Magazines: Vogue Schmogue—Why US Vogue Ain’t Everything it’s Cracked Up to Be.

 

Lately I’ve been thinking about the conglomerate that is US Vogue.

If The Devil Wears Prada is anything to go by, hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted on ample, professionally decorated office space, shoots that will never make it into the magazine, catering and gifts to pander to the fickle fashion industry.

Sure, Vogue is the foremost fashion magazine the world turns to to see what’s hot and what’s not, so they can afford to be a bit hoity-toity, right?

Well have you looked at a copy of US Vogue lately? The last one I bought was earlier this year, when I got a bit caught up in the hype of Sex & the City 2, with the movie’s star, Sarah Jessica Parker, on the cover. What a waste of money: if I’ve ever felt buyers remorse over a magazine, it was then.

The only other copies I own of the US edition is Blake Lively’s first outing on the cover, and the Michelle Obama edition, for obvious historical/social/cultural reasons, and both were fairly lacklustre.

So why does the title command such attention and reverence in the fashion industry, when other mags like rivals Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, and quirkier titles like NYLON, clearly possess higher qualities of writing and, oftentimes, fashion. Blasphemous, I know, but someone had to say it.

Personally, I think it might be time to employ a new editor. Anna Wintour has been at the helm for twenty years, and perhaps she’s overstayed her welcome. Sure, there have been some great fashion shoots by the likes of Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz, but if that’s all the mag has to offer (most of which you can access online), what’s the point of buying it?

A recent interview with Vogue creative director, the flame haired right-hand woman to Wintour, Grace Coddington, in Australian Vogue, made me wonder if she isn’t better suited to the editorship. She has an impeccable eye for composition and a quirky touch, something which the über-polished and stony Wintour does not.

But perhaps we should be looking to a younger, fresher take on the magazine, hence, a younger, fresher editor. Coddington is pushing 70 and god knows how old the elusive Wintour is. (A Wikipedia search reveals she turns 61 on November 3, one day after my birthday, but I liked the way the previous sentence sounds!) The staleness of the brand is evidenced by the same old cover girls, Lively, Sienna Miller (who fronted last year’s September issue) and Keira Knightly, actresses whom nobody really cares all that much about. The magazine’s effort to inject some much needed diversity saw the boring Halle Berry take the September issue’s cover, the first black woman to front it since Naomi Campbell in 1989! (Somewhat of a token gesture, perhaps?) Carey Mulligan is on the October cover, and while she’s definitely a step away from the usual Vogue-ette, she’s still a bit of a yawnfest.

Magazine retailer mag nation also laments the September issue, in that it is really the only popular edition of the title all year, and in order to make sure they have enough stock come August, they become overstocked with issues consumers don’t want because of three-monthly ordering increments.

While there’s no doubt US Vogue will always hold a spot on the newsstand, it seems as though today’s Vogue is a mere shadow of what the brand once was. A nice token, but if you’re looking for style and substance in your magazine, try Marie Claire.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Vogue Might Just Be Culturally Relevant Again.

[mag nation] Why is The September Issue a Big Deal?

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Frock & Roll asks “What Makes a Compelling Website?” Frequent updates, a unique writing style, an interesting story to tell and expertise (on things like “how to make a pillowcase from a DVD player”). Also, the final instalment of “The Blogger’s Guide to Hustling” is now online.

Darling of the magazine world, Frankie, is profiled on Pedestrian.TV.

A pro-hunting friend of mine put me on to this article featured in The Age, entitled “Men Who Kill”. The provocative title certainly reflects what a lot of animal-loving, vegetarian Greenies think about hunters (I, myself, have conflicting feelings about being a meat-eating, leather-wearing, zoo-goer versus being staunchly against animal cruelty, puppy mills/pet shops, fur, whaling etc.), but one quote from the article is particularly thought-provoking: “It’s [the rabbit] out and about and ‘bang’, the next thing it knows is nothing. It’s not tormented by a slaughter yard or fed hormones.”

In other Barbie news, Chloë Browne, guest blogging at Em & Lo, asserts that you can be a feminine feminist… and a Barbie connoisseur. Amen.

To celebrate season two of Jersey Shore, The Atlantic thinks that “We Are All Snooki”, the undisputed breakout star of the show, in terms of “crafting public selves”. Only Snooki’s public self is a whole lot more outrageous and famous than most of ours.

Bret Easton Ellis does The Babysitters Club? WTF? But he does it oh so well. For example, Kristy says, “Like, sorry that you have diabetes Stacey, but do we have to spend half the afternoon discussing it? And yeah, it really bums me out to watch Claudia snort up half those Pixie Stix when she is so blatantly trying to get attention to her sugar problem…” Speaking of Claudia, her chapter is far better; very passive aggressive, in the vein of BEE:

“We were going 30 in a 25 mph Stoneybrook crossing lane, my dad’s hands clenched white against the wheel while I could practically hear him grinding his teeth all the way in the backseat. I was sitting next to my older sister Janine, who had spent the last three days on some sort of cleanse diet because she was, in her words, ‘packing on the pounds like I was the one eating all the junk food.’ Or because someone had switched out her carefully hidden birth control pills with orange Tic Tacs last month. Either one.”

Sometimes it seems my sister and I are the only ones on the face of the earth who have seen/remember/love the ’80s teen movie, Teen Witch. Until Jezebel profiled it! Above, a choice rap clip from the film!

Erica Bartle has a discusses the perils of committing to a comprehensive review of all the September issues and promotes blog loving on Girl with a Satchel.

An oldie but a goodie: “The Self-Manufacture of Megan Fox” at The New York Times.

We can’t have “On the (Rest of the) Net” without the requisite Mad Men link. This week it’s “Mad Men’s Very Modern Sexism Problem” at The Atlantic.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Frock & Roll has some poignant points on how to “network, promote and get your blog out there” aka “hustle”. I’ve only read part one of the series, but you can find part two here, with part three on its way.

Who do you write like? Apparently, from the sample I typed in to the analyzer, I write like David Foster Wallace, author of one of Time magazine’s All-Time Greatest Novels, Infinite Jest! Not too shabby!

It’s no secret Prince is one of my favourite musicians, but according to Fajr Muhammad of Stylish Thought, he’s also a style icon, assless pants and all!

Edward Cullen sparkles, but feminism certainly doesn’t. Amplify Your Voice discusses “What Twilight Teaches Young Girls”.

Author Marketing Experts suggest “Seven Powerful Ways to Find New Readers For Your Blog” (there’re actually eight!).

An oldie but a goody: Inappropriate Woman Rachel Hills muses on Gossip Girl, Serena & Effortless Perfection”.

In the vein of last week’s “In Defence of Taylor Momsen” comes the case for Lindsay Lohan as she is released from jail and shipped off to rehab for the umpteenth time.

On Tuesday night, “I Went to See Killers, and It’s All Your Fault”, Jezebel!

Girl with a Satchel has two (here and here) fab pictorials up of this year’s September issues. Here’s just a little taste…