Vanity Fair is cutting the number of issues it releases, from 12 to 10 a year. They’ve just sent out news of their first first ever summer issue, covering June and July. I’m told the same will happen for December and January.
The cut back to 10 instead of 12 issues a year comes as the glossy also has sustained more layoffs this month, firing six more staffers from the editorial department after 15 were let go in February.
On top of that, for the third month in a row the cover of the magazine is quite odd. The wonderful Emilia Clarke of “Game of Thrones” and “Solo” is featured, but the photo is not particularly attractive and the layout is less so. It’s so utterly different from a Vanity Fair shoot that we’ve come to know and love, you must wonder what in the world is going on. Are they trying to kill themselves?
Additionally, the cover is not by Annie Leibovitz, the famed Vanity Fair photographer for 25 years, but by Craig McDean. There’s nothing wrong with using new photographers, of course. But McDean’s picture of Clarke follows the cover photo two issues ago of Lena Waithe (the intervening cover was a stock pick up of the Royals). It’s spare and realistic, a departure from VF’s three decades.
Ironically, both the Waite and Clarke photos are reminiscent of the pre-Tina Brown Vanity Fair, which had black and white covers that were stark. That iteration of VF nearly went out of business.
Vanity Fair has also introduced a pay wall, so it’s impossible to read the articles on line now unless you pony up. It’s only 10 bucks for the first year. I’ve just paid it. Who knows if there will be a second year!
It’s fair to say we are in a new world of austerity for glossy magazines– smaller staffs, fewer issues a year, slimmer books. It’s the reason Graydon Carter left, and it’s going to be why Anna Wintour exits soon from Vogue.
Decades of excess combined with the internet killing off new generations of readers of the physical product have done them in. All the town cars waiting around on Madison and 43rd are now Ubers circling a fake World Trade Center. And in one week, Philip Roth and Tom Wolfe are dead.