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14-09-2017
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The Business of Magazines #4
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Sad to see Cindy go. Her magazine hasn't been in the best shape for the last few years, but it's undeniable that she was a good editor.

And wow... 2 changes in CN in a span of what.. 2 weeks?

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Wow, what a year we're having!! It's like a mass exodus. Cindy's been doing well before the last revamp. Like many on here, I liked what she did. Glamour was very refined and sophisticated. Remember the Kerry/SJP/Michelle Obama, Karlie, Kim K, covers. It's a pity she switched to the messy art direction.

So, shakeups over the past two years:
US Allure
US Interview
US Elle
US InStyle
US TeenVogue
US Town & Country
US Glamour
US Harper's Bazaar
US Cosmopolitan
Vogue Italia
UK Vogue
UK Elle
Vogue Arabia
Vogue Brazil
Vogue Mexico & Latin America
Vogue Spain
Harper's Bazaar Spain

The majority coming from the US.......

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As much as I find some of Anna's work to be subpar... I don't want her to leave just yet. I actually don't see anyone at the moment doing her job other than her. If that makes sense.


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Originally Posted by MON View Post
As much as I find some of Anna's work to be subpar... I don't want her to leave just yet. I actually don't see anyone at the moment doing her job other than her. If that makes sense.
That's exactly why she needs to go. American Vogue may be the original Vogue and most successful Vogue, but it's also the dullest and most predictable Vogue. Anna has been on autopilot creatively for years and years. The magazine needs a fresh eyes.

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I don't really agree. Up until she left, Alexandra's Vogue was more predictable than Anna's I always felt.

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Originally Posted by honeycombchild View Post
I don't really agree. Up until she left, Alexandra's Vogue was more predictable than Anna's I always felt.
Yeah Anna gets a lot of flak but as Mirand Priestley said.. No one can do what I do! Whatever she's doing is obviously working because the cover of Vogue is probably more coveted than ever before. There was a time when being on the cover of Rollingstone and. Vanity Fair was just as desirable but now it's just Vogue. She's usurped the actresses from VF and the popstars from Rollingstone to become the only cover that still matters. She's even usurped major policians: Hillary, Theresa May, The Trudeaus.

Someone else might be a better "fashion editor" and make it more exciting fashion wise but don't get it confused Anna has brought a power to the brand that it didn't have before.

That's all.


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After Graydon, Who?

Graydon Carter’s exit means the Vanity Fair editorship is up for grabs.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM and SYDNEY EMBER

So Graydon is gone. Now what?

The coming departure of Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair’s editor for 25 years, has set off a race to inherit his throne. Rarely does such a coveted editorship come up for grabs, even in an industry undergoing an unusual amount of churn. As executives at Condé Nast consider their options, editors and people in the magazine world say the winning candidate has to check off a few boxes:

1. Be comfortable in Vanity Fair’s swirling spheres of celebrity, politics, journalism and finance. Mr. Carter hosted parties and owned trendy restaurants. Mingling, and finessing a seating chart, are key.

2. Be willing to navigate the tumult at Condé Nast, which in the past year has shaken up top leadership and reorganized its production structure as it weathers an industry-wide financial downturn.

3. Embracing the digital future is a must. So is the ability to generate new revenue streams to offset continued declines in print advertising and circulation.

4. Impress Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor who now does double duty as Condé Nast’s artistic director. Ms. Wintour will likely want an ally at Vanity Fair, one of the company’s biggest titles, as she expands her power and influence.

5. Star quality counts. With the departure of Glamour’s Cindi Leive, Condé Nast has lost two major editors in the span of a week. An unknown quantity at Vanity Fair could fuel a perception that the company is losing its luster.

Here is a look at several top contenders, based on their experience, interviews with people in the industry and chatter in the Manhattan publishing world.

Janice Min
She turned US Weekly into a behemoth, then revived The Hollywood Reporter from a dusty trade into a glossy weekly with influence on both coasts and big online traffic. She is a woman of color with an enviable track record in a lily-white field of candidates. Vanity Fair has long been seen as a next step for her — and she was spotted in the hallways of Condé Nast’s headquarters this week. But some at Condé Nast question her journalism chops. Ms. Min would also have to uproot her family from Los Angeles, where she has a real shot at leading a television network, a business with a much brighter future than magazines.

