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CHANGEOVER: Deborah Needleman’s first issue of T: The New York Times Style magazine won’t be out until February, but she’s slowly remaking the masthead so that come next year, it will be unrecognizable from Sally Singer’s.
Her first hires were all poached from her old stomping grounds at The Wall Street Journal — Whitney Vargas was installed as deputy editor, Patrick Li as creative director and Nadia Vellam as photo director.
But her newest hire is well-known stylist Joe McKenna, a veteran of W and Vogue, who’s well poised to give Needleman the credibility and access she lacks into the fashion world.
McKenna is T’s new fashion director at large, and will work on several spreads a year. Though he lives in London, Needleman said he’ll be heavily involved in shaping the magazine’s fashion stories. He’ll be especially helpful as Needleman prepares her inaugural issue, which will be dedicated to women’s fashion. The rest of Needleman’s team consists of features director Maura Egan, who is joining from W and worked at T under Stefano Tonchi, and entertainment director Lauren Tabach-Bank, who was at Interview.
With her new hires, the team that Singer had organized has mostly been displaced — entertainment director Jacob Brown and photo director Andrew Gold are both gone; David Sebbah, a longtime Times veteran, is also out, and Jeffries Blackerby, Singer’s deputy editor, is staying on although in a different role.
“I felt like I’m remaking this magazine and I needed my own team,” Needleman said.