Cond矎ast’s Grand ambitions for the luxury market

Having been thwarted in its ambitions to buy style bible Pop, Cond矎ast UK has instead poached its iconic editor-in-chief Katie Grand.

lohanHaving been thwarted in its ambitions to buy style bible Pop, Condé Nast UK has instead poached its iconic editor-in-chief Katie Grand.

Condé Nast, under managing director Nicholas Coleridge, has on several occassions tried to buy Pop, launched by Dazed & Confused’s Katie Grand in 2000, but rival Bauer Media put paid to its ambitions after acquiring EMAP’s consumer magazine business late last year.

Now, it hopes to replicate the success of Pop, which was launched as a biannual and now publishes three times a year, by appointing Grand for a new launch early next year. The new magazine will publish twice a year with the first issue in March, and go up against the likes of i-D, Pop and 10.

As one fashion industry source says/ “Who better to create a rival magazine to Pop than Pop’s former editor-in-chief?” Grand was part of the launch team in 1992 for trend magazine Dazed & Confused. She left in 1999, for EMAP’s The Facemagazine and the promise of launching a new title.

Pop was founded in 2000 as a spin-off from The Face, which finally closed in 2004 after enduring a steady decline in its circulation.

While Condé Nast faces the challenge of launching into a new market, and one notoriously hard to be credible in, insiders question what will become of Bauer’s Pop magazine once its innovative founder leaves. Bauer, which publishes several celebrity weeklies, but is not known for its glossy titles, will be reeling from the loss of not only Grand, but her editorial team.

Yet Bauer remains positive about Pop’s future. David Davies, managing director of Bauer’s women’s magazines division, says Pop will not suffer from losing its founder. Davies says that when EMAP hired Katie Grand, it “pretty much started the women’s biannual marketplace”, and it “remains to be seen what Condé Nast can offer”.

Others have questioned why it has taken Condé Nast, whose glossy titles include Vogue, Tatler and Glamour, so long to launch a niche fashion title, when it already attracts the kind of premium advertisers that such titles rely on.

Craving for luxury 

Despite the ad spend in such magazines accounting for only a crumb of the overall magazine market, designer brands arethose most likely to advertise in magazines such as Pop and its rivals.

And luxury advertisers are most likely to maintain or increase their spend, despite an expected downturn in advertisingrevenue.

Arena BLM press manager GabrielleRossetti says: “There is definitely room for growth in the luxury market. Although there is a credit crunch, the craving for luxury is still there.” She adds that Condé Nast’sconsiderable resource behind the brandwill help.

But another source questions Condé Nast’s lack of experience in the niche. He says: “It should be quite interesting, as Condé Nast isn’t usually associated with the experimental titles that Katie Grand is known for.”

New direction 

Coleridge admits that the sector is a new departure for the publisher. However, he adds: “Condé Nast has a long tradition of working with top photographers and stylists, and we think the combination of Katie Grand and her team, and the Condé Nast infrastructure, should produce something exciting, interesting and new in the sector.”

The magazine will launch in a “bespoke” size, enforcing its credentials as an “edgier” title that does things differently. An industry source says it could be “even bigger” than Pop’s size, itself slightly larger than most monthlies. He adds that most other experimental fashion magazines, such as 10 and V – at almost A1 size – are larger than the average monthly.

The source adds: “It’s an opportunity for Condé Nast to really broaden its portfolio. There is a new class of fashion magazines emerging and a new generation of readers eager to read them. Condé Nast is wise to tap into this market.”

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