Women's monthly magazines:
Happy to More!

This page links to profiles of women's monthlies, many of which are known as glossies or slicks because of their high production values and upmarket editorial. Some weeklies - such as Grazia and Riva - are included because of their attempts to establish themselves as weekly glossies. The main index page is here. The titles - past and present - are arranged alphabetically on the following pages:

Main women's monthly index page.

Women's magazine sales (1938-59).


Happy first issue cover  

Happy [closed] Top

Northern & Shell, monthly, May 2005 - March 2007
A magazine devoted to shopping, which covers fashion, style, beauty and interiors, with Eilidh Macaskill as editor and Mark Hayman as creative director. High production values with glossy, heavy cover. Dennis failed with home shopping magazine PS in 2000. Closed in March 2007
Happy website
Northern & Shell profile

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Harper’s Bazaar (UK) Back to top

National Magazines, monthly, 1929-1970; 2006-
Harper’s Bazaar dates back to 1867 in US. It was bought by Hearst (owner of NatMags) in 1912. It launched in the UK in 1929. In 1970, took over Queen and became Harper’s and Queen until 2006, when it reverted to the old name, by which it was known everywhere else in the world.

According to the NatMags website, the company 'took over Queen for free, in return for a commitment to give the printing contract for the newly merged title to owner Michael Lewis ... Circulation was boosted, and advertising soared. It has been generally judged to be the only truly successful "marriage" of two titles in the women's market.'

US editor-in-chief has been Glenda Bailey since May 2001. Before that, she edited the US edition of Marie Claire (since 1996). Bailey made her name launching the UK edition of Marie Claire in 1988. Her first editorship was Honey in 1986.

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Harpers & Queen cover April 1971
Harper's & Queen from April 1971. Photograph by Helmut Newton of an uncredited model wearing Biba make-up
 

Harpers & Queen Top

National Magazines, monthly, 1970 - 2006
Title created when Harper’s Bazaar took over Queen in 1970. Reverted to old name in 2006.

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home chat 1945 march 24 Amalgamated
Home Chat from 24 March 1945. This issue commemorates the magazine's 50th anniversary with a cover illustration comparing women's style of dress between 1895 and 1945
 

Home Chat [closed] Top

Answers Publications / Amalgamated. March 1895- 1960?
Home Chat was founded by Alfred Harmsworth in March 1895 'with the aim of producing a weekly women's journal for a penny which should be equal in the quality of its contributions, both editorial and pictorial, to any of the then existing sixpenny papers'.

According to a book published by the company, Home Chat took 'the country by storm'. 'Insistent, clamorous crowds beseiged the publishing offices, every individual anxious to make certain of supplies. The usual publishing staff, unable to deal with the crush, enlisted the services of their colleagues on the business and editorial sides. Shirt-sleeved men, perspiring but never pausing, flung the papers to the waiting crowds, which never seemed to lessen. From morning to night the work continued, and ever the paper was selling, selling, selling, and the great machines roaring as they flung out their streams of copies.'

The magazine claimed that the 200,000 print run had to be topped up by 35,000 copies. Its used a smaller page size (6.5 by 9.25 inches) than the 6d titles, but was just as thick. Many magazines still assumed the reader had servants, but Home Chat carried a recipe column that assumed the reader was doing the cooking.

Writers included Cutliffe Hyne, Mrs M. Beeton, Lady Greville and Lady Constance Howard. Among the illustrators were Claude Shepperson, F. Pegram, W. Dewar, Hal Hurst, Warwick Goble and Louis Wain.

It claims to have been the first paper to give away free dress-making patterns.

In 1938, the sales figure for Home Chat was 127,000 copies. Sales seem to have peaked at 283,000 in 1952.

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Honey from 1964. The main cover line read: 'A girl's best accessory is a man'
Honey final issue 1986
Honey final issue, September 1986 under editor Glenda Bailey: note the large 'collectors item' cover line
 

Honey [closed] Back to top

Fleetway/IPC, monthly, Apr 1960 - September 1986
Seminal fashion magazine for young women in the 1960s and 1970s. Regarded as the first teenage magazine. Honey was founded by Audrey Slaughter (though only writers and photographers were credited) for Fleetway Publications Ltd (Fleetway House, Farringdon St., London EC4). The fifth issue identifies Jean McKinley as editor who wrote the first editorial:

'We're at your service and happy to be so. You're so gay and you get such a bang out of life.'

