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DEPARTURES FETES 25: Departures is marking its 25th anniversary with a special issue with five separate covers: a men’s and a women’s fashion cover, two destination covers — one future, one present — and an airplane cover. Stories inside the issue include a feature celebrating the life of writer and conservationist Mark Shand, who traveled via canoe upriver in Papua New Guinea, an investigative piece by Mark Seal on Emirates airline and a story on the lunar habitation project, among others. The issue will be distributed to American Express platinum cardholders by the end of this week.
According to senior vice president Steven Deluca, the issue carries 189 advertising pages — or a 52 percent increase over last September — and had a 64 percent rise in revenue. Deluca, who has delivered four years of year-over-year ad page and revenue growth at the Time Inc. title, told WWD that part of his strategy is to focus on fashion and luxury advertisers. While that’s hardly groundbreaking, it’s somewhat new for Departures, and it appears to be working. In September, fashion pages grew 20 percent over last year, he offered. New advertisers in the issue include Brioni, Bloomingdale’s, Montblanc, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli and Jimmy Choo.
As for the covers, Tiffany & Co. sponsored them with four inside cover-facing ads.
One high-profile piece that didn’t get its own cover, but did get a mention on the women’s fashion one, is a feature by former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson on her recent first voyage to Greece. Editor in chief Richard David Story, who had been looking for a piece on Greece, fortuitously met Abramson at a dinner party shortly after she had been fired by the Times. The duo began chatting after Story noticed Abramson’s tattoo of a subway token on her shoulder.
“‘I love the tatt,’ I told her,” Story said, explaining that he hadn’t realized it was Abramson until she turned to face him. Story recounted her reply: “‘Do you know what it says?’ she asked. ‘Good for one fare only.’”
Tickled by that comment, Story soon learned that Abramson was about to embark on a trip with her sister — an annual occurrence — this time to Greece. He asked her to pen a feature on her experience, which he described as a “reported narrative” that has “guts and grit to it,” not a “turn left at the fountain, service-y” article.
It was Abramson’s first assignment since she was let go from the Times, he said, and it won’t be her last for Departures; her work will appear in the magazine’s October Miami-themed issue, in which she writes about her childhood stay at the Zahara Hotel there.
Aside from the print publication, Departures will celebrate its 25th year with the release of a 400-page book published by Assouline called “The World of Departures.” Available in October, the book, which includes a photograph portfolio of the magazine through the years, will retail for $75. Departures will also hold a philanthropy-themed dinner on Oct. 7 that it plans to continue on an annual basis. This year, the event will take place at the Park Hyatt in New York, and will honor five readers. The dinner for 200 guests will cost $1,000 a ticket. Proceeds will go to the charities of the five honorees.