If The Economist and Vice magazine had an offspring, the result might be Monocle, Wallpaper* founder Tyler Brulé's new "global media brand," which launches this week (both online and in print form, with a 10 times per year publishing schedule). The heavily-guarded first issue comes out on Feb. 15th, and, while ETP hasn't yet seen it, the jet-setting style-o-philes over at Globorati.com report that despite the prevalence of glossy photos and pristine art direction, it represents a dramatic departure from the design-porn for which Wallpaper* was known. Per Globorati: Monocle is "serious stuff...the first issue offers a wry deconstruction of the sartorial choices of Iran's President Ahmadinejad, as well as lengthy articles on Chinese imperialism in Africa and the expansion of the Japanese navy. "
Indeed, the somber, martial-themed first cover looks more like something that the editors of The Atlantic might run than it does the work of the design-savvy dandy who re-branded Swissair after its near collapse in 2001. Or does it? Brulé, it seems, is full of surprises, and the more substance-based Monocle may actually represent a return to earlier form. As it turns out, Brulé spent time as a war correspondent, earning his stripes in March of 1994, when he was shot covering the war in Afghanistan. Not many creative directors can make that claim.
ETP will have more on Monocle this week--as we blog, a copy is en route from Monocle's home-base in London, and later this week we'll be speaking to Brulé (who, our editor would like noted, is Canadian).