Deborah Needleman Puts Lee Radziwell on Her First Issue of T

The new T is here.
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Hayley Phelan
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The new T is here.
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The new T is here.

Ever since Deborah Needleman replaced Sally Singer, all we've been hearing is how different the glossy will be under Needleman's editorship.

The first issue, which hits newsstands February 17, certainly delivers on that front. In place of the Hollywood faces we've come to expect from T covers in past years (Jessica Chastain, George Clooney, etc), Needleman opted instead for New York socialite and sister to Jackie Onassis, Lee Radziwill.

According to WWD, Needleman actually came up with the idea to feature the press-shy socialite while she was still at WSJ. And she was a big get. Radziwill was reportedly in talks with other magazines like Vanity Fair and W but Needleman won her over when she offered her the cover (something which Vanity Fair and W, having to worry about newsstand sale, couldn't do). When Needleman left WSJ for T, Radziwell went with her.

“She just said, ‘I’m doing this story with you because I’m doing this story with you,’” Needleman said.

Radziwell was shot by Mario Sorrenti for the cover and the accompanying spread, and was interviewed by friend Sofia Coppola for a video that will go online. Needleman also managed to secure an interview with another notoriously press-shy subject, Azzedine Alaïa, for her first issue.

So what else can you expect from the new T? Needleman has introduced two new sections: A front-of-book style op-ed (the first one is penned by Suzy Menkes), and a “This and That” news digest. She did away with the Times' signature Gothic typeface and replaced it with a custom design by creative director Patrick Li and introduced a larger trim size and heavier paper stock.

Tonight, the Times will fete the new magazine at the Grand Central Oyster Bar--and despite having recently let 30 employees go, the publisher has much to celebrate. T's ad pages are up 23 percent, and most importantly, it's officially secured Needleman, who was also, according to WWD, being pursued by Hearst.