The Grey Lady's style bible hits the net

T magazine, the cutting-edge style supplement of The New York Times, is going online and is also now available on British news stands. Susie Rushton reports

They dragged their John Lobb-shod feet for a decade but the luxury goods brands are finally getting online. And where their largesse can purchase advertising space, fashion magazines can flourish. So why are glossy fash-mag sites – the digital equivalent of a big, fat wodge of photographic fantasia and witty text – not sprouting like snowdrops?

With few exceptions, publishers have either reverted to a jumbly offering of celebrity and catwalk tittle-tattle that doesn't bother with the costly shoots found in the book – see vogue.co.uk – or, with other indie upstarts, serviced a niche/industry audience (see Showstudio, fashionwiredaily or even style.com, the website of US Vogue, which shows catwalk footage rather than shoots).

Could the third way be an urbane mix of "charticles" and "duvets", otherwise known as the cute editorial and commercial graphics that The New York Times hope will give their new Tmagazine.com the edge?

Four years after its print launch, the glossy style magazine of the American paper has launched a virtual twin that online director Horacio Silva thinks is "an immersive experience" that complements the award-winning magazine.

As befits a glamorous, well-connected mag, T threw a party during the last round of prêt-a-porter shows in Milan, where Donatella and the D&G boys toasted editor Stefano Tonchi. Published 15 times a year, with issues dedicated to men's and womens' fashion, beauty, travel, living, design and an annual "holiday" issue in December, T's regular writers include Lynne Hirschberg, Suzy Menkes and Alice Rawsthorne; Paolo Roversi and Jean-Baptiste Mondino are among its photographers.

From December the magazine has also been distributed with the International Herald Tribune (also owned by the NYT), giving it reach into the Europe and Middle East. Until now, T's online presence has only been accessible through nytimes.com, where it was presented without a separate visual identity. "We've always been an island off the mainland of The New York Times. We speak a different vernacular," says Silva.

Spending "what seemed like the gestation period of an elephant" on the launch, Silva and a small team worked with online design agency CreateThe (whose clients include Calvin Klein, Tom Ford and Miu Miu) – the first time any New York Times publication has deigned to work with an outsider.

The first thing you notice about Tmagazine.com – also accessible through the main paper's site and iht.com – is its physical beauty. The landing page is a glorious photo from one of the big-budget shoots, or a celebrity portrait such as the Natalie Portman cover that ran at launch. Then you notice the ticker-tape style scrolling headlines of the site's blog, called The Moment.

At the time of writing, the five-times-daily updated blog included contributions from artist Francesco Vezzoli (an analysis of Monica Vitti's greatest career moments with illustration taken from YouTube), a live review of the day's earlier Dsquared menswear show in Milan and the observation that The Carter has been named New York's dirtiest hotel. During the Art Basel Miami Beach fair the blog updated 18 times a day – and, in a curious twist, was then printed locally as a newsletter for fairgoers. Solipsism, they promise, will be kept to a minimum. Très elegante.

All of the magazine's columns, features, front-of-book infographics and shoots meanwhile are accessible though dropdown menus. While it is a beautiful ride, at times Tmagazine.com falters in its navigation – could anyone guess which stories are being offered by headlines "Silly Putting" or "Isn't it Iconic", without hint from either image or display text? Silva admits that the site is still being tweaked, calling the early months "an iterative process".

To be added in the near future are "definitive guides" to fashion and style. "You'd type in 'Lagerfeld' and you'll get an essay by one of the Times' star editor-writers. And then in reverse chronological order, links to everything ever written in The New York Times or T, by Amy Spindler, Cathy Horyn, myself, Guy Trebay. There'll also be complementary video." Users will be able to contribute to the guides, "but they'll be rigorously fact-checked and copy edited – because how else can they be authoritative?"

Silva says that live blog entries won't get the same fact-checking treatment. "On the blog, everything is looked at by me, and another pair of eyes. I'm using well-seasoned pros who are familiar with our ethics."

There are plenty of well-seasoned pros on show in the site's two video sections, most of which makes edifying lunch-hour viewing. "Curated Shorts" comprises 24 films by artists including Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin and choreographer Merce Cunningham; 'T Exclusive Films' is 19 commissioned interviews (such as Natalie Portman on acting), cultural guides (the New Museum of Contemporary Art in Manhattan) and, before it all gets too serious, good old catwalk show footage (Fendi in China). "The challenge is to avoid making bad TV," says Silva, "The standard thing is to go behind-scenes, and it's presented by someone you don't care about unless you're in their immediate family, having their make-up done. Give me a break."

Why hasn't fashion applied its imagination to the web sooner? "The people who run traditional print magazines are a bit older and I think they just hoped that the internet would go away," says Silva, who in a previous incarnation wrote blind items for Chic Happens, a fashion gossip page on the indie site Hintmag, "They couldn't work out how to make money or how to run their marquee photographers. And I also think that the technology just wasn't there before. There was also a reluctance on the part of the creatives to get involved."

Persuading the big fashion photographers – and their all-powerful agents – to create unique web material for editorial purposes, Silva concedes, is difficult. "You have to convince them that it is worth having their pictures up on the web. They say it can be ripped off, but you have to convince them it's easier to scan from a magazine and rip it off that way. The next challenge for us is to do a pure fashion video, something that really blows your mind."

The advertisers might get there first. Although the landing page is refreshingly free from ads, Gucci and Louis Vuitton (and other LVMH brands) feature heavily on the site; video ads are planned for the future. Advertisers pay for an annual package that displays their campaigns in rotation across the site, most notably those "duvets": large, full-screen banners that slide across the start of features and shoots. Though the company won't give figures for either traffic or ad rates, Seth Rogin, VP Advertising at The New York Times, says selling those annual packages "hasn't been a challenge. They were sold out before we launched, and we made the month's hits in the first three days. We behaved like a television network. Stefano and Horacio presented the forthcoming season to advertisers at the Four Seasons – and by doing that the entire inventory sold out before anyone saw a single page.

Outsized glossy W magazine, from the Condé Nast stable, has also just launched a new site, featuring a similar demographic of interviewee and editors's blog. Is T looking over its shoulder at its alphabetic rival?

"Well, that site is an example of a disconnect between the look and tone of what they do in print and what they do online," purrs Silva, " I just don't know why you would spend so much time making a beautiful magazine and then dismiss the website as the red-headed, illegitimate stepchild." Ouch!

www.tmagazine.com

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Business Intelligence Program Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: BI Project / Program Manager BI Project...

Radian6/Social Media/Digital Analyst

£250 - £300 per day: Progressive Recruitment: LEAD DIGITAL ANALYST - CONTRACT ...

Head of Technology - London - Up to £70K + Benefits

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Head of Technology -...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil