Lucky launched in 2000 as an editorialized catalogue that offered pictures of clothes but little else. No models being skinny in weird fashion costumes, no articles about the same old lady subjects, just clothes. Founding editor Kim France, who was recently dismissed after ad pages declined 27 percent in 2009, didn't want to run articles about popular topics like dating and horoscopes. She also didn't want models who were too beautiful, or veer from a slavish devotion to bad boho-inflected styling. Lucky's new editor, Brandon Holley, who ran Jane, ElleGirl, and Yahoo's lady site Shine, understands that to attract advertisers she needs pictures of pretty people and some luxury goods, much better styling, and to be on top of this pesky Internet business.
So far she's brought in Andy Spade's company Partners & Spade to help with branding, beginning with the March issue, which features Heidi Klum as a cover model, and is planning a semiannual blogger conference beginning this Fashion Week. But her greatest asset in running a magazine about fashion that is supposed to feel relatable to readers may be that Holley seems relatable herself. She seems like the kind of lady that would be down for $5 margaritas served at a dingy bar, rather than out of a high-class hippo.
Today, after 15 years editing magazines like Jane and ElleGirl and a brief stint at Yahoo, Ms. Holley, 44, a blond, off-kilter beauty, now goes to work in Marc Jacobs skirts, Prada blouses and Dries Van Noten shoes. “I’ve developed a healthy sidelong glance at the fashion industry,” she said. “I love fashion and I love clothes and I love the way people dress, but I don’t cry at a Marc Jacobs show.”
She has at least that in common with her predecessor:
Ms. France’s distance from the runway — physical or otherwise — helped make Lucky relatable to women. “She isn’t and wasn’t a fashion person, and really, neither are the readers of most fashion magazines,” said Jean Godfrey-June, who has been Lucky’s beauty director since the first issue. “Most people don’t care what the pants of the season are, they want pants that look good on them."
But Holley is realistic. She knows she has to go high-end sometimes, but also, that she can't be completely obscene about it:
“I think we should show the full scope of what’s out there and allow the reader to decide whether she buys a $4,000 Prada bag,” Ms. Holley said during a conversation in the office of Ms. Myers, Lucky’s publisher.
Ms. Holley called later to say she couldn’t imagine actually putting a $4,000 bag in Lucky. “Maybe $2,000,” she said.