Jay Fielden
Mr. Fielden, the editor of Esquire (part of Hearst, a Condé Nast rival), told The Times in 2016, “I’m a person who likes clothes, but I’m also a guy who worked at The New Yorker for 10 years. I don’t think you have to be one guy or the other.” That high/low sensibility matches the Vanity Fair vibe. Of arguably more importance are Mr. Fielden’s ties to Ms. Wintour, who chose him as the founding editor of Men’s Vogue in 2005; when that title folded, he took over Town & Country, whose high-society coverage has echoes at V.F. Natty and comfortable around celebrities, Mr. Fielden can lean on his Wintour connection as a possible trump card.

Adam Moss
The maverick genius of the 1980s, now the gray eminence of the 2010s, Mr. Moss is perhaps the most successful editor of his generation. After founding the groundbreaking weekly 7 Days, he oversaw The New York Times Styles section and ran the Sunday Magazine before taking his current perch at New York, where he picks up national magazine awards like pennies on the sidewalk. At 60, he is closer to retirement age than Condé Nast executives may prefer. And Mr. Moss is a social caterpillar who avoids the gala circuit, a drawback for Vanity Fair’s extroverted culture. But it would be hard to count out his visual creativity and stable of talented (and devoted) journalists. Whether he wants to leave his well-compensated role at New York is another question.

Jim Nelson
GQ, a Condé Nast property, has thrived thanks to its longtime editor, Jim Nelson, who has run the magazine since 2003. Known for throwing lavish retreats catered by hip mixologists, Mr. Nelson has the loyalty of his staff. But in an industry stocked with celebrity editors, he remains curiously obscure, keeping a lower profile than peers like Mr. Carter, Ms. Wintour, and David Remnick of The New Yorker. Condé Nast leadership trusts him, but can Mr. Nelson hold court poolside in Cannes and air-kiss Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars? It’s harder than it looks.

THE DARK HORSES

Sally Singer
A protégée of Ms. Wintour, she has experience leading a big publication, editing T Magazine at The New York Times for two years before returning to Vogue as creative digital director. Installing Ms. Singer at Vanity Fair would give Ms. Wintour a loyalist at one of Condé Nast’s biggest titles.

Joanna Coles
The former editor of Cosmopolitan, Ms. Coles has consolidated power at Hearst Magazines, where she is now chief content officer. Her board seat on Snapchat makes for a neat digital bona fide. But she may be more interested in building an empire, Anna Wintour-style, at Hearst, rather than leave to run a single title.

Josh Tyrangiel
A former digital guru at Time Inc., Mr. Tyrangiel turned Bloomberg Businessweek into an award-winning must-read. Now he runs Vice’s millennial-focused news series on HBO. But the show has struggled to gain traction, and Mr. Tyrangiel may seek greener pastures elsewhere. He has relationships in Hollywood and on Wall Street; advertisers like him, too. But Condé Nast is a close-knit company, and he would need to forge relationships fast.

Anne Fulenwider
The editor of Marie Claire, owned by Hearst, Ms. Fulenwider spent 10 years at Vanity Fair under Mr. Carter’s tutelage before a stint as top editor at another Condé Nast title, Brides. She has also worked alongside Ms. Coles at Hearst. Her leadership experience and familiarity with the Condé universe are assets.
source | nytimes

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Just the fact that Joanna Coles is mentioned there bothers me.

Hmmm... the question is, would these names have the same courage as Graydon? Or will they water down VF?

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Thanks for posting, MissMagAddict!

I have a feeling it'll be a woman. But is Joanna Coles' name doing among the dark horses? Please. As if Janice Min isn't enough as the frontrunner. Don't quite know who the lesser of three unnecessary evils are between Coles, Min and Nelson. And anyway, Coles is a power woman who innovate as much as Anna. No way will she allow herself to be dictated by Anna Wintour. On the one hand I think it's a far-fetched rumour, but on the other I can see Coles jumping ships. Especially since Robbie Myers will join the Hearst top exec ranks and, as many can tell, Myers is very ambitious for acclaim and could end up a huge adversary for Coles.
Funny how 'impressing Anna' is one of the prerequisites which just furthers the point that Graydon wasn't prepared to bow down.

I'm not too sure who to place my bets on, but it better be someone attuned to British culture or else we should get our own edition.

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Not a fashion magazine, but Rollingstone has just been put up for sale by its founding editor Jann Wenner. The changing of the old guard continues.

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Apparently Janice Min is in New York for a series of meetings with CN. The consensus is that she's now the frontrunner to replace Graydon. Sigh!