Tag line first introduced in Oct 1960: 'For the teens and twenties.' By 1962 this had become: 'Young, gay and get-ahead.'

Honey has been credited with encouraging young journalists, photographers and designers. The first issue ran photographs by George Koenig, Terence Donovan, Desmond Russell, Nigel Redhead, Julie Hamilton, Michael Ward, Basil Davis and Michael Williams. Cover credits were only given from issue 3, but Redhead, Jean Chevalier, Leo Aarons, David Bailey and Shiavone and acknowledged in the first year.

The November issue (8) has a double-page spread enittled 'We'd like you to meet a few of the talented people who helped us with this issue.' These included: photographers Don McCullin, Euan Duff, Victor Singh, David Bailey, Nigel Redhead and Eric Wilkins; illustrators Sirriol Clarry, Bill Banks and Michael Heath; and writer Barbara Gaskell.

The magazine took over Woman & Beauty in 1964 and at its height sold about 250,000 copies a month. Sales slid in the 1980s with the Jan-Jun 1980 figure of 214,349 falling to 158,438 for the same period in 1982, a drop of a quarter.

In May 1986, IPC announced its closure and it was merged into 19. September was the cover date on the last issue, which featured an article on the best of Honey and promoted it as a 'collectors item'. The Times quoted publisher Heather Love as saying that the main reason for the closure was the lack of co-operation from the staff with new editor, Glenda Bailey. She had been appointed in January to give the magazine a new direction. Bailey later went on to launch Marie Claire.
IPC profile

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Cate Blanchett on the cover of InStyle (April 2007)
 

In Style (UK) Top

IPC Media, monthly, March 2001-
Launch by Time Life of the US, which placed it with IPC Media when parent Time Warner bought IPC in 2001. Celebrity lifestyle, beauty and fashion with high production values. While it did not make the same initial splash as Glamour, has established itself. Editor Dee Nolan (who also launched Metropolitan Home in 1990). In April 2007, InStyle launched a handbag format version and a website
IPC profile

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London Life october 1965
London Life - first issue under editor Mark Boxer
London Life Ian Drury cover
Ian Dury drew this London Life cover image of Tony Bennett for a profile by Benny Green. The words picked out in stripes against a flowery wallpaper background read: Tony Bennett / Royal / Variety / Mon 8 Nov / Palladium / 8 PM
London Life December 1966
London Life with the cover line '1966 was a very good year' - but possibly not for the magazine with a change of editor
 

London Life [closed] Top

9 October 1965-1967. Illustrated Newspapers. Weekly entertainment guide
This weekly entertainment guide incorporated the Tatler title but only lasted a couple of years. The editor was Mark Boxer, who had spent three years as editor establishing the Sunday Times Magazine, before that was art director of Queen, and later became editor of a rejuvenated Tatler in 1983 (the British Society of Magazine Editors has a special achievement award named after Boxer).

London Life aimed to banish the crusty old society world of Tatler and herald the new Swinging London. It typically ran to 56 or 60 pages for 2/6, with heavier coated pages used for the feature articles in a central section. It was published every Thursday (covering the Sat-Fri dates on the cover) from Elm House, 10-16 Elm St, London WC1. Its stated aim was as a 'comprehensive guide to the entertainment scene: films, theatre, retsurants, night life, music, sport'

The magazine was initially printed by Sun Printers in Watford, and East Midland Litho, Peterborough and bound by Sun Printers, Watford and London. By June 1966, the printing had moved into central London - to Gale & Polden, 28 Craven St, WC2.

In that year, Boxer left. The 10 September issue has a list of credits: Ian Howard was editor; picture executive was Jeremy Banks; the art editor was Tony Page; Patrick Brangwyn was production editor.

