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What's Going to Happen to Vogue, Now That McKinsey Is Around?

What's Going to Happen to Vogue, Now That McKinsey Is Around?

>> Conde Nast is expected to lose 5,000 ad pages as a whole this year, the New York Post reports, which translates to a loss of between $275 million and $350 million and a possible move into the red for the privately-held company.  Since management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. was brought in at the end of last month for a three month job, all of the editorial floor's receptionists have been laid off and all newspaper subscriptions have been canceled; larger changes are still expected.

The era represented by The September Issue — showcasing the making of Vogue's largest issue ever, 840 pages worth, in 2007 — when Grace Coddington complains, on camera, that Anna Wintour threw out "$50,000 worth of work" because it wasn't up to par, may be a thing of the past.  Especially when, by comparison, the page count for the September 2009 issue is only up to 427 so far — although those are just the ads (in Sept. 2007, the magazine had 727 ad pages).

Gone are the days of $5,000 ad day catering? »

Before, there has been a culture of excess at Conde Nast, writes Cathy Horyn, partially to promote the company's image — Town Cars idling outside the building, fashion shoots that require a team of 30, $150,000 for that Vogue, W, or Vanity Fair fashion shoot — $5,000 a day of which is spent just on the catering.  And as mentioned above, Anna Wintour has a tendency to can those expensive shoots and order them reshot — it's shown in The September Issue a number of times, and was a habit for her as far back as when she was editor of House & Garden, when within the first two weeks on the job in 1987, she rejected $2 million worth of inventoried photos and articles.

Several Conde Nast editors told the New York Times that the thus far implemented 15 percent budget cuts haven't significantly altered the atmosphere at the top magazines — like Vogue — with their big-name photographers and spare-no-expense mentality. “You’re dealing with less editorial space, but I don’t feel there’s any knee-jerk reaction or panic,” said an editor at a sister publication.  But bringing in McKinsey has made staff nervous, according to one editor: “That sent shudders, of course. It’s the fear of the great unknown: What if their consultants really question the culture we live in at Condé Nast?”

Cathy Horyn suggests that Wintour, who is known for being strict with budgets and expenses in areas not pertaining to shoots, will bring less editors to the European shows this Fall, and that perhaps those shoots — which were a product of "revenues in America [being] much bigger," according to a Conde editor — will become more like the those of European glossies, who in comparison are "practically tightwads."  But as Horyn points out: "Vogue is about wish fulfillment and escapism, so it can’t be expected to really change its stripes. It can’t be Marie Claire."

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