Showing posts with label Magazines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magazines. Show all posts

Monday, March 29, 2010

She's A Lady

If you haven’t already, head to 4 on Demand to catch the hilarious doc The Lady and the Revamp. The Lady was founded 125 years ago and is the go-to mag for finding a butler, sycophantic coverage of the royal family, ugly covers of owls and kittens and articles on the history of cucumbers and cobnuts, whatever they are. The Lady fascinates me: how can it still exist? Its readership continues to drop and it haemorrhages cash. Anyway, here comes Rachel Johnson to wield her machete in the office she describes as a cross between an undertakers and a lunatic asylum. At one stage, Joan Collins wanders through to do "something" and tea and sponge cake is served. I so want to work at The Lady! Rachel knows she has an impossible task ahead - to modernize the mag without alienating the existing readers – and from this show, they seem like a rather scary bunch. She starts off the programme by describing the magazine’s appearance as a cross between an in-flight magazine, a funeral parlour brochure and a Bupa catalogue and towards the end of the programme says angrily: “In the real world this is a piddling magazine that nobody cares about or buys.” It’s clear Rach doesn’t care a jot for the mag or its readers but has been brought in to get some much needed publicity and for her valuable contacts. In exchange she gets lots of entertaining material she can use for the diary she’s writing on the experience. It’s not quite as glamorous The September Issue but it's infinitely more amusing. NOK

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happiness in Magazines

There were lots of reasons why I was looking forward to the launch of The Gentlewoman: it’s the sister mag of the rather fantastic Fantastic Man, the cover girl is woman of the hour Phoebe Philo, its editor is Penny Martin and I just can’t refrain from buying yet another, new magazine. So what’s the verdict? : yes, we likey. It has a nice, clean modernist typeface and I love a cover that’s brave enough to go without the usual overload of straplines. Aimed at a thoughtful, sophisticated woman, each profile has a very specific theme like time management, cycling, housekeeping, which is quirky and throws up lots of interesting insights. I have no idea what Daisy Lowe is doing here though. She seems totally out of place next to profiles of Alice Rawsthorn and Jenny Holzer and I really don’t know need to know what her cleaning product of choice is. The fashion is graphic and grown-up, very Philo’s Celine. In fact one editorial could be the outtakes from the ”headless” Spring 10 campaign. Daniel Riera’s portraits are great, capturing a group of women working in various parts of the fashion industry, caught off guard and in the moment. And I loved the centre section printed on uncoated stock that features a series of ‘references’ – footnotes –additional information on the rest of the mag’s content.

When you pop to RD Franks for The Gentlewoman, keep an eye out for L’Officiel’s tribute to Alexander McQueen with images from all his shows, alongside photos and interviews from the L’Officiel archives. And if you haven’t already done so, pick up a copy of Elle Collections. I usually have no time for collections supplements , always consisting of cobbled together photos that you can see on but Elle totally impressed me with this Spring 10 issue. They’ve presented the collections in such an original way, so not dreary and functional like they are usually. One page is dedicated to designers’ show exits, another to show invites. It’s really detailed and I loved how they used different paper textures throughout. I never thought I would say this about Elle but it is a masterclass in layout and crammed with tons of fashi tidbits: lots of lists like “5 things I’m looking forward to this season and a roundup of fashion week tweets. NOK

Friday, March 5, 2010

The News

Shiloh Pitt-Jolie landed herself several front covers recently after stepping out with a new haircut. Last year we wrote about how Brad and Angie’s daughter managed to escape the “What’s the little fella’s name?” comments that dogged us as tomboyish toddlers due to her lovely hair, but it seems we spoke too soon as her new do has attracted lots of negative press. American mag Life & Style ran with the headline “Why is Angelina turning Shiloh into a boy?” and proceeded to get insights from experts like celebrity stylist Gili Rashal-Niv and Glenn Stanton, director of Family Formation Studies at the conservative organization Focus on the Family. The thing is I know exactly how Shiloh must be feeling. I had a haircut almost identical to Shiloh’s when I was 5 – the only difference was that my hair was curly! – and it wasn’t the reaction from my peers that I dreaded but the comments from mean adults. “What have you done to your hair?” my first class teacher asked and I actually wanted to die. Poor Shiloh is dealing with this on a global scale so I think we should all just back off and remember that a bad boyish haircut is a rite of passage for all the best girls. I mean, who’d want to be one of those creepy, prissy, long-haired girls whose idea of a good time is playing with My Little Ponies? Yeah, Suri, we’re looking at you.

