NEW AT HEARST: Hearst Corp., has tapped four executives to its board: George R. Hearst 3rd, publisher of the Albany Times Union; Richard P. Malloch, president of Hearst Business Media and senior vice president of Hearst; Scott M. Sassa, president of Hearst entertainment and syndication and senior vice president of Hearst, and Steven Swartz, president of Hearst newspapers and senior vice president of Hearst. With these elections, there are now 20 members of the board. — Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the October 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
TATLER’S BRITANNIA: Tatler is marking three centuries in publishing with a bumper anniversary issue due out this week that celebrates its British pedigree — complete with Queen Elizabeth II as cover girl. The November issue is also Catherine Ostler’s first major showcase since she took the helm of the Condé Nast International title earlier this year. The issue, with its triple gatefold cover, is Tatler’s biggest ever, with 408 pages, 224-and-a-half of which are ads from companies including Tiffany, Versace, Gucci, Paul Smith, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik. Ostler said she wanted to spotlight Tatler’s role of recording “an alternative history” of England, and delivering the news “not of the battlefields, but of contemporary manners and style.”
“It was the very first edition of Tatler that got me — it was so exciting,” said Ostler, referring to the newspaper dated April 12, 1709. “There were no pictures — and it was filled with gossip, opinion and wit. [Jonathan] Swift was the first contributor! It was distributed in the coffee houses of St. James’s, and readers were addicted to it. This is how a title keeps going,” she said.
In the upcoming issue, Ostler has attempted to marry the charm of the old days with the vim of contemporary Britain. Stories include how Princess Diana saved Tatler, penned by former editor Tina Brown, and features on the Guinness family, Annabel Goldsmith and London’s mayor, Boris Johnson. There’s a shoot featuring the British meritocracy, including Sam Taylor-Wood, Tamara Mellon, Vivien Duffield and Vera Lynn, another featuring 12 English dukes, shot at the 18th-century St. James’s institution Wiltons, and another still showcasing past “It” girls Tamara Beckwith and Victoria Hervey. One fashion shoot pays tribute to great moments in world history in Tatler’s founding year, with Union Jack-themed designs by Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney and Jasper Conran.
The vintage image of the queen in profile — her only official portrait from the side — is given Union Jack, Pop Art and Eighties-glam treatments.
Although Tatler’s first official ABC figures under Ostler’s regime won’t be out until the spring, a Condé Nast spokeswoman said U.K. newsstand sales were up 5 percent year-on-year for the editor’s first two issues, in June and July.
Not surprisingly, following the shift from previous editor Geordie Greig’s hands-off editing style to Ostler’s hands-on one, there have been growing pains, with some staff reported to be less than happy. Vassi Chamberlain, a Tatler veteran and formerly its editor at large, left to pursue a freelance career, although she is still writing for the title. Ostler acknowledges her approach is different from her predecessor’s, and that “not everyone likes change.” However, she said, “I’m proud of the staff. They’ve shown themselves to be adaptable — and willing,” she said. — Samantha Conti