Matt Lauer and Joan Rivers Do Christmas in January | Catching Up With Anne Fulenwider

Lunch At Michaels

Lunch At MichaelsIt must have been the summer-like temperatures (well, it was above freezing) that brought out plenty of media mavens (Frank Bennack, David Carey, Jack Kliger, Nancy Berger Cardone) and a heaping helping of  talking heads (Matt Lauer, Joan Rivers, Star Jones, Dan Abrams, Bill McCuddy) at Michael’s today. January is always an interesting month at 55th and Fifth. It’s the roller-coaster ride that starts off slow with the deadly quiet of the post-holiday doldrums and peaks during the pre-award show maelstrom (Yes, the Golden Globes were last weekend, but that’s just an excuse for celebrities to get together and drink champagne, resulting in the inevitable ‘What the hell were they thinking moment?'” This year, that came courtesy of the clearly astonished winner Jacqueline Bisset). Everyone, it seemed, has hit their stride and with Fashion Week and the Olympics just weeks away, the cognoscenti are getting in their power lunches before departing for the gigs that keep the lights on around town.

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Diane Clehane and Anne Fulenwider
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I was joined today by Marie Claire‘s editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider, fresh off a trip to Beverly Hills. There, she traded compliments with Golden Globe winner Robin Wright (“She was so unguarded and looked so happy with her award and new fiance Ben Foster“) and chatted with her December cover gal Julia Roberts and her husband, Danny Moder, at the magazine’s post-awards-show bash. The party was cohosted by The Weinstein Company and Netflix and attended by tons of A-listers, including Taylor Swift, Bono and Diddy (or is it Sean Combs? — we’ve given up trying to keep up with what we’re supposed to call him). “It was a amazing,” she tells me. “You had to be inside the Beverly Hilton by 4 o’clock because at 5 o’clock it goes into lockdown. I watched the awards at a viewing party at the old Trader Vic’s.” On Friday, she’s jetting off to Washington, D.C., to attend the swearing in of Cathy Russell, President Barack Obama‘s pick for the new global ambassador of women’s issues at the State Department. Lest you think Anne’s life is one glam sojourn after the next, today she tells me her commute felt like a hellish version of “trains, planes and automobiles” as she slogged her way in from Brooklyn, thanks to a gushing water-main break.

Anne certainly looked none the worse for wear in her chic black Jason Wu sweater and skirt, but of course dressing to impress is part of the job when you’re helming one of Hearst’s most fashionable titles. Since rejoining Marie Claire in September 2012 (she’d previously been the magazine’s executive editor and departed for a nearly year-long stint as EIC of Bride‘s), Anne admits she’s upped her fashion quotient. “I’ve had to shop and meet the designers,” she told me. “I love going to shows, and I’m gearing up for my fourth Fashion Week. Some people have been going for 20 years, but this is only my fourth time, so I still really love it.” Her job also affords her a coveted front-row seat at the shows, and she’s also going to Paris and Milan (with a week back in New York in between the two to close the April issue).

2014 is a milestone year for Marie Claire. It’s the magazine’s 20th anniversary in the United States and Anne tells me she’s got plenty of big things in the works. In March, they’ll celebrate fashion director Nina Garcia‘s fifth anniversary with a five-year retrospective in print and online. Plans are in the works for a big to-do next fall. The magazine is also increasing its television presence. In addition to Project Runway and Project Runway All-Stars, senior fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi will be appearing as a judge on Tim Gunn‘s new show, Under the Gunn, which debuts tomorrow night on Lifetime. Since landing the top spot, Anne has brought in an entirely new art department, resulting in “a complete redesign” that was completed in September 2013. Check out the dazzling February cover, boasting one of the most stunning photographs of Drew Barrymore by Jan Welters (his first for Marie Claire) I’ve ever seen, to get the full effect of the team’s efforts.