Today, we had the pleasure of spending lunch at an exclusive preview of the new W magazine lead by Stefano Tonchi. Tonchi walked us through a slideshow of the September issue and even sat down with us at the end for an intimate Q & A.
Also lots of fun was sitting at Lynn Hirschberg’s table, who, in between bites of salmon and sips of iced tea, discussed the aftermath of her infamous M.I.A. article, being an Emmy nominee and how much she liked the upcoming film “Social Network.” We felt super lucky to get to listen to such smart, likable people as Stefano and Lynn, whose obvious passion for W lead us to be very optimistic about the magazine’s future. A breakdown of the session:
What’s new about the new W?
Lot’s of things! Dimensionally, the magazine is still huge (thank goodness), making ad campaigns and editorials all the more fun to look at. However, the logo is different–most noticably, it’s italicized. And there is a tagline: “Who, What, When, Where and Why In The World of Style.” Fittingly, most of those words start with the letter “W,” but more importantly, the phrase is indicative of the direction Stefano has taken with the magazine.
The vibe we got from Tonchi’s spiel was that fashion is and always will be the central focus of W, but the new W aims to go beyond clothing by telling the story of the interesting people, places and things that are fashionable in their ability to change the way we live and think. More literally, the magazine itself is organized into the five sections Who, What, When, Where and Why. New online editor Christina Caldwell is also revamping the website to incorporate W‘s five “W’”s. Wmagazine.com will also feature Lynn’s “Screen Tests,” which got nominated for three Emmys over at T.
The Cover Story
From her input throughout the discussion, it sounded like Lynn Hirschberg had a lot if not everything to do with the cover story. The three rotating covers feature eight up-and-coming American actresses including Emma Roberts, Zoe Kravitz, Jennifer Lawrence and YaYa DaCosta, who has a small role in The Kids Are Alright and is probably the first ANTM contestant ever to cover a major fashion mag. The story is mostly about 20-year-old Lawrence, who Hirschberg believes will be nominated for an academy award for her role in Winter’s Bone. Nineteen-year-old Emma Roberts is all grown up, photographed in nothing but a black bra and tells W, “I’ve never done a full-on sex scene…but we’ll see.” Hirschberg commented, “You’ve seen her before, but you’ve never seen her like that.”
Lynn explained that she liked the feeling of movement created by the three-cover format and that the group was chosen because they are all young, genuinely talented American actresses who are (hopefully–Hirschberg was admittedly a little worried about Kravitz after seeing Twelve) headed in a similarly smart, bold directions and avoiding what she called the “Chacecrawfordization” of most young American actors. Interpret that as you will.
Other Cool Stuff
There are lots of other amazing features to be found in the new issue, including…
- “Prematurely Plastic,” a story on premature plastic surgery
- “Tisci’s Tribe,” an in-depth profile on Givenchy’s artistic director and his muses
- “The East Enders,” A photo series and accompanying story about awesomely stylish kids from London’s East End, which Tonchi said he thinks of as “fashion without credit”
- A stunning 2-page close-up of model Lindsay Wixson’s lips
- “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” an Ed Hopper – inspired fashion story shot in Red Hook, Brooklyn
- More stunning fashion editorials with Lara Stone and Georgia May Jagger
-”Louise’s Last Year,” a somewhat haunting series of the last unpublished photos ever taken of the late artist Louise Bourgeois.
According to Tonchi, he has barely begun incorporating all the new things he wants to do with W and the next issue will have “a lot of surprises.” On W‘s talked-about September issue documentary film, he said, “It’s not really about the September issue at all.” It will be more about the whole process of revamping and creating a magazine and they are still working on it.
Our verdict: We like the new W. A lot. And literally more than half of the magazine is advertisements–which are annoying to flip through but also a hopeful sign regarding the health of the mag. We’re hoping this is just a September issue thing and can’t wait to see what other stories W has to tell us about the world of style.