In other news, American Vogue has gone mean. Yeah OK we know they’re always mean – see the scenes where they discuss Sienna Miller’s fillings in The September Issue – but generally in interviews they have tended to stay on the nice side, with Sally Singer extolling the virtues of Michelle Williams or whoever is on that month’s cover. But for the last two months Jonathan Van Meter has been given the task of interviewing the cover girls and he’s been really insulting. OK so everybody knows that February’s Jessica Biel’s career isn’t stellar but did he need to say this?

The conversation quickly settles on her vexed post-TV career, which goes like this: ill-conceived remake of famous horror film; tragic Bret Easton Ellis adaptation; even more tragic Kim Basinger vehicle; meaningless third installment of franchise; terrible movie; terrible movie…

He doesn’t stop at belittling her career and actually brings up Rihanna, who Biel’s boyfriend Justin Timberlake is rumoured to have an affair with. That’s just rude, Van Meter. I mean I like a good honest interview as much as the next person but it feels a bit like Biel is being picked on because she doesn’t have the clout or power that some of the bigger stars possess.

To add insult to injury, the accompanying shoot featured some truly horrible pictures of Biel, especially the one where she looks like she’s just stepped out of a 70s catalogue.

And then this month, Van Meter starts on Tina Fey. It’s less a traditional interview, more of a little collection of facts about Fey under unflattering titles like 'Hand-Me Downs' and 'Revenge of the Nerd'.

A typical paragraph reads: On Monday morning I was at the gym bright and early—the only person there. Until Tina Fey walked in. All traces of the previous evening's glamour were gone. In fact, the person before me looked nothing like the person who'd been on TV. She could have been any harried working mother who had dragged herself to the gym in rumpled workout clothes, clutching a cup of coffee as if her life depended on it.

Van Meter seriously needs to take some tips from Christa D’Souza whose interviews for British Vogue are always honest but never bullying. LE

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bye Bye Observer Woman

So yesterday was a sad day. It was Observer Woman’s last day in existence. Every Saturday night for the past few years, I’ve wondered to myself if it was Observer Woman Day tomorrow. Even on the Saturdays when it had been Observer Woman Day last week so it couldn’t possibly have come round again. I’m stupid like that. So while I was happy as I skipped home from the newsagents yesterday with my Observer Woman nestled in the more weighty pages of the venerable Sunday broadsheet, I was all too aware that this was my last chance to read the funny and smart articles I’ve come to expect from the mag. The supplement is no more but elements of it will be included in the new and improved Observer magazine as part of a streamlining operation that is going on at the paper. The only monthly magazine to survive is the food one. (At least it’s not sport; I really hated it when it was Observer Sport Day.)

What am I going to do without Polly Vernon’s Chart of Lust? I loved that. When an acquaintance of mine once made it into the CoL, I reacted far more enthusiastically than when he’d garnered any boring praise for his actual work. “Wow, he’s really made it!” I noted. And so often it was as if Observer Woman could actually read my mind. When I was in LA a while back I met this ex-male model at a little league baseball game. He became something of a fascination for me and my friend and next thing you know we’re youtubing his 80s Levis ads and reading his autobiography (in which he talks about having sex with Andie McDowell). Well what do you know: a couple of months later, Observer Woman has an interview with him. And that Rachel Cook article with Peaches Geldof - that was one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever read.

All I can hope is that the new Observer magazine will continue to produce the hilarious interviews and interesting features that the team at OW did so well. And at least they folded with an excellent issue that included interviews with Jefferson Hack and Mariah Carey and a Chart of Lust that gave my crush-of-the-moment Aaron Johnson top billing. LE

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's a Twin Thing

Continuing our obsession with Jedward and therefore all things twin related, it's the perfect time to welcome new fash mag Twin- they are sooo on the wavelength with that name. Becky Smith, formerly creative director of Lula, is behind this along with Voguette Aimee Farrell. It's quite far from Lula style -wise - sharper layout, cleaner font, larger format. Less Au Revoir Simone and airy fairy editorial which I love in Lula but it's also nice to have an alternative. Closer to a book than a mag, Twin comes in hardback with articles laid out in chapters and no face on the cover, just the logo, again something more in line with books than mags. I'm always happy to see a feature on usual suspects Ryan McGinley and Garance Doré , no matter how overdone they are. Also loved seeing Freja, a bit of poetry in a fashion mag, NY street style captured in a different way by photographer Tom Allen and the page documenting artist Fiona Banner's favourite things. There is a refreshing lack of celebs and more importantly, celeb offspring, something that reached overkill with the last issue of Love. Not one for your next trip to Borders, Twin seems to be mainly stocked in boutiques including Rellik and