A nude Kim Kardashian photographed full-frontal by artist Barbara Kruger. Katherine Heigl as the epitome of the new American family posing with her adopted Korean daughter on her lap. And starlet Rooney Mara, pierced and tattooed, with blood on her hands, for her role as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
Those are just a few of the arresting images that have graced the covers of W magazine since Stefano Tonchi took over as editor in chief with the September issue.
W has never shied away from provocative visuals. In fact, for many years that’s pretty much all the magazine had going for it. (Remember Steven Klein’s 2005 Brad and Angelina “Domestic Bliss” photo album, in which the stars played house in Palm Springs before they were officially a couple? Or Klein’s kinky 2005 fashion shoot featuring Tom Ford in a ménage-à-trois?)
But now Tonchi, the former editor of the New York Times' T magazine, is placing a premium on words too. He's filling his pages with surprising features about emerging celebrities such as Mara, a pair of London artists whose medium is food, and a teenage truffle importer from Fayetteville, Ark.
W, a Conde Nast publication, is “one of the most underdeveloped brands within the magazine world,” said Tonchi, when I caught up with him in L.A. over Golden Globes weekend. “I thought it could be a very strong general-interest publication for our generation [ages 30 to 50], in the way that Vanity Fair is for a different generation.”
To read more about the magazine's new direction, see my story here.
Photo: W magazine's February Movie Issue with Rooney Mara dressed as Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: W magazine