Almost two years after being handpicked by Anna Wintour to revive ailing Condé Nast brand Lucky, editor in chief Eva Chen is leaving the magazine.
The famously social-media-savvy editor chose Instagram to make her announcement today, writing, "This morning I made the extremely personal and difficult announcement to my team that I will be transitioning from @luckymagazine in the coming months. The brand will continue on, and I'll be leading it into its new chapter [before leaving]."
Reports of Chen's departure from Lucky first surfaced last night via WWD. Sources also told the publication the magazine is also going all-digital—which has often been rumored in the past few years—and that "several investors in Silicon Valley have been interested in an acquisition" of The Lucky Group, which was created as a joint venture between Condé Nast and e-commerce platform BeachMint.
According to WWD, The Lucky Group president Gillian Gorman Round is also likely to exit.
Condé Nast first launched Lucky in 2000 as a shopping magazine. But the brand's popularity among both readers and advertisers began to wane in recent years as e-commerce and fashion blogs made Lucky's catalog-like market coverage increasingly superfluous, leading to whispers within the industry that Condé was planning to shutter the magazine, or at least transition it to an all-digital brand.
Yet the magazine soldiered on, undergoing a major management change in early 2013 when Condé Nast booted its vp, publisher Marcy Bloom and installed former L'Oréal exec Gorman Round as general manager. Several months later, with Anna Wintour now acting as Condé's artistic director, Lucky's editor in chief Brandon Holley was replaced by Chen, a Wintour favorite who had recently worked at Teen Vogue.
This past August, Lucky's fate as a magazine came into question again when Condé spun off the brand as an independent company with an e-commerce focus. However, the (increasingly slim) magazine continued to publish monthly, with Chen—now chief creative officer of The Lucky Group—at its helm.
Meanwhile, Lucky finally launched its long-awaited e-commerce-meets-editorial site, Lucky Shops, in February—just a few days after axing 10 employees. According to Chen, Lucky Shops has been a success so far, even as the audience for the magazine's print and digital editions has declined (by 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015 versus 2014, per MPA). "The site, under [editor Verena von Pfetten's] leadership, has doubled," Chen said via Twitter this afternoon. "We have been consistently selling out of merchandise on our e-commerce platform."
She then added, "The brand lives on… I'm a @#luckygirlforlife and I feel proud to be one."
Condé Nast declined to comment, and Lucky could not immediately be reached.