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TONCHI’S FIRST CHANGES: W magazine’s longtime creative director, Dennis Freedman, is leaving, marking the first major exit of the new Stefano Tonchi era at the title. Freedman, who had been at the magazine for nearly two decades, confirmed his departure Wednesday. “I have had the most extraordinary experience working with some of the most talented and brilliant photographers, artists and editors in the world, and these collaborations have brought me unbelievable joy and satisfaction,” Freedman told WWD. “For me, this has been one of the greatest opportunities I could ever hope for.”
During his tenure, Freedman made W’s photography one of the standouts in fashion publishing, often pushing artistic boundaries. He attracted such major names as Bruce Weber, Steven Klein, Paolo Roversi, Craig McDean and Juergen Teller to shoot extensive and varied portfolios for the magazine. Under his creative direction, W was regularly nominated for National Magazine Awards, most often for photography. The title received three nods this year.
In related news, it looks like Camilla Nickerson is headed back to Vogue. The stylist, who had been senior contributing fashion editor at W, is said to be leaving the magazine to again work for Anna Wintour as a contributing editor. Reached by phone, Nickerson said she couldn’t comment, and Vogue had no comment, either. Before making the jump to W in 2005, Nickerson was an editor at Vogue, in various roles, for more than a decade.
— Nick Axelrod
WORLD TRAVELER: Looking to indulge your jet-setting fantasies? Now there’s an app for that — from Condé Nast Traveler, which today is launching its first iPhone application, the browse-and-book Gold List App. Based on the magazine’s annual Gold List issue, the free application allows users to explore the year’s top luxury properties as chosen by Traveler readers (600-plus hotels, resorts and cruise lines), with added photos and reviews. There are several ways to use the app — users can “spin” a globe and navigate to the Gold List properties in a specific region, or they can use a “Near Me” tag to find those properties closest to their physical location. Users also can build a custom dream trip, searching by categories such as service, food, activities, location, room, or specific interest. And for those who find themselves particularly inspired by a hotel’s photos or fantasy itinerary, the app offers users the option to instantly book rooms or vacations directly with properties. “We are giving readers an enhanced and transactional experience,” said Chris Mitchell, the magazine’s vice president and publisher. The app — sponsored by Microsoft search engine Bing — will be promoted in the May issue of Traveler.
A BIGGER WEB: Following the recent relaunches of bridal Web site Aisledash and KitchenDaily, a food destination, AOL is rounding out its “clean up and refresh” mode with Shelterpop, a site devoted to home design and gardening. Diane Davis, former lifestyles editor for the Associated Press, will oversee Shelterpop, and Allison Mezzafonte, formerly of Glamour and Country Living, is senior editor. Colleen Curtis, editorial director of AOL women’s and lifestyle programming, said advertisers are responding to the site, with GMC and Ikea serving as partners.
While many shelter titles are facing fewer editorial pages to work with, Curtis said Shelterpop will be updated daily. “We have almost all original content,” said Curtis, who noted that previously, the site posted content from companies such as Condé Nast and Hearst. “We’ve become much more nimble in our programming. And we spend a lot where we need to, like on original video.”
In addition to these relaunched sites, AOL has fashion site StyleList, with 4.9 million unique visitors a month, according to February 2010 comScore Media Metrix data. Teen site Lemondrop had 2.9 million unique visitors during the same month and Slashfood had 2.7 million uniques. Curtis now will focus on developing sites in new categories for AOL, but she declined to provide more information.
— Amy Wicks