Today Condé Nast announced that T editor Stefano Tonchi will be the new editor of W magazine. He starts quite soon, on April 12, and told the Times he just began talks with Condé last week. He wasn’t overly specific about his plans for W, calling them “very open,” but changes are afoot. He wants to make the magazine more accessible and “probably … more of a general-interest style magazine, and less of a fashion-obsessed publication.” He called W’s current approach “very specific.”
And indeed it is. With humble beginnings as the society-focused spinoff of WWD, the magazine has a circulation of 450,000, and its best assets are the fashion spreads. Who could forget the awkward yet fascinating images of a nude manty-clad Bruce Willis with his new young wife? Or the 46-page editorial Steven Klein shot of Madonna and Jesus Luz, along with a few other hot young things?
Tonchi called the move “a new challenge” with “a company whose priority is publishing magazines, versus, you know, a company whose priority is publishing a newspaper.” He doesn’t know if he’ll take T editors and writers along with him to W, because it’s still somewhat unclear who will continue to work at W now that, after splitting from Fairchild Fashion Group, it no longer shares staff with WWD.
But even though it will go down in history as the magazine that brought Madonna and Jesus Luz together at last, W could use a little freshening up. Ad pages were nearly halved from 2008 to 2009, making it one of Condé Nast’s hardest-hit magazines.