The mag trade: Net-a-Porter's new glossy magazine set to be a serious rival to Vogue

The luxurious 284-page Porter will launch today in 220 cities and 60 countries

Some 122 years after the New York publisher Arthur Baldwin Turnure created Vogue, the so-called "fashion bible" is facing its most serious competition to date – a magazine produced from a shopping centre in west London.

The luxurious 284-page Porter will launch today in 220 cities and 60 countries. It will promote itself at displays in New York's Grand Central Station and at London's Victoria Station because the Porter reader is a "woman on the move". So much so that she takes 11 foreign journeys a year. The £5 cover price for a magazine with six issues a year will make little indentation on her annual household earnings, which are likely to be more than £170,000 – according to a presentation given yesterday at, appropriately enough, the Magazine Restaurant in Hyde Park.

Porter is revolutionary because it is the creation not of a typical publisher but a retailer, Net-a-Porter, which has its online shopping empire on the upper floor of the Westfield shopping centre, in Shepherd's Bush. Its founder, Natalie Massenet, insisted yesterday that her company was "also a media group and we love print", producing four written titles which all help to drive consumers towards the website.

Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, has sniffed that the Porter project sounds like "a grand Sainsbury's magazine". In fact, it is nothing of the sort – and Vogue's publisher Condé Nast has reason to be concerned at the appearance of a rich publication designed by its own former creative director Robin Derrick.

Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet (Rex Features) Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet (Rex Features)
For a start, the fashion industry has clearly embraced the concept. It's not just that Gisele Bundchen is the cover star, so much that the big names jump out of almost every page: there's Manolo Blahnik on shoes, Eva Herzigova on her tuxedo style, and Victoria Beckham on technology. Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry lead the high-end advertisers. Away from the cover, the models include Claudia Schiffer, Penélope Cruz and Karlie Kloss. Vogue did manage, however, to tie up Kate Moss by hiring her as its fashion editor and publishing her first shoot days before Porter's launch.

Despite the Sainsbury's comparison, there's not much of a hard-sell in Porter, save that the reminder to "Shop Porter with the Net-a-Porter app" is subtly included at the bottom of most pages. Indeed, some of the featured garments are not available on the site.

Porter editor-in-chief Lucy Yeomans and her publishing director Tess Macleod-Smith are both old adversaries of Vogue, from the days when they produced Harper's Bazaar for Hearst Magazines. Today, they have the weight of retailer cash behind them, part of an important trend in modern publishing. Earlier this week, another magazine specialist, Bauer Media, launched The Debrief, a digital title aimed at the twentysomething woman about town and, importantly, produced in collaboration with high-street store H&M and drinks brand Bacardi as its "brand partners". Not long ago, retailers merely encouraged media to use digital technology to make it easy for readers to purchase the products on the pages. Now, the big shopping companies – on and offline – are taking charge of producing content.

Porter, funded though it is by internet shopping, transcends the conventional idea of customer publishing (or content marketing as the sector is now known). Its focus on "incredible women" includes serious profiles of financial power broker Amanda Staveley, Roman Abramovich's partner Dasha Zhukova, and the Chinese businesswoman Zhang Xin.

It might be exclusive, aimed at readers of "high net worth" with "huge purchasing power" – Macleod-Smith's words – but it has global distribution and a print run of 400,000. The devil wears Prada – but may just fear Porter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas