It took the New York Times to say what’s been on a lot of people’s minds for a year: Vanity Fair, and its annual Oscar party, are “over.”
The Times says the Oscar party is no longer a “hot” ticket a year after Graydon Carter and his team left the magazine. New editor Radhika Jones and her staff, which took the reins last February, have proven to be deadly to the once glamorous gathering. Stars turn up for photo ops and leave. New parties have made incursions into the once fabled post Oscar night.
On top of that, Vanity Fair under Jones has fallen 14% in circulation from 2017 when Carter was still there, to last spring. Jones has made the magazine multi-cultural, which is great, but the spirit of the publication has simply died. No one reads it anymore, and the design of the interior pages look like an old issue of Businessweek.
From the Times: “Newsstand sales for Vanity Fair dropped 14 percent in the first six months of 2018, to an average of 101,834 copies per issue, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the most recent data available from the Alliance for Audited Media. Total subscriptions increased 2 percent, to 1.13 million, despite a decline in digital subscribers.”
Indeed, Vanity Fair’s online status has gone from hot to cold since Carter’s departure. For a little while the different websites like HWD and The Hive were very buzzy. But now they seem dated, with most stories not breaking news but doing follow-ups. (The exception is Gabriel Sherman.)
Carter, who was gifted in how he approached the magazine, was smart to get out when he did. Budgets have shrunk, Conde Nast is not the place it once was. Vanity Fair looks ugly, like it’s being put together on a shoestring to echo Carter’s magazine.
A lot of this seems have to do with Anna Wintour, a soulless presence at Vogue who now rules the roost. She apparently picked Jones, who was unknown at the time and remains so a year later, instead of a “star” editor so Wintour could make all the decisions.
The Times says she’s running the Oscar party like her own Met Ball which is not good news. The Met Ball has become a parody of itself. Now the Vanity Fair Oscar party has devolved into a similar chaos. This is sad to see happen. But I’m not surprised. The basic arrogance and hubris of the Vanity Fair team in the last year speaks volumes.