Friday, February 27, 2009

Dasha Khukova to edit POP

Have just woken up unfeasibly early to a clutch of emails from colleagues & friends in London & Milan, all alerting me to art & fashion dilettante Dasha Zhukova's appointment as editor in Chief at POP. All I could find in my extensive vocabulary to reply was Sweet Mother of God.

With Ms Grand's departure for LOVE it was obvious that just appointing one of London's pool of editors was never going to work. A statement needed to be made so that POP would continue to make headlines, justify its hefty £5 cover price and, most important, sell copies.

With her Russian oligarch father (Alexander Zhukov) behind her, Zhukova has already cut a swathe through the contemporary art world. I'm wondering how much the new POP will veer towards art from fashion under her direction. Traditionally art magazines have had tiny circulations, however prestigious and beautifully designed: the readership and advertising just isn't there. So, Zhukova's challenge will undoubtedly be to mesh her arts biased coverage with lucrative fashion advertising, whilst keeping & adding readers. Tricky.

However, I've worked on a couple of magazines that have had an E-i-C who knows bugger all about magazines and they are scary places. The underpaid and overworked proper staff end up taking up all the slack, whilst the E-i-C swans around looking delicious, spends all her time out of the office and, when she is there, has editorial flights of fancy that cannot possibly be met on existing editorial budgets.

So, one has to presume Zhukova is taking a fiscal stake in the venture, and will be adding some of her oligarch father's money to the editorial budget. British Grazia reports that POP will be launching a new website, a new London office, an installation space in Berlin and a partnership with The Saatchi Gallery in London. In the current fiscal climate at best that is brave, at worst suicidal.