W Magazine is one of those publications we love to curl up with on a Sunday. Like Eva Chen said about print in her 2013 TNP interview, “You want to tear it out; you want to feel it; you want to put the magazine close to your face.” That’s how we feel about W, and have similar (yet less inappropriate feelings) about the man at its helm – Stefano Tonchi. In an age where everything is “at our fingertips” as Tonchi says, we sat down with this iconic EIC about all things longform…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
For breakfast, I’ll have seasonal fresh fruit and plain Greek yogurt, or an egg white frittata with vegetables. Lunch is salad Nicoise, and dinner is grilled fish or steak with a side of vegetables (asparagus or string beans), with fruit salad for dessert. In the summer, I’ll go for frozen fruits, a traditional Italian dessert (available in the US by Bindi). They’re made with orange, lemon, peach, pineapple or other flavors of sorbet, served in their natural fruit shell.
What’s your personal definition of good content?
I value the element of surprise and it has to be of the moment. It also needs to be visually compelling.
How would you define the W woman?
She is international, a smart and educated risk-taker, and a curious culture creator.
What catches your eye on social media and why?
A meaningful connection between words and images.
What do you love to read besides W? Why?
The New York Times, New Yorker, and Italian Vanity Fair. They all have elements of surprise, and offer a different perspective. You’ll discover something of interest that you weren’t looking for.
How has the publishing industry changed since you started?
Growing up in Italy, we did not have access to American or international publications, and I remember I would have done anything for a copy of Interview or The Face. With digital and social media, the underground and the mainstream have merged. Everything is accessible from everywhere and content comes to you, so as a reader, you don’t have to seek anything out anymore—it’s all at your fingertips.
Where do you see it going in the next ten years? Where will print be?
The experience of print media will be more luxurious and unique as readers look for premium content. Magazines will be like books to collect or hold on to. News and service information will be primarily digital.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? From who?
Alexandra Penney – my mentor and former Self editor – said, “Don’t be too early but don’t be late.” Her advice has been of great value in editing magazines!
Do you have a memory of a dinner where you were sitting, looking around, and thinking ‘Wow I can’t believe I’m here’? What was it? Who was there?
There are too many to name, but I can say that I am fortunate to have been at the table with most of the people I’ve wanted to meet in my life. I’m still surprised by old friends, and recently, at a dinner in Venice during the Biennale, Marina Abramovic suggested that we eat our chocolate cake in silence for three minutes.
What personal grooming essentials can’t you live without?
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
Mixing active sports with the gym – I try to keep a regimen on the road – with a bit of help from my friends at Nike. I also try to eat only at meals. I try to avoid mini bar snacks and late night indulgences. Going to bed hungry is my rule.
How do you always start your day?
Breakfast with my two girls.
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?
Being different, challenging the norm and standing out.
*Stefano Tonchi, photographed at The Peninsula Hotel in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.
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