendish for the title (the designer is a keen cyclist). And later this week, a pop-up Man Up space will be unveiled in a building on London’s Kingsway, near Covent Garden. The space, which will be open for a week from Friday, will carry issues of GQ Style and the Paul Smith-designed Man Up products, and will have footage from GQ Style shoots projected onto its walls. GQ Style will hit U.K. newsstands March 18. — Nina Jones
START PACKIN’: Anna Sui will be off to Syria Friday with her friend Keith Johnson for an upcoming episode of his Sundance Channel show “Man Shops Globe.” The pair plan to scour the grand souks in Aleppo and Damascus, which are supposed to be “more untouched” than those in Istanbul and Cairo, Sui said. Keen as the designer is to visit the land of “Lawrence of Arabia” creator T.E. Lawrence, she also has a few things on her wish list. “Dream items? I remember in the Iris Apfel show, she had some harem jewelry from the 19th century with parts that trembled. There were a lot of rococo pieces with hand-set diamonds. I like it when diamonds are not perfect — when they are hand-chipped,” Sui said. “I think Iris got them in Turkey, but maybe they have them there.” — Rosemary Feitelberg
WEDDING BELLS: Several former bridal editors have found a new suitor: AOL has snapped them up to edit and write for two new Web sites. Anne Chertoff, who worked as senior editor and spokeswoman for brides.com., will serve as the new editor in chief of Aisledash.com, a site that helps brides plan their weddings through informational blog posts on everything from dresses to cakes in addition to photo galleries featuring products and services. Chertoff will be assisted by former editors of now-defunct wedding magazines ranging from Modern Bride and Elegant Bride to InStyle Weddings. Guest bloggers already lined up for Aisledash include Colin Cowie, Mindy Weiss and Preston Bailey. But AOL doesn’t only have its eyes on the brides. It’s tapping into Condé Nast’s shuttered Gourmet to help man its new site Kitchendaily.com, in partnership with Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Curtis Stone. The site will be edited by Gourmet alum Cheryl Brown, and Megan Steintrager, formerly of Epicurious.com, is senior editor. Gourmet’s executive food editor, Kemp Minifie, test kitchen director Ruth Cousineau and food editor Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez also will provide contributions. — Amy Wicks
ESSENCE EXIT: Essence is losing its longtime beauty and cover director Mikki Taylor, who is retiring after 30 years at the magazine (she celebrated the milestone last month). Taylor will continue to contribute to Essence as editor at large, but her primary focus will be on growing Mikki Taylor Enterprises and her businesses, which include Satin Doll Productions, an image consulting company, and MT Communications, a strategic communications and branding firm. “I’m going to continue to showcase women in all our glory,” Taylor said of her plans. “There is work to be done across multiple platforms, and it’s important for me to bring the message of inner and outer beauty to new generations of women.” During her tenure at Essence, Taylor produced first-time magazine covers for Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey and Mary J. Blige, as well issues featuring such celebrities as Mo’Nique, Beyoncé Knowles and Tyra Banks. And recently, Taylor produced the magazine’s Obama covers (the First Family in September 2008; a split-cover issue with the President and First Lady in January 2009; the First Lady with her mother, Marian Robinson, in May 2009, and this month’s cover of the President and First Lady).
In the realm of beauty, “Mikki Taylor’s impact cannot be understated — not only in influencing the mind-set of African-American women, but in educating the beauty industry with key insights on how to best serve them,” said Essence Communications president Michelle Ebanks.
Taylor’s other notable achievements include authoring a book, “Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Plan to Inner and Outer Beauty,” and serving as a guest instructor at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, as part of the school’s Arts Workshop in 2007. Former Real Simple executive editor Corynne Corbett will be stepping in to temporarily oversee Essence’s beauty department until a successor is found. — Nick Axelrod