Relaunched style bible 'Nova' closes again

The quintessential Sixties style bible,
Nova, is to disappear for good after its provocative approach failed to attract modern readers.

The quintessential Sixties style bible, Nova, is to disappear for good after its provocative approach failed to attract modern readers.

In the 1960s, the magazine was praised by designers and critics for successfully capturing the optimistic spirit of the times. But, a reincarnation in the 1990s was criticised as a poor imitation of the original, while sales lagged behind those of its competitors.

Critics felt the relaunch did not measure up to the magazine's shining reputation, earned through its controversial covers, one famously causing a boycott by South African readers. That cover featured a small coloured girl next to the line: "You may think I look cute, but would you live next door to my mummy and daddy?"

After several relaunches, its publisher, IPC Media, has been forced to admit defeat. Tim Brookes, its managing director, said: "It is with great reluctance that we have had to make this decision. Nova was ground-breaking in its style and delivery, but commercially has not reached its targets."

The magazine, originally launched in 1965, had an enormous impact on the fashion of the day. After an absence of more than 20 years, it reappeared on news stands last summer. But within months it was relaunched under Jeremy Langmead, the former editor of The Sunday Times Style section. He hoped to attract a readership that was "intelligent, twentysomething and fashion conscious", but rival magazine editors felt that Nova had outlived its appeal.

Alexandra Shulman, the editor of Vogue, said "The original Nova was part of its time, it's a different time now, so it's difficult to do the same thing. Nova's strength was that it was irreverent, clever and quite shocking, and visually very strong. There are a lot of magazines these days and to succeed you must be different."

Fiona McIntosh, the editor of Elle magazine, questioned its ability to appeal to a more modern readership. She said: "I don't know how relevant that style of journalism ­ provocative and groundbreaking then ­ is now. There's little that shocks today."

The latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations placed Nova's sales at 75,142, well behind Elle, on 224,355,and Vogue, on 202,694, between July and December last year.

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