Visionaire&#8217s magazine in a Gap bag

YOUR BRAND HERE: This fall’s Visionaire is going the high-low route. After drawing from the currency of big-name designers in the past — in more than ways than one — creators Stephan Gan and Cecilia Dean are exporting cool this time...



YOUR BRAND HERE: This fall’s Visionaire is going the high-low route. After drawing from the currency of big-name designers in the past — in more than ways than one — creators Stephan Gan and Cecilia Dean are exporting cool this time around to new partner Gap. Visionaire 41, entitled “World,” will come wrapped this fall in its very own orange corduroy Gap bag, with the cover swaddled in the same fabric. In a neat trick of symbiosis, the bags might become more desirable than the magazine — they’ll be created specifically for the print run of that issue and won’t be sold in Gap stores.

“We’re trying to answer the question, ‘How can you also sometimes offer something exclusive and interesting?’ ” said Trey Laird, president and executive creative director of Laird + Partners, who is Gap’s advertising mastermind and, just as important, a friend of Gan. “We’re trying to come up with unique partnerships and projects that help us to be as targeted as we are broad.” Does that include more limited-edition lines are ahead? “I don’t know, maybe.”

This story first appeared in the May 30, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Visionaire 41 itself appears to have borrowed a conceit from Benetton’s Colors — an e-mail asking for photographs of recipients’ daily lives was broadcast to the ’Net and then passed around the globe months ago, netting Visionaire nearly 3,000 random submissions. Usual Visionaire suspects like David Sims, Karl Lagerfeld, Mario Testino and Craig McDean are on board. “I really like Colors,” said Dean, “but I think our take on this is the mix.” The mix of unknowns and the pros, say, or Visionaire and Gap, or the Cool and the Mass.

If that vision leaves your company feeling a little left out, there’s still time to slap your brand on what’s shaping up to be the poor man’s Visionaire. Imitation of Christ co-founder Matt Damhave is now aiming for a September launch of his delayed and ambitious “anti-magazine,” which will feature the likes of Matthew Barney and Damien Hirst, and which deliberately has no title, no bylines, no fashion and no ads — save one, the cover. The cost of that page will have to cover the printing costs of the magazine’s 4,000-or-so-copy print run, but that shouldn’t be more than $10,000 to $15,000, said Damhave. “I think that’s how much a full page in Dazed [&Confused] is,” he said, pointing to the British fashion magazine. “We’ve been thinking about finding a luxury brand, but Neville [Wakefield, the graphic designer who is his partner] and I have been bouncing around the idea of selling it to the highest bidder.” — Greg Lindsay

TIME (INC.) STILL A-CHANGIN’: The changes are coming fast at Teen People. Just weeks after managing editor Barbara O’Dair was bumped upstairs to work on online development, new managing editor Amy DuBois Barnett is already retooling the staff of the magazine and she’s again raided her former stomping ground, Honey, the women’s hip-hop magazine she edited until scoring the Time Inc. gig in April. Said to be coming on staff is Nina Malkin, contributing features editor of Honey, in a position that has not yet been determined. She is joining managing editor Dubois Barnett and fellow Honey alumnus, assistant managing editor Angela Burt Murray.

But O’Dair’s “right-hand guy,” deputy editor Michael Jennings, was let go this week — though a spokeswoman said it was simply a “structural change.” Matt Hendrickson, the magazine’s music editor, is out as well. He’s working on a freelance project at Rolling Stone and then moving to Missouri with his wife. Zena Burns from teenpeople.com is replacing Hendrickson as music editor. — Jacob Bernstein

TRYING TIMES: How should magazines best respond to changing tastes and lifestyles in the global market? Well, according to speakers at the 34th World Magazine Congress, which took place in Paris this week, it should be by targeting an older male reader, being more touchy-feely and astonishing and amazing. An older, more romantic Maxim, perhaps?

Gerard Ponson, publishing director of France’s Entrevue for men, said there is room these days for magazines targeting an older, hip demographic. He also suggested publications focusing “on a moment in life and not just on consumption.”

For Jean-Louise Serban Schreiber, director of French Psychologies magazine, more sensitive, ego-boosting titles are key. “People want to talk about themselves,” he explained. “They want the ability to change their lives and better their relationships [through what they read].”

Henri Giscard D’Estaing, chief executive officer of Club Mediterranee France, likened the mission of a magazine to that of a leisure activities company. He said both are to “seduce, astonish and create relationships with their clients,” whose interests are increasingly fickle.

And, when it comes to the Internet, market research firm IPSOS RSL’s ceo, Richard Silman, said there’s no fear cybermags will cannibalize traditional magazine readership. “People will discuss a magazine article, but they won’t discuss what they found on the ’Net,” he said. — Emilie Marsh

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