Last year, Lucy Yeomans left her editor-in-chief post at Harper’s Bazaar UK for Net-a-Porter, where she’s now EIC of Porter magazine. With the third issue now on stands, Yeomans dialed us up from London to discuss why Porter is the furthest thing from a catalogue, buying cowboy hats for Lara Stone, and why she’ll never run a 3-quarters shot of a celebrity in front of a white background.
That is your third issue of the magazine. What has it been like transitioning from Harper’s Bazaar UK, a more traditional editorial magazine, to Porter? How do you see the 2 audiences as different, and how do you see them overlapping?
Harper’s Bazaar has a huge heritage and history, so creating Porter everything from deciding where it gets printed within the States and within the U.K., to coming up with its name and really arising with the woman was incredibly exciting. Near the tip, I used to be going, “Oh my God, we’re making this new magazine that hasn’t existed before.There was a charge to starting fresh and asking what women want now from magazines; looking at frequency, after we feature the clothes. One of the things I actually think hard [about] is making sure that we’re featuring things when you should purchase them within the stores. Once we shoot a collection, I don’t want it to be about keeping up with the [other] magazines, I need it to be about her. I’ve always believed that the woman is crucial person you’re talking to as an editor. The [other] thing that was really interesting for me was the amazing dialogue that Net-a-Porter has with its women. I’d never been a publishing environment where you might have that to-and-fro. You’ve millions of emails and shopping teams who are literally talking to the patron. It needs to be a conversation. This isn’t an age when you just say, “Do this./p>
Right, if you examine something in a magazine or you see it online, you wish to be able to buy it. Individuals are pretty sophisticated, and so they don’t want to wait around until next season.
Yes, that’s just the world now. Whether she goes and buys it from the store or whether she goes and buys it from Net-a-Porter or Gucci.com wherever she buys it from, we need to make it relevant for her now. In the present issue, now we have high summer mixed with pre-fall. The pre-fall pieces we’ve chosen, we’re really seeking to ensure that they’re transitional pieces.
You’ve touched upon this slightly bit, but what’s the combination with Net-a-Porter like and the way directly do the magazine and the site interact?
Well, we obviously have Porter, which is powered by Net-a-Porter, after which we have now The Edit, the online magazine of Net-a-porter. When it comes to Porter, really what we wish to do is showcase the most effective fashions. Whether that’s Chanel or Prada brands that Net-a-Porter doesn’t carry or whether it’s from a smaller brand, we’re really looking to ensure we feature the best of the best. In some ways, there’s maybe more freedom in that than in the normal model. How we work together is our fashion director, Gabriele Hackworthy when we see shows, if there are pieces we like and believe in editorially, we will talk to the buy team and say that we predict these are going to be really key pieces for next season. That dialogue is involved there.
Also, for example, that cowboy hat that Lara Stone wore [in the current issue] is something that the stylist, Melanie Ward, had picked up from a store in L.A. called Lone Cowboy. We shot it and Net-a-Porter said, That appears great; that looks amazing; let’s buy it. We will be like a fairy godmother to some brands, which is quite lovely. At the same time, if something’s fantastic at Chanel, which for the foreseeable future Net-a-Porter isn’t going to be able to have, we now know that to be the perfect we must be comprehensive. It’s not just what’s on sale. I think that’s been a misconception that thankfully we’ve dispelled.
Right, it’s not a catalogue. And the content isn’t just fashion and sweetness you cover travel and features. I know you come from a features background and work with serious writers writing about serious issues. Why was that important for you to incorporate?
I’ve always been a big lover of fashion and a giant lover of beauty, but I believe at the end of the day they’re tools for women to feel fantastic about themselves. That’s why in the primary issue I wanted that [cover] line, “Fashion to make you feel phenomenal.A fantastic dress is simply as good as the beautiful party or the attractive experience or the amazing trip that you’ve taken. I really like the truth that we will have a bit on somebody like Gisele after which go on to speak to someone like [photojournalist] Lynsey Addario. I sum it up as: for women with an amazing style and an amazing story.
You’re featuring Lara Stone on the cover and you previously spotlighted Gisele, who was on the cover of the debut issue. What was behind the decision to feature models rather than celebrities? I’m wondering both why you picked a model, and why Lara specifically.
Lots of it came out once we were talking to Inez and Vinoodh, who ended up shooting a variety of our covers. When we first spoke to them in regards to the project, we were talking about the importance of authenticity within the image. In some ways, it was the alternative of a [typical] fashion shoot. It was the woman coming first. Obviously, when we did Gaga [on the cover of Porter’s second issue], who’s not a model, again we came at her from a very natural and non-theatrical angle. I wanted to see the 28-year-old girl who’s managed to turn herself right into a megaglobal brand. We have now some Hollywood covers developing in the pipeline but they’re all individuals who want to have interaction in the creative process, rather than show up and have three quarters of them shot in front of a white background.
Lara always interests me. I believe she’s this really interesting character, and clearly her return to modeling after the baby could be a superb story. Gisele has something to say she’s a powerhouse. I feel there are such a lot of celebrity covers where the team is very compromised in terms of what they will do. For us, it’s concerning the access and other people feeling like they can give us something that they won’t be able to present anywhere else.
I’m wondering what you think in regards to the role of editing and the editor making these decisions. I read an interview recently with Eva Chen, and she said and I assumed this was very astute that when Lucky first came out, it was before online shopping was such an enormous thing, so people wanted to take a look at pages and pages of shoes. Now, if you need to take a look at pages and pages of shoes, you may go on Net-a-Porter or all different kinds of websites. What’s more important is that people want to see “The Shoe.I’m wondering what you think about that, especially working on a magazine that’s under the umbrella of a web based shopping site?
I should say that I agree together with her. For me and for Porter, the important thing and I do know this sounds really obvious but we want to help her get dressed. It’s in regards to the messaging. It’s about saying, “You know what, you’ll be able to discuss this trend or this trend or this trend. But, you already know, just buy this beautiful oversize coat.Or buy an incredible cape this season. Whatever. It is likely to be a knee-high boot or all about a shearling jacket. For me, it’s not about showing endless products. If she loves the trend, she can go off and explore it. Curation, I think, is the principle thing. It’s about the eye, and it’s about the point of view and people trusting that viewpoint. That was one in all the elements that I loved about Bazaar within the 1950s and 0s. They were very helpful and direct.
What do you may have arising for the magazine?
We’re probably at that stage where we just go issue to issue. We’ve got plenty of plans for the year ahead. There are a variety of updates to the mobile experience and the digital edition. There’s a lot of latest photographers coming onboard. It’s funny, someone said to me, “You know, it takes a year for a magazine to find its voice,and we’re at the tip of the year and I’m like, “Oh God, does that mean it’s going to take us two years?/p>
You’ve been working with so many great photographers and stylists.
You may have to search out your people. If you’re saying to people, “Hey, do a shoot for this magazine,and they’re like, “What do you want me to do?then they don’t have a reference point. I feel very happy that in issue three it all pulled together, but we wanted have a voice and be more adventurous. From an internal perspective, I’d love to maneuver from start-up to sustainable so I can have a life again. But that never happens for magazines, does it? There are so many things. It’s going to be a phenomenal fall; let’s just say that.