fashion-memopad
fashion-memopad

Memo Pad: Bigger and Bigger... Farewell, Adieu, Auf Wiedershehen...

Looks like most fashion magazine publishers can breathe a sigh of relief as 2007 comes to a close. Titles capped off a strong year as retail and apparel advertising helped lift revenues.

FAREWELL, ADIEU, AUF WIEDERSEHEN: The abruptness of magazine deaths can leave little time for goodbyes, but former House & Garden editor in chief Dominique Browning did get to say farewell a day after the title closed — on its Web site. (The site will officially die in about a month, to honor advertiser agreements, said a spokeswoman for Condé Nast, which also owns WWD.) "Our magazine showed beautiful rooms, perfect in their design, and what I wanted to talk about was how things aren't always perfect in those rooms," Browning wrote on the site. "We wish and hope that we can make homes in which we can let in only the good, and keep the bad out. Well, we couldn't keep the bad out this time around."

Using her editor's letter to write narrative columns, she wrote, began as "almost a political statement: All my friends were so surprised that I was going to 'a magazine like House & Garden...' with all the implications that it was somehow beneath me, coming as I did from a journalistic background with Newsweek, Texas Monthly, Esquire."

Just over a week after Browning wrote her farewell, about 60 readers had posted, at the magazine's invitation, their own goodbyes. "In a very real sense, I am in mourning," wrote one. Several addressed Browning personally: "My dear Dominique, can it be that we won't be having our monthly chat any longer? I feel like a wise friend of exceptional value is leaving town." Many indicated they were far older than the typical bulletin board poster.

There were harsh words for House & Garden's competitors: Architectural Digest is, in the words of one poster, the "conceited big sister." One seemed keenly attuned to prevailing publishing industry rumors: "I can't help but surmise that this decision has been made to give room for Vogue Living, which strikes me as sad and untimely and terribly unfortunate."

The poster who wrote, "You were eaten by your younger sibling Domino — which has nothing smart to read but lots of glossy catalogue-style photo layouts," might be dismayed to find that clicking on the subscription tab on the House & Garden Web site bounces a user directly to Domino's. The spokeswoman said several magazines, including Domino, would split the House & Garden subscription list, but said a final decision on which ones has not yet been made. — Irin Carmon
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