It's go big or go home in the world of fashion magazines in September, since the month is one of the most critical for fashion and luxury advertisers. For some titles this year, the words "biggest issue ever" will be smacked on covers and marketing packets as ad pages swelled for their big fall fashion statements. Other magazines, however, struggled in September, some posting double-digit declines. According to Publishers Information Bureau, paging in the retail category grew 5.6 percent in the first half of the year, though ad pages in the apparel and accessories category fell 2.4 percent.

At Conde Nast, where its annual Fashion Rocks issue helps bolster ad pages in September for many titles, Vogue is the magazine that has the most to brag about. Not only is this September's issue the biggest Vogue in history, it's the biggest magazine in terms of total pages of any monthly magazine ever printed, according to the title's own research. Vogue posted a 16.2 percent gain to 727 ad pages, and likely some of that dough will go toward postage costs to ship the phone book-size magazine. Year to date, the title surpassed rival In Style in ad pages, reporting 2,297. In Style's ad pages have declined 6.8 percent so far this year, to 2,216.

In other record-breaking news, Men's Health, Elle, W and Harper's Bazaar will all publish their biggest issues ever. For Men's Health, the September issue will be the biggest issue Rodale Inc. has ever printed in the company's history. Its September issue grew 7.1 percent, to 155 pages, and while fashion is a major growth category, consumer electronics, financial and pharmaceutical boosted Men's Health. Glamour's September issue is its biggest issue in 20 years, carrying 286 ad pages.

Harper's Bazaar posted a 16 percent gain for September, to 360 pages, but gains for the Hearst titles do not include paging from the company's own fashion outsert, 30 Days of Fashion. This is Hearst's second year of mailing out the special issue to subscribers with September editions for eight of its titles. This year's edition will swell to 68 total pages, compared with last year's 36 pages.

Of the titles that struggled this September, Cosmopolitan posted a 9 percent decline in ad pages, to 191. The drop, according to senior vice president/publishing director Donna Lagani, came in part because this year's issue carried fewer inserts than last year's. Shopping monthly Lucky also faltered in September, posting a 7.7 percent dip in ad pages.Maxim, which has been in a state of flux throughout 2007 as the company prepped for a sale, lost 7 percent of ad paging in September, to 102 pages. "That's all from one word — automotive," explained Rob Gregory, Maxim's group publisher. The teen titles also posted losses for their September issues — Teen Vogue posted a 10.3 percent dip in pages, to 244, because it carried fewer pages this year from Fashion Rocks. Seventeen also reported a 10.4 percent dip in ad pages, to 119. (Cosmogirl did not have its ad page numbers ready at press time.)

Here, the September issues and year-to-date performances for the major men's, women's and teen titles. Numbers are based on publisher's best estimates.


Ad Pages, As Of September
SEPT 07
%CHANGE
YEAR-TO-DATE
%CHANGE
Allure
209.3
12.3
1225.0
13.0
Cosmopolitan
191.0
-9.0
1359.0
4.0
Elle
398.0
8.4
1734.0
10.0
Essence
136.9
0.6
1004.1
-0.1
Glamour
285.5
3.7
1443.0
13.5
Harper's Bazaar
360.0
16.0
1316.1
14.0
In Style
396.4
4.9
2216.2
-6.8
Lucky
279.3
-7.7
1289.0
1.0
Marie Claire
168.0
-1.8
974.0
5.8
Self
157.0
2.6
970.0
7.0
Vanity Fair
349.8
5.0
1466.0
15.9
Vogue
727.0
16.2
2296.6
7.4
W
477.0
22.0
1540.0
12.0
Women's Health
83.4
54.5
454.9
49.1
 
 
 
 
 
Seventeen
118.7
-10.4
671.2
-8.5
Teen Vogue
243.6
-10.3
853.7
-5.0
 
 
 
 
 
Best Life
93.7
46.6
369.1
44.2
Details
258.8
1.6
860.8
6.3
Esquire
154.5
2.1
725.0
-6.1
GQ
331.0
3.4
1171.0
2.4
Maxim
102.0
-7.0
609.0
-9.0
Men's Health
155.4
7.1
791.6
17.2
Men's Journal
118.2
22.4
831.1
16.5
Men's Vogue
179.6
9.8
470.5
72.7
Stuff
65.1
-8.0
456.9
-4.0

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