Departures is getting a redesign under new editor in chief Jeffries Blackerby, who moved over to succeed Richard Story at the luxury title from what is now Meredith‘s sister travel publication Travel + Leisure in May.
“The strategy was to really clean it up, pare it back a lot. I just feel like the look and feel of a luxury magazine right now — we were not totally in step with that. I wanted to make a calmer experience in print, but still very visual with big images that shine,” Blackerby explained.
He was inspired by “more niche fashion magazines,” especially European ones such as Document Journal and Fantastic Man.
The redesign includes more white space, color panels and new section names that clearly reflect the topics. “I’ve worked at so many magazines where clever section names come and go, and they don’t actually register with readers,” Blackerby said. “So we call travel ‘Travel,’ and we call culture ‘Culture.'”
The redesign kicked off with the March/April fashion issue, which will be sent to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardmembers this week. Stories include features on men’s wear, fine jewelry shot atop unexpected everyday items such as cartons of eggs, and a look at the rise of eco-friendly, lab-grown luxury like diamonds and leather.
“Even though we are general interest luxury and our content mix isn’t fundamentally changing, I wanted to make sure we cover women’s fashion like a ‘core’ fashion title would, with a strong point of view of who our woman is. It can be a pitfall of lifestyle brands to depict what I’d call the ornamental woman, who exists outside the trends and cycles of fashion and whose main function is to help create sort of fantasy images. She’s in a ballgown on a mountaintop, or a sleek lonely figure by a pool,” Blackerby added. “Not that we’ll never shoot a model by a pool, but my goal is to reflect through our shoots, market and trend coverage our audience’s sophisticated understanding of fashion — how she really wants to look, shop and feel.”