Opposite, left: The cover of Trunk’s Fall/Winter 2011 issue.
Opposite, right: A Trunk layout featuring Anna Skladmann’s
portraits of wealthy Russian children. This page, top: A layout
showing the Namib desert landscapes, Cicconi’s one feature from
the first issue. This page, bottom: Anne Menke, a photographer
Cicconi knew from his Travel + Leisure days, shot a Seventies-
inspired fashion story for Trunk’s second issue.
scene and landscape photos of the Namib desert as well as
a photo essay on Kashmir, a profile of chef Ferran Adriá and
a tour of Rosita Missoni’s studio.
Cicconi and design director Pamela Berry, who had been
his boss at Travel + Leisure, used their existing network of
photographers in order to find contributors, who wouldn’t
receive payment but their expenses would be covered. For
the first issue, they reached out to Frédéric Lagrange, Anne
Menke, Javier Salas and John Huba, amongst others. “These
are all people we had worked with for years at Travel +
Leisure, who knew us and trusted us and knew that we’d respect their work and publish it in a respectful way and give
them a lot of space [in the magazine],” Cicconi says.
Vadino, a founding member of McSweeney’s literary
journal, came up with the idea not to follow a traditional
magazine format of having a front of book, feature well, etc.
Instead, “there’s a cadence and you’re getting something
different stylistically, geographically, subject matter-wise,
so each story feels as diverse as possible throughout the
book,” he explains.
After spending two months in South Africa, Cicconi re-
turned to the United States, and as they finished up the sto-
ries that weren’t part of the theme, he started taking PDFs
of the completed pages to meetings with distributors and
advertisers. Cicconi explains that they had to take the plunge
and start producing the magazine before they had any adver-
tisers or any idea how the magazine would be sold: “It’s very
much this whole chicken-egg thing. You want to get distribu-
tion lined up, you want to sell ads to make money to produce
the magazine but you can’t acquire the distribution or sell the
ads until you have a magazine to show them.”
The plan paid off when brands Cicconi admires, includ-
ing Thompson Hotels, The Conran Shop, and SWISS, Virgin
and Emirates airlines, agreed to distribute complementary
copies of the magazine in their rooms, stores and airport
lounges, respectively. “That’s the biggest testament to the
caliber of product we’ve produced,” he says. “The true test
is the other brands and companies that agree to partner
with us and to take the magazine.”
They ended up printing 15,000 copies of the 144-page Fall 2010 issue, which
Cicconi says cost soup-to-nuts about the same amount some magazines spend on
just one fashion or interiors feature shoot. Though it was a full year before the sec-
ond issue, Fall/ Winter 2011, came out, Cicconi is optimistic about the future of Trunk,
and is gearing up for a Spring/Summer 2012 issue. He explains, “It gets easier with
each issue, whether it’s getting people to shoot for you or selling ads. The more you
get the product out there, the more issues you get done and successfully sell and
the more people that represent the product, it’s easier to get more people on board.”
As an example, he cites the numerous photographers from outside of his Travel
+ Leisure network that contributed to the second issue, including Rene Vaile (who
shot a portrait of Sibella Court), Bettina Lewin (who shot a Forties-inspired fashion
spread) and Anna Skladmann (who discussed and contributed her series of portraits
showing wealthy Russian children inside their privileged worlds).
His biggest lesson learned: “If you want to get it done, you have to do it yourself.”
He admits he wasted time waiting for someone to come on board to sell ads, until
he finally realized he would have to get out there himself. “Thankfully I had Michelle
© TRUNK /PHO TO B Y DAVID CICCONI
© TRUNK /PHO TO B Y ANNE MENKE
Gysberts [Trunk ’s advertising & marketing director] to help guide me, but there was
no magic person that was going to come along and take care of the one side of
magazines I didn’t know [anything about],” he says.
Fashion photographer Skye Parrott had thought about starting a magazine for a
long time, but it wasn’t until she moved to New York City five years ago that the idea
started to take shape. She had just left Paris, where between assisting jobs she had
worked as the managing editor for Self Service, and was looking for a project to start
with her childhood friend Katherine Krause. A magazine seemed to make the most
sense since Parrott had branched out on her own as a photographer and Krause
was a writer. It also didn’t seem too far-fetched given Parrott’s employment history.