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Poor Cindy, always the bridesmaid. I wonder who the actress was?

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How to Quit a Magazine, by Cindi Leive

By KATHERINE ROSMAN
SEPT. 14, 2017

Cindi Leive, the departing editor of Glamour, in her office at Condé Nast. Credit Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour, says that a writer has about three seconds to grab a reader’s attention, so let’s blurt this out: After 16 years, she says, she’s quitting her job.

This departure, one she announced to her staff this morning, makes her the fourth editor of a major magazine to vacate the role in the space of a week. In order of announcement, they are Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair, Roberta Myers of Elle and Nancy Gibbs of Time.

“As in all things magazine related, damn Graydon got there first,” Ms. Leive said.

She laughed and tucked her bare feet under her on the living room sofa in her Brooklyn townhouse. This was the day before she would inform Glamour’s staff, and she was a little nervous about telling her team the news. “I’m sure I will be, in my grandmother’s words, ‘highly verklempt.’ I’m a bit of a crier anyway,” she said.

She refers to her staff as her “Glam fam”: “I just love love love the people I work with,” she said. Her toenails were painted a bluish gray. They looked perfectly nice but still ready for a fresh pedicure. She will stay on at the magazine until the end of the year, but soon she’ll have the time for primping.

As every magazine editor knows, three is a trend. So what to make of four? Ms. Leive’s departure from Glamour would matter in any circumstance. Coming now, it cements a sudden sense that there is an unprecedented change of the guard. Ms. Leive was among a now fairly thin rank of those who were magazine editors before magazines became brands.

“To me, a brand was Kellogg’s,” she said of her early days. “But I have gotten comfortable with the term.”

Like any media executive worth her six-figure Twitter following, Ms. Leive is proud to share today’s measure of magazine success: 11 million monthly unique visitors to Glamour.com, 15 million followers across social media platforms, a robust “Women of the Year” award ceremony and events business, a video that has garnered 147 million views on Facebook. It’s called “Your Period in 2 Minutes.” “Perhaps you saw it?” she asked.

Ms. Leive’s stomach growled beneath her flouncy Tanya Taylor dress, with its cutout shoulders. She drank water. “I’m leaving the brand in great shape,” she said.

The least vague reason she would offer for her decision to quit now related to her mother, a biochemist who died when Ms. Leive was 19. “Not to get too emo, but my mom died when she was 49 and last year I turned 49,” she said, and here, her voice got wobbly. “I felt like I have been given this gift of so much more life and I wanted to do something with it.”

She wouldn’t comment on what her next gig will be other than to say what it won’t be: “I’m not going to another big media job or to a similar position at another company.” She gave the impression that she has plans. “I adore my kids, but I’m not leaving to spend more time with my kids,” she said.

Ms. Leive and her husband, Howard Bernstein, a film producer, have two children, Lucy, 14, and Ike, 12. They needed some reassurance that their mother leaving her job is a good idea. “When I told this to my son, his main concern was, ‘Oh my God, are you not going to be verified on Instagram anymore?’” she said.

She too was captivated by a certain idea of status when she was younger. While a college student, Ms. Leive was an intern at The Paris Review, working out of its old basement offices. She saw herself studying for a Ph.D. and getting a job that would be, as she put it, “Important with a capital I.”

After graduating from Swarthmore College when she was 21, she allowed herself a one-year frivolity, a job at a fashion magazine.

But then something unexpected happened. She found that she loved being an editorial assistant at Glamour, loved the mix of fashion and politics, civics and silliness. She stayed for 11 years. “The type of things they were writing and editing,” she said of Glamour’s more senior staff, “were the things me and my friends were talking about.” She loved working for Ruth Whitney, Glamour’s editor of 31 years.

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She even loved working for Bonnie Fuller, the less refined, more sex- and celebrity-focused replacement to Ms. Whitney. (She says the “three second” attention rule is a Bonnieism.) After working for Ms. Fuller for less than a year, she became the editor of Self, also published by Condé Nast.

When Ms. Fuller was asked to resign in 2001, Ms. Leive returned to Glamour, as its editor in chief.

Even though she had been at Glamour for years before, and also had two years as editor of Self under her belt, there was a steep learning curve. Early in her tenure, she promised a celebrity that she could have approval over her appearance on the cover. “It was someone I greatly admired,” Ms. Leive said.

