What happened to fashion magazines that have content? I judge a fashion magazine on how long it takes me to read it. If I can skim all the articles and flip through the entire thing in less than five minutes, then it is a crap magazine, and a waste of 5 bucks. If there is a riveting article, or a photoshoot that makes me stop and stare, or a fascinating interview, which makes the magazine “last” me more than 20 minutes, then it could probably be considered a good magazine. Unfortunately, most magazines today fit into the first category, with Vanity Fair being the only mainstream magazine fitting into the latter (and GQ is often a very good read.)
I have been a bit slow to catch up on mainstream press since I moved back, and this weekend I was flipping through a few American mainstream fashion magazines (Vogue, Elle, and W) and was extremely disappointed. American magazines have always been way more commercial and boring than their European counterparts (try and compare an Italian Vogue to a US Vogue and you won’t believe they share the same name) so I don’t have very high expectations, but still…
Firstly, the covers. Ever since the “celebrity” phenomenon started in recent years, models have been kicked off the covers of magazines. My friend at UK Vogue said that a celebrity will always sell more issues than a model, the only exception being Kate Moss, who is a celebrity model. So instead of getting amazing images where the photographer and stylist have been allowed to be imaginative and creative, we get boring photoshoots controlled by celebrity publicists on our magazine covers.
Another thing that shocked me about these magazines was the advertising. Just to explain some background info on magazine advertising, the pricing works in quarters, so, the front quarter of the magazine is the most expensive per page, the second quarter is the second most expensive, and so on, the exceptions being back cover and inside covers (which are the most expensive). But money doesn’t equal your product on the inside front cover, if you are a crappy brand, most good fashion magazine will take your money, but stick you near the back. Regardless of how much a brand is willing to pay, many magazines will want to maintain integrity and only have beautiful advertising in their first and second quarter. This is not the case with most mainstream US fashion magazines.
Now, I know magazines nowadays are desperate because their advertising revenue has dropped significantly, but really, there is no excuse to have this in the first quarter of your magazine, in the space reserved for the top brands.
After a sea of ugly advertising in Elle, I was hoping to hit some content. Elle should have beautiful editorial images and interesting articles, but it seems that their editors have forgotten they work for Elle, and not Lucky magazine. Lucky is a shopping magazine, which shows lots of product and where to buy it, which is fine, and does the job it says it is going to. But Elle should not be a shopping magazine, and I was very upset to find about ten pages of really boring shopping pages, based on “looks” no woman over 25 would want to wear.
Elle only had one editorial photoshoot, which doubled as a celebrity interview, as it appears Amber Valleta is now an actress as well. Magazine should have at least three editorial photoshoots, that, and great advertising, is why we buy them! So they really aren’t doing their job well.
W had a great photoshoot with Demi. She looks amazing in this photo, shot by Mert + Marcus.
But W forgot to put an editorial shoot in at all. NO EDITORIAL IMAGES! Only some more celebrity shots. Are we sure this is a fashion magazine?
So I was generally let down by these magazines…to say the least. My last two images are for my readers to decide. Are they great? Or crap. You decide.
For some reason I can’t figure out how to do links on photo captions, the techy husband is looking into it, so in case you all desperately needed to find the Katie Homes website and you couldn’t just google it, here they are: Katie Holmes, Mert and Marcus, Demi Moore, Lily Allen, Chanel and DKNY. And I also want to say, I hope I haven’t offended the lovely MB, who is an amazing writer, and Elle is very lucky to have her. MB, I know you didn’t do those shopping pages!
Oops, one more thing. Something good did come out of my Elle read, I saw this amazing clutch bag by Alexander McQueen. Love it!