Under Kate Lanphear, Maxim Is Delightfully Unrecognizable

Photo: Courtesy of Maxim.
In September, Kate Lanphear became editor-in-chief of Maxim. Before joining the men's mag, Lanphear was the style director at T magazine and Elle. So, her move from women's publishing to the lad's glossy was a bit surprising.

The expectation was that she would re-imagine the men's mag for a more mature audience. On Wednesday, Maxim released the cover image of its latest issue — Lanphear's flagship edition — and it looks like the glossy's made good on its promise.

Perhaps most noticeably different is the cover features a closeup of Candice Swanepoel's face, rather than a woman in barely-there attire. This decision represents Lanphear's overall vision for the magazine. "It was one of my favorite pictures from the shoot," she told The Cut, regarding the cover image. "But, I think it speaks to our ideas about desire and sexuality, not shying away from that. You don't see almost anything but Candice's gorgeous face and how hypnotic her eyes are. I think that speaks to how surprising and challenging sexiness is." 

Under Lanphear, subtle is the new sexy. It's a design change that accommodates the Maxim reader, who's no longer the kid with posters of supermodels in his bedroom. "Our guy has grown up," publisher Kevin Martinez told AdWeek. "He's 33, starting to make money, and looking at his life differently."

And, he's looking at women differently, too. Lanphear's changing the way women are packaged entirely for her male readership. "We want to celebrate women's physical beauty because it's an essential part of the brand, but we also want to celebrate their success and tell their stories," she told The Cut. It feels like a decidedly women's mag mantra, but Lanphear sees it as a universally appealing approach. "They're as successful and energetic and driven and confident as the men we want to speak to," she told The Cut. "My vision is to show women who will be a partner. She's not oiled up on a surfboard, she's carrying the surfboard to the back of the truck you're going to go to Montauk in together. That's the fantasy and the aspiration."

The new issue of Maxim is available now.


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