NEW YORK — After a tumultuous decade under Conde Nast as the reigning lifestyles magazine for Generation X, Details is folding. It will relaunch as a young men’s fashion monthly from Fairchild Publications in October.
Since its acquisition by S.I. Newhouse Jr.’s Advance Publications in 1988, Details has struggled to find an identity in an evolving youth market. The huge popularity of randy men’s magazines like Maxim, with its paid circulation of 1.7 million, have threatened Details’ rate base in recent years, and even the diet of beer and babes that former Maxim editor Mark Golin introduced to Details last year failed to send circulation north of 550,000.
The move consolidates Fairchild’s position as a boutique unit of Conde Nast parent company Advance Publications, which acquired Fairchild from Disney last year. Home to smaller consumer glossies like Jane and W, as well as the trade books Women’s Wear Daily and Daily News Record, Fairchild has a track record with “smaller circulation books,” said Conde Nast spokeswoman Maurie Perl.
“Details’ most successful period was as a smaller book somewhere around 400,000, when it was a downtown, hip fashion magazine under James Truman,” said Perl. Under Fairchild, Details is expected to become the consumer affiliate of DNR, just as W is the consumer affiliate of WWD.
The men’s magazine market has hit a downturn this year as P.O.V., Icon and Bikini have folded. Fashion retail ads are down industrywide, but Fairchild editorial director Patrick McCarthy noted that ads for luxury items are rising. Target audience for the new Details will be “the 25- to 30-year-old guy who’s interested in fashion in all of its manifestations, including movies and music,” said McCarthy. “The days when you could be a pure-play fashion magazine for both women and men is long gone.”
The announcement came as a surprise to the Details staff, who’ve been instructed to clear out their offices by the end of the week. Golin has not announced his next move. Details readers in Hollywood can take consolation in the fact that the joint Oscar party to be thrown by Details and Artisan Entertainment at the Quixote Soundstage in West Hollywood on Friday night won’t be canceled. Details won’t participate, however.