How This Former Teen Vogue Editor Is Shaking Things Up at Architectural Digest

Amy Astley on digital expansion and strong social

Specs

Who Amy Astley

Current gig Editor in chief, Architectural Digest

Previous gig Editor in chief, Teen Vogue

Age 49

Twitter @AmyTAstley

Adweek: The September issue of Architectural Digest—your first full issue—recently hit newsstands. Tell me about the process of putting that issue together and what changes you introduced.

Amy Astley: I did it very, very fast, in a matter of weeks, which isn't normally how you put together any September issue. But I think the issue gives you a sense of the fact that I'm looking for personality, energy, interesting spaces, interesting homes. I want fewer anonymous homes. I think that people are interested to know who's living a life in this house. And that's why I used that great Diana Vreeland quote in my editor's letter: "Few things are more fascinating than a peek into the private hours of how people live." I don't want the magazine to look like a real estate catalog, cold and staged. Like I keep saying, it's all about having a mix.

You shot Marc Jacobs' New York townhouse for the cover story. How did you pull that together so quickly?

I've been working in this industry for a long time, so I have deep personal connections and deep roots. Someone like Marc has a trust level with what I'm going to do, which is exactly what he told me. I told him I needed a big name in this issue, and he said, "I trust you." [His home] hadn't been photographed before. And he's thrilled with it. He's been promoting it on social media. For me, that's part of a bigger picture, too. I want to put people in the magazine who have their own social and digital footprints and will promote their story. I mean, when you look at this issue and you see Marc and Amanda Brooks and Giovanna [Battaglia], these are people with large social followings, and I know that when I work with them it's going to get shared in a bigger way.

The cover also features Jacobs' dog Neville and his Instagram handle. Is it safe to say that this is the first time there's ever been an Instagram handle on the cover of AD?

It is. In fact, the fact checkers and researchers here thought it was an error. And I said, "No, no, no, that's on purpose!" I think it gives a little sense of humor. It doesn't have to be so serious, you know. I think you're going to see a little more irreverence, a little more sense of fun [in AD]. People get intimidated when everything is so perfect.

You actually have a background in design, as a former editor at House & Garden, which a lot of people didn't know about until the announcement that you were going to AD. Have you stayed in touch with that industry?

It's amazing to come back into the design world, a world that I always loved, and yes, I always stayed friends with people and stayed informed and active in that world. But I consider myself a style journalist, so I could work at House & Garden, I could work at Vogue, I could work at Teen Vogue, I can work at AD because for me it's all about the mix of making a magazine. Food, fashion, flowers, architecture, I love all of it. So I feel I have range and that I can move around.  And I'm lucky that I've been able to because I think often in people's careers they get boxed in.