Ms. Leive selected the photograph that she knew was the right one for the magazine’s demographic and newsstand appeal. The actress hated it. Ms. Leive tried to persuade her that it was a flattering picture, but the actress wouldn’t budge and Ms. Leive worried about making the celebrity unhappy. She didn’t want Glamour to get a bad reputation with Hollywood publicists. But she was positive that she had selected the right photo.

“At a certain point in the interaction, I had to let go of this desire to make this person like me and remind myself that my allegiance was with Glamour and with what I thought was the right cover,” she said. “So I just went for it and said, ‘I’m sorry but this is the cover we’re going to run.’” Ms. Leive said the actress took it in stride and that she never again offered anyone cover approval.

Figuring out how to leverage the internet wasn’t easy, either. “I had what I thought was the most brilliant idea,” she said of a notion that occurred to her around 2010. Glamour could use its famous “Dos and Don’ts” rubric to encourage readers to submit photographs of people wearing the good or the ugly. Visitors to the website would be encouraged to weigh in.

There was a huge influx of traffic, Ms. Leive said, but not just that. “I actually opened Pandora’s box for a troll convention to take place on Glamour.com,” she said. She and her staff decided to hit delete.

She also learned that not every story she thought was splashy would actually make a splash. For the July 2015 issue, Kim Kardashian West appeared on the cover of Glamour, addressing publicly her feelings about the gender transition of her family member Caitlyn Jenner. Ms. Leive and her staff planned a full press rollout.

“Literally an hour before we were putting it out, Vanity Fair’s Caitlyn Jenner cover comes out,” Ms. Leive said. “So my scoop didn’t look that great, and all of a sudden I was getting angry letters from people wanting to know why I was referring to Caitlyn Jenner as Bruce in the magazine.” She laughed, sounding amused and still a little exasperated.

There is much from her long tenure that makes Ms. Leive proud, she said. There is the “Women of the Year” awards, which have honored people including Malala Yousafzai and Gabby Giffords. Ms. Leive oversaw the launch of the Girl Project, which provides resources to support education for girls in more than 100 countries. She published an essay last summer by Barack Obama, called “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.”

She also made Hillary Clinton the first presidential candidate to be endorsed by Glamour. Ms. Leive says Anna Wintour, Condé Nast’s artistic director and Ms. Leive’s boss, deserves much of the credit for that. When Ms. Leive broached the idea with her, she said that Ms. Wintour said, “If you think this is what is right for your audience and for women, then you should do it.”

All this is why Ms. Leive bristles at the suggestion that her decision to leave magazines, amid something that is approaching a brain drain of longtime magazine honchos, signals that glossies are losing their sheen.

Not that she’s complaining about being in the company of Ms. Myers, Ms. Gibbs and Mr. Carter. “That’s a pretty nice outgoing class to be in, I’ll take it,” she said. “We can all hang out in the corner booth somewhere.”

Only if a former editor in chief can still snag the corner booth, she is reminded.

“What if I can’t get a corner booth anymore, good point!” she said, and cracked up. “We’ll have to meet on my back deck, fending off the dog.”
Source: NYtimes.com


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Why the days of the ‘celebrity editor’ are now over

By Keith J. Kelly
September 14, 2017 | 10:02pm

With dizzying speed, four long-serving magazine editors of some of the most prestigious glossies in America — Vanity Fair, Glamour, Elle and Time — said they were packing it in.

In a week, names that were the foundation of the magazine biz for years — Graydon Carter, Cindi Leive, Robbie Myers and Nancy Gibbs, a total of 62 years as top editors — were history.

“The days of the celebrity editor are over,” said Reed Phillips, an investment banker at Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips, surveying the incredible fallout.

“I can’t recall this ever happening before,” said Peter Kreisky, an industry consultant. “It’s amazing and quite troubling to see four crème de la crème editors exit while still clearly at the top of their games. It sends a startling message about the industry’s future.” Carter, Vanity Fair’s editor-in-chief, kicked off the rush to the exits on Sept. 7, when he told staffers that he was going to be exiting his job at the Condé Nast title by year end. He angered top brass by giving his exit interview to the New York Times a day before he told them he was announcing his retirement.

On Thursday, Leive at Glamour told her staffers she was exiting her job at the glossy, also by Dec. 31, after a 16-year run.

In between, Myers, 17 years atop Elle, told her shocked staffers on Sept. 11 that she was leaving almost immediately. She is out Friday.

Myers’ replacement, former Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia starts Monday — leaving Myers, what, a weekend to clear out a decade and a half of memories.

