AD PAGE GAUGE: It’s that time of year again, when fashion publishers line ’em up to see whose is bigger. September issues, that is. As of Friday, Vogue still hadn’t closed, but the rest of the major fashion, beauty and teen magazines were ready to go public with their final ad page tallies, or, at least, with estimates. Nine of the 14 titles will publish bigger issues this September than last, with the biggest gains coming at Teen Vogue, Ellegirl and Glamour. Year to date through September, only one title — Marie Claire — is off more than a few pages from last year; its 2005 running total of 944 represents a 7.4 percent decline. Elle, Ellegirl, Glamour and Teen Vogue are all running more than 100 pages ahead of last year’s pace. (Full details in chart at right.)
SPIES LIKE US: A gaggle of Condé Nast employees couldn’t help staring Wednesday morning when two suspicious-looking young women wearing black trenchcoats and fedoras boarded an elevator in the lobby of 4 Times Square. The onlookers’ curiosity turned to mild alarm when, just before the women exited at the 14th floor (home to Cargo and Condé Nast Traveler), one of them, who was carrying a bulky plastic briefcase and wearing plastic goggles, activated what appeared to be a tiny camera partly hidden under the brim of her hat. Once the doors had closed, the speculation began. Were the women infiltrators hired by Hearst to steal the secret formula of the men’s shopping magazine? Amish teens on rumspringa, celebrating their freedom with gadgets and magazine internships? A TV crew shooting a “Yentl”-themed reality show?
As it turned out, they were representatives from Wild Planet, a San Francisco-based company that makes science toys for kids. They were there to pitch products for possible inclusion in Traveler’s holiday gift guide. The women, Robin and Kim, were dressed as secret agents to promote Spy Gear, a line of toys that includes the Micro Periscope, Spy Safe Cracker and XP-5 Spy Wallet. “The one they were probably mistaking for the camera was the Spy Night Patrol Listener,” said Kim, reached that afternoon. “That is a device for seeing in the dark, with a microphone above the right ear that amplifies sound.”
Robin and Kim are used to the confusion their outfits sometimes generate. On the day of the London bombings, they were in Washington, where people assumed they were with the government. But they don’t mind, said Kim. “We get into the whole spy role-play thing.”