How The September Fashion Issues Fared

The ad sales and newsstand success of a September issue is so important to a fashion magazine’s bottom line that media watchers and the fashion press were breathlessly reporting who would be featured on the covers of the big fashion issues back in July.

Last week the Audit Circulations Rapid Report announced which fashion magazines scored well in single copy sales; the results were reported by Women’s Wear Daily Memo Pad.

Harper’s Bazaar, featuring a Mark Seliger photo of actress Jennifer Aniston, had its best-selling issue in seven years, with 255,000 copies sold on the newsstand. Vogue, which showed actress Halle Berry photographed by Mario Testino, sold 5.5 percent fewer copies than it did in September 2009. Berry is only the second woman of color to appear on Vogue‘s fall-fashion issue. (The first was Naomi Campbell, who appeared on the September 1989 issue.)

The September issue of W, the first redesigned issue since editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi was hired this spring to reposition the struggling magazine, sold only 30,000 copies on the newsstand; that’s a 14 percent decline over its September 2009 issue. W‘s gatefold cover featured eight young actresses including Kat Dennings, Jessica Chastain and Greta Gerwig (We know what you’re thinking: Who?)  wearing all-black outfits. They were photographed against a gray background by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

More insights into Tonchi’s planning for W‘s September will be available on the W Web site tonight.   “Fashion on Film,” the magazine’s online online festival of fashion-related videos, will kick off with a ten-minute mini documentary called “The Remaking of W.” According to Women’s Wear Daily, the documentary, shot mostly in the W offices, includes an interview with Tonchi in which he discusses his plans to refocus the magazine on style and culture.

It should be noted that cover photos alone don’t sell issues. It’s possible more people wanted to read “937 New Looks” in Bazaar than wanted to read “726 Pages of Sumptuous Fall Fashion At Every Price” in Vogue. (A question for Tonchi: Are you getting pressured to put more numerals on the cover?)

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