Gibbs’ departure was even swifter. As rumors began to circulate, she made the announcement on Tuesday night — shortly after hosting a panel discussion in the Time Inc. auditorium — that she was exiting Time after 32 years, including four in the editor-in-chief slot.

Ed Felsenthal, the company’s top digital editor, was named as her replacement on Thursday. Gibbs will stick around as editorial director of the Time News Group to help in the transition. So what’s going on?

Well, for one, it is planning time for all the big publishers and, with big budgets cuts said to be looming at nearly every company, heads are likely to roll. For some editors, the face in the mirror had a bull’s-eye on it.

Said one former top executive, “It’s hunting season — but that’s not good if you’re an endangered species.”

The celebrity editor — the ones with Town Cars, big salaries and wonderful perks — have actually slowly been disappearing for years.Three top editors at Time Inc. — Rich Stengel (Time), Martha Nelson (editor-in-chief of Time Inc.) and Terry McDonell (former head of the Sports Illustrated Group) all packed up and exited in recent years for one reason or another.

Even Tina Brown, a top Condé Nast editor and founder of The Daily Beast, stepped away from publishing in 2013.

“The trend is, the business has become no fun for anyone with options,” Brown told Media Ink in an e-mail.

“Facebook and Google have taken away so much of the ad revennue, editors-in-chief find most of their job today is firing colleagues they love and respect and doing three times as much with a third of the resources,” Brown added.

Faced with that pressure and the likelihood that it will continue, the 63-year old magazine veteran noted, editors quit.

Indeed. The speed at which the celebrity editors are heading to the exits is unprecedented. And the industry’s underlying problems are clearly having an impact, as the top brass try to cut costs.

“It seems to me that the folks leaving just don’t want to go through the pain of more corporate restructuring which always means less money for staff and projects while demands increase to do more,” said one magazine veteran, who counts many of the exiting editors among his friends. “My guess is that everyone has looked at the projections for 2018 and blanched.”

Hearst has not had major corporate layoffs but has been quietly pruning and consolidating at its titles.Condé Nast went through a big restructuring in January and, according to Women’s Wear Daily, a new round is in store for the near future.

Publicly traded Time Inc. has hired McKinsey & Co., the much-dreaded management consulting firm, to help it prune $400 million in costs over the next 18 months.

Why the blood-letting?

Print revenue — from both circulation and advertising — is forecast to continue to slump over the next several years. Cuts to lower-level staff were not enough.

‘All these top cats will be replaced by top kittens, less expensive than they are.’

“Print titles will continue to lose market share as their readers continue to move to online versions of the print brands or other forms of information and entertainment entirely,” said the latest global market report from Zenith Media, which predicts magazine print ad revenues will shrink at the rate of 6 percent a year through 2019.

The report does not add magazine’s digital revenue into the mix, so it’s slightly skewed, but does show an industry under intense pressure.But gaining a slice of the digital market is not easy — even with fairly strong digital audiences: Time Inc. has 127.3 million unique monthly visitors, Hearst nabs 104.3 million and Condé Nast digital gets 93.1 million, according to the June figures from comScore.

That’s nicely ahead of digital rivals such as Vice (72.3 million), BuzzFeed (75.1 million) and Vox (70.9 million).

But it is far behind the two digital ad behemoths: Google, with 241.4 million uniques and Facebook, with 203.9 million.

Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, wrote that in 2016 the two grabbed 77 percent of the gross spending on the internet — leaving the rest of the media world to battle for the remaining 23 percent.

“The future will not continue to value the skills and talents with which they have become masters of magazine media,” said Kreisky. “The game is changing faster than ever and a new generation of digital natives is taking over. Plus they face enormous pressure to cut costs to compete effectively against digital players.”

With publishing’s rising digital revenue not yet offsetting print, publishers are trying to cut costs across the board.

“All these top cats will be replaced by top kittens, less expensive than they are,” said a magazine veteran.

And it’s easy to see why.Carter was said to have a package of about $2 million a year, and Leive was estimated to be in the $1.25 million range.

They may be better protected than most as they exit because, sources said, they landed their Condé Nast jobs when there were still good long-term retirement benefits. The two could collect in retirement up to 50 percent of their salaries, sources said.
Younger editors were not accorded that perk.

Gibbs was estimated to be earning somewhat less than the $700,000 base and $289,000 bonus that predecessor Rick Stengel disclosed as his compensation for his last year on the job in 2012 — before heading to the State Department under President Obama.

