Memo Pad: Getting Back In Style

For the last year, the top brass at Time Inc. sought to reinvigorate In Style Magazine.

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The tone of the copy (stories and cover lines include “What Price Beauty?” and “Style Rules We Love to Break”) signal an updated, if somewhat cheekier In Style. “The redesign has been successful in reinforcing the luxury aspect of In Style, at the same time bringing practical service to the reader,” said Martha Nelson, who oversees In Style as editor of The People Group. Spreads include enlarged pictures of clothes, products and celebrities big enough for any farsighted reader to see the details. And those fashion credits should be rolling right along: New front of book and shopping sections dedicate more pages to products, and its beauty pages have been expanded to include more goods. 

Another sign that In Style wants to position itself among fashion’s biggest trendsetters — the magazine and two of its editors will be featured this fall in WB’s “Gossip Girl,” the show that’s touted as the next “Sex and the City” in terms of its impact on fashion and trends. The script hasn’t been written yet, so there’s no word on whether it’ll be Hal or Cynthia or whomever dishing with Serena, Blair and the “Girls” about the mercurial world of fashion.

Ingredients integral to the DNA of the magazine — red-carpet photographs, party pages and celebrities at home — have not been discarded, but repackaged. Photos and red-carpet candids include more editor and celebrity commentary.

The changes come at a point of momentum for the magazine, which will report to the Audit Bureau of Circulations an increase in circulation for the first half of 2008, a feat few magazines can claim as of late. Single copy sales increased 4 percent, to 752,000 per month while total paid circulation increased 2 percent to 1.82 million. Comparatively, In Style moved 865,000 copies a month on newsstands in 2005 and had a paid circulation of 1.79 million.

In Style is also launching an edition in China, with Ziyi Zhang on the cover.

Advertising, however, is on the decline, as is business within most of the magazine industry. Through August In Style has lost 202 pages, or 11 percent, of advertising. Its European fashion and accessories advertising is still strong, but financial services, pharmaceutical and fragrance have scaled back. September also will finish smaller than last year, according to estimates. But at least one advertiser believed In Style’s new look, especially the approach towards showcasing product, might be more appealing to advertisers. “It’s very modern, which I think In Style needed,” said Mimma Viglezio, Gucci executive vice president, global communications. “The whole thing looked more appealing.
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