c.2013 New York Times News Service
c.2013 New York Times News Service
What’s up? Are you all ready for Fashion Week?
So listen, I spent the weekend catching up on your hefty September issues, and I must say I felt a little let down. Baffled, even. But I’m sure you won’t mind a few quibbles from a regular old reader, now that you all are doing so well in ad pages again. (Nothing says success like the words “biggest issue ever” on a cover, eh, Harper’s Bazaar?)
Where to begin? Certainly there’s a lot to absorb in the 902 pages of Vogue, and a shout-out to whoever decided to resurrect that photo of Novak Djokovic in a Speedo from the archives. But I do miss the days when magazines didn’t look so much as though they were striving to be synergized, on brand, on platform or just with-it to the point that the layouts appear to be inspired by Pinterest. I miss when magazines were an escape from reality, not a reminder to go back online.
Here are pages and pages about a beauty blogger with 700 million page views, a profile of Marissa Mayer and a futuristic fashion story that incorporates Google Glass, plus frequent appearances of bar codes and directions to videos of Anna Wintour at Vogue.com.
And is it just me, or has the branding of every editor and intern into a society/street-style star with pages dedicated exclusively to their own fabulousness made magazines seem as narcissistic as Facebook postings? Oh, I do simultaneously adore and envy everything about Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, but I’m not sure I need to know any more about her brother Albert’s surprise birthday party on the rolling family estate in Hohenberg beyond its theme of “lederhosen/Versace/Howard Carpendale/sweat pants,” thank you very much.
I know, I know: print must adapt to survive. But I’m also not entirely comfortable with magazines getting into the business of selling clothes. Those little black-circled “B” icons peppered throughout Harper’s Bazaar, alerting readers to items that can be bought at ShopBazaar.com, are a distraction. On the other hand, at least this means the clothes are actually being made, and there is less of that “prices on request” nonsense. And thankfully, the edits are still sharp.
Am I starting to sound like a gay Andy Rooney?
Then let me say something nice about Elle, which bucked the same-old-celebrity-cover trend by featuring Kate Upton, the unlikely modeling success story of the past few years. She’s awesomely normal, really. I was having lunch at Fred’s just last week when Upton, seated at the next table, proceeded to spoon ice cubes into her glass of white wine. But I wonder if that outfit, the Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent chubby with diamante stockings, was really the right choice for the subscription cover.
Am I crazy? I thought everyone hated that collection. Was all the post-show sniping just fashion’s version of a poker face? Slimane’s grunge collection is, like, everywhere. There’s even a full, flattering profile of him in Vogue. But more germane, Upton, with her human figure, does not really seem to possess the ideal body for Saint Laurent.
Speaking of visible breasts, I’m not sure what to make of W, which includes 23 naked or almost naked ones (in a fashion shoot starring the transgender performer Carmen Carrera, in a photo tribute to Lee Miller, in an article that appears to recommend wearing fall fashions, um, backward).
Sure, it’s artsy, creative and typically boundary-pushing stuff for W. But (not to sound like a prude) I fear that if you, too, are trying to compete with online media, dear editors, you have been spending too much time in the darker corners of the Internet.
Eric, New York City