When Martha Stewart appeared in court in downtown Manhattan today--her first time in a courtroom since 2004, when she was convicted of lying about a stock trade to the government--she took a brand new tack, style-wise.
In place of the extravagant Birkin handbag that critics clutched upon to cast Stewart as a diva hardly relatable to her middle-class customers, she carried a bag that ordinary folk can afford: a walnut-colored Avery tote, part of a Martha Stewart Home Office line and available at Staples (SPLS) for $79.99.
Leave it to Stewart to jump on a new-product promotion opportunity while she is testifying before the law. This time, the legal battle involves Macy's (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP) over the distribution of her merchandise. Macy's, claiming it has an exclusive deal to sell Martha Stewart home goods, sued Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) and J.C. Penney to stop Penney's from carrying her items in its stores.
Taking the stand this morning (her first time, since she did not testify in her 2004 criminal trial), Stewart praised J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson, who joined the retailer from Apple (AAPL) in late 2011, cut a distribution deal with her and bought a 16.6% stake in her company as part of a grand Penney's turnaround plan that has so far sputtered. "He is a visionary," Stewart said in her testimony today, professing that Johnson "has the foresight to reimagine the department store."
Stewart tried to sneak into and out of New York Supreme Court through a back door, aiming to avoid the press. She got swarmed. As she carried that $79.99 tote on her shoulder, she was wearing a taupe Lanvin tunic and miniskirt, crème-colored Hermes blouse, and brown suede Manolo Blahnik booties. Obviously, whatever the pressures upon her, the 71-year-old brand diva will bend on style only so much.
Last week in France, at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Martha Stewart (MSO) and I both spoke about women, power and diversity at an event hosted by Interpublic Group (IPG).
IPG showed no teenage pictures of me, thank goodness. But they did show Martha at 15, long before she was a brand.
She distinctly remembers this day, she said. She had to be pulled out of school to film this Lifebuoy commercial.Patricia Sellers - Jun 27, 2011 3:41 PM ET
This morning at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival in France, Interpublic Group (IPG) recruited Martha Stewart, CNN's (TWX) Soledad O'Brien, and Coca-Cola (KO) SVP Wendy Clark, among other prominent women, to answer that question. My job there? Summarize their insights and share a few of my own.
All in all, there were plenty -- and way beyond the well-worn platitudes. It's worth sharing the three takeaways I talked about in my MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 22, 2011 11:08 AM ET
by Patricia Sellers
This week, TIME Magazine presents the 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century.
Interesting that TIME, Fortune's sister magazine at Time Inc. (TWX), includes just two businesswomen on its list. Both -- Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey -- are entrepreneurs. Since her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), is struggling these days, Martha didn't make this year's Fortune Most Powerful Women list. Oprah, whose power keeps expanding and MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 22, 2010 12:12 PM ET
Is Martha Stewart going the way of Oprah?
Seems so, given that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) has sealed a deal to move her syndicated daytime TV show to the Hallmark Channel.
The news comes two months after Oprah Winfrey rocked the broadcast TV world by announcing that she's quitting her syndicated show in September 2011 to focus on her new cable network, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
Surely, neither Oprah now Martha, MOREPatricia Sellers - Jan 27, 2010 12:27 PM ET
I'm just back from a funeral in Pennsylvania -- where I traveled late last night after the Time 100 gala at Manhattan's Time Warner Center. Strange to say, but two wonderful celebrations back to back. The funeral was for my closest childhood friend Meg's father, Jack Denuel, who died after a three-decade battle with MS. He was a great man who never whined and never said a bad word about anyone. Never.
As MOREPatricia Sellers - May 6, 2009 11:53 PM ET
"One plus one equals three." That's what Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) chairman Charles Koppelman said last July after the company appointed Wenda Millard and Robin Marino co-CEOs.
I -- and many investors -- expressed skepticism. Co-CEO set-ups are so unusual that during the past decade, among Fortune 500 companies, only 15 such arrangements have existed. Koppelman literally wagered that the co-CEO set-up at his company would flourish. "I'll bet you MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 21, 2009 12:21 PM ET
I went out to lunch today. Really. Even as you've read this week about the slashing and shrinking inside my company, Time Inc. (TWX), and across the magazine industry (even Conde Nast, the proud, privately-held protector of privilege and perks is axing), I have to eat. I have to schmooze. My job depends upon it.
Allow me to defend the expense-account lunch. Here are my rules of (lunchtime) engagement, honed over MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 31, 2008 3:56 PM ET
Amidst the chaos in the markets, it's difficult to find time to breathe, much less pore over 2,500 pictures from our Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in early October. But I finally made it through our trove and want to share part of it with you.
If you've been reading Postcards, you know that we had Warren Buffett with us for three days. What a treat. More than that, the Berkshire MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 24, 2008 3:11 PM ET
My Fortune colleague Geoff Colvin reminds us in his Guest Post that the best time to test and stretch your talent is during tough times. Ever since we published Geoff's piece on Postcards yesterday, I've been thinking about this a lot. Last night, at a Bank of America (BAC) dinner at Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant to benefit the International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism Awards, I sat with a MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 21, 2008 12:28 PM ET
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