One day in October 2010, Peter Braunstein’s monthly subscription copy of W magazine arrived right on time. It was one of the first under the direction of a new editor, Stefano Tonchi, and the cover featured Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in an artfully staged embrace: a red-lipsticked Ms. Williams, staring out at the viewer as if surprised by the camera; Mr. Gosling cradling her head with the tenderness of a ballet dancer.
Mr. Braunstein—or Peter, as I know him from our time working together at Fairchild Publications, when he was a media columnist for Women’s Wear Daily and I was an editor at W a decade ago—is serving 41-years-to-life for a horrible crime: On Halloween night, 2005, he dressed as a fireman and attacked a woman he barely knew, a mutual coworker, knocking her out with chloroform, stripping off her clothes, tying her up with parachue cord, fondling her, and then hanging around her apartment for 13 harrowing hours while fantasizing that they were a couple.
Peter is permitted to receive magazines in prison, and he subscribes to several, including New York, Playboy, and the indie fashion magazine Nylon, which is particularly popular among his fellow inmates. “All the pervs love it,” he said. “It’s like giving them SweeTarts.”
But Peter pores over W with particular interest, because of his history with the place. Read More