But Gibbs was still estimated to be pulling in a high six-figure salary in the range of $850,000 — and if Time’s stock ever revives, she could cash in stock options.

Hearst was always known to pay somewhat less than Condé. Sources estimate that Myers’ bonus and base on the Hearst title has her in the $1 million range.

But hard reality will likely leads to more cuts. And none may be more vulnerable than the seven-figure salary of top editors.

“Magazines are no longer the profit centers they once were with margins of 20 to 30 percent,” said Phillips. “There is certainly a risk in removing proven editors, but media owners have decided the economics of their businesses cannot survive in the long term without trimming costs.

Phillips predicts more top editors are likely to exit in the coming months. “This is a trend that will continue.”
Source: NYPost.com

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At Italian Vogue, a New Beginning

By VANESSA FRIEDMAN SEPT. 19, 2017


Emanuele Farneti, editor of Italian Vogue, is about as different from his predecessor as possible: in gender and generation, and from a different professional background. Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times
In January, not long after returning from his winter holiday, Emanuele Farneti, the 42-year-old editor of Italian GQ, was chatting with a media friend when the subject of Italian Vogue, the powerful fashion magazine whose revered longtime editor Franca Sozzani had died at age 66 the month before, came up.

“They’ll just have to close it,” the friend said to Mr. Farneti. “No one is going to be able to follow her. There’s nobody.” Mr. Farneti made some noncommittal noises. Then he changed the subject. Because what his friend did not know was that he had already been offered — and accepted — the job.

“I understood why she said it,” Mr. Farneti said dryly a few months later in the lobby of the Hôtel Costes in Paris, drinking a Coke. He was in the city for the couture shows and was wearing a Prada suit, Church’s shoes (Prada owns Church’s) — and a Swatch.

“I wouldn’t have thought of me necessarily either,” he said.

Yet on Friday, after seven months of staying relatively under the radar, Mr. Farneti will be the host of the biggest party of Milan Fashion Week, a 1,000-guest bash in the industrial space once used for Gucci’s shows. The former Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci is creative director of the event, called “The New Beginning” in celebration of, well, Mr. Farneti’s beginning, with Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” as the theme and performances by Sky Ferreira and Primal Scream, among others. It will be as close to an official coronation as fashion can have.

At a moment when a formative generation of glossy-magazine editors is moving on — Elle, Glamour and British Vogue have experienced turnover at the top this year — Mr. Farneti represents the beginning of the next wave. It’s possible the stakes around him are even higher, because his predecessor did not retire or get fired, she died. Most of the industry hadn’t even realized she was sick, and the news was a shock.

Little wonder certain questions have been accessorizing the story ever since: Who is this guy anyway? And what’s he going to do with that job?

For a start, Mr. Farneti said: “I am not Franca.”

Well, duh — except he is referring not just to the blindingly obvious, but also the fact that he is about as different from Ms. Sozzani as possible: He is a different gender, from a different generation and a different professional background and has a different mien. His experience is journalistic and legal, as opposed to visual or fashionable. The woman he is succeeding, practically a brand in herself, was described as a cross between a figure from Botticelli and one from Stendhal by the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy.

Mr. Farneti is most often described by those who know him or work with him as low-key, and occasionally as bourgeois.

With his wings of brown hair and square jaw, his fondness for leather loafers without socks, Mr. Farneti looks like nothing so much as a G-rated Hollywood version of an Italian. He tends to blend into the woodwork. At the couture shows, he sat quietly in the front row. No one really came to pay homage, as they did with other Vogue editors such as Anna Wintour and Emmanuelle Alt. Paparazzi did not take his picture with celebrities. In his room at the Costes, he had one bouquet of somewhat sere-looking flowers from Dior.

None of this bothers Mr. Farneti, who has two children ages 8 and 6; a wife who works for a digital marketing agency; an apartment near the Alberta Ferretti headquarters in Milan; and two getaways: a house in the Alps and one on the Italian coast near Portofino. Also, a 15-year-old black Suzuki he rides to work.

He does not mind being underestimated. That should not be confused with being insecure.

“I think there are lots of different ways to be an editor,” he said. “It can be useful to embody a magazine,” as Ms. Sozzani did, “but it’s not the only possible way.” Besides, it is his very un-Franca-ness that probably made him the best candidate for the job. As Jonathan Newhouse, the chief executive of Condé Nast International, said, “I don’t think it was possible to replace Franca with an exact duplicate, and we didn’t try to do so.”