For the 6-12 Nov (1965) London Life on the left, Ian Dury drew a cover image of Tony Bennett for a profile by Benny Green. Words in the background are picked out in stripes against a wallpaper background. The concept was carried through to a double-page spread showing the performers at the Royal Variety Performance that year. The colour centre spread was devoted to the 'London Life pin-up': in this case, 'Barbara Windsor, in a dress of Plantagenet splendour, designed by Oliver Messel, for Lionel Bart's Twang!! The musical is based, freely and with baroque improvisations, on the Robin Hood legend.' The photograph was by Terence Donovan.
Tatler

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looks magazine cover 1992 december
Looks at the peak of its sales in December 1992
Looks January 2000
Looks with Madonna on the cover for its January 2000 issue
 

Looks / Celebrity Looks [closed] Top

Emap/Emap Elan, September 1985- February 2002
Emap spent £500,000 on the launch of this fashion, beauty and haircare monthly aimed at young women aged 16-24. The launch included £400,000 spent on TV advertising and 400,000 copies of a preview issue were given away with the 18 September issue of Just 17. The first issue cost 70p for 96 pages with a print run of 200,000 - an industry rule of thumb would suggest the company was aiming for a settle-down circulation of 140,000. Ramune Burns was the editor under editorial director David Hepworth.

It was an immediate success with a first ABC figure of 137,017.

Burns left in July 1988 and took up a launch editor post at contract publisher Redwood on BBC Holidays 89. Morag Prunty took over the editor's chair.

The main teen magazines in 1988 are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Teen titles in 1988
Title Publisher Frequency Price Sales
Smash Hits Emap Metro weekly 50p
767,540
Just 17 Emap Metro weekly 50p
306,207
Looks Emap Metro monthly 95p
195,082
Jackie DC Thomson weekly 30p
192,976
Mizz IPC fortnightly 50p
190,523
Company National Mags monthly £1
181,568
19 IPC monthly 90p
160,030
Number One IPC weekly 45p
146,980
Girl IPC weekly 40p
132,039
Blue Jeans DC Thomson weekly 32p
84,895
Girl IPC weekly 40p
83,323

In 1989, Mandi Norwood was appointed editor of Looks. (However, by January 1991 she was in the editor's chair at Company, taking over from Gill Hudson.)

By 1992, Looks was selling 231,083 but this was the peak of its sales. In December 1997, Emap Elan repositioned the title in an attempt to boost sales, which had fallen to 151,000. Eleni Kyriacou became editor. The magazine was redesigned with more emphasis on celebrities and reader make-overs. Publishing director Delyth Smith said the approach was driven by changes in the teenage magazine market, with the success of ‘baby glossies’, such as Emap's own It's Bliss and Futura's Sugar. In December, BBC Magazines announced the closure of its TV spin-off style magazine, Clothes Show. Earlier in the year, Emap had relaunched Just Seventeen as J17, taking it from weekly to monthly.

In May 2001, Looks changed its name to Celebrity Looks, though editor Margi Conklin said the change just reflected what had been the case since 1998. However, in February 2002, Celebrity Looks closed.

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Marie Claire first issue
Marie Claire - launch editor Glenda Bailey had overseen the closure of both Honey and Folio when she got the job launching the title

Marie Claire cover with Kylie Minogue
Marie Claire - softer look in March 2005 with Kylie Minogue

 

Marie Claire (UK) Back to top

IPC Media/Marie Claire Album, monthly, September 1988 -
Joint venture between British and French groups. Launch editor Glenda Bailey had overseen the closure of both Honey and Folio when she got the job launching the title. Bailey – now at Harper’s Bazaar in US - made her name with this launch. After a slow start in the UK in 1988, it grew to challenge Cosmopolitan as the top women's monthly in the early 1990s, when it was famed for its intelligent approach with reportage and serious features. However, sales of both titles since overshadowed by Glamour.

A measure of social change in Britain was a cross-dressing article in the first issue that focused on the male royals. Just a Paris fashion makeover of the Queen got Nova into hot water in 1968. According to the book Nova 1965-75, 'The pictures were retouched in New York and promptly impounded in Britain on their return. They were finally released only with further retouching to lower the hemline and the sanction of Buckingham Palace.'

