JAY DANDY: So much for the naysayers who didn’t think dapper fashion advice for men would play in Boise. Men’s Vogue’s debut issue, which was on newsstands for three months last fall, sold 200,000 copies, according to publishers’ best estimates, and sell-through was close to 50 percent in red states like Iowa. In urban and sophisticated suburban markets such as Connecticut, it reached as high as 65 percent.
A spokesman for the magazine said the enthusiastic response wasn’t limited to the U.S. “In Japan, there was such demand that wholesalers demanded more copies than we were able to supply,” he said. “We had a sell-through of 50 percent in Italy and France, which is better than many established magazines.”
The second issue, on newsstands now, has 208 pages and features Tiger Woods on the cover. It is the biggest follow-up issue in Condé Nast history. (Condé Nast Publications also owns WWD.) Outside the company, only O magazine’s second issue had more pages in recent years.
Men’s Vogue editor in chief Jay Fielden said of the numbers, “It almost feels like fiction. To go from being the biggest premiere in Condé Nast history to the biggest follow-up is just outstanding.” And, sounding cocky, he added, “Now it’s just, what record can we break with the third one?” Of the magazine’s apparent resonance in Middle America, Fielden said, “To know we pushed into the middle of the country is very gratifying. I think we dispelled a lot of preconceptions about the men’s market.”
Fielden said Men’s Vogue’s current interview with Woods was the first the golfer has granted to a men’s, nonsports magazine in nearly a decade. “We’re going to try and defy expectations that there are only a certain rotating group of cover subjects,” he said, adding he might even eventually consider a woman for the cover. “I don’t think it’s anything that could happen anytime soon — I wouldn’t want there to be any confusion. But there will have to be certain surprising combinations we come up with.”
As for the one new woman in his life, his daughter, Eliza, born Jan. 27, Fielden, who also has a son, said, “Girls are kinder than boys, at least that’s the way it’s gone so far. There’s much more sleep. I have even more evidence that woman are superior to men.”
Tonight, he’ll get less sleep than usual as Men’s Vogue hosts a party at the Bergdorf Goodman men’s store to celebrate the second issue, and the publication of photographer Guido Mocafico’s new limited-edition book “Venenum.”
Fielden’s next priority will be staffing up for fall, when the magazine goes bimonthly. Ten issues are planned in 2007, when he’ll have to go head-to-head with the bigger boys Esquire, GQ, Details and Best Life.
— Sara James
STUDENT STYLE: Call it Project Hallway. On Wednesday, Cosmogirl will inaugurate a new, annual design competition for graduating seniors at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The winner — to be selected in November by a jury whose members will include Lisa Smilor, associate director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Francisco Costa, creative director of Calvin Klein’s women’s collection, and Karen Smith Harvey, senior vice president of fashion forecasting and trend direction at Macy’s — will receive a $10,000 grant from Macy’s and be showcased in the magazine’s December/January “Born to Lead” issue.
Kristine Welker, Cosmogirl’s publisher, said the idea for the design search came out of the magazine’s polling, which showed the most common career ambition among its audience is to work in fashion. “What we love about this is it interests our younger readers who are thinking about fashion as a career, but we also wanted to do something for our girls who are graduating into the real world,” she said. The visibility of a certain Heidi Klum-hosted reality show gave the idea an added boost, she added: “When you look at pop culture, you can’t deny the success of things like ‘Project Runway.’”
To be included in the search, students must be nominated by their professors. Only those working in the areas of sportswear, tailoring, current scene and knitwear are eligible. That’s in keeping with the magazine’s “runway to hallway” fashion ethos, said Welker. “We didn’t want to do couture — that’s just not what our audience is going to be interested in.” Another blow to the ultimate fashion art.
— Jeff Bercovici