VOGUE CONVERGENCE: At least two Vogue editors in chief — besides Anna Wintour — glided through New York last week. Carine Roitfeld, editor of French Vogue, was in town for a shoot with David Sims. And Angelica Cheung, editor of the forthcoming Vogue China, was also here taking meetings with New York-based stylists and photographers. Both editors were staying at the Mercer Hotel, though their schedules did not allow them to see each other. Roitfeld, who recently styled Vogue China’s first cover shoot with photographer Patrick Demarchelier as a favor, did at least call Cheung to say hello.
Though Vogue China’s September issue is now on track to hit newsstands in August, Conde Nast International and its partner China Pictorial have stalled several times during the development of the magazine. The first snag was the time it took to obtain a permit from China’s General Administration for Press and Publication. Then there were problems with the initial editorial team. Cheung, who was previously the editor of Chinese Elle, is the second editor assigned to the project. She started several months ago and has already assembled a staff of 16, done two dummies and started principal photography for the first issue, all of which has met with approval from her superiors at Conde Nast.
“We have invested heavily in research for Vogue China, and we have tested various different approaches. We are now confident that we have the strongest fashion and beauty magazine in the market,” Albert Read of Conde Nast International said via e-mail. Cheung, sporting a Wintour-esque bob, added, “The timing is good. The other magazines [Elle, Marie Claire] came along earlier and helped educate the market. Now it has become more sophisticated. It’s exciting. We’re bringing the world’s biggest fashion magazine to the world’s biggest market.”
Vogue, French Vogue, Vogue China and Conde Nast are, like WWD, part of Advance Publications Inc.
— Sara James
MEASURE FOR MEASURE: Does reading fashion magazines make you poorer? You might get that impression from the latest wave of independent audience research. The spring 2005 survey by Mediamark Research, one of the main tools used by ad agencies in constructing media plans, showed drops in median household income (known as HHI) for readers of Vogue, W, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire, Jane and Vanity Fair. Most of the declines were relatively small, but some were substantial. Jane’s HHI, at $56,800, was down nearly $18,500, or 25 percent, from its spring 2004 level. Vanity Fair’s, at $68,900, fell by $7,900 and Allure’s dropped $5,600, to $65,000. (All three titles are part of Advance Publications Inc., parent of WWD.) Allure publisher Nancy Berger said the magazine’s own subscriber studies have been more consistent from year to year, yielding an HHI of $67,000. “I think the fluctuations are just an inherent flaw of syndicated research,” she added.
Neil Ascher, executive vice president of direct communication services at the media agency Zenith, agreed that some variability was to be expected, but noted, “If I saw a $10,000 drop, I’m sure I would want to talk to the publisher and find out what their explanation is.”
Another title that posted a big decrease was Us Weekly. Its HHI fell $11,700, or 15 percent, to $66,200. Rival Star’s HHI also fell slightly, by 1.7 percent to $45,200, but there was some good news: Its median reader got 4.2 years younger, averaging 37.4. (On Friday, WWD incorrectly reported Star’s median age as 41.6, which was the figure for 2004.)
— Jeff Bercovici
HOW TO BE KIMORA: Kimora Lee Simmons is finishing a nonfiction service book for publisher Judith Regan. The project was conceived as a how-to tome, although Simmons isn’t saying yet what exactly she plans to teach her readers to do. How to marry a rap mogul? How to shock and awe a Vanity Fair editor into giving you an 8,000-word profile? In any case, Simmons’ book is scheduled to arrive in stores next spring.
— S. J.