The Remaking of W
Editor in Chief Stefano Tonchi takes you inside the new W magazine. Meet the writers, editors, photographers, models, and celebrities who bring each issue to life.
Released on 11/9/2010
Yeah, we have to make a decision by today,
tonight, or tomorrow.
[Man] Thank you very much.
Okay, you're going to help us.
You have to tell us what one.
What cover do you like?
This one or that one?
Large frame or no frame?
Good, I agree with you.
(light, airy music)
From the first moment that I started working on it,
I understood that it was a real challenge.
Here we have a beautiful magazine.
Something that people really love, you know,
for the images.
For the format.
For the quality.
But that needed to be updated and needed something else.
The challenge is also to make it happen in a short time.
I don't have the time to make prototypes.
You know, the prototypes that we are making
will go to print.
It's a little bit like changing the wheels
while you're still running.
But it's a tiny meeting.
I'm warning everybody.
Crappy printouts, but you can just imagine how this
would glow and this.
I'm going to send them this way
if somebody wants to have a look at that.
I made a plan to try different things.
To open up the spectrum of what a magazine can be.
That's a nice T.O.C. too.
Stefano and I, in our very first meeting,
talked about changing the logo.
We were trying to do something which is kind of,
has some classic sensibility to it
and I like manually condensed it and started playing
with the serif so I bridged them here.
The last logo, this ran for I think 20 years.
So, you know, without ever being changed.
And it looks really ...
It's kind of embarrassing if you like design a new logo
and six months later, you're still fussing with it.
So you want to nail it on the first time.
(light piano music)
[Stefano] W has been always known as a fashion bible.
I think we have to open up that concept.
Fashion has to be seen in the context
of contemporary culture.
As much as W has always been known
for kind of provocative images.
It is really also about provocative writing.
I have no underwear on.
Hi, I'm Lynn Hirschberg.
Thank you for being here.
I met Lynn in the pages of Esquire.
I never thought that it was like actually a redhead woman
People respect Lynn immensely.
So I think she could pretty much interview
whoever she wanted to.
So tell me, as a veteran of a really famous sex scene
in Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist...
What's the hardest thing?
What's the hardest thing in a sex scene?
Well, excuse me.
What's the most difficult thing?
It's always great when it's the first time
that somebody's featured in a magazine.
It's fun to get to expose the world and have impact
What are you?
I mean it's a challenge to have
so many different characters and really transforming
each actress into this sort of ideal version
of her in our eyes.
Portraits is what we love to do.
I will ask again, when is it shipping?
Friday no matter what.
So three covers are shipping on Friday.
All of them.
That's what's happening, by the way.
Not one, duo, treo.
We're printing tomorrow morning.
So I have two hours to close the next half of the book.
It's going to be really down to the wire.
I'm used to that last-minute crunch.
But this is on a scale that I've never experienced before.
The first issue was an incredibly intense experience
because the prototype is what went to press.
So every decision that was made was a definitive decision.
I hope people, obviously, are going to think
it looks different from the last W,
but also that it looks different from any other magazine
It's about really creating something
that you are proud of.
We have to go.
I created a magazine that I want to read.
It is always good to have the magazines in the car.
It's great expectations for them.
It's great expectations of what the new W will be.
I always kind of follow my instinct
when it comes to fashion.
I'm not really into reading about the trends.
I always think let's make the trend.
The opportunity to have beauty elements
throughout the magazine is very liberating
for us because the sky is the limit as far as ideas go.
We want to put interesting people on the cover.
Something that is not as predictable
as just another beautiful actress,
but something that connects to the content of the magazine.
Like, you know, our October issue had Ryan Gosling
and Michelle Williams on the cover.
Not just because they are in a movie,
but also because it's our His and Her Issue.
It's an amazing day.
You know, they're both very shy, personal people
and they feel really comfortable and that's really
when you get a great picture.
This, this, this, this.
I like this better than that.
She's more alive.
She's more alive.
Yeah, I think we all agree.
Stefano is a amazing Editor in Chief.
Not only because he's really bright,
but he also really believes in the people that he hires.
Stefano, though, I would rather err on the side of
no one's heard of it than everyone's heard of it.
I just think.
Stefano loves the element of surprise.
I think it's very important today
to keep the dream of fashion alive.
I often like to look for things that are just
on the verge of becoming important
or that are slightly outside the usual parameters
of the fashion world.
(off-key piano chord)
Yes and more.
W has a thing where like they kind of curate
the experience, but they allow you the free will of choice.
So what you get when you get a W magazine,
you get like a lot of variety.
Yeah, some good looks in here.
[Interviewer] And how would you sort of sum up
what you see happening?
W is very close linked to art.
That's why it is such an amazing platform to work for.
I like the idea of being on the edge of the fashion world,
looking in and looking out and bringing the two together.
We use a lot of reference points when we shoot
in art, poetry, in everything.
W is a magazine that's actually pushing the envelope.
They're offering to their photographers freedom
to express their vision.
You give them space and you give them the resources
to make that dream a reality.
Stefano has very deep roots in the art world
and art has always been a big part of the magazine's DNA.
There's always been an art issue,
but there hasn't been an art issue like this one before.
Today we shot Kim Kardashian for the new W.
Stefano liked the idea of Kim Kardashian being the cover
of the art issue.
We shot her naked.
Really as the embodiment of the Warhol idea.
Everybody wants to be a celebrity.
It was a very collaborative idea between Barbara Kruger
I'm honored she's writing on my photos.
I guess I'm used to it because I worked for magazines
and they do that all the time.
I don't know.
It's just like I get how cool it is.
You know, it's not just like another photo shoot for me.
People are attracted to Stefano.
He's created this like sort of infrastructure of friends,
designers, and celebrities or whatnot.
There's this whole like energy around him.
We did 10 pages in September Vogue, so voila.
Well, you should have done it in W.
Well, that was then.
This is now.
I love the colors, but I don't wanna lose him.
He's got that sparkle and that like,
that it looks like he always kind of has a secret.
What can I do, you know?
You're looking at Stefano.
Well because he's the one who knows
what I'm talking about.
Well, you do too.
Stefano knows everyone.
If you're with him in Milan, it's a bit like walking around
with the mayor of the town.
Oh, my god.
How are you?
The readers of W are very international.
They want to know it all.
They want to know it first.
It's one of my favorite magazines in the world.
(cheering and applause)
Awe, thank you.
(crowd sings Happy Birthday)
Each one of the persons that I hired,
took a chance.
They left behind some secure jobs,
something that was much more kind of quiet
and they all came for a challenge.
You are too much.
Thank you so much.
And thank you for all the good work.
More to come.
This film can tell I think the story of what happened,
but at the end, you know, it's all about
what is on the pages of the magazine.
We are very proud of it.
We started the process, but a good magazine
really never rests.
I think it's up to the readers.
It's up to, you know, our audience to judge
from the magazine.
You have to start, always, a book from the front.