Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An open letter to fashion magazines everywhere.

Dear fashion magazines of the world,

I worry about you sometimes. I worry that you're forgetting what matters, that you're losing touch with your heart and soul. Allow me to snap you back on track:

Remember that you are, at the core, a cleanly-bound stack of pristinely-laid out crystallized concepts of decadent glamour. Whether any given page is a full-bleed photo, an all-text article, or a modestly-formatted masthead, it's clear that it's been crafted with a painstaking eye for composition, balance, color depth... it's sexy by very deliberate design. The fonts aren't accidental. The white space is meticulously measured and apportioned out. In theory, if you're dropped on your spine, whatever page falls open will be a work of sensuous, luxurious art.

So given that you're a bonafide stack of sugar-gloss Mona Lisas, why oh why do some of you INSIST on skimping on the page stock you print on? I'm looking at you, W. And yes, I know you're not haute, but listen up Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Allure and InStyle. You can't sell art photography on Polaroid stock, and nobody wants to listen to Bach over a cell phone speaker. Medium matters as much as content - maybe more. There's no substitute for heavy, mirror-gloss stock. The way it looks, the way it feels, the dark subtle reflections of fingertips as they linger on it. The weight of it working against the tension of the plastic coating, causing the pages to gently and perfectly arc as they fall in some cosmic demonstration that would make Fibonacci proud.

It's about the experience, fashion magazines. If it weren't, you'd just be pixels on a screen, effortlessly loaded at the lowest cost possible at a million computers worldwide. There's a ritual involved, even when the reader isn't aware they're performing the steps - selecting and procuring the magazine from the bookstore, protecting it in transit until the moment when you can finally crack it open at the cafe, in the living room, on the park bench. There's a reason they tend to stack up under beds, in closets, under coffee tables. They're a little hard to part with. They're substantial, polished collections of decadent, synthetic zeitgeist, each one a precision-cut rectangular prism coolly overflowing with high-intensity wet-shiny commercial sex. Ever carry a stack of them? They're heavier than other books. That extra weight comes from all the decadence.

So if the experience of flipping through the magazines is central, core to the concept of the thing, then why, dear magazines, would you ever risk printing your pages on a stock so thin that the text of the article on page 168 is visible through the white gown of the model on 167? The illusion is broken; the Mona Lisa has gone from the Louvre to the poster store. Treat yourself, magazines. Treat yourself and us to thick, heavy pages covered in candy gloss. BE the treasures you are. Each advertisement a museum piece, every photoshoot a gallery candidate. Don't give me the rough, satin-sheen pages of W, or the translucent, barely-glossy sheets of InStyle. Show me the wet shine of ELLE, the silky, heavy panels of Vogue UK. Reward my fingers, my eyes, and even my nose for the trouble of the ritual.

Be worth it.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Au Revoir, Green Grenadine!

One of my favourite bloggers, Green Grenadine, has ceased blogging: such a shame considering I started blogging again partially in order to keep her some cyber-company. Please check out her beautiful blog as she's keeping it alive for the next little while (hopefully she will change her mind...).

InStyle Australia

Shameful confession: I love this magazine. Apparently it recently underwent a "makeover" and although I can't remember enough of what it was like previously to be able to assess how much it has actually changed, I have very much devoured the past couple of issues. This magazine has no tabs on itself whatsoever: it makes no claims about itself other than being able to pick out the most compelling celebrity style trends, and does not feel the need to include articles whose supposed depth is supposedly meant to disavow the magazine's inherent superficiality (e.g. Vogue Australia). It has a beautiful, clean, unbusy layout and (nerdy as it sounds) I love the typeface: so readable! It is also uncluttered by needless promotional material (Harper's Bazaar)...I will post a cover gallery some time soon. There was a beautiful issue with Anne Hathaway on the over in about ?September which I had but have now lost...if anyone has it and is willing to exchange it please let me know.

random smokin' photo of Isabella Rossellini

Shameless, I know. This arose out of some "research" I was doing into the Bergman-Rossellini nexus, following upon a recent (Ingmar) Bergman marathon which I inflicted upon myself.

Mags I can't find and can't afford the thought of purchasing which keeps me awake in a cold sweat of anticipation (seriously)

In order...

UK Vogue February 2009. I'm not really sure who Cheryl Cole is - some Brit-tab G-lister I suspect - but UK Vogue is typically bold, sensual, unaffected and direct in its treatment of this month's cover subject.

US Vogue January 2009 (only because of my dedication to AH, not because I in any way support A-Dubs' crumbling empire):

And as regards mags I'd normally buy anyway but which I'm too poor to purchase currently (stranded in student accommodation on the North Coast of NSW)...

Vogue Australia February 2009. I realise this issue is probably as thin as toilet paper but Daria Verbowy looks so sexy and I just feel like saying "suck it" to all my female friends who for some reason can't stand her.