IN LATE 1992, just as I was deciding to leave Spy magazine, which I co-founded six years earlier, Tibor Kalman invited me out to lunch. We had never met, although I very much liked and admired his sensibility and work as a designer. (Indeed, both of Spy’s first two art directors, Stephen Doyle and Alex Isley, were former protégés of his.) Over lunch, Tibor asked if I wanted to come and work with him on his odd, funny, beautiful, socially engaged new magazine Colors, which the Italian fashion company Benetton was subsidizing. Its motto was (and is) “a magazine about the rest of the world,” and Tibor described it as a combination of National Geographic and the old Life. I declined to join up, but we became good friends. Between 1995 (when he left Colors) and 1999 (when he died), we discussed launching a magazine about books , and dreamed of how we might persuade Time Warner to let us reinvent and relaunch Life.
In the summer of 2003, out of the blue, Benetton proposed that I take over the direction of Colors for four issues. I really hadn’t expected to edit another magazine. But I remembered how awesome Colors seemed when I first encountered it a decade earlier, and I was impressed by how astonishingly, perversely independent it had remained. And given the events of the last few years, I found this an irresistible moment to try my hand at a magazine focused on global life and global culture. Also, it felt like belated opportunity to work on a magazine with Tibor.
The first issue of Colors under my direction (“Fans”) appeared last spring , the second last fall (“Drugs”), the third (“Frontiers”) came out in the winter of 2004 and the last (“Lust”) in spring of 2005. All of them are online.
The absolutely perfect editorial colleagues in New York for this project have included Simon Dumenco, Robyn Forest, Angie Maximo, Number 17 (Bonnie Siegler and Emily Oberman, with Wade Convay) and Minna Proctor.