Stores recoil at magazine's petal-poised pin-up

August 05, 1998|By NEWSDAY

For 10 years, Rolling Stone's annual "Hot Issue" has been getting hotter, as beautiful stars such as Lisa Bonet, Uma Thurman, Winona Ryder and the women of "Melrose Place" have posed for the cover in various degrees of undress. But this year's issue has generated such heat, some stores have found it too hot to handle.

The cover features model Laetitia Casta, nude, atop an array of rose petals, looking like Marilyn Monroe or an illustrated Varga Girl of old.

Although Casta is photographed from the side, leaving more to the imagination than the eye, the cover has prompted Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and other chains to bar the issue. According to a source familiar with the magazine's circulation, the ban could cause Rolling Stone to lose 30 percent of its average single-copy sale, which was 189,203 copies per issue in the second half of last year.

But managing editor Robert Love says the loss would be far less and would be offset by gains at newsstands that do carry the issue. "This was a strategic idea of pushing the envelope," Love said.

He said RS draped newsstand copies of the issue with a paper band.

Pub Date: 8/05/98

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