Besides, it is clear that if there is one thing Mr. Farneti understands, it is engineering magazines. According to Mr. Newhouse, “He is a magazine ‘maker,’ which is someone who cannot only edit a publication but can conceive and create a title from scratch, which he has done in the past.”

Though he comes from a long line of respected Italian jurists and investigative reporters, and studied law at Milan University, Mr. Farneti started his career in television. He quickly moved into print as part of the team that founded Italian GQ, and from there went into sports journalism, covering soccer (his favorite team is Juventus) before becoming editor of the local version of Men’s Health. That led to a job with Panorama magazine, where he was in charge of supplements, including Flair, a woman’s style magazine.

In 2014 Condé Nast poached him to run the Italian edition of Architectural Digest, which he did for a year before returning to GQ, which he also did for a year. Vogue is the third magazine he has remade in as many years.

Still, when Condé Nast called on Jan. 2 to ask if he would be interested in the fashion publication, he said he never considered turning it down.

“For me, not having grown up in the fashion system makes it interesting,” Mr. Farneti said. “I have to take advantage of the fact I am not 24/7 in the fashion conversation.” Besides, he knows fashion people; he is close to Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, has what he calls a “decent” relationship with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, and has known Diego Della Valle, chief executive of Tod’s, since interning for him in San Diego in 1995.

But reinventing Vogue is a difficult task, even without the former editor lingering in most people’s memories. Glossy publications are in free-fall. Over the summer Italian Condé Nast announced that by the end of the year it was closing all the peripheral Vogues that Ms. Sozzani had run: L’Uomo Vogue (men’s), Vogue Bambini (children’s), Vogue Sposa (bridal) and Vogue Gioiello (jewelry). It was spun as a decision to focus on the core property, but widely interpreted as a sign that the business needed meaningful belt-tightening in the age of digital.

Mr. Farneti, however, said, “I believe in print.” One of his first decisions was to adopt a larger format page. Otherwise, he has moved slowly.“You don’t have to delete everything that came before,” he said. “That’s super arrogant.”

His relaunch cover for the July issue was a gesture of continuity: Shot by Steven Meisel, a photographer championed by Ms. Sozzani (he did all her covers until 2014), it had a vintage air.

When Ms. Sozzani took over Vogue in 1988, she inherited a decidedly parochial magazine with no real profile outside the country; her genius lay in understanding that to make Italian Vogue matter to anyone who was not Italian, she would have to communicate largely through photographs. She did so, and then added a dollop of activism on top, commissioning shoots that dealt with domestic abuse, plastic surgery and the BP Oil Spill. They were impossible to ignore, and her magazine soon became known as the most visually powerful of all Vogues. Though the magazine has a circulation of only 100,000, tiny compared to American Vogue’s approximately 1.2 million, Italian Vogue has an outsize influence: It is the kind of magazine that other magazine people buy.

Mr. Farneti understands this, but he has his own agenda. “The Apple people all say the worst thing they could have done over the last five years is try to think, ‘What would Steve have done?’ ” Mr. Farneti said, by way of explanation. His goal now is to make the magazine function as a platform to introduce Italian talent to the world.

“I want to put more Italian soul into the magazine, have it define this attitude toward life and beauty,” he said (despite this, one of his early moves was to name Luke Leitch, who is English, as an editor at large; he is not oblivious to the power of the accessible word). “I understand how hard it is for young talent in Italy to have a global impact.” Hence the September issue, which comes with a sticker on the front announcing “It’s All About Italy.”

“It’s a good idea,” said Stefano Tonchi, the Italian who is editor of W. “At this moment of globalization, if you want to make a dent you have to something unique and in a way local to offer the larger world.”

So far only two senior staff members have left the magazine, though Mr. Farneti’s management style has been an adjustment. “People were used to having Franca pick up the phone and solve their problems for them,” he said. He’s more into direct accountability.

For now, however, he has other pressing questions on his mind. Like what to wear to his party. “It’s a political decision,” he acknowledged, given the whole fashion world will be there, watching.

The solution: “a Zegna tuxedo.” Chosen because Ermenegildo Zegna is purely a men’s wear brand, which makes it neutral territory in the women’s wear (or sometimes women’s-plus-men’s wear) season. Plus, it’s classic Italian, of course.
source | nytimes

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