FADE TO BLACK: The war in Iraq and the still weakened magazine economy has claimed another casualty. On Monday, Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines, informed the staff at shelter magazine Victoria that the title would be folding.

According to sources, the magazine will release its May issue as planned, while the June issue will be its farewell issue. The magazine is the first title in the Hearst empire to fold since Talk went silent in January 2002.

This story first appeared in the April 8, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But if Talk’s folding had been expected, the demise of Victoria was something of a surprise.

“The magazine had been fine in terms of circulation,” a source said, “but the company was disappointed with the ad revenue on the title and didn’t think its long-term prospects were good.”

Indeed, while circulation at the title had grown to almost one million, ad pages had dropped 10 percent to just 106 through April (roughly 30 a month), hardly good numbers for a shelter title selling in the era of Real Simple, which has been the publishing industry’s fastest launch in the last few years.

Victoria employed about 30 people. A spokeswoman for the magazine said the company will attempt to find jobs for some staff at other titles. — Jacob Bernstein

CARTER LENDS SOME CACHET: Chintz and cottage gardens might be out at Hearst, but yet another brand-name editor has signed up to work in the neo-shelter category. Betsy Carter has joined Cachet, one of last fall’s ballyhooed (and then missing-in-action) lifestyle startups. Let’s hope she stays longer than her predecessors, consultants Susan Wyland (creator of Real Simple) and Suzanne Slesin (the last editor of Homestyle).

Carter arrives from her most recent gig at the AARP, which closed her magazine My Generation last summer. At Cachet, she’ll get help from Jennifer Gilman and Melisa Coburn, her new creative director and executive editor respectively, both of whom came with her from My Generation.

Hopefully their full-time presence will lend some stability to the magazine, which finally published its first regular issue as a newspaper insert on March 7, after planning to launch last October. Cachet is designed to be distributed in newspapers serving wealthy suburbs like Long Island’s Gold Coast (Newsday, in fact, is the flagship partner) and the first issue reached more than 1 million households, according to founder and president Peter Hagen. The second issue (Carter’s first) will land in driveways May 9.

“I think how shelter is being covered is changing,” said Carter. “They still want to nest, but they’re starting to look out the window, too. Maybe since 9/11 that since of community is somewhat different.” As for her waves of competitors, “some will still be out there in five years, and some won’t; that’s just the cycling of it.” — Greg Lindsay.

SWAP: When David Granger left GQ for the top slot at Esquire, he took Scott Omelianuk with him and installed him as his number two. Now GQ has returned the favor. Jim Nelson, the newly installed editor in chief of GQ, raided Esquire last week and plucked senior editor Andy Ward, who will be coming on as the magazine’s senior articles editor April 16. At Esquire, Ward was responsible for editing David Sedaris, Russell Banks, Jeanne Marie Laskas and Scott Raab, among others, and had been articles editor since March 1999. It is not known yet who from his stable of writers will be coming to GQ with him. — J.B.

GAN’S PLAN: Stephen Gan is thinking of starting a biannual men’s version of V for Dior Homme obsessed fashionistas everywhere. Just don’t ask him when it’s starting. “I am thinking of starting a men’s publication,” he said by phone late last week, “I’m sure that it will happen but I can’t say how or when yet. Right now, it’s just something I’m thinking about.” — J.B.

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