The magazine world has always been a competitive place, but with dozens of titles being axed and newsstand sales declining, rivalry between publications is now even more pronounced. And it's in this climate—coupled with shrinking event budgets—that advertisers turn into event sponsors, then integrated marketing partners. That much was evident at Wednesday night's events for Esquire and GQ, separate affairs held simultaneously six blocks apart in Midtown.
For Hearst's Esquire, the evening reception at Touch in Times Square was to commemorate fashion director Nick Sullivan's five years at the mag, the new March issue, and cover boy Clive Owen. Over at Rockefeller Center's 620 Loft & Garden, the night showcased the six finalists of GQ's second annual Best New Menswear Designers in America, as featured in the February issue. Each effort was different—music, cars, and a Scotch tasting at one, versus a presentation-style fashion show at another—but targeted a similar crowd of fashion industry folks, just two days before the official start of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Automaker Ford and spirits company William Grant & Sons were the key players at Esquire's event. The former provided its Ford Flex vehicles for a display outside the venue and also supplied rides for Hearst executives and the night's performer, Anthony Hamilton. Inside, street artists tagged the roof of a Flex, while William Grant & Sons served Stolichnaya vodka, Hendrick's Gin, Milagro Tequila, and Sailor Jerry rum cocktails, as well as tastings of Glenfiddich Scotch. Planning for the fete was handled internally, led by the mag's marketing services director, Scott Lehmann.
For GQ, the presence of Levi's and Bloomingdale's was less conspicuous. Each of the six designer finalists exhibited nine looks on models positioned atop small platforms, a setup that bore resemblance to the type of mannequin display found at Bloomingdale's. Passing hors d'oeuvres around the crowd, male and female waitstaff wore jeans by Levi's. And as an extension of the contest—one launched in conjunction with the Council of Fashion Designers of America—the winner will create a limited-edition line for Levi's, which will be sold at several Bloomingdale's stores in September. GQ will announce the winning designer today.