Stefano Tonchi Opens Up About the New W Book

Only with a gilded gatefold and red silk bookmarks could “W: The First 40 Years” be any more opulent. With its 300-something pages, the furniture-sized anthology traces four decades of the one and only W magazine, as much a laboratory of ideas and mash-up of creative disciplines as an established fashion glossy and chronicler of society gals, its original purpose.

A quick flip through the gold brick of a book turns into an evening spent poring over all the great stories you remember fondly (and those you somehow missed): Madonna cavorting with horses and contorting herself for Steven Klein; Steven Meisel’s hilarious series of fake ads that appeared throughout one issue; a real elephant in a pink tutu standing upright for Bruce Weber; that one creepy shoot, also Steven Klein, where Amber Valletta is seen aging from 29 to 120; and any of Mario Testino’s steamy spreads from South America, with as many lithe men as women. And those are just from the last decade.

I spoke with Stefano Tonchi, the magazine and book’s editor, about the making of the tome, the magic of W, and the secret to its success. Genial as ever, he spoke candidly and eloquently—just as you’d expect from the culture-obsessed Italian—with just a hint of mischief. You can read the entire interview at