By  on January 28, 1994

NEW YORK -- Real Beauty, a new magazine published by The New York Times Magazine Group, wants a piece of the beauty action.

The magazine, which some observers have dubbed a "midwestern Allure," was tested last summer, and its second issue hits newsstands March 29. It will publish again in June and September, and will accelerate to six times in 1995, said Sally Koslow, editor in chief.

Koslow fired a broadside at her key competitor -- Conde Nast's Allure -- noting that Real Beauty will be "very reality-based." Real Beauty's readers, she said, don't necessarily know how to pronounce the names of Frederic Fekkai and Isaac Mizrahi -- two names likely to populate the pages of Allure.

Meanwhile, Allure's editor in chief, Linda Wells, said she was none too happy when she saw the first issue of Real Beauty last summer. "It's an homage to Allure. I was amazed. It was a knock-off. It was as if they took a fake Xerox of what we did, but didn't get it."

The beauty category, while a growing one, is hotly contested among the fashion and beauty magazines. Advertising revenues in the toiletries and cosmetics category grew 10.4 percent in 1993 to $809,871,862, according to Publishers Information Bureau.

"It was a really strong category in 1993, number two overall, and the indications are good for 1994," said a PIB spokeswoman. "One of the things that's driving the category is aging boomers and skin care products."

Editorially, however, the field is crowded with fashion magazines that devote about 10 percent to beauty coverage, and Allure, which is dedicated to beauty.

"It's very competitive in terms of beauty coverage. But there's room for competition," said Marion Aaron, publisher of Real Beauty. "Allure paved the way."

According to Aaron, Real Beauty is pursuing advertisers such as Revlon, L'Oreal, Oil of Olay and Elizabeth Arden. "I don't think there's lots of money [available]," she said. "There are a lot of mass vehicles that a lot of big advertisers will go in -- the Revlons and the L'Oreals. A lot of them are committed for the first half, but they don't plan for a whole year like they used to. There are opportunities for somebody new on the block."

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