NEW YORK — Deborah Moses feels right at home in the bridal world.

Over the years, she has created ad campaigns for Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mischka and Reem Acra and now serves as editor in chief and creative director of Elegant Bride, a quarterly magazine published by Pace Communications Inc., a large specialty publisher of custom magazines and in-flight publications.

The magazine, which bowed as Southern Bride in 1988, changed its name to Elegant Bride in 1990, but over the last few years, the title was squeezed by behemoths Brides, Modern Bride and newcomers like Martha Stewart Weddings and In Style Weddings.

This past summer, Elegant Bride hired Moses to revamp the magazine, both creatively and editorially, and moved its editorial and creative offices from Greensboro, N.C., to New York. Moses took over for longtime editor in chief Linda Stansbury, who left the publication. The results are evident with the spring 2002 issue that hits newsstands the first week of January.

“The issue for Elegant Bride is that we were losing market share and our position in the market. We forgot who our customer was and we stopped, and thanks to Deborah Moses and her staff, the thrust is back up,” said J. Daniel Brock, publisher of Elegant Bride.

The spring issue carries 155 ad pages, down from 162 a year ago. However, revenues are up 8 percent, according to Brock, who noted that while the number of ad pages is down, the number of advertisers is up.

Elegant Bride is being repositioned not only in a tough economy, but in a crowded marketplace. In 2001, for example, Brides carried 3,854.1 ad pages, while Modern Bride logged in 3,196.1 ad pages, according to Media Industry Newsletter. In contrast, Elegant Bride carried 428.8 pages in 2001 (down from 542.2 pages the prior year.) Martha Stewart Living, which publishes Weddings four times a year, doesn’t break out its Weddings ad pages, but a spokeswoman noted the Weddings issues were up 5 percent in ad pages from a year ago.

Moses’ mandate was to bring the elegance back to the title, and to that end, she hired new photographers, columnists and contributors. Moses continues to head her own agency, Moses Media, and has a journalism background.
“There’s such a stigma to bridal,” admits Moses, who said it’s often difficult to get the top models to pose for bridal magazines and campaigns. However, based on her relationships with photographers and what she’s done with upscale bridal campaigns, she was able to secure good models for the issue.

The cover, shot by Ruven Afanador, features Jennifer Coleman, a new face for Ralph Lauren. Unlike most magazines on the newsstand, Elegant Bride is being relaunched with only one cover line: “Unveiled.”
Afanador also shot the inside fashion portfolio. Throughout the fashion pages, brides are shown in gowns by such designers as Carolina Herrera, Alberta Ferretti and Versace Couture. A jewelry portfolio highlights diamond earrings and bracelets from luxury jewelers such as Louis Glick, Fred Leighton and Cartier and was photographed by Torkil Gudnason and styled by Juli Alvarez.

Among the magazine’s contributors are Carolyne Roehm, whose new book, “At Home With Carolyne Roehm,” is excerpted in the issue; Jean Chatsky, who writes a column about merging finances; Sylvia Weinstock, who created wedding cakes to resemble wedding gowns, and Frank Andrews, who pens an astrological forecast. There’s even an illustrated page by Moses’ sister, the designer Rebecca Moses.

The magazine, which has a rate base of 145,000, includes a section of real brides, who talk about how they’re planning their own weddings; an interview with Vera Wang about one’s personal wedding style; a talk with party planner Mindy Weiss about how to get what one wants from wedding professionals; interviews with Dr. Patricia Wexler and Sylvia Weinstock, on skin care and wedding cakes, respectively, and the essential wedding budget checklist.
With this magazine, Moses said she hopes to raise the bar when it comes to the bridal sector. “We wanted to create a rarefied atmosphere for a girl who happens to be getting married, opposed to a ‘bride,”‘ she said.

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