Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Curating the culture of style

Whatever one's opinions of the International Herald Tribune's new T magazine, lots of senior execs at the IHT are very pleased with it, not least of all because you had to wade through several pages of advertising before even coming across some editorial.

More on T another time (a great strapline btw - hats-off to whoever came up with that; giving a slightly academic and intellectual twist to things like handbags is no mean achievement and this strapline delivers that in spades), but two questions for now.

Why wasn't the IHT's commercial supremo, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson at T's launch party that the newspaper threw in Paris last weekend?

(NB A bit of Russian luxury conference cash around to splash and it seems parties are quickly back in vogue at the relentlessly cost cutting IHT.)

The Brit SDJ pleaded a long-standing family committment (taking his boys to watch the Barbarians beat rugby world cup champions South Africa at Twickenham) as the given reason, in a curiously read-out-in-absentia speech that might have been better off not being read if he wasn't there to make it himself.

His reason makes perfect sense to me, but it didn't to many of the American employees attending who a) don't understand rugby b) don't understand what fun a Barbarians match is and c) who probably don't understand that weekends are actually meant for symbols like this of the dangerously French, even European, pervasive anti-work ethic.

If a corporation wants to host a party, fine, but throw it at lunchtime on a weekday. (This type of anti-corporatist comment goes someway to explaining why I and the IHT had to part ways back in 2000.)

The second question is what exactly is the involvement of the IHT in T magazine, seemingly edited and art-directed from New York? More importantly, what makes it an IHT magazine and not a NYT one? Suzy Menkes can't be expected to carry the entire burden of the IHT's efforts with regard to this magazine can she? (Along with the circulation department who managed to deliver the magazine to me a full three days before the weekend it was supposed to appear.)


Anonymous said...

Why is this magazine being packaged only in Europe, not in Asia? I'm not sure this is official policy, I just know I am not getting it out here.

Ian said...

My best guest would be the prohibitively expensive distribution costs, if they were to do it the same way as they are doing it to subscribers in Europe which is by post.

I'll try and find out what's up...

Ian said...

Hi Anonymous,

In response to your question about not getting International T (as the IHT seems to refer to it inhouse) it IS official policy not to distribute it in Asia. This is a strategic decision, with the impetus for the magazine coming from Europe and New York. Whether it comes to Asia will depend upon the ability to make it make sense financially. But, I gather, it will be an overall strategic decision.