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Scene to Zest
This page links to profiles of women's monthly
magazines, many of which
are known as glossies or slicks because
of their high production values and upmarket editorial, often based around
fashion and beauty. Some weekly women's magazines - such as Grazia and Riva -
are included because of their attempts to establish themselves as weekly
glossies. The main index page for these women's monthlies is here.
The magazines are arranged alphabetically on
the following pages:
Main women's monthly magazines index page.
Women's magazine sales (1938-59).
- a glossy women's fashion monthly that was known for its use of photography
Spiro Group, fashion monthly, November 1997 - 2000
Cutting-edge fashion photography under editor Deborah Bee became
the trade mark for Scene, which had started out more as
a catalogue. In October 1998, the Times quoted photographer
David Bailey as saying it was second only to Italian Vogue:
‘For photography, Scene is the best magazine in
England. You know it will use your pictures well, unlike the others,
where complicated design has taken over.’
A month later, the magazine used 70-year-old Daphne Selfe for a
shoot. But soon after, Bee left to revive Nova for IPC
and the title closed.
She - September 2011 cover - the last issue
The first issue of She in March 1955
Large format version in November 1974
National Magazine Company/Hearst, monthly, 1955-2011
Must vie for the top spot when it comes to the most relaunched
women's monthly magazine. Back in 1970 under editor Pamela Carmichael,
it looked very different, being a large format title but only
using colour for the cover and advertising. Known for extensive
use of picture stories and witty captions. Printed by Sun Printers
(Watford and London). In 1984, She was relaunched with slightly
smaller pages and perfect binding rather than saddle stitching.
Circulation rose slightly to 232,000.
In 1989, She was considered to be Britain's most sexually
explicit women's magazine. It ran a regular feature, 'Love-making
Position of the Month' – complete with diagram. However, the
formula was not working and NatMags decided on a relaunch. Linda
Kelsey, editor of sister title Cosmopolitan, replaced Joyce
Hopkirk. The magazine became an 'emotionally based' magazine for
women aged 26-44 with children, rather than working women with no
children. Kelsey said that nothing would be left of the She
as it had been and that it would become 'a grown-up Cosmo'.
The radical re-positioning was seen as the start of a trend in consumer
publishing, with magazines trying to set themselves apart as being
distinctive and for a more tightly defined market. In 1990, £600,000
was spent advertising the relaunch on television. Also, a 16-page
sample issue was distributed to 500,000 households. Sales rose above
200,000 but peaked. In 1996, NatMags launched biennial Having
a Baby, which had been a banded-on supplements to She since
Another relaunch, in 1998, saw a new-look She aiming to
attract women in 'middle youth' - a term coined by Emap for women
aged between 30 and 39. A man appeared on the front cover for the
first time in 1998 - George Clooney, then in US hospital drama ER.
He was 'intelligent, glamorous, funny and sexy - just like She
magazine,' said the company. The aim was to attract thirty-something
readers. A new tagline, 'Inside the head of a thirtysomething woman',
replaced the existing line, 'A great balance for modern women.'
An October 2005 revamp came in response to several years of slow
sales followed by a massive drop of 17 per cent in early 2005 figures.
NatMags got rid of all the old staff, so this was a new magazine
under the same name. Editor Matthew Line told PR Week:
‘It's not a relaunch - it's a totally different magazine.
I was drafted in a year ago to work on a launch codenamed "project
Julie", and in April it was decided that She would
go and the new magazine would take its name.’ The new version
is aimed at ‘a younger 35-plus audience with modern lifestyles’.
Line stood down from the title just six months after the relaunch
in April 2006.
Sales continued to fall and the last issue was dated September 2011. Hearst Magazines UK - formed in March that year when US parent Hearst bought Hachette Filipacchi from French media group Lagardere - closed She and Cosmopolitan Bride, following a strateegy review. She's circulation was 144,583 at the end of 2010
Sleazenation Che Guevara cover (February 2001)
October 2001 Sleazenation cover was an attached lenticular sheet on which the words 'Absolute sell-out' changed colour as the cover was tilted
Swinstead, London. Fashion / lifestyle monthly. 1996-2005
Fashion and lifestyle magazine with Steve Beale as
founding editor. Used slogans such as 'Now even more superficial', '100
pages of hype & lies' and 'Absolute sell-out'.
