Mr. Brown, who worked at Vanity Fair for more than two decades, starting as Mr. Carter’s assistant in 1994, said that working there partly required you to be a polymath — to have “specific knowledge” of different industries and social scenes and to know “how the world works.” The job also involved being a living embodiment of the stylish world created by its top editors.
Now, according to Mr. South’s pitch, Standard needed culturally astute storytellers and worldbuilders. People who could burnish the reputation of a company with a subsidiary, Siplast, that worked on the roofs of notable buildings like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Moynihan Train Hall.
Ms. Kseniak consulted initially and came aboard in late 2019. Already on staff was Harrison Vail, a member of her team at Vanity Fair whom Mr. South had contacted. Others, like Ms. Switzer and Mr. Gilmore, who is now chief of staff for Mr. Millstone, soon followed.
Mr. Vail is now back working for Mr. Carter as the communications director at Air Mail. Ms. Kseniak, Ms. Switzer, Mr. Gilmore and Mr. South, through a spokesman for Standard, declined to comment for this article.
Mr. Brown, 50, who chronicled his time at Vanity Fair in a memoir, “Dilettante,” was initially surprised when he heard some former colleagues were working for an industrial firm, he said, but he understood the appeal. By then, the golden age of magazine publishing was over, killed by the internet and social media, and the famously lavish budgets and salaries were vanishing.
“I tell you, if I had gotten a call from Standard Industries, offering me a job with a great salary and benefits, I would have been, like, ‘Screw it. I’m in the roofing business now,’” Mr. Brown said. (Some of his colleagues who left Vanity Fair did transition into jobs more similar to what they had been doing. Aimée Bell, a deputy editor, became a vice president at Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint. Krista Smith, the magazine’s executive West Coast editor, went to work for Netflix.)