Mila Kunis on the cover of the August 2014 issue
W is a monthly American fashion magazine published by Condé Nast, who purchased original owner Fairchild Publications in 1999. It was created in 1971 by the publisher of sister magazine Women's Wear Daily, James Brady. The magazine is an oversize format – ten inches wide and thirteen inches tall. Stefano Tonchi is the editor of W; Lucy Kriz is the vice president and publisher. W magazine has a reader base of nearly half a million, 469,000 of which are annual subscribers. 80 percent of the magazine's readers are female and have an average household income of $135,840.
Often the subject of controversy, W magazine has featured stories and covers which have provoked mixed responses from its intended audience. In July 2005, W produced a 60-page Steven Klein portfolio of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt entitled "Domestic Bliss". The shoot was based upon Pitt's idea of the irony of the perfect American family; set in 1963, the photographs mirror the era when 1960s disillusionment was boiling under the facade of pristine 1950s suburbia.
Other controversial issues include Steven Meisel's shoot entitled "Asexual Revolution," in which male and female models (including Jessica Stam and Karen Elson) are depicted in gender-bending styles and provocative poses. In addition, Tom Ford's racy shoot with Steven Klein and the accompanying article on sexuality in fashion came as a shock to some loyal readers. During the interview, Ford is quoted as saying "I've always been about pansexuality. Whether I'm sleeping with girls or not at this point in my life, the clothes have often been androgynous, which is very much my standard of beauty." Steven Klein also was the photographer for the racy photo shoot featured in the August 2007 issue, showcasing David and Victoria Beckham. Bruce Weber produced a 60-page tribute to New Orleans in the April 2008 issue, and shot a 36-page story on the newest fashion designers in Miami for the July 2008 issue. Most of W's most memorable covers are featured on the W Classics page on the magazine's website.
W is also known for its coverage of American and European society. Many of these society luminaries, as well as the elite of the entertainment and fashion industries, have allowed W into their homes for the magazine's W House Tours feature, including Marc Jacobs, Sir Evelyn Rothschild and Imelda Marcos.
In 2011, Steven Meisel created controversy again by promoting fake advertisements throughout the November issue of the magazine. In 2013, Meisel shoot RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3/NY Socialite Carmen Carrera in an editorial called "Show girl", promoting the beauty of the transsexual model.
In 2013, the magazine started combining the January/December and June/July issues so as to free up money to invest in the magazine's digital brand.
Photo editing controversy
The issue of drastic photo retouching became national news when in the December 2009 issue, actress Demi Moore was presented with a remarkably slim figure and what appeared to many critics, including Anthony Citrano of BoingBoing, to be a poorly "Photoshopped" hip. Both the magazine and Moore denied this claim, with the actress even posting on her personal Twitter account what she claimed was the original photo from the shoot, and further disputed that the editors of W had slimmed her figure to make her appear thinner.
Citrano later challenged this claim by Moore by offering $5,000 to charity, if Moore could prove that the photo she provided was the original photo from the shoot.
The issue was escalated when, on November 24, 2009, the consumer watchdog website The Consumerist posted an article claiming that they had discovered the original photo used on the cover, asserting that Moore's head, legs, and arms were superimposed on the hips and torso of model Anja Rubik.
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- Echo Media - W Magazine
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- W Classics
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