Sunday, April 03, 2011


From the age of 13, when I bought US Elle on holiday in Greece, I was obsessed with fashion magazines. I subscribed to British Elle from its inception with Sally Brampton as editor, and I still have my collection of Vogues British, Italian and French from 1991 - 2006 and Harper's Bazaar during the reign of Liz Tilberis (RIP). I would only buy The Face, ID or Dazed & Confused if I particularly liked an issue, but I collected every other random title in-between: anyone remember Frank magazine (late 90s)? It was excellent - I loved that magazine. Dutch, Blow, early issues of Purple when Eileen Fleiss was still on board, The Fashion which Sarah Mower edited, Ten, Big, the re-launched Nova, then Pop, Danish Costume Magazine when it first launched with Malene Malling at the helm. AnOther, A Magazine and of course onto Lula, Encens and now The Gentlewoman...

As for interiors magazines, let's not go there now - this post is going to be long winded enough.

Gradually I've had to weed out the magazine collection, as it's essentially now a static installation: a full to bursting seven foot high bookcase that is never, or rarely added to. My new pile of magazines that I usually buy and keep includes Russh, Dossier, Acne Paper and the only Vogue I ever buy is Vogue Paris.

I've gone from buying perhaps twenty or thirty magazines a month to three or less. This is partly due to the wealth of inspiration to be found on the internet (and I don't just mean people scanning magazine editorials so I don't have to buy them!) and the fact that £12 for a magazine is becoming standard. Someone said to me a while ago that the only way print magazines will survive is if they become more like coffee table books - something worth collecting and treasuring.

The Gentlewoman is currently the magazine I absolutely make sure I buy the day it comes out. After the joy of the first issue, the second issue didn't quite do it for me somehow (maybe it was Inez's beard on the cover, or the article about the newsreader?), but the third issue strikes exactly the right balance. It has quietly revolutionised the fashion magazine in ways that please me very, very much. I read The Gentlewoman, I don't flip through it. In the third issue I don't think there are any models at all, just beautiful, smart women (some of whom may have happened to do some modelling) wearing my favourite kind of clothes. In any case, the focus is on the person. I can see how it might not appeal to everybody, but I have a strong minimal/puritan streak so it suits me just fine. In the current issue there's a feature called 'At Home, At Work' which features Berlin based creative women photographed by Benjamin Alexander Huseby in exactly the type of Berlin apartments I dream of and at work. The women are styled by Hannes Hetta in clothes from Celine, Uniqlo, Vanessa Bruno, Dries van Noten, Isabel Marant and APC. Just kill me now please.

I was also eagerly awaiting the April issue of Vogue Paris - the first to be edited by Emmanuelle Alt. It sounds a bit silly to say you're a fan of Alt because, who isn't? I had always liked her editorials the best, and in interviews she always seems so...nice? Normal? The April issue is very white, very fresh and pretty, not aggressively sexy... but I think it will take a few issues to see what stamp she'll put on it.

Finally, I randomly picked up a copy of Art Review because Laurie Anderson was on the cover and I've always loved her for her Fully Automated Nikon series. As I was reading it I noticed a strange sensation: I was excited about what I was reading; I found out things I didn't already know. I could almost hear the cogs of my brain turning. Novelty!


If Jane said...

food for thought! but i really do buy magazines for the articles, that is the writing...and of course the pictures.
the amount of magazines i buy has also gone down...i now only buy french vogue, british vogue, the gentlewoman and from time to time jalouse.
......i loveeeee the latest issue of the gentlewoman. it was almost perfect (whatever that means??!!! but exactly that!)...
and yeah...kill me as well for the "at home, at work" segment...!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm eagerly waiting for my copy of the gentlewoman to arrive..It will be interesting to see what Alt does for VP. But I don't think I love her as much as other people seem to. Her editorials are nice, but the entire time she was a consultant for Balmain and Isabel Marant, the two brands looked pretty much the same and very trashy.

Anonymous said...

If Hannes Hetta was my boyfriend, I'd let him dress me every day!

If Jane said...

ps..yeah hannes hetta can be my beau as well!!!!

Rose said...

I couldn't agree more- this issue of The Gentlewoman is brilliant. I was very excited by the first edition and while there were things I like about the second I was also dissapointed.

But this latest one is just great- so we can be happy.

Magazines are the best- but they have had to change and in some ways that's brought great ones it has made them more expensive. Still I hope they live on and The Gentlewoman is good value I think.

I am huge fan of Oh Comley and I also like Lula, but everyone does I suppose. I like Little White Lies for film and Intelligent Life for being about ten years older than I am.

Alison said...

I adore The Gentlewoman and I now only buy that Vogue Paris, USA.
Return the independent voise!