Crème Brûlé! Will Wallpaper* Founder’s New Venture Get Burned?

“Both Wallpaper* and Monocle show he’s a truly inventive, intellectual entrepreneur,” Mr. Pearlstine said by phone.

“Not unlike The New Yorker, Monocle has a capacity to surprise, with serious journalism,” Mr. Pearlstine said. “I think the difference is that he understands what makes a magazine work is its visuals. … If you were going to start The New Yorker from scratch today, would it be so devoted to words, or would it do more with pictures?”

But unlike Condé Nast, The New Yorker’s parent, Mr. Brûlé said that Monocle’s launch has been intentionally low-key—indeed, this is his first sit-down with a U.S. newspaper because he wanted journalists “to understand the brand first.”

Mr. Brûlé said that he expects the magazine, published 10 times a year, to grow “organically,” rather than taking “the Hollywood, blockbuster approach to publishing [with] all the expectations that come with it.” To wit, he said, “Look what happened to Portfolio.”

Instead, Mr. Brûlé is hoping that educated, affluent readers—the kind advertisers drool over—will discover the magazine (and be willing to drop $10 an issue, with no subscription discount).

Monocle’s September issue includes some Economist-like features (although with much better photography) on Abkhazia, a breakaway Soviet republic, and how the Sudanese capital of Khartoum “plans to become the Dubai of Africa.” But there’s also a deconstruction of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wardrobe; a design consultant’s rebranding of the United States (flag, anthem, etc.); and a list of potential new countries. (Shia-stan?)

In addition, Monocle now has a content sharing arrangement with the International Herald Tribune, where Mr. Brûlé writes a weekly column.

“We have worked very productively with Tyler and Monocle. His column really connects with I.H.T. readers, who are global citizens and revel in Tyler’s experiences of travel, airports, and hotels and the design of the world’s great cities,” wrote I.H.T. executive editor Michael Oreskes in an e-mail. He added that the the publications run “reciprocal print and online advertising campaigns.”

In all, Mr. Brûlé seems to be banking on the notion that there are other jet-setting magazine buyers out there, like himself, who despite “staying in a Canadian-owned international hotel like this,” with hundreds of channels, could not find a suitable “morning briefing.”

“If you look at it from a pure business perspective, if this is the world’s biggest economy, and you have to conduct your affairs beyond 50 states,” he said, “[you] do need more than what Meredith and Al and Matt give you on NBC in the morning.”

Crème Brûlé! Will Wallpaper* Founder’s New Venture Get Burned?