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Jan 01, 2008 10:30 PM  By

Frederick’s Von Teeses customers with cover girl

For the first time in its 60-year history, Frederick’s of Hollywood features a celebrity on its catalog cover. Who is it? No, it’s not Paris Hilton. No, it’s not Pamela Anderson — never mind: It’s burlesque babe Dita Von Teese. Two versions of the limited edition catalogs mailed in November. As part of the company’s “Pin-Up Parade” holiday campaign, the catalogs feature Von Teese in signature shots including the traditional feather fan dance and ski bunny pin-up scenes. Von Teese, who as a teenager worked in a lingerie store as a salesgirl, is known for her saucy burlesque act, her fetish films and photos, and her retro-glam red-carpet appearances. If you’re not familiar with Von Teese’s work, you may recall that she was once married to goth rocker Marilyn Manson, who, hopefully, will not be appearing in a lingerie catalog anytime soon.

Lands’ End hails huge return

It sounds like a catalog operations manager’s worst nightmare: A customer returns a $19,000 item…21 years after buying it. But this actually happened to Lands’ End. No, the apparel merchant didn’t at one time offer a diamond-encrusted rugby shirt a la Victoria’s Secret’s fantasy bras. The returned item was a special luxury item, however: a London taxicab. The black taxi was featured on the cover of Lands’ End’s holiday catalog in 1984. It was filled with classic English cashmere clothing and gifts and sold for $19,000 to a Kansas woman, who bought it as a gift for her car-collector husband. In 2005, the man invoked Lands’ End’s unconditional guarantee policy for an exchange or refund of the full purchase price. Lands’ End refunded the $19,000 and took back the car. Where are the wheels today? At press time, it was all shined up with a Christmas wreath attached to its grille and parked in front of the company’s Dodgeville, WI-based headquarters. A Lands’ End spokesperson said the company is considering adding the London taxi to its shuttle fleet, which carries employees around its sprawling campus. That’s one way to recoup a return — maybe the cataloger should put the cab’s meter back in.

ForestEthics joins reindeer games

It’s not every day you get a press release quoting Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, but then ForestEthics is highly creative. The nonprofit environmental group in late November released its 2007 Catalog Industry Environmental Scorecard, which hammered mailers such as School Specialty, Sharper Image, and Spiegel with lumps of coal for their less-than-green paper policies. The report noted that Canada’s Boreal Forest is critical caribou habitat, “but it is being logged to make junk mail and catalogs…” Ouch. What did Rudolph add to that? “The Boreal is valuable to us not only because we live there, but also because it’s one of our first lines of defense against global warming,” said Rudolph. “We’re worried there will be fewer and fewer white Christmases, so Donner, Blitzen, and the gang are not feeling very merry this year.” Mailers on ForestEthics’ S-list, better watch out: You’re in the group’s crosshairs like an endangered caribou.