Karl Lagerfeld is still smarting from Robin Givhan’s scathing Newsweek profile. At a press conference held Friday in Japan to promote his new photography book, The Little Black Jacket, Lagerfeld sniped:
"First of all, Tina Brown's magazine is not doing well at all." He added, "I'm sorry for Tina Brown, who was such a success at Vanity Fair, to go down with a s---ty little paper like this. I'm sorry."
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Givhan's story, published in January. called him "overrated" and "spread too thin." She wrote: "If a great designer is judged by a silhouette he has popularized, a sensibility he has nurtured, or an aesthetic that is unmistakably his own, then Lagerfeld has failed. [...] Lagerfeld has simply broadened a road built by Chanel herself."
The style scribe also noted that Herr Lagerfeld spends too much time developing his celebrity profile and building more Karl-brand products. Needless to say, her comments got her banished from the front row of Chanel's next show.
Newsweek, meanwhile, just fired back with a press release full of stats to diffuse Lagerfeld's comments: "In the past year since Tina Brown took over as editor in chief of Newsweek, newsstand sales have increased 30% year on year, advertising pages have seen a 27% increase for the first quarter of 2012, we have over 2.2 million people engaged in our social media communities and perhaps the most telling indicator of the renewed vitality of Newsweek, subscription renewals, in a consistent state of decline since 2005, rose by 3% last year."
However, there are harder stats available and even Brown admits Newsweek is years from being profitable. In an interview this week on Nightline, she was asked about the brand's reported $30 million in losses after merging with the website The Daily Beast. Brown replied: “We are certainly not losing that amount, but we aren’t making money yet and we won’t make money for another couple of years, but we will as long as we can build the brand back up again.”
According to an ABC business blog, this past year's newsstand sales were up by 15 percent, but ad pages fell by almost 17 percent. In October, Adweek reported that Newsweek had suffered an estimated $20 million in losses.