When we saw the news in yesterday’s WWD, we were stunned. And with details scarce, we weren’t quite sure what to make of it. But Brandon Holley, a former editor of the now-shuttered (and much loved!) Jane magazine, has replaced Kim France as editor in chief of Lucky magazine. But why?
Conde Nast editorial director Tom Wallace played coy in WWD. “This is a decision we came to together. Kim France created a brand and not many people in this business can say that. Condé Nast owes her a lot.”
No offense, but that doesn’t sound particularly mutual.
Holley, it should be noted, has spent the last few years — since Jane’s sad passing — at Yahoo! Shine, which she compares to MIT. “You have all these crazy, brainy geeks,” she told The Observer.
While Lucky has spent a long portion of its 10 year reign being lauded by the industry — and loved by consumers — the New York Times points out that the magazine has suffered a recent decline in ad pages.
In the most recent statistics from the Publishers Information Bureau, advertising pages in Lucky were down 7.3 percent from April to June, compared with the same months in 2009; many other magazines directed at female readers recovered.
Lucky, at its best, is every other fashion magazine laid bare. Stripped of pretense, the point of reading Lucky is to shop, to purchase, and to consume — which, despite what Vogue or Elle may want you to think, is their singular goal as well. (Fashion’s Night Out, anyone?)
As the Times also points out, Conde Nast has been relatively cutthroat of late. The publishing house hasn’t given magazines much wiggle room, shuttering four titles last year, including the much mourned Gourmet. The hiring of Holley doesn’t bode well for Lucky.
“When Jane shut I was talking to some magazines, but every time I went in, I got a stomachache,” she told WWD. “I don’t think I’m going back to a magazine company…. I’m going to build a digital presence.”
Which sounds like Lucky’s print days are numbered. Lucky launched in 2000, so it’s certainly no stranger to the digital age, but online shopping and e-commerce have grown exponentially, and for a magazine dedicated to shopping, a monthly publication schedule doesn’t make as much sense when there’s instant gratification to be had on the web.
As for France’s departure, she only had one thing to say: “I am exceptionally grateful to Condé Nast and Si Newhouse for what has been a tremendous opportunity, and something I will remember with only fondness.”
What do you think of the change? Do you still read Lucky? Do you think it makes more sense as an online-only publication?