The pandemic has sobered up Condé Nast’s bean counters, according to media insiders — and they’re pointing to a chintzy party the magazine empire threw last week.
Guests told On The Money that Condé — which publishes “Vogue, Vanity Fair” and the “New Yorker” — took a tacky approach to Glamour’s annual “Women of the Year” event last Monday at the Rainbow Room.
The walls were festooned with sponsorship signs and cheesy paper flowers, and a step-and-repeat red carpet was wedged into the corridors at 30 Rockefeller Center, sources said. Adding insult to injury, the after party at Temple Bar in SoHo had an open bar for just an hour before it turned into a cash bar, charging guests for drinks.
“The WOTY of yesteryear was one of the most coveted tickets in town. I can only compare what I saw this year to what one may experience on a cruise ship: crepe-paper flowers, cash bar and buffet bites,” sniffed one source.
“It’s gotten so small they should call it ‘Women of the Moment’ instead of ‘Women of the Year,” sneered another well-placed source.
Sources said Condé — under the direction of chief content officer Anna Wintour — had routinely shelled out $2.5 million on the yearly WOTY bashes, which have honored luminaries like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem, Madonna and Hillary Clinton.
The 31-year-old event had earlier been staged at venues like Carnegie Hall, where it packed in about 1,500 guests. After the awards program, roughly 250 VIPs would walk or get shuttled in black cars to the Rainbow Room for a dinner and a boozy, comped after party.
This year, Glamour staged the awards show at the Rainbow Room, inviting just 100 people in total, a Condé Nast spokeswoman confirmed.
“To prioritize the health and safety of our colleagues, collaborators, and guests, Glamour decided to celebrate the ‘Women of the Year’ in a scaled back capacity while highlighting the historical significance of the awards at the Rainbow Room, where the first ever WOTY Awards were held in 1990,” she said. “Glamour hopes to celebrate next year’s Women of the Year in full force.”
The rep, however, did not address why the after party wasn’t free, or why activist and poet Amanda Gorman didn’t show up, instead choosing to send a video acceptance speech for her marquee award.