RED ALERT: Time Inc. has Real Simple; Hearst has Oprah. Now Hachette Filipacchi Media is making its own grab at the market share being freed up by the decline of the traditional women’s service books. Beginning April 19, Hachette will test the first issue of the U.S. edition of Red, a magazine aimed at women ages 25 to 49. Alex Postman, Elle’s executive editor, will oversee the issue, marshaling contributions from her own staff and the staff of Red U.K. (The six-year-old title, above, has a circulation of 196,000 in Britain.) The 140-page issue will have a print run of 300,000 copies, distributed in the top 10 markets.

Meanwhile, Elle is moving ahead with a line of newsstand-only spinoffs that will include issues devoted to accessories, runway fashions and possibly other topics. The first, Elle Accessories, will appear in September, with a distribution of 400,000. Carol Smith, publishing director for the Elle Group, said Hachette views the newsstand specials as a development that could lead to future full-scale launches. — Jeff Bercovici

HOLIDAY CHEER LEADERS: You can tell a lot about a media company by the way its staff celebrates the holidays. Some are nostalgic. Allure staffers will dress in black and gold, listen to Abba and eat KFC chicken and caviar at a party at The Slipper Room, while Glamour’s group will karaoke at Parkside Lounge and Cargo will hold an open mic during its lunch at Lure Fish Bar.

Some are slapdash: “We’re currently now looking for an office in which to have the party, since we don’t actually have one of our own,” said Gawker Media’s editorial director Choire Sicha.

Others are predictable: Guitar World is holding a staff jam session at the Cutting Room. Martha Stewart Living will celebrate with a tree-trimming party — staffers will decorate trees being donated to charity and Stewart is expected to relay holiday greetings from prison, according to a spokeswoman. Teen Vogue has a hall crawl planned, with margaritas and chips from Manhattan Chili Company. Wenner Media’s annual bash will be at Irving Plaza on Dec. 15, though Jann Wenner’s band won’t perform this year — there’s a surprise musical guest instead. And the Gourmet edit staff will nibble on heavy hors d’oeuvres at editor in chief Ruth Reichl’s apartment, where one of the magazine’s test kitchen chefs is preparing porcini-rubbed lamb chops with red-wine glaze and wine-poached figs with sweetened crème fraîche and orange zest. (Interestingly, only the gougère recipe is from the new 1,040-page Gourmet cookbook.)Still others are surprisingly homespun: In Style’s edit team will be having their second annual Holiday Bake-Off this year, with the staff’s submissions judged in categories ranging from Indie Spirit (most unusual) to Guilty Pleasure (best tasting).

Finally, some choose just to ignore the holiday completely: Vanity Fair’s party is still being planned and will be held sometime in January. — Sara James

NICHE ADDS MASS: Ubiquity, thy name is Jason Binn. The Niche Media publisher and inveterate scene-ster is taking his shtick to two new markets in 2005. Commonwealth, serving well-to-do Bostonians, and Capitol, aimed at denizens of Washington, D.C., will launch sometime in the first half of the year, Binn said. A third title, Golden Gate, targeting the San Francisco Bay area, will follow at a later date. The launches mark a significant expansion of Niche Media, which employs 140 people and reportedly has revenues of $40 million. Perhaps not coincidentally, they come at a time when Niche Media’s main rival, Chicago-based Modern Luxury Media, is promising rapid growth of its own with the aid of $50 million in new backing from Roy Disney.

Niche Media’s existing titles include Gotham, L.A. Confidential, Ocean Drive, Hamptons and Aspen Peak. The new magazines will operate on a similar model, with controlled circulations of 70,000 each and an emphasis on luxury, celebrity and high society. With his presence on both coasts firmly established, Binn hinted that Chicago could be the next target in his sights. “I’ve been moving at a very consistent, strong pace now for over 12 years,” he said. “There are many more great markets out there.” — J.B.

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