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Image courtesy Stellene Volandes
Interview

Stellene Volandes

10.17.16

Luxe magazine Town & Country celebrates it’s 170th anniversary this month, and their new Editor-in-Chief, Stellene Volandes aims to celebrate their “to instruct, refine, and amuse” mission all year. No one was more equipped to take the reigns at T&C than Volandes, an industry veteran, she has been with the book for six years. She clearly understands the singular heritage T&C maintains after all these years. Volandes treats each issue as a luxury product and every word and every image enhance the experience of said issue. One thing Hearst has done as it re-shapes its books for a newer, younger audience, is preserve the original message of the magazine. This is done is by selecting someone like Volandes who not only inherently understands the legacy of T&C but wants to protect and elevate it issue after issue.

Interview

Congratulations on your Editor in Chief appointment! How does it feel?

Town & Country is such a standard bearer and it is more than a magazine. When I meet readers it is so clear how deeply connected they feel to T&C, so mostly, besides being excited and occasionally terrified I mostly feel immense pride.

What can you tell us about your plans for the magazine?

I have been at Town & Country for almost six years now and was lucky to be able to watch Jay’s transformation of the magazine from the very beginning. The secret to Town & Country is preserving its singular heritage, but continuing to evolve how it translates to today’s readers and today’s world. My plan is to continue doing exactly that. Luckily, I have a spectacularly engaged and creative staff who is as committed as I am to making sure each page in Town & Country feels like a one-of-a-kind idea, something you won’t see anyplace else.

In your opinion, what is unique about Town & Country?

We have had a clear mission for 170 years: “to instruct, refine, and amuse” that is a killer combination and our goal is to nail it in every issue.

T&C feels so luxe, and the editorials are rich with dimension and perspective – how will you keep reinventing T&C’s message?

I think of each issue as a luxury product, each word, each image needs to live up to that. All is considered. Ask my staff how much caption headlines mean to me!

Town & Country is celebrating its 170th anniversary this year? What does this mean for the magazine? How are you celebrating?

We have been celebrating all year long and are so proud of our October issue which you can see on townandcountrymag.com. But our pride in our heritage and our singular history is evident always, and always will be. The party never stops.

I feel like your magazine has done a great job preserving its original audience while introducing a younger demographic of “cool” girls and edgier content. This was especially reflected in the September Modern Swans issue – how do you set about the Modern Swans list this year?

We keep our Swan spies on patrol all year and around the world. We also call on our contributing editors and friends for a kind of secret swan subcommittee to identify the young women that fit the swan mold: worthy of attention, but also admiration.

What inspired some of the new names on this year’s list?

We had a new category called Political Swans. How could we ignore this election and women who have maintained their grace and dignity in the midst of it all?

Do you remember your first major fashion moment? Personal or professional?

I wore a uniform until I got to high school so shopping for freshman year at Poly Prep was a first fashion moment for me, outside of my Gunne Sax dress collection in grade school.

Where do you go to decompress? What is your fashion escape?

My family has a house on the North Fork, it has always been one of my favorite places anywhere.

I read you live on the Upper East Side, so do I! Where are your favorite places to hang out?

If you stop by Sant Ambroues on any given day it is likely I will be there.

Do you have any secret shopping spots?

Mariana Antinori is a wonderful store with great unknown designers. I actually love Carnegie Hill, and Yura and the Corner Bookstore. It reminds me of the way Madison Ave was when I first moved there.

As we step into fall officially – what are you looking forward to?

I just did my fall theater ticket shopping: Les Liaisons Dangerueses, Plenty, Sarah Jones, Tiny Beautiful Things. It’s my favorite season.

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