Gentlemen's Quarterly was launched in 1931 in the United States as Apparel Arts. It was a men's fashion magazine for the clothing trade, aimed primarily at wholesale buyers and retail sellers. Initially it had a very limited print run and was aimed solely at industry insiders to enable them to give advice to their customers. The popularity of the magazine among retail customers, who often took the magazine from the retailers, spurred the creation of Esquire magazine in 1933.
Apparel Arts continued until 1957, when it was transformed into a quarterly magazine for men, which was published for many years by Esquire Inc. Apparel was dropped from the logo in 1958 with the spring issue after nine issues, and the name Gentlemen's Quarterly was established.
Gentleman's Quarterly was re-branded as GQ in 1967. The rate of publication was increased from quarterly to monthly in 1970. In 1980 Condé Nast bought the publication, and editor Art Cooper changed the course of the magazine, introducing articles beyond fashion and establishing GQ as a general men's magazine in competition with Esquire. Subsequently, international editions were launched as regional adaptations of the U.S. editorial formula. Jim Nelson was named editor-in-chief of GQ in February 2003; during his tenure he worked as both a writer and an editor of several National Magazine Award-nominated pieces. During Nelson's tenure, GQ has become more oriented towards younger readers and those who prefer a more casual style.
Nonnie Moore was hired by GQ as fashion editor in 1984, having served in the same position at Mademoiselle and Harper's Bazaar. Jim Moore, the magazine's fashion director at the time of her death in 2009, described the choice as unusual, observing that "She was not from men's wear, so people said she was an odd choice, but she was actually the perfect choice" and noting that she changed the publication's more casual look, which "She helped dress up the pages, as well as dress up the men, while making the mix more exciting and varied and approachable for men."
GQ has been closely associated with metro-sexuality. The writer Mark Simpson coined the term in an article for British newspaper The Independent about his visit to a GQ exhibition in London: "The promotion of metro-sexuality was left to the men's style press, magazines such as The Face, GQ, Esquire, Arena and FHM, the new media which took off in the Eighties and is still growing.... They filled their magazines with images of narcissistic young men sporting fashionable clothes and accessories. And they persuaded other young men to study them with a mixture of envy and desire." The magazine has expanded its coverage beyond lifestyle issues. For example, in 2003, Award winning journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote an 8-page feature story in GQ on famous con man Steve Comisar.
GQ (US) first named their Men of the Year in 1996, featuring the award recipients in a special issue of the magazine. British GQ launched their annual Men of the Year awards in 2009 and GQ India launched theirs the following year. Spanish GQ launched their Men of the Year awards in 2011 and GQ Australia launched theirs in 2007.
Beginning in the 1990's, the magazine pivoted from a near-strict pattern of men-only on the cover to introducing including some female actors, models, and music artists on the cover. While the men on the covers remained clothed, the photographs of women were mostly shot less than fully clothed. Present day GQ magazines frequently depict women drastically different than how it depicts men. Some women are nude not just on the cover but also within the magazine and on the magazine's website. If fact, the magazine's website has an entire section dedicated to women (but not targeted to women readers). GQ also publishes a yearly list of "Sexiest Women" with accompanying photos. When Lana Del Rey was awarded "Woman of the Year" by GQ she was asked to pose nude for the cover. This is in sharp contrast to how men appear on the covers - all four of the "Men of the Year" appeared fully clothed for their covers. Also, additional photos of Del Rey within the magazine have her posed with a male model standing behind her with one hand around her neck and his other hand groping her bare breast that was purposefully not covered by her dress.
In 2010, GQ magazine had a few members of the television show Glee (Dianna Agron, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith) partake in a photoshoot. The sexualization of the actresses in the photos caused controversy among parents of teens who watch the show Glee. The Parents Television Council was the first to react to the photo spread when it was leaked prior to GQ's planned publishing date. Their president Tim Winter stated, "By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program (sic) have established their intentions on the show's directions. And it isn't good for families". The photoshoot was published as planned and Dianna Agron went on to state that the photos that were taken did not represent who she is and that she was sorry if anyone was offended by them.
GQ's September 2009 US magazine published, in its "backstory" section, an article by Scott Anderson, "None Dare Call It Conspiracy". Before GQ published the article, an internal email from a Condé Nast lawyer referred to it as "Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power". The article reported Anderson's investigation of the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, and included interviews with Mikhail Trepashkin who investigated the bombings while he was a colonel in Russia's Federal Security Service.
The story, including Trepashkin's own findings, contradicted the Russian Government's official explanation of the bombings and criticized Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.
Condé Nast's management tried to keep the story out of Russia. It ordered executives and editors not to distribute that issue in Russia or show it to "Russian government officials, journalists or advertisers". Management decided not to publish the story on GQ's website or in Condé Nast's foreign magazines, not to publicize the story, and asked Anderson not to syndicate the story "to any publications that appear in Russia".
Within 24 hours of the magazine's publication in the US, bloggers published the original English text and a translation into Russian on the Web.
GQ is published in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The magazine reported an average U.S. paid circulation of 824,334 issues per month, of which 609,238 were subscriptions. 73% of the readership are men, and 63% are single. 65% of readers had an annual income of $50,000 or greater; and 25% had an income greater than $75,000.
British GQ had an average circulation of 114,867, made up of 102,694 print edition sales and 12,173 digital edition sales, from July to December 2013.U.S. editors
Everett Mattlin (1957–1969)
Jack Haber (1969–1983)
Art Cooper (1983–2003)
Jim Nelson (2003–present)
Bernard J. Miller (1957–1975)
Sal Schiliro (1975–1980)
Steve Florio (1975–1985)
Jack Kliger (1985–1988)
Michael Clinton (1988–1994)
Michael Perlis (1994–1995)
Richard Beckman (1995–1999)
Tom Florio (1999–2000)
Ronald A. Galotti (2000–2003)
Peter King Hunsinger (2003–2011)
Chris Mitchell (2011–2014)
Howard Mittman (2014–Present)
Paul Keers (1988–1990)
Alexandra Shulman (1990–1992)
Michael VerMeulen (1992–1995)
James Brown (1997–1999)
Tom Haines (1999)
Dylan Jones (1999–present)
Alexey Zimin (2001–2003)
Nikolai Uskov (2003–2012)
Mikhail Idov (2012–2014)
Kim Belov (2014–present)
Voranai V (2014–present)
Mirgün Cabas (2011–2013)
Okan Can Yantır (2013–present)
Giorgi Kharatishvili (2011–present)
Andrew Moore - Photographer
Ryan McGinley - Photographer
Jim Krantz - Photographer
VU TANG CLAN - Photographer
Mert Alas - Photographer
Marcus Piggott - Photographer