MEDIA
03/28/2008 02:46 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Liz Smith Starting Website For Women Over 40

IT was another season of fashion runway shows and a group of friends, chatting about the revival of Halston, were reminiscing about their personal encounters with the designer. Candice Bergen shared how he had lent her a white mink bunny mask and strapless gown for Truman Capote's 1966 Black and White Ball. Liz Smith spoke of how cocaine had destroyed the man during the disco era. Joni Evans admitted to attending a party and gushing to "Calvin Klein" about how she adored his designs, only to realize that she was gushing to Halston.

Their conversation might have taken place over lunch at Le Cirque. Only this was a virtual Le Cirque: the memories spilled forth not from lipstick-ringed mouths, but from BlackBerrys, iPhones and laptops before being posted on wowowow.com, a new Web site aimed at women 40 and older.

The site's five founders, also women of a certain age, are longtime friends and media live-wires: Ms. Evans, formerly the president of Simon & Schuster and an ex-publisher at Random House; Ms. Smith, the gossip columnist; Mary Wells, the advertising executive behind memorable campaigns like "I Love New York"; Peggy Noonan, the political columnist and former presidential speechwriter; and Lesley Stahl, the television news reporter. In addition, the founders have signed up some boldface friends to contribute to the site, including Ms. Bergen, Joan Juliet Buck, Whoopi Goldberg, Marlo Thomas, Lily Tomlin, Joan Cooney, Judith Martin, Sheila Nevins, Julia Reed and Jane Wagner. Wowowow, which is to make its debut Saturday, was but a pixel of an idea a year ago. Ms. Evans was struck by what she considered a dearth of online content provocative enough to hook sharp, driven women like herself. Weary of shopping and travel sites, she reached out to a klatch of women friends who are as blond as Jayne Mansfield and better connected than the most determined Facebook users. Turns out, they were game for shaking up the digital status quo, even though most were cyberneophytes. Web culture, from the technicalities of uploading content to the verbal nakedness that is blogging, was unfamiliar. Even acquiring a domain name was, as Ms. Smith put it at a gathering of some of the founders the other day, an uphill battle.

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