During the start of Vogue Nippon, talented overseas staff came to Japan to teach local staff about the philosophy of “Vogue in Vogue.” As the initial stage of the magazine succeeded, the management began to shift to a Japanese one. When Kim Stringer, the fashion director of the magazine decided to resign, her replacement became Kaori Tsukamoto (the current editor in chief of Elle Japon).

In 2001, Kazuhiro Saito, who was the editor in chief for Brutus and Casa Brutus magazines (both from Magazine House, Ltd.), became the president of Nikkei Conde Nast. He was chosen for his skills of being able to propose new business to the fashion industry. The following year, Nikkei Inc. withdrew from the venture and the company was renamed to Conde Nast Publications Japan (the current Conde Nast Japan).

To start a new era of creating a Japanese magazine by domestic staff, Saito looked to restructure the teams. The design team led by creative director Debbie Smith was taken out of the new structure. And Saito took on the post of editor in chief. The new design team under Saito was led by Yasushi Fujimoto of design office “Cap.”

Mitsuko Watanabe, the current editor in chief of Vogue Nippon, supported Saito as the fashion features director.

“Mr. Saito added excitement to every Vogue issue that he handled. He particularly worked on making the cover design and its catch copy striking,” she explained.

The purpose of the renewal was to bring out the originality and impact of Vogue Nippon and to inform the fashion industry and readers of the very existence. It was more important than increasing the circulation. The strategy was born from a drastic idea that the publicity would result in increase of purchases.

The changes brought on by Saito were noticed by those placing ads. By the time that Saito had finished his work, ad placers felt that the magazine was the right place to be spending their money.

As part of the urban planning of transforming Omotesando into a fashionable city for adults, luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Prada began to build flagship stores in the area. It was the middle of the 00s, an era of frenzy similar to the time of the collapse of the bubble economy of the 90s. The dot-com bubble was about to come to an end.

To be continued into 5/12.