Can A Ladymag Shuffle Actually Save A Ladymag?

Illustration for article titled Can A Ladymag Shuffle Actually Save A Ladymag?

Lucky was once called the successor of Sassy, and now it's being taken over by the former editor of Jane, which was the official successor to Sassy. Will you read? (Or... will you flip through and use those little stickers?)


These are strange times in the magazine industry — if Tim Gunn is right about Conde Nast needing to stock up on straitjackets, it's because editors are being swapped out so fast that no one can figure out where to put them for fashion week.


Yesterday, longtime Lucky editor Kim France was replaced by Yahoo Shine editor Brandon Holley, who'd previously worked at parent company Conde Nast editing Jane. That didn't work out — among the many reasons Jane folded was the fact that the company seemed to be throwing up its hands and giving up on the idea that young readers were going to come through. (And, you know, have the money to buy shit. The same logic seemed to go for Domino, may it rest in peace.)

In those days, I covered magazines for Women's Wear Daily, owned by the same company and in the same building as Jane, and Brandon made a point of being an anti-prima donna, at least when I saw her. (Including apologizing for getting her hair done while I talked to her in her office, to which she copped to when she later ambivalently extolled the blogger life in The New York Times.)

This was Holley and her publisher's idea about what Jane would be without Jane Pratt, I reported then: it would be "newly relevant to a zeitgeist change among twentysomethings from, in the words of its marketing materials, 'antiestablishment/angry/slackers' to 'pretty/fun/optimistic.'" Pretty, fun, optimistic, and not hostile to Jessica Simpson, that is. Still, Brandon ended up writing in a editor's letter, "I can now say beyond any doubt that you want us to feature fewer Hollywood bimbos and more intelligent, independent women."

Holley tried to keep the same spirit at Shine, whose mission statement proclaimed,

We women are presently experiencing something very cool happening in our culture and Shine intends on being a part of it. We no longer need to stand by passively as the media portrays us as fashion-obsessed diet victims. With the internet as our megaphone, we can now portray ourselves as funny, opinionated women who are in charge of our incomes, careers, families and happiness.


So what about Lucky? And what does a baldly materialistic shopping magazine have to do with the long-worshipped Sassy? Well, Marisa Meltzer and Kara Jesella wrote in their book that Lucky, edited by Sassy alum France, was the true heir to it because it has ""a positive approach to the female figure ... and a joyful, girlfriend-y approach to shopping."

Whether or not you buy that, it's clear that Holley is on board to be more than a girlfriend — she wants your online eyeballs. According to WWD, "Lucky's ad pages fell 26.8 percent last year versus 2008, and are down 1.4 percent through this month, according to Media Industry Newsletter. It was the only fashion title tracked by WWD to register an ad page decline this month." Holley's job will be to "build a digital presence" and create apps. We'll see what life is left in all this yet.


Lucky Editor Is Replaced [NYT]
Brandon Holley Named Lucky Editor In Chief [WWD]

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When it comes down to it, I don't want a magazine about shopping. I want a magazine with pretty and interesting clothes and make-up and interesting articles and maybe the occasional celeb profile, because, hey, I like celeb gossip. Sue me. "Lucky" has never been that for me. I live far enough away from San Francisco (1 hour), that I am not gonna spend my weekends jaunting about through Hayes Valley looking for J Brand cargo pants. (Who called those the pants of the summer? So unflattering!)

I keenly miss "Jane", but I disliked the sort of breathless, "Jane, you saved my life..." letters to the editor, much like what you find in "Nylon." Maybe, just maybe Holley, can build a good hybrid that is grown-up, and sophisticated, but also fun and interesting. Fingers crossed, because for now, I am tired of the society pages that pass for "Vogue" and "Elle's" celeb worship.