Image is everything for style bibles

Following Wonderland’s entry to the high-end style sector, Alex Black speaks to the magazine about its raison d’être and asks PROs how they make their clients attractive to such discerning publications

What with Julian MacDonald's fur collection being stormed by PETA and Kate Moss being dropped like a hot brick, the world of fashion has been kept thoroughly entertained during September. But there was also a print media story at the beginning of the month with the launch of Wonderland, a glossy magazine aimed at the young, wealthy city dwellers already served by Wallpaper* and Vogue.

The magazine was the brainchild of a contestant in Dragons' Den , the Pop Idol-style series in which budding entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a panel of investors. That contestant was Wonderland's editor-in-chief Huw Gwyther.

Despite every WH Smith stocking the first edition, reaction to the launch was muted. No agencies PRWeek spoke to had got further than seeing the front cover from a distance. Yet managing
editor Elaine Waldron insists Wonderland is 'very much in touch with PROs'.

Eye-catching pitches
So how to approach it? Stephanie Churchill PR managing director Ann Rafter says when pitching to titles in this high-end market, the crucial hook is the 'style icon' angle. 'If you're pitching to [its competitor] Wallpaper*, you have to look for interesting collaborations,' she says. 'We successfully pitched eyewear designed by Alain Mikli and Philippe Starck – a design twist on a fashion angle.'

Chocolate PR account director Gavin Spicer says the Europe-wide circulation of the magazines in this sector is rewarding, but PROs must have a product with genuine design appeal to AB early adopters. 'But that can be anything from a mobile phone to a set of travel speakers,' he adds.

If you have not seen Wonderland, it is heavy, glossy and stuffed with striking images of beautiful people. You have to turn to page 54 (out of 212) before you get a sniff of editorial, always a statement of intent for a title serious about aesthetics.

There are plenty of fashion pieces (Patrick Cox shoes, Mulberry handbags, a day with Diane Von Furstenberg), some nods to design (Hollywood set designers, Philippe Starck, Peter Blake) and wackier pieces on mobile phones and topiary.

But with another title, Futurespace, preparing to enter the sector in December, Wonderland does not have much time to take on Wallpaper* and the other style glossies as the new kid on the block.

Publisher Visual Talent
Print run 100,000
Frequency Bimonthly
Managing editor Elaine Waldron

What's the story of Wonderland?
A collaborative concept funded by a few investors, the biggest of whom is telecoms millionaire Peter Jones. After being impressed by editor-in-chief Huw Gwyther's appearance on Dragons' Den,
Jones said he was 'intrigued by the high-risk, high-return nature of the venture' and awarded a grant of £175,000 to our publisher.

Tell us about your editorial stance.
We aim to create an important, modern brand that will quickly become synonymous with good taste, style and originality, overflowing with the kind of information one might expect from a discerning friend. Wonderland's aim is to inform, not to dictate, so readers may decide for themselves how to spend those two most valuable of commodities: their time and their money.

And the readers?
Educated, affluent men and women of sophisticated tastes, aged 25 to 45. Urban, creative sophisticates, in other words.

What do you offer that differentiates the mag?
Wonderland is aimed at both men and women, with a very visual format. We have a lot of photography, but we still give the reader comprehensive features on art, film, design and fashion.

Publisher IPC
Circulation 107,805
Frequency Ten issues a year
Editor-in-chief Jeremy Langmead

What does Wallpaper* offer?
The best new and exciting design from around the world – be it an airport lounge, a hotel room, a library, a jacket or a jar of moisturiser – presented in an innovative and striking manner. Readers can sit back on their sofa and trawl a tightly edited view of the world's creative hubs, companies, design studios and art college laboratories.

Who reads it?
Our readers are young and affluent, well educated and discriminating. They seek good design in all areas of their lives and are turned on by style, not fashionability. They don't want celebrities or free pairs of flip-flops. Two thirds of our readers work in the creative industries and use the magazine as a resource in their professional lives as well as for personal pleasure.

Tell us how you differ from your rivals.
We offer a beautiful environment that is untainted by the commercial pressures faced by many magazines .

What do you want from PROs?
What's coming next that might be of interest to a design-conscious, well-travelled and intelligent consumer. Who's working on what? Who's about to launch what? And we want exclusives.

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