The October 2001 issue (£3.20; 132pp; editor, Steve
Slocombe) was sponsored by Absolut vodka. The front cover was an
attached lenticular sheet on which the words 'Absolute sell-out' changed
colour as the cover was tilted. Absolut had an 'animated' lenticular advert on back cover.
Sleazenation relaunched in April 2004 as Sleaze (the same month that Emap closed The Face).
The editor was Neil Boorman who ran the titles as 'a vaguely
anti-corporate style magazine' - despite its level of advertising.
However, the attempt failed and the title closed a few months later.
Der Spiegel lenticular cover
NME lenticular cover
the spring 2007 issue (above) is called solid/liquid, about 'chrome,
chaps and champagne'. Cover is from a 22-page fashion photo shoot
by Terry Richardson of model Irina Lazareanu, which starts by quoting
lyrics from 'La Belle et la Bête' by Babyshambles
Sleek Friends GmbH, Berlin. Quarterly. 2003-
Berlin-based quarterly and website focusing on contemporary art,
photography and fashion. Each edition has a title such as street/elite,
solid/liquid and pure/dirty. Sleek 'finds
the connection between glamour, the cutting edge and intellectual
substance' and seeks 'to be highly relevant for a few, rather
than a little relevant for many'. Text appears in
both English and German. Print run is 23,000 copies (2007) with 5.7
readers per copy. Very glossy feel - 135gsm paper and 350gsm for
the cover. Website seen as core to the title. Email newsletter has
24,500 subscribers. Male/female balance is 48/52 for the magazine
but 56/44 online and the target reader is 28-38-years-old. Publishes
advertising rate card for non-profit groups that halves the usual
cost (€2,500 rather than €5000 for a page). The publisher/editor
is Lothar Eckstein
Tatler & Bystander (1943 issue) - carried advertising on
its cover into the 1950s (and 1970s)
Tatler & Bystander had changed its covers. Note the
1965. The name Bystander is in the 'r' of the title, with
the Tatler character below
1968 relaunch with the old cover design. This is from 1975
May 1982 with Tina Brown
October 1989: celebrating 280 years of the name with a female Tatler
Tatler Publishing Co / Illustrated Newspapers / Thomson / Condé Nast, monthly, 3 July 1903 -
The Tatler name dates back to 1709 when it was used
by Addison and Steele, the founding fathers of English journalism,
until 1711. However, the present-day society magazine only appeared in 1903
as a weekly. The cover carried advertising with a masthead and border
featuring the Tatler character as a gentleman bowing in
greeting. Like many magazines, it ran a special Christmas issue
with an illustrated cover issue, a concept dating back to the Victorian
Later, it was published by Illustrated Newspapers at 32-34
St Bride St, just off Fleet St, and printed by the Cornwall Press
in Stamford St. A February 1936 issue with coverage of the funeral
of King George V carried a black border to the cover. During the
second world war, the Tatler absorbed Bystander magazine
(published from 9 December 1903 to 30 October 1940) to become Tatler and Bystander.
In the mid-1950s, the publishers redesigned the cover and started
using photographs and illustrations. There were several redesigns
in the next 10 years:
- a boxed masthead in the top left;
- a vertical panel promoting the contents on the left side;
- the title right across the top of the cover in serif capitals;
- as previously but in upper and lower case;
- in a lower case sans serif face.
