Men's Mag MAXIM Launches Its First Swimwear Collection

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"This year, Maxim ushered in a bold new era with an emphasis on style. The debut of the women’s swimwear collection is the next iteration of that, celebrating women’s natural beauty with the fun and adventurous spirit that has long defined Maxim,” said Maxim's Editor-in-Chief Kate Lanphear.

Gotta admit, wasn't too jazzed up about this announcement when it landed in my inbox. Immediate thoughts included:

  • "How in the WORLD can a porno-esque mag that survives on the power of photoshop celebrate 'women's natural beauty' in a runway presentation of picture-perfect bodies half-naked in spandex?"
  • "Fun and adventurous? Do they mean sexually experimental or on display for a man's pleasure?"
  • Lots of migraine-inducing eye rolls.

But I did my best to take a beat, minimize my judgement and hear it out. So I did my research. Turns out, this Maxim editor-in-chief lady that just started back in March is trying to elevate the product (not hard to do, ahem—and yes, that pun was intended).

In the fashion media world, La Lanphear's move to Maxim was met with many questions as to why an accomplished and cultured fashion EIC would want to take on the sleazy(er) side of magazine publishing. Her answer, Fashionista:

"It was a hard decision to leave T," Lanphear said. "The team there was so incredible, we were like family — but this is such a unique opportunity. I was really excited do something different and I knew I just had to be part of it and put my stamp on something."

Maxim was acquired a year ago by billionaire Sardar Biglari, with whom Lanphear says she has a "collaborative" relationship and who is committed to reinvigorating the brand. "I think the fact that he approached me for the position really shows that he is forward-thinking and how committed he is to embrace change," she said.

The magazine currently boasts over 2 million subscribers, so Lanphear has been careful to research their lives and interests. The average reader is 34 years of age and the brand has more married readers than any other men's magazine. "I figured they would be very interested in the automotive sector and gear and tech, but there were parts of my world, or the world I come from, that they were very, very interested in," she explained. "Like fashion, style, grooming and culture."

And, as the chic website pointed out, Lanphear's first cover of Candice Swanepoel in March (seen above) did alleviate some of the residual objectifying male gaze. Some. Ever so slightly. By taking the focus off the body and drilling it into her eyes.

It's obvious that this pub is taking a more fashionable turn. Let's just hope that sexual objectification and hyper sexualization have finally fallen out of style.

In that more fashion-focused light, a swim line makes some sort of sense. Ish. Although we must say it eerily calls into question whether she believes her (male, mostly married) readers want to see women look like her runway models in the types of swimwear she's designing.

So we'll see what Maxim has in store. I applaud Kate's overall vision, and will follow her progress as this thing takes form. The show's on Saturday in Miami, so stay tuned for updates then...