Available in cut-down A4 and 'travel-size' (in London commuter area) since September 2004, when it also cut its cover price from £3 to £2.50. Made a big fuss of running Brad Pitt on the cover and before him David Beckham.

Original version founded in France in 1937 by industrialist Jean Prouvost. One of France's leading up-market women's magazines. First international edition was Japan in 1982. US edition began as a bi-monthly in March/April 1995 and went monthly in September 1995.
IPC profile

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Mirabella Murdoch launch issue
Mirabella - disappointing launch from Murdoch Magazines
 

Mirabella (UK) [closed] Top

Murdoch Magazines/News International, monthly, September 1990- May 1991
An attempt by Rupert Murdoch to launch another of his US titles in the UK, following the success of New Woman. Mirabella was a magazine designed to appeal to stylish, older women. In a controversial move, the launch issue was priced at £1 (usual cover price £2.20). The editor was Lesley White. Promotion included a 48-page insert in copies of Murdoch's Sunday Times newspaper distributed in the South-East (an idea used for the launch of Murdoch/Hachette’s Elle). Isabella Rossellini was on the cover, though this related to a disappointing single-page feature. In what appeared to be a spoiler, the October issue of National Magazine's Harpers and Queen, which appeared in the shops two weeks earlier, also had the Blue Velvet actress on its cover. Mirabella’s picture caption could be read as a riposte to H&Q: ‘The true Isabella. Much copied, never bettered.’

News International closed Mirabella in May 1991. It then sold Murdoch Magazines (Car, Supercar Classic, New Woman, Sky and TV Guide) to Emap. No official circulations figure had been recorded, but Mirabella was reported as not selling well and as a new title requiring investment would have been difficult to offload at the time when the country was in recession. The title was originally launched by Murdoch in the US in 1989. Grace Mirabella, a former editor-in-chief of US Vogue was identified as the magazine's namesake and was the title’s communications director.
News International profile

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Modern Woman August 1953Modern Woman in August 1953 - 'The magazine that keeps you up-to-date'

modern woman cover 1962 feb Sylvia Syms
Modern Woman - cost 1/9 for 92 pages in February 1962 and was stapled. Sylvia Syms modelled for the cover, which was shot by John Adriaan on what looks like a film set

 

Modern Woman [closed] Top

George Newnes (later part of IPC), 1925- (1960s?)
Printed by Sun Printers in Watford.

Modern Woman was based around fiction, fashion and lifestyle features. Its sales peaked in the mid 1950s at about 230,000 copies.

In 1962, Modern Woman was published on the 5th of each month. In the February issue, all three short stories were bought from the US:

  1. 'I'd go anywhere with you' by Catharine Boyd. It was illustrated by Bob Peak, a US film poster artist – he did the early Star Trek films!
  2. 'The indifferent guest’ by Wilma Shore. This was illustrated by Bernie Fuchs who painted J.F. Kennedy.
  3. ‘A man of few words' by Dorothy Mackie Low. Illustrated by Joe Bowler, another US portrait painter .

Among the articles was a profile of Nancy Mitford article, discussing her book on etiquette, Noblesse Oblige. It quotes her as saying that the idea for U and non-U came out of a throwaway mention in an article for Encounter (the anti-communist, Anglo-US monthly that later turned out to have been funded by the CIA).

Other features were horoscopes by Leon Petulengro and a list of advertisers. Only 16 of the pages were in colour.

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More! first issue cover April 1988
More! - launch issue

More! - 16-page fashion extra with the first issue. Centre spread was a double gatefold
 

More! Top

Emap London Lifestyle, fortnightly, 6 April 1988 -
Women's lifestyle/fashion title for 16- to 24-years-olds. Most readers are single and at university or working and living at home. Sales stood at 277,000 at the end of 2005 and 271,629 at end of 2006 (though the title had gone monthly by then). In July 2007 it was announced that the title was to go weekly from September.
More! website
Emap profile

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