High up in the Time Inc. headquarters is InStyle US editor Ariel Foxman’s corner office, with its enviable views of bustling New York City and the calming water beyond. Foxman, 40, is the magazine’s first male editor and the proud overseer of a title with a monthly footprint of over 21 million. For the last five years, InStyle has led the entire fashion and beauty category with the most advertising pages per year – beating Vogue along the way. He also looks after 16 international editions and is heavily involved in the corporation’s wider style and digital categories. Harvard-educated Foxman is renowned for being an early adopter of new technologies to boost magazine sales and brand awareness. We caught up with him shortly after he accompanied Céline’s Phoebe Philo to the Time 100 Gala to quiz him on the world of New York publishing.

ARIEL FOXMAN

What’s on your desk? ‘A skull paper-weight, which someone gave to me around the time of that Damien Hirst diamond skull moment. A Kelly Wearstler vase – she has a monthly column in the magazine, so she sent me this one as a thank-you. Some Cartier stationery boxes.’

Who did the Kermès print [left]? It’s brilliant! ‘It’s by an artist called Donald Robertson. He was the creative director for MAC cosmetics, then my creative director at men’s magazine Cargo. He does the back page of our magazine, too. This Kermit the Frog and Hermès picture is one of his “impossible collaborations.”’

What’s an average day in the office for you? ‘I usually have a breakfast meeting with a designer, client or publicist. This is usually followed by a series of meetings, and then I’ll read the mail from the night before. I go on InStyle.com and read WWD in print. I’m given a pile of proofs to check before a work lunch. I have more meetings and meet the publisher for updates. At 5pm, we look at all the visuals and the photographers we want to work with. I review all the film and I answer questions from the whole staff. Then I answer all my emails.’

And do you go to a lot of work-related events in the evening? ‘Usually two drinks. One might be an event where I’m popping in to say congratulations to a work friend or a long-standing partner of the magazine. Then off to a cocktail with somebody, usually about an idea one of us wants to do. Then there’s a dinner – or I’m at an event where we’re hosting a table.’

Do you ever have a night off? ‘I do – I work really hard with my assistant, who’s phenomenal, to make sure there’s some time. My fiancé is a principal and is involved in educational causes – he runs a school in Haiti – so he has his own dinners and people that he wants to meet with.’

What do you wear to work? ‘I’m pretty much in jeans and a sweater. I don’t really wear a lot of colour – mostly navy and black. Sometimes I wear a suit or blazer. If I could be in jeans, a big blue turtleneck sweater, boots and a scarf every day, I’d be happy. I don’t believe in warm weather and fashion. For women it’s fantastic, but not for boys.’

AN EVERYDAY WARDROBE

What’s your grooming regime like? ‘There’s this Clarins serum that you spray onto your hands that I can’t really live without. And Tracie Martyn who does The Red Carpet Facial also has a moisturiser that I love.’

Which men do you think dress well? ‘I used to always say Pharrell, but I feel like he’s everywhere now! I still love Ryan Gosling – I can watch him wear anything, all the time.’

Is men’s fashion catching up with women’s? ‘The access to options is better. I don’t think the level of interest is ever going to match womenswear, so I don’t think the level of investment will ever match. There’s less you can do with men’s clothing, but if you’re a man who likes to shop and learn about new designers, it’s much easier now. You can go online and see everything.’

Which designers are you most into at the moment? ‘I invest in basic things of the highest quality that will last the longest.’

What’s your earliest style memory? ‘Desperately wanting these purple corduroys and my parents said no, because I needed practical school pants. I can still feel the sensation of throwing myself on the floor and having a full-on tantrum until I got those pants. I wore them every day after that.’

What do you notice about other people’s style? ‘I often want to say, “This is so amazing, but it doesn’t fit you.” Tailoring and fit is something that many people ignore the most, and yet it’s the most important.’

SIMPLE IS BEST
Ariel Foxman’s LITTLE BLACK BOOK

ABC COCINA, NEW YORK CITY ‘It’s Mexican but taken to the next level. It’s the only restaurant I’ve ever been to where I would say, “Just bring me whatever.”’

THE WOLSELEY, LONDON. ‘I always have the herring there. There are so many places in NYC where publishing people go to, but they don’t have the grandeur of The Wolseley.’

ALLA COLLINA PISTOIESE, MILAN ‘Great authentic Milanese food, with a fun mix of locals and fashion people.’

MINETTA TAVERN, NEW YORK CITY ‘It’s become a classic for NY types and continues to attract media, fashion and Hollywood bold-faced names. There’s something about all that steak, the tight squeeze and the red decor that makes it feel like a throwback to the Rat Pack.’

RAOUL’S, NEW YORK CITY ‘The French menu, the traditional cocktails, the wall-to-wall crowd. You can’t get to the bathroom without climbing that teeny-tiny narrow spiral staircase and then encountering the tarot-card reader.’