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Fashion is dreams but dreams come at a price and just as it has transpired in the film and music industries, fashion now finds it had better generate dream numbers. Or else. At a time when most fashion publications are seeing their ad pages shrink in the face of an on-going recession, there is one book that is whipping up a froth of ad sales. In 2001, the red hot title Lucky, dubbed a “magalog” registered 733 ad pages. When 2002 closes it will have nailed numbers at 1,005, a 37% increase featuring brands ranging from Gucci to Guess.
Interestingly enough Lucky has done this with a booking strategy that does not involve celebrity or for that matter, celebrity models on its cover. Rather the ideal of approachability, diversity and the need to factor in consumer identification has informed its cover choices.
The result is Lucky has now become an essential publishing bridge between models and the money clients that keep the industry going. With all that buzz and clamor around AdWeek’s 2001 Launch Of The Year, MDC decided to sit in with Lucky’s model Booking Editor Kristi McCormick to get the inside scoop

Could you tell our readers a little bit about your background and how you came to be at LUCKY?

Next Model Management gave me my first break into the business about 7 years ago. I was hired to work in the New Faces division, running the annual model search contests and working with the winners. Next taught me about testing, comp cards, go-sees, castings, and model development. After 2 years, Wilhelmina Models hired me to head their marketing and contest division. I worked with a dozen fashion magazines to find new, fresh faces every year. Two years later, when celebrities started appearing regularly in ad campaigns, I helped form a Celebrity Division for Wilhelmina, representing actors and athletes for commercial endorsements and campaigns.

With a background in sales, I never turned down a meeting (I still never do). One day, I went on an informational interview at Conde Nast Publications. I happened to be in the right place at the right time because the Bookings Editor position at LUCKY magazine had just opened. With a model agency background, I felt my experience was suitable for the position. Within two weeks, I had a job offer as the Bookings Editor, and accepted immediately. I welcomed the challenge to find the "faces of LUCKY."


How would you describe what it is that you do at the magazine?

My job is to cast and book the models for the fashion stories and covers. I see 20 to 40 models per week; I present about 10 of those models (via Polaroids) to the fashion editors for their stories, after which one or two will get jobs. If I really believe in a model, I will learn all about her career and what her agent has done with her so far. Out of 100-plus models I see on an average month, only 6 to 8 make it in each issue of LUCKY.

"Out of 100-plus models I see on an average month, only 6 to 8 make it in each issue of LUCKY"

How do you sync the choice of models with the products being highlighted in each issue?

I try to match the models with the styles in the upcoming stories. For example, if I'm working on a trend story, I look for a model with a funky haircut or downtown look; a story showing more sophisticated clothing calls for a classic beauty; say, a model who would look great for a work and travel story. Personality counts too when booking a model - I can't say that enough. I ask each model to make a funny face or jump around for one of their polaroids. I need to see that they can have fun - even if it's on the 8th floor of a corporate office in midtown-Manhattan.

Does LUCKY shoot several choices and test the covers before releasing the final choice?

Yes. Most Conde Nast publications shoot models for a "cover try" - there has never been an instance at LUCKY when a cover has been guaranteed. After the cover try, LUCKY will often test the cover in the market research department to get initial reader response. In addition to the model, we have to remember that clothing and cover lines also help sell LUCKY - two elements we often forget, but are crucial to its monthly success!

Do you feel that certain models have the ability to move more product than others?...