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WHO HAS JOINED W?: Three months after the departure of Jody Quon, W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi has hired a new creative director, Alex Gonzalez. Tonchi originally planned to shoulder the creative director’s responsibilities himself, but he since decided that it would be nice to have help. “I had to close before Christmas, and really I was here until the last day, the last hour,” Tonchi said. “Basically, I didn’t have one day off for months.”
“Now, I really want to understand and know better our readers, and I need to have time to do that,” he added. “I cannot be on the set of every shoot the way I’ve been so far.” Not that the magazine has struggled. Ad pages for W were up 13 percent for Tonchi’s first four issues, September through December, and they have been up a total of 6.5 percent from January through March 2011, according to a spokeswoman.
Tonchi met Gonzalez in the late Eighties when the latter was the creative director at L’Uomo Vogue. Years later in New York, they lived in identical apartments in the same building on West 12th Street. Gonzalez co-founded AR New York with Vogue creative consultant Raul Martinez in 1996 and has worked as a creative director on GQ, German Vogue and Manner Vogue. “I consider Condé Nast my alma mater,” he said. “I started essentially my publishing career there.” “We both have this international background and we look at W as an international brand,” said Tonchi.
Gonzalez said he was quite pleased with the existing staff at W and won’t be making any hires of his own. “My task will be to collaborate with all of those people and elevate the visual content to superior levels.” Gonzalez's exact start date is still being worked out but, he said, “I will hope to have a large imprint in the September issue.”