THE NEW GLAMOUR GIRLS
Byline: Lisa Lockwood
NEW YORK — Make it modern or play off tradition.
That’s the balancing act 34-year-old Cindi Leive expects to perform in her new role as editor in chief of Glamour.
Charged with the responsibility of bringing Glamour’s distinct voice back to the forefront, Leive isn’t taking any chances. For two of her most important hires, she’s recruited executives with more than 30 years’ experience apiece in the fashion and beauty industries.
As reported, Leive named Xanthipi Joannides — a top fashion editor under Ruth Whitney — as Glamour’s fashion director. A 28-year Glamour veteran, Joannides most recently was style director of Self. Felicia Milewicz, who had been beauty director of Mademoiselle for over 25 years, has joined Glamour as beauty director.
Leive also tapped Sasha Iglehart as market editor, who held that post at Harper’s Bazaar for the past 10 1/2 years. And Leive is bringing back Jill Herzig, a six-year Glamour veteran who at one time served as senior articles editor, naming her features director. Most recently, Herzig was special projects director at Self.
While Leive had her hand in the September and October issues, those were planned before she got there. November will be her official debut.
“We’re doing a redesign with November — new columns, new type treatments, a bunch of fresh ideas. My overall point is to make this magazine smart, modern, energetic, friendly and wildly usable,” said Leive. Two executives under former editor in chief Bonnie Fuller — Donald Robertson, creative director, and Henry Connell, art director — will direct the redesign, and Leive said they both plan to stay on indefinitely. Observers wonder whether there will be some friction, however, between Robertson, whose contract expires in December, and some of the returning old guard, whom he and Fuller fired. Others wonder whether he’ll flee once Fuller finds a new platform.
Leive said Joannides will work with photographers such as Wayne Maser, Arthur Elgort, Pamela Hanson and Myers Robertson, and stylists such as Sciascia Gambaccini.
Over the past three years, observers believed Glamour’s editorial focus had lost its point of distinction, becoming too similar to its arch rival, Cosmopolitan.
Leive, who most recently served as editor in chief of Self, had previously spent 11 years at Glamour, rising from senior writer to deputy editor. Trained under Whitney’s watchful eye, Leive believes that despite changeovers in editors, Glamour readers haven’t wavered in their loyalty to the magazine. In fact, she recently did a reader focus group and found strong connections to the magazine.
“They trust it absolutely — they were bending the pages to show the lipsticks they ordered out of the magazine, talking about taking health stories into their doctors’ offices. That’s what I used to hear five years ago in focus groups for Glamour, and this was like a flashback. Totally unchanged.”
Leive admitted: “I do think, obviously, that it’s a much more competitive newsstand jungle out there right now. Specialized publications, on whatever, golf, shopping, fitness are cropping up 10 an hour. But if you ask me, that makes the need for Glamour (a one-stop shopping buy that covers every single thing in a woman’s life) more pressing than ever. Women still want one magazine that covers it all. I know I do — personally I don’t have time to read 10.”
While some critics believed Glamour, under Fuller, had become too blatant in its sexual tone, especially with its screaming sexual coverlines such as “A Big Ohhh! Every Time, How to Have One This Time and Every Time,” Leive believes there’s a place for sex in the magazine, but striking the right tone is key.
“Relationships are part of my reader’s life. I think she’d be sorely disappointed to find Glamour clamming up on the subject. We will cover sex: sexual health, sexual relationships, all the sex questions our readers have. But tone is important — you have to be warm and friendly, not demeaning. And keep in mind that the average woman would probably like to read this magazine on the bus without a bag over her head.”
Leive also plans to feature both celebrities and models on the cover. “Celebrities are important, but I’m not afraid of using models. They’ve done excellently for Glamour in the past. I’m anticipating a mix.”
In terms of new columns and topics she’s passionate about, she said, “I’m planning to add substantially to our beauty coverage, which will be easy and fun with Felicia here leading that department. Beauty has always been a key part of Glamour’s DNA, and we’ll revitalize it….I’m also strengthening Glamour’s already-strong fashion identity, with photographers and stylists who can do energetic, inspiring, feminine, fresh work. I’m also adding to the magazine’s health, fitness and well-being pages, covering real-world news in some novel ways.”
Suzanne Grimes, vice president and publisher of Glamour, joined in April and has been busy putting together a new sales team and retail programs for the third and fourth quarters. The magazine — which according to Media Industry Newsletter, was off 15 percent in ad pages through July — has a lot of rebuilding to do. Grimes said the August issue is down 8.4 percent and she’s still closing September, which is running “better than what we were planning for the year, but is still behind.”
With softness in tobacco, Internet and automotive advertising, the third quarter was difficult and although it’s too early to tell, Grimes expects the advertising community to embrace Leive’s first [November] issue. She has put several retail programs in place to heighten Glamour’s awareness and increase advertiser sales during the fourth quarter.
Grimes defended Fuller’s Glamour, noting she accomplished what she was brought in to do, which was to add some sizzle to the magazine. During Fuller’s tenure, Glamour’s rate base rose by 100,000 to 2.1 million, while the price of the magazine increased to $3.50 from $2.95. “She [Fuller] was hired for those things, and did those things,” said Grimes. “The numbers bear it out.”
However, after an initial surge when Fuller took over, newsstand sales began to falter last year. All that spice apparently wasn’t working. For the six-month period ended Dec. 31, 2000, newsstand sales were off 10.9 percent, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations. Some observers pointed out that one of Glamour’s biggest problems in recent months was that it became a much more difficult sell because of the similarity to Cosmo, and Cosmo was less expensive.
“We don’t negotiate and you feel it [a weak economy] faster,” said Grimes. Cosmo ran 263 more pages than Glamour through July, according MIN.
Grimes acknowledged that the reader and ad community understood there was less distinction between Glamour and Cosmo lately. “Moving forward, we will make sure the magazine has a clear unique voice,” said Grimes. “That’s the mission.”