The number of changes suggests the magazine was in turmoil
and in 1965 the publishers, by then controlled by Thomson, closed the title.
another society title, also had problems in the 1950s but was transformed
by Jocelyn Stevens.) Tatler was incorporated into a
new title, London
Life (under former Sunday Times Magazine editor Mark Boxer). However, within two years, London Life folded,
the Illustrated County Magazine Group (publishers of East
bought the Tatler name,
and relaunched it as a monthly in March 1968. A news item in East
(Nov 1967) ran:
'The Tatler was widely regretted when it disappeared
two years ago as there was no top class social magazine on a national
scale left - the Tatler being the last and best of them.
Now it is coming back in its proper form as a mirror of Society
as it has always been since it was founded by Addison and Steele
at the beginning of the 18th century.'
The group reverted to the cover style that Tatler had
used in the first half of the 20th century. In 1979, the Australian
millionaire Gary Bogard bought the title and appointed Tina Brown
as editor. She boosted sales and in 1982, Condé Nast bought
the title, bringing with it Brown. Tatler had a few turbulent months after Brown resigned in 1983 to concentrate on writing (but soon go on to Vanity Fair and later The New Yorker
in the US). BBC Radio 4 presenter Libby Purves took over but only
lasted a few weeks before cartoonist Mark Boxer ('Marc') - and former London Life editor - returned to the Tatler fold. He became editor-in-chief of both Vogue and Tatler but died in 1988 of cancer.
The October 1989 issue claimed
the heritage of the Tatler name by celebrating 280 years
since a magazine with that title first came out. (The
Spectator, established in 1828 claims to be the oldest
continuously-published magazine in the English language; and in
1711, Steele and Addison also founded a newspaper called the Spectator.)
Tatler has published regular supplements and spin-offs. Alongside the restaurant and travel guides, were Totler, for children (1995), and Bratler, for teenagers (1997). The latter listed 25 things its readers should have done by the age of 18, such as:
- spent a night in a police cell;
- tried soft drugs;
- crashed their parents' car;
- got laid;
- admitted they masturbated;
- had a pregnancy scare;
- said the 'F-word' in front of their parents;
- questioned their sexuality;
- played with an ouija board;
- had a ludicrous haircut;
- stayed out all night;
- slept on a park bench;
- gone out with the 'weirdest person you know'.
The essence of the title was summed up by Geordie Greig, who left
his post as literary editor on the Sunday Times to take up the editorship
'Editing Tatler might be compared to riding in a Bugatti
- a fabulously designed classic vehicle with plenty of speed,
gripping power, beauty, sex appeal and an eclectic range of glamorous
people in the passenger seat coming along for the ride.'
The title regards itself today as a:
'society magazine with a cutting edge ... it's an event! Tatler
is a vibrant mix of fashion, beauty and sensational features
giving insights into the lives of the world's leading and most
glamorous celebrities. Tatler presents the social comment
of the day with wit, glamour and style.'
Fair - launched as a fashion title in November 1950 by National
1972 (15p): one of the last issues under editor Audrey Slaughter
carried a two-page advert for the forthcoming Cosmopolitan
Fair - the Condé Nast version since 1990. For this October
2001 cover, the magazine sent photographer Annie Liebowitz to the
Leavesden studios in Watford where the latest Harry Potter was then
being filmed. Most of the magazine's covers are related to cinema
1868-1914; 1950-1972 (National Magazines);
1990- (Condé Nast,
version in UK)
The Vanity Fair published in the UK today is a version
of the US title. However, a magazine called Vanity Fair was
launched in the UK in 1868 by Thomas Gibson Bowles, who wrote a
lot of the material himself. It was a 'weekly show of political,
social and literary wares' and became famous for its caricatures
by artists such as Max Beerbohm, Spy (Sir Leslie Ward), Ape (Carlo
Pellegrini), Lib (Liborio Prosperi) and James Jacques Tissot. It
ran for 2,361 issues, from 7 November 1868 to 28 January 1914 when
it was merged into Hearth and Home (an illustrated weekly
for the home launched in 1891); this closed in 1929.
