News & Scoops

2011 February 2

Alex Gonzalez Named Creative Director at W

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Alex Gonzalez in 2010 Alex Gonzalez in 2010
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(NEW YORK) Another AR New York man has gone back in-house at Conde Nast. Stefano Tonchi has hired Alex Gonzalez, a co-founder of the firm, as W's new creative director. The move comes three months after the abrupt departure of former creative director Jody Quon. At the time, Tonchi stated that he would bear the position's resonsibilities himself. According to reports, Tonchi met Gonzalez during the former's tenure as creative director of l'Uomo Vogue; years later, they lived in the same building on West 12th Street.

Three months after the departure of Jody Quon, W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi has hired a new creative director, Alex Gonzalez. Tonchi originally planned to shoulder the creative director’s responsibilities himself, but he since decided that it would be nice to have help. “I had to close before Christmas, and really I was here until the last day, the last hour,” Tonchi has said. “Basically, I didn’t have one day off for months.” Gonzalez stated he won't be making any hires of his own; his start date is still being finalized.

Gonzalez's partner in AR New York, of course, is Raul Martinez, who currently sits atop the Vogue masthead as design director. Vogue and W, of course, have always had very different identities, both content-wise and visually. But AR New York is known for a more quote-unquote consumer-friendly design for clients such as Banana Republic, Jones New York, Valentino, and Jimmy Choo. Is Tonchi easing W's ultra-exclusive sensibility down a notch? September will tell.

And as for those sales figures? According to a spokesperson, W's ad pages were up 13% for Tonchi's first four issues—September through December—and have been up a total of 6.5% from January through March 2011. While that news is promising, these increases are compared with those discouraging 2010 sales. During the first half of 2010, W was one ot the only two titles (the other being Town & Country) to continue to slide, down 14% to 423 pages—and that's compared with 2009 numbers, which posted double-digit decreases from the flusher days of pre-recession 2008. Recovery? It's a process.

UPDATE, 2/1: A representative for AR New York requested clarification on the following matters: "While AR New York is exceptionally proud of the work we have done with Banana Republic, Jimmy Choo and Jones New York, the agency’s reputation is built upon some of the most iconic campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Valentino, YSL etc. as our archive demonstrates. In addition to his role as Creative Director at W, Gonzalez will continue as Executive Creative Director for a select group of the agency’s clients." And to answer our hypothetical question, "Is Tonchi easing W's ultra-exclusive sensibility down a notch?" the representative responded, "This is the antithesis of their collective intentions for W." So expect ultra-ultra exclusive sensibilities come September?

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