Surface magazine’s September issue reveals a new approach to its fashion coverage.
The New York-based design magazine has forgone its glossy fashion editorials, which previously ran 30 pages in each issue, for fashion coverage that will be integrated throughout in a way that links fashion to design, according to editor in chief Spencer Bailey. The changes, he said, expand on the best of what Surface does as a design magazine — namely, in-depth profiles and behind-the-scenes coverage.
New columns include Detail (looking at weaving or print on garments and textiles), Taste (in which a thought leader, like September’s Mary Katrantzou, shares a personal obsession), How It’s Made (replacing the annual issue of the same name, to launch later this fall), Executive (a Q&A with an executive on the convergence of business and creativity) and Dialogue (a conversation between two creatives, to launch later this fall).
The idea, he said, is that fashion is connected to design and shouldn’t be a separate conversation. “To us, the traditional fashion credit isn’t what it used to be,” Bailey said. “Anyone can go online and see a million beautiful images already.” Fashion spreads were one-third of Surface’s editorial budget. “Now we’re taking that and putting it toward beautiful behind-the-scenes photography and solid reporting.”
LVMH director and executive vice president Delphine Arnault, daughter of Bernard Arnault, appears on the cover of the September issue, photographed at the Louis Vuitton Fondation by Jean-François Robert and interviewed by Bailey at Louis Vuitton’s Paris headquarters. For the occasion, which will be Arnault’s first magazine cover, fashion illustrator Donald Robertson painted a cover based on the portrait (1,000 copies of which will be produced and sold through concept shop Story, in addition to the magazine’s website).
Some of the changes have been gradual since the magazine’s redesign two years ago, including updates to the Surface masthead. In July, Surface brought on associate fashion editor Courtney Kenefick, formerly at Travel + Leisure. (She replaces Justin Min, who left in June.) Other new hires include senior editor Charles Curkin and associate travel editor, Nate Storey.
“I look at Surface as a start-up, even though we’re a 23-year-old media company,” said Bailey, who became editor in chief in January and has been at the magazine since 2010. “It is a known magazine, but it needed a refresh and that’s what we gave it two years ago, and we’ve seen an increase in luxury advertising and design advertising.”
Advertisers in the Sept. 2015 issue include Max Mara, Hermès, Calvin Klein Collection, Chanel and Hugo Boss. The magazine has a circulation of 100,000 and a readership of 450,000.
Other features in the September issue include profiles on Phillip Lim, Rick Owens and Erdem Moralıoğlu, as well as looks at Fendi’s new Rome headquarters and Vacheron Constantin’s new headquarters near Geneva.
Although Surface has covered fashion since its launch in 1993, Bailey sees this as an exciting moment of growth. “We’re covering this moment when design with a capital ‘D’ is coming into the mainstream conversation — you’re seeing it enter all these different realms, and fashion happens to be one of them,” Bailey said. “We’d have the same interview with Yves Behar as we would with Karl Lagerfeld.”