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Catching Up With Teen Vogue's Amy Astley

At a party toasting the magazine’s 10th anniversary, the editor in chief chats about the magazine's bestselling One Direction cover and Anna Wintour's new role.

NEW DIRECTION: One Direction has hordes of tween fans across the world. But they also have a powerful ally in the halls of Condé Nast: Anna Wintour. Last November, Amy Astley, Teen Vogue’s editor in chief, put all five members of 1-D, as they’re called, on the cover. There were Harry Styles and Zayn Malik and the others. Wintour, who is the magazine’s editorial director, “loved the idea,” said Astley. “She was into it. She thought they looked great. They’re young.”

Who knew that Wintour was clued in to music habits of the youngest demographics? “She’s just modern,” Astley said of Wintour. She is one of Wintour’s protégés, a beauty associate at big Vogue who rose to beauty director and was handpicked by the mother ship to launch Teen Vogue in 2003. From someone who’s had her as an editorial director for a decade, what can the rest of the troops expect now that Wintour is Condé’s new artistic director? “She’s been a real mentor, and I think other editors will find that she can help them, too,” Astley said. “She says what she thinks directly to your face and she’s incisive. Those are all things that may be helpful, especially to editors who are unsure. She will always zero in on the best picture or the superfluous spread in a story.”

Astley was at Chelsea’s Willow Road Wednesday for a party toasting the magazine’s 10th anniversary, and Condé brass — chief executive officer Charles Townsend, president Bob Sauerberg — as well as a number of teen celebs, like Abigail Breslin, turned out in support. Its publisher, Jason Wagenheim, who was moved from Glamour to Teen Vogue in 2011, is seen as a rising star. On the strength of some marquee events, like Back-to-School Saturdays, the magazine’s doing well — its March issue had 30 percent more ad pages than last year’s, and 2012 ended up about 3 percent, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Of course, it helps that the teen category has dwindled, with more brands surviving as pure digital plays. “It’s really Teen Vogue and Seventeen now,” Astley said. On the newsstand, it’s also doing well. That One Direction cover last year? “It was our bestseller,” Astley said.