For more than 120 years, Vogue magazine has tried to present a rarefied world, filled each month with striking people and high fashion spread across several hundred glossy pages.
And yet, like other magazines, it has wrestled with how to translate its print sensibility to the openness and speed of online journalism.
On Wednesday, Vogue is expected to unveil a new website, its latest attempt to reflect the magazine’s ethos online. Both the editor in chief, Anna Wintour, and the creative director for digital, Sally Singer, acknowledge that Vogue’s site has yet to fulfill its potential and hope that this revamping represents a deeper change in what it offers Web and mobile readers.
Singer, who had worked at Vogue for more than a decade before a stint as editor of The New York Times’ T Magazine, returned in November 2012. She said she wanted to try to create a more interactive and broader publication that did not replicate the magazine, but extended it – “a new Vogue under the auspices of Vogue.”
The first version of Vogue’s website, introduced in 2010, “was much more a reflection of the magazine,” Wintour said. A small full-time staff of about seven, supplemented with freelancers and people on loan from the magazine, turned out a dozen or so articles a day that faithfully reflected the magazine, Singer said.
The new site has its own expanded staff now and its own space in the headquarters of its parent company, Condé Nast. It will cover news at a faster pace and will now mount its own fashion shoots. Familiar web fashion staples, like street style photographs, will continue to appear.
“The technology has obviously changed since Sally came on board,” Wintour said. “We can be much quicker, nimbler, make much more content available.”
It also has a redesigned look, with a cleanliness that has become the new convention for online design, created for easy navigation on a mobile device. Only one advertiser will appear on each page.
Vogue has redoubled its efforts in creating unique online content, which Singer sees as crucial to maintaining the magazine’s sensibility.
In May, the fashion photographer Mario Testino took over the magazine’s Instagram feed for the annual Met Gala, a benefit for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In June, the hairstylist Christiaan gave free haircuts in Madison Square Park, and the resulting photographs and videos were presented online.
Singer also highlighted a tiny 3-D printed replica of the model Karlie Kloss, dressed in what appeared to be a tiny couture outfit.
The model of the model, she said, would be taken around the world and photographed for the website.
The site draws about 3.3 million unique visitors a month, Vogue says. (New York Magazine’s fashion site, The Cut, gets about 4 million, it says.)
Wintour said the new site had “the authority and the vision of the print magazine.”