NEXT UP: More changes afoot at Glamour. Donald Robertson, the magazine’s famed art director, will be taking a role in corporate development, working on new projects including the men’s version of Lucky and several other ideas being considered by Condé Nast editorial director James Truman. He will be replaced by Holland Utley, who is coming on board as design director, a new position. Utley had worked for the company in various positions at Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Women’s Sports and Fitness.
Robertson’s move is not seen as a demotion, but it comes at a time when Glamour’s recent newsstand sales have been less than gratifying; Robertson had been the magazine’s coverline king.
This story first appeared in the April 4, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The move does speak to the question of what Glamour wants to be,” said a source close to Robertson, “and the covers are not selling well. And that lack of clarity did make it challenging.”
Although ad pages have been up at the title, the final six months of 2002 saw the magazine’s newsstand sales take a drop of 7.6 percent. The numbers were particularly disheartening in November and December, which both sold under 800,000, sources said. January sold somewhat better at around 1 million, but still below the 1.1 million Glamour normally sells. Part of that stems from the difficulty of booking celebrities for covers, although some observers said that in the last few years it has been hard to tell Glamour apart from Cosmopolitan — except that Cosmo reaches a lot more eyes.
But a Condé Nast spokeswoman said that the move was completely unrelated to the magazine’s newsstand record, and added that the magazine was tracking up for the first quarter. “It was just a win-win situation,” she said.
Meanwhile, the magazine is bringing in Caroline Campion as its senior articles editor. Campion comes from GQ, where she was a senior editor; celebrity trainer Gunnar Petereson is joining as a contributing editor covering fitness, and David France, most recently an editor at Newsweek, is coming to Glamour as a senior contributing editor. It is a return tour for him: He worked at Glamour as a national affairs editor under former editor Ruth Whitney. Jill Herzig, Glamour’s features director, is being promoted to executive editor.
— Jacob Bernstein
EJECTOR SEAT: Managing editor Martin Beiser is the first to go in the new world of James Nelson’s GQ. One insider said it was Nelson’s call, but Beiser says otherwise. “It was not Jim Nelson’s decision. It was decided by [Condé Nast’s editorial director] James Truman. I think they want to make a clean sweep at the top of the masthead.” His departure is more or less effective immediately, although a GQ spokeswoman said his replacement was not waiting in the wings. Beiser spent 18 years at the magazine, and along the way edited some of the magazine’s star writers, including Alan Richman, Joe Queenan, Peter Mayle and Michael Kelly.
— G. L.
DETAILS! THAT’S THE TICKET!: When Gear founder Bob Guccione Jr. decided to bring his magazine to a screeching halt this week, it wasn’t because his magazine had too little in common with Maxim to survive, but too little in common with Details. “I think there will definitely be more men on the cover” when the magazine is slated to relaunch in September, he said. “We’re going to do the same thing Details did — retrench and see if the new version better evokes what we’re trying to do.” The size might be similar, too; Guccione is thinking of lowering its rate base to 400,000 from 500,000.
He freely admitted that Gear had been a bit of a mess lately — he returned $500,000 worth of advertising after recent issues arrived outrageously late on newsstands, and the magazine’s fashion coverage kept shrinking because “I think that we had lost the plot. We’d do shoots, and I’d say, ‘This is mediocre.’ And we’d cut pages from 18 to 12 to 10.”
In the meantime, he’s plotting world domination. Reached on his cell in a cab, he said he was on his way to a meeting to raise money to “expand the company, start foreign editions, and ultimately buy more magazines.” Um, first things first.
Meanwhile, his former staff (Gear laid off 15 of its 23 full-timers) is moving on. Writer and former executive editor Aaron Hicklin has upgraded to editor in chief at Black Book, where he hopes to elevate it above the downtown style-bible rat race. “There’s a jaded cynicism to those magazines that appalls me,” he said, without naming names. “I would rather stimulate readers that are excited about the world around them” with long-form journalism mixed in among the pretty pictures.
Another alum, Gear’s launch editor Jack Wright, will be waiting for Guccione’s new Gear in September with the first issue of JAQK (which stands for Jack, Ace, Queen, King.) Using gambling as a metaphor for life, JAQK is a men’s book aimed at the same early Thirties, post-lad book reader as Details, Gear, and everybody else, it seems. — G.L.
LV J.LO?: Most campaigns are shot within weeks of the collections, so when word spread that the Louis Vuitton campaign had yet to be photographed, people began to wonder why. As it turns out, sources said the company has approached Jennifer Lopez about being its face for fall. No word on whether she’s said yes, but it is said to have gotten as far as discussions. A Louis Vuitton spokeswoman declined comment. — J.B.