THAT TIME OF YEAR: A fresh New Year offers magazine executives, like anyone else, the opportunity to follow the advice of their own cover lines.
Teen Vogue editor in chief Amy Astley has promised to herself that she will “skip Us Weekly and The New York Post and read more books” (she even provided a reading list) and to “break my kids of their Disney Channel habit.” Meanwhile, Teen Vogue’s publisher Gina Sanders also has lofty literary aspirations: She hopes to reread “The Iliad” — but also to make a piecrust from scratch and learn to surf, presumably not at the same time.
And the dual job pressures of lavish entertaining and a fairly public life have magazine executives, like many others this time of year, griping about their waistlines. For the co-owner of a restaurant (the Waverly Inn) not known for its light fare, Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter is ambitious, resolving “less food, more exercise.” The magazine’s publisher, Edward Menicheschi, won’t be giving up on the truffled mac and cheese, though: He merely hopes to “cut back to four nights a week at the Waverly.” Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin is vowing “to kick my pork butt addiction and move on to healthier foods like eco-friendly farmed striped bass.” Cosmogirl editor in chief Susan Schulz plans to take up Pilates and cook dinner for her husband twice a month (“Hey, gotta start somewhere!” she said). Men’s Journal editor in chief Brad Wieners said he’s “vowed to do the workout we just published (40 is the new 30!).” Then there are those irritating people who are already fitness junkies, like Men’s Health publisher Jack Essig, who completed six triathlons this year. So what’s next? He hopes to attempt his first Half Ironman in 2008.
Some, however, have already given up. Said O at Home editor in chief Sarah Gray Miller, “I’ve collected enough unused gym memberships to realize that I never keep resolutions.” And Bon Appétit editor in chief Barbara Fairchild was also philosophical: “With my job, that same 15 pounds I always resolve to lose is with me for life.”
Asked for their resolutions, some magazine editors and publishers were unable to refrain from stock answers plugging their brand or surreptitiously pushing their business. But Departures’ editor in chief Richard Story won on sheer frankness. In the New Year, he said, he resolves to have “an ark full of ASMEs.”
— Irin Carmon
MORE PROOF, IF NEEDED, THAT BROOKLYN IS FASHIONABLE: Saying Vogue and Brooklyn in the same breath could once be called oxymoronic, but this is the new New York City, with the media class priced out of old mainstays and Brooklyn transformed. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Riverhead will today release “Brooklyn Was Mine,” a book edited by Vogue’s culture editor Valerie Steiker and senior editor Chris Knutsen, both Brooklyn residents. The book gathers essays on the borough from what Knutsen called “this incredible concentration of nationally celebrated authors who live in these five or six neighborhoods,” including Susan Choi, Jonathan Lethem and Katie Roiphe. Alexandra Styron’s essay on reading her father William’s “Sophie’s Choice” through its Brooklyn sites was excerpted in The New Yorker and helped spur a book deal for her memoirs.
Everyone, including the writers, contributed pro bono, and proceeds are going to Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. Knutsen is particularly active in the organization, which fights for the preservation of Brooklyn neighborhoods. He stressed, however, that it was not a purely activist book. “These are meant to be literary pieces that will live beyond the current battles,” he said. “We want the book to sit on the bookshelf and stay there as a lasting literary work.”
And while Anna Wintour may not join the Park Slope Food Co-op any time soon (though she is thanked in the book’s acknowledgements), Steiker said Brooklyn and high fashion are hardly strangers. “I was in Bendel’s a few months ago and they were having a One Girl Cookies extravaganza,” she said, referring to a Cobble Hill bakery. — I.C.
WANDERING LOVE: Just when tales of socialite romance ending in turmoil have started to become commonplace, Vanity Fair’s February issue profiles one of the longest fairy-tale unions running: the one between Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. Special correspondent Bob Colacello details the couple’s engagement, their upbringings and the Greek royal family’s struggles to return to Greece after they were dethroned and exiled in the late Sixties. The piece also tracks Marie-Chantal’s adventures in education before launching her eponymous children’s clothing line, which now has six freestanding stores and is launching an e-commerce site. The London-born social — who is the daughter of duty free billionaire Robert Miller and sister of Pia Getty and Alexandra von Furstenberg — worked in Andy Warhol’s studio as part of an independent study program at boarding school, spent time at St. Lawrence and New York Universities without finishing degrees at either school, and studied art history in Italy and traveled to Paris with an interest in horses before meeting her future husband and returning to NYU. “I was always on this unbelievable quest to go and do. My father worried, I’m sure, but I think he also felt that eventually something would come up. And it did. I met Pavlos,” she says in the article. A course surely not on the curriculum of any major institution. — Stephanie D. Smith