In November 1950, a new version based around fashion was launched
by National Magazines (now Hearst UK), publishers of Harper's Bazaar and
Good Housekeeping. It was for "the Younger Smarter
Woman", with ready-made fashion that young women could afford
rather than haute couture. NatMags puts the peak of its circulation
at 238,000 copies in 1956, and it claimed to be 'Britain's largest
circulating fashion magazine' in 1957. The magazine also ran
a yearly competition, in association with Butlins, to find Miss
Vanity Fair. By 1962 it was edited by Phyllis Bayley and published
18 times a year (monthly, but bimonthly in busy periods such as
spring and autumn, a frequency that was common then).
1970, Audrey Slaughter, former editor of IPC's Honey and Petticoat
magazines, was appointed editor to replace Hazel Evans. Brian
Braithwaite was publisher. However, the magazine was in a weak
position - the July 1970 issue ran to just 72 pages (26 of advertising)
plus cover - and Slaughter was unable to turn it round. Meanwhile,
the company decided to import Cosmopolitan from
its US parent. That appeared in March 1972 and was an immediate
success. The February issue of Vanity Fair (84 pages)
featured a two-page advert for the the new magazine in the form
of a questionnaire. Vanity Fair's circulation had fallen
to about 93,000 and, just two months after Cosmo's launch,
it was sold to IPC, who merged it with Honey.
Slaughter took her staff and set up a company to launch Over
21 (‘Produced by the former staff of Vanity
said a cover flash on the first issue, with the cover date May
The magazine's history in the US is just as chequered. It was founded
in 1914 and in 1922 Vogue publisher Condé Nast bought
Vanity Fair and House & Garden to form Condé
Nast Publications. However, in 1936 he merged the title with Vogue.
It was revived in 1983 in the US, at a cost of $7m. The March issue
carried 168 pages of advertising worth $1.4m. However, the initial
circulation near halved, as did advertising revenue. It became,
in the words of The Washington Post,
‘one of the most lavishly pathetic spectacles in modern
Three editors had no success until Tina Brown arrived from Tatler
in London (editor 1984-1992), since when it has not looked
back (under E. Graydon Carter).
By 1990, the magazine had a US circulation of 750,000 and it was
decided to launch it in the UK with the same editorial as in the
US and no editorial staff in the UK. Only the advertising (and hence
the pagination) changed. (Although this was an unusual decision,
it was not without precedent: Condé Nast had done the same
with men's magazine Esquire in the 1950s.) Condé
Nast claimed Vanity Fair was already selling about 12,000
imported copies an issue without any promotion. Publisher Sally
Vincent predicted sales of about 50,000 copies a month with a marketing
budget of £1m. She expected the magazine to attract up-market
adults with a median age of 30, about 40% of whom would be men.
In 1990, Campaign reported that editor Tina Brown had justified
choosing Cher rather than Maria Maples for the November cover so:
‘In light of the Gulf crisis, we thought a brunette was more
appropriate.’ June 1991 saw a row between the Times and
Vanity Fair. The magazine had reported the last words of
Margaret Thatcher on resigning as prime minister as being that home
was the place ‘you come to when you have nothing better to
do’. The newspaper said this was a misquotation, a charge
denied by Brown. By the end of the year, the magazine was claiming
sales of 63,000.
Tina Brown left in July 1992 to edit The New Yorker. She
was replaced by E. Graydon Carter, then editor of The New York
Observer and a founder of Spy. Brown had boosted circulation
with a series of editorial coups and controversial covers, such
as a naked, pregnant, Demi Moore (August 1991) and singer KD Laing
being shaved in a barber’s chair by model Cindy Crawford.
The American Society of Magazine Editors voted the Moore cover the
second best seen in the previous 40 years. In October 1992, Henry
Porter, former editor of the Sunday Correspondent Magazine was
appointed London editor with Francis Wheen as contributing editor.
The next year, British editorial was added in the form of four or
five pages of diary items, reviews, short stories and news. Condé
Nast concentrated on the top end of the market, with Vogue,
Tatler and Vanity Fair each aiming at specialist niches.
Vanity Fair showed Oasis singer Liam Gallagher with fiancee
Patsy Kensit on a 1997 cover under a Union Jack duvet for an article
rating London the hippest city in the world. It was seen as less
assured in 2005 when it had to pay out £50,000 in libel damages
plus costs to film maker Roman Polanski.
Hearsst UK (National Magazines)
May 1918 issue of Vogue. At this time, the whole cover was an illustration
Norman Parkinson front cover for Vogue (15 October 1965). This issue was printed by Sun in Watford, ran to 164 pages and cost 3s. The editor was Beatrix Miller
with Kylie Minogue on the front cover
Condé Nast, monthly, 1916-
Flagship magazine for Condé Nast in terms of longevity (founded
1892 in the US), advertising volume and reputation, if not total
sales. British Vogue ("Brogue")
was launched in 1916 whn the war made it impossible to
carry on importing copies from the US. It had a virtual monopoly on
fashion until Harper's
Bazaar came along in 1929.
In May 1996, watchmaker Omega withdrew its advertising from Vogue and complained that the 'skeletal appearance' of models in the magazine's fashion pages might help push girls into anorexia.
Vogue is renowned as a style bible
and is one of the most sought-after magazines by collectors because
of its high quality editorial, photography and production values.
In 2005, Vogue put up selection of covers on its website
as part of a celebration of 10 years of Vogue.com.
The faster pace
of the magazine market is demonstrated by fact that Vogue editors used to have 20-year-long tenures - Audrey Withers 1940-1960;
Beatrix Miller 1964-1986 - but the arrival of Anna Wintour in 1986
changed that. After Wintour went over to run US Vogue, Liz Tilberis took over 'Brogue' in 1989. She was followed
in 1992 by Alexandra Shulman, who was in the chair to celebrate Vogue's centenary in the uK in 2016.
Madonna on Vogue covers
to Wear - TV spin-off from the BBC
BBC Worldwide, quarterly, Summer 2004-?
Quarterly that was published to coincide with each season's new
fashion collections. Aims to offer18- to 30 year-old women practical
rules of style based around shopping for their shape, as portrayed
by Trinny Woodhall and Susannah Constantine in BBC2's What
Not To Wear show. The presenters were contributing editors
to the 'handbag'-sized 'micro-glossy'. Its first ABC sales figure
came in at 80,000, which leapt by half a year later to 120,296.
The magazine was originally a free What Not To Wear sampler
with the December 2003 issue of Eve (which the BBC
later sold to Haymarket).
BBC (Immediate Media)
website for the show
Wife and Home from February 1950
Wife and Home [closed] Back
Amalgamated Press, monthly
The 'married woman's magazine'. Published at least from 1931 to 1955. The V&A holds a 'Leo the Lion and Tim the Tiger' pattern for two stuffed toys by 'Finella', Wife and Home's knitting expert in the 1940s.
World cover from July 1979. The main cover line is: 'Exclusive.
The agony of being Anna Raeburn'
Carlton/IPC, monthly, 1978 - May 1990
Extensive competition resulting in declining advertising revenues
and a drop in circulation of 31,000 copies, or 18% year-on-year,
led to the title’s closure in 1990. The women's magazine
market was described at the time as ‘cut-throat’ with
many titles fighting to stay afloat during an economic
recession - and IPC was struggling to maintain its hold on the women's
magazine market with the arrival of titles
such as New Woman, and Best and Bella from
the German publisher Bauer. Also, IPC might not have been
fully behind the Carlton title. The July 1979 issue was described
as being 'created by Carlton Publishing Services, Ltd'; published
by IPC; printed by Odhams (Watford); covers printed by Fleetway
(Gravesend). It had 124 stapled pages and cost 40p. The flannel
panel listed, in this order, the managing editor as Terry Hornett;
the managing art editor as Roger Pinney; and the editor Bridget
Rowe (former assistant editor of the Sun who
became editor of Woman's
Own in February 1986). Features editor was Richard Barber
IPC/Time Inc UK profile
& Home: sales still rising
Woman & Home in September 1949 after it had taken over Good Needlework
& Home first issue in South Africa
Amalgamated Press / IPC Media / Time Inc UK, monthly, 1926 -
Now aimed at 40-somethings, Woman & Home has succeeded
in reinventing itself for generations of women. It is a fast-growing
lifestyle title, epitomising a ‘brand new attitude’
for women over 35. Sales were up about 8% in 2005.
For much of its life, an extra source of revenue was from
dress patterns and transfers. The 1949 issue to the left (price
9d) featured a cottage-shaped tea cosy (pattern 1s 1d) , flower
embroidery and back-to-school clothes in its centre four colour
pages. The article featured on the cover was Cecil Beaton's life
story. Apart from the centre pages, the only colour was on the
cover with adverts for Dettol Ointment, Gloria shampoo and Bird's
In 2005, IPC licensed Woman & Home to Caxton, South
Africa's largest publisher. The launch editor was Frith Thomas.
IPC/Time Inc UK profile
first issue with October 1984 cover date. BA manager
Jennifer Coutts Clay was the cover subject; Body Shop founder Anita
Roddick fronted the next edition
Redesign for September 1985, though still with a woman executive on the cover
Working Woman last issue with Oct-Nov 86 cover date
[closed] To top
Wintour Publications / Preston Publications, monthly, October 1984 - Oct/Nov 86
Audrey Slaughter was launch editor for this magazine aimed at women
executives. It had financial backing from its US counterpart (Working
Woman USA), ICFC, an anonymous donor and a consortium led by Ms
Within a year, the masthead was redesigned, probably for
better legibility on news-stands, and cover subjects were shown larger.
In 1986, Marketing reported that Slaughter
was concerned about the reluctance of advertisers to back
It was bought by millionaire Peter Cadbury under the name
Preston Publications with a Fleet St address. However, Slaughter
fell out with Cadbury over his plans to popularise the
and she left. Pandora Wodehouse was made editor in May.
reported as about 30,000.
The July and August issues were merged. The title was
revamped with another masthead style; horoscopes were introduced; and it
moved away from actual women as the cover subject.
Despite the changes, publication of Working Woman
was suspended in September with Cadbury blaming
losses of £200,000 an issue. The last issue was dated
October-November with Sue Reid as editor. Her letter to readers ended:
'A few people have suggested that this magazine would disappear
altogether. We say, certainly not. I say, we're here to stay.'
Slaughter also wrote a book, The Working Woman's Handbook:
How to Organize Your Life, which was published by Century in
- for women turned 50 with actress Dame Judi Dench on the cover
Emap Esprit, monthly, Autumn 1984-
Aimed at women aged 50 and more and a consistent member of the top
five best-sellers. Emap has tried to bring the median age down in
recent years to be nearer 50 than 60, which has included using TV
advertising. Covers focus on woman such as Diana Rigg, Cilla Black
and Joan Collins. Spin-off Yours Health Plus first appeared
in 2001 and was was launched as a standalone title Health Plus
in 2005, but it was withdrawn in 2006 because of competition in
the sector as the topic of health went more mainstream. The title
was originally owned by charity Help the Aged. Emap's Choice Publications
division bought it in February 1985, relaunched it as a colour tabloid
and set about expanding the 120,000 circulation. Sales rose steadily
and picked up in the late 1990s as it became an A4 magazine and
improved editorial and production quality.
First issue of Cosmo
National Magazines/Hearst UK, monthly (since 1996), Autumn 1994-2014
'Health and beauty for a new generation.' Started life as banded-on
supplement with Cosmopolitan in autumn 1994 (though the
original bra-burning generation of readers of Cosmo would
probably have gone spare at the sight of Zest!). Editors:
Vanessa Raphaely and Eve Cameron. Went monthly from April 1996.
In 1997, became a masthead TV programme. It closed at the start of 2014, with sales of about 60,000 copies.
Hearst (National Magazines)
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