One World Trade Center, the headquarters of the company
Condé Montrose Nast, a New York City-born publisher, launched his magazine empire in 1909 with the purchase of Vogue, which was first created in 1892 as a New York weekly journal of society and fashion news.
At first, Nast published the magazine under Vogue Company and did not incorporate Condé Nast until 1923. He had a flair for nurturing elite readers as well as advertisers and upgraded Vogue, sending the magazine on its path of becoming a top fashion authority. Eventually, Nast's portfolio expanded to include House & Garden, Vanity Fair (briefly known as Dress and Vanity Fair), Glamour, and American Golfer. The company also introduced British Vogue in 1916, and Condé Nast became the first publisher of an overseas edition of an existing magazine.
Condé Nast is largely considered to be the originator of the "class publication," a type of magazine focused on a particular social group or interest instead of targeting the largest possible readership. Its magazines focus on a wide range of subjects, including travel, food, home, and culture, with fashion the larger portion of the company's focus.
Nast opened a printing press in 1924, which closed in 1964 to make way for more centrally located sites capable of producing higher volumes. During the Great Depression, Condé Nast introduced innovative typography, design, and color. Vogue's first full color photograph was featured on the cover in 1932, marking the year when Condé Nast began replacing fashion drawings on covers with photo illustrations―an innovative move at the time. Glamour, launched in 1939, was the last magazine personally introduced to the company by Nast, who died in 1942.
In 1959, Samuel I. Newhouse bought Condé Nast for US$5 million as an anniversary gift for his wife Mitzi, who loved Vogue. He merged it with the privately held holding company Advance Publications. His son, S.I. Newhouse, Jr., known as "Si," became chairman of Condé Nast in 1975.
The Newhouse era at Condé Nast launched a period of acquisitions (Brides was acquired in 1959), overhauls of existing magazines (after being shuttered in 1936, Vanity Fair was revived in 1983), and the founding of new publications (Self was launched in 1979).
In January 2000, Condé Nast moved from 350 Madison Avenue to 4 Times Square, which at the time was the first skyscraper built in New York City since 1992 and boasted a Frank Gehry cafeteria. The move was also viewed as contributing to the transformation of Times Square. In the same year, Condé Nast purchased Fairchild Publications (now known as Fairchild Fashion Media), home to W and WWD, from the Walt Disney Company. In 2001, Condé Nast bought Golf Digest and Golf World from The New York Times Company for US$435 million. On October 31, 2006, Condé Nast acquired the content aggregation site Reddit, which was later spun off as a wholly owned subsidiary in September 2011.
The company folded the women's magazine Jane with its August issue in 2007, and later shut down its website. One of Condé Nast's oldest titles, the American edition of House and Garden, ceased publication after the December 2007 issue. Portfolio, Mademoiselle and Domino were folded as well. On May 20, 2008, the company announced its acquisition of a popular technology-oriented website, Ars Technica.
On October 5, 2009, Condé Nast announced the closure of three of its publications: Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride. Gourmet ceased monthly publication with its November 2009 issue; the Gourmet brand was later resurrected as "Gourmet Live," an iPad app that delivers new editorial content in the form of recipes, interviews, stories, and videos. In print, Gourmet continues in the form of special editions on newsstands and cookbooks.
In July 2010, Robert Sauerberg became Condé Nast's president. In May 2011, Condé Nast was the first major publisher to deliver subscriptions for the iPad, starting with The New Yorker; the company has since rolled out iPad subscriptions for nine of its titles. In the same month, Next Issue Media, a joint venture formed by five U.S. publishers including Condé Nast, announced subscriptions for Android devices, initially available for the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
In September 2011, Condé Nast said it would offer 17 of its brands to the Kindle Fire. The company launched Conde Nast Entertainment in 2011 to develop film, television, and digital video programming. In May 2013, CNÉ's Digital Video Network debuted, featuring web series for such publications as Glamour and GQ. Wired joined the Digital Video Network with the announcement of five original web series including the National Security Agency satire Codefellas and the animated advice series Mister Know-It-All.
In October 2013, the company ceased its low and unpaid internship program. In November 2014, Condé Nast moved into One World Trade Center in Manhattan, where its new headquarters is located. On September 14, 2015, the company announced Robert A. Sauerberg Jr. was appointed as its chief executive officer (CEO) and would remain its president; its former CEO, Charles H. Townsend, would be its chairman, while S.I. Newhouse Jr. would be chairman emeritus (effective January 2016). On October 13, 2015, Condé Nast announced that it had acquired Pitchfork.
In July 2016, Conde Nast announced the launch of Condé Nast Spire, a new division that would focus on finding links between consumers' purchasing activity and their content consumption by connecting Condé's own first-party behavioral data. Chairman Charles Townsend retired at the end of 2016, and chairman emeritus S.I Newhouse died the following October 1. In March 2018, Condé Nast announced the launch of Influencer Platform Next Gen. "The Platform features both in-house and external talent with significant and meaningful social followings,” said Pamela Drucker Mann, chief revenue and marketing officer for Condé Nast.
In April 2019, Condé Nast appointed the ex-ceo of Pandora Roger Lynch, as Condé Nast's first global CEO. It also sold Brides to Dotdash, part of Barry Diller’s IAC Corp. In May 2019, Condé Nast announced the sale of Golf Digest to Discovery, Inc.
In June 2019, Condé Nast sold W to a new holding company, Future Media Group. 
In June 2019, Condé Nast also fired Stefano Tonchi as it sold W, which he’d headed for nine years. He sued them claiming wrongful termination, and Condé Nast sued him charging that he was a “faithless servant” who interfered with the sale to achieve benefits for himself; Condé Nast is seeking the return of “all monies paid to him during his period of disloyalty".