I am always looking enviously at clothes on my friends and colleagues. Why didn’t I…
Meet the local journalist spearheading the launch of T Australia: The New York Times Style Magazine.
She’s interviewed everyone from Victoria Beckham to Sting, Tom Ford to Kylie Minogue. Her yearly diary included invitations for Paris Fashion Week, safari expeditions to Botswana, and hot laps on Europe’s top racing tracks. She’s partied with Karl Lagerfeld and came pretty close to chatting to Vladimir Putin at a wine party in Moscow.
But it was in her office in Braddon that journalist Katarina Kroslakova had her career-defining moment. One sunny morning last September, an idea for a new magazine was born. And not just any magazine, but a style magazine for The New York Times.
Amidst all the bad news, job losses, and magazine closures in 2020, Katarina thought it was time to fight back.
“Last year was horrific for the Australian media industry,” Katarina tells us. “So many good magazines closed, we had so much talent in this country with no work, no creative outlets.”
“Thankfully, my Canberra-based custom publishing business was doing really well so I wanted make a positive, impactful mark on the industry by going against the trend of magazines closing and actually bring a brand new one into the market.”
Katarina is now Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of T Australia: The New York Times Style Magazine. T is a global phenomenon in the magazine landscape. It began in 2004, in New York City, and wields more clout in the US than Vanity Fair. Its readership is intellectually and culturally curious, its celebrity following unprecedented: think Michelle Obama and Brad Pitt on the cover. The T brand also extends to events, book clubs, food festivals.
The New York Times global team has had their eye on launching a unique, licenced edition of T in the Australian market for some years now. When they first approached Katarina about the project four years ago, she was hesitant.
“My little boy was only six months old, I had just finished 10 big years at the Financial Review, I was living in Canberra with my husband [who owns Italian and Sons in Braddon], the timing wasn’t right. But to be honest, in hindsight, I totally underestimated how much of a following T already had in Australia.”
Instead, Katarina started a content and custom publishing company, Primary Ideas, working with companies such as Maserati, Winning, LVMH, M&C Saatchi, Kelly + Partners and more. Thankfully, the need for companies to communicate their message meant 2020 was a fruitful year, but the “COVID carnage” of the Australian media landscape, as Katarina calls it, changed her mind about launching T.
“The contract was signed at some crazy hour like 2 am on a Saturday, we had six weeks to produce a prototype, and off we went!” she laughs.
The magazine launched its online presence at www.taustralia.com.au on 1 February, with the first print edition launching nationally a month later with Emma Watkins, AKA The Yellow Wiggle, as you’ve never seen before, on the inaugural cover.
“We really took people by surprise by choosing Emma in full glamour mode as our launch cover star—and I love that! To me, she epitomises what T magazine is all about. She’s one of Australia’s most successful global cultural exports, she’s adored by millions across generations, she’s a formidable businesswoman, she’s studying for her PhD, she has a real story of success and tenacity to tell,” says Katarina.
The second issue of T Australia is on sale now, with Simon Baker on the cover.
“He tells his story as an actor and director coming back to Australia to focus on independent film-making. He’s paying homage to the craftsmanship of making movies, while pushing the art-form forward in a unique way.”
The issue, themed Modern Nostalgia, also features local content on food, wine, restaurants, style, design, architecture, fashion, beauty, culture and travel.
Katarina has since expanded her office into Sydney, but still spends considerable time in Canberra with family and also working with local businesses on their copywriting and branding needs.
“It’s a good balance,” she says. “We’re very lucky to be able to tap into the global expertise of an icon like The New York Times, but when you’re creating a magazine for Australia, it’s equally as important to know what local audiences want to read and experience through your pages.”