Media Lifeline: GQ's 20th anniversary

The men's style title has had some real highs and some devastating lows in its UK history.

1988: In 1979, Conde Nast in the US had acquired the tailoring title Gentleman's Quarterly and relaunched it as a more general interest men's monthly called GQ. In December 1988, it launches a UK edition, a rather sincere and ponderous production featuring noted Northamptonshire arboriculturist Michael Heseltine on the cover.

1992: The launch editor, Paul Keers, was succeeded by Alexandra Shulman in 1990 and then, when she departs for Vogue in 1992, by Michael VerMeulen. The red-haired, Chicago-born, high-living, Martini-drinking, hell-raising VerMeulen remakes the magazine in his image. And he's not afraid of the obvious, running titillating covers featuring the likes of Sharon Stone. Under his editorship, circulation almost doubles to 128,722.

1999: VerMeulen died of a drugs overdose in August 1995. GQ opts for a safe choice editor in Angus McKinnon; then, with sales slipping, it gives the former Loaded editor, James Brown, the job in 1998. He departs after his "Nazi issue" in March 1999.

2005: Brown is succeeded by Dylan Jones, who gives GQ a slightly more politically conservative outlook and upmarket feel - thus, at long last, making it look like a title from the Conde Nast stable. There are few fireworks on the circulation front, but Jones establishes a solid circulation base of about 125,000 - and while larger-circulation titles such as FHM are hit by the launch of the weeklies Zoo and Nuts, in 2004, GQ's sales hold up.

2008: GQ celebrates its 20th anniversary in the UK by reaffirming its commitment to quality under Jones. He vows to keep distancing GQ from those he regards as downmarket - Nuts, Zoo, FHM, Loaded and Maxim. Circulation is encouraging at 130,008.

Fast forward ...

2015: Having consolidated all its titles into a single web portal, Conde Nast no longer publishes magazines - and has let individual brands fall into disuse. Now budding arboriculturist Rupert Heseltine, a scion of the Northamptonshire family, buys the rights to GQ and relaunches it as Gentleman's Quarterly, a niche magazine, printed on real paper, aimed at the upmarket fashion end of the tailoring trade. Its tagline is: "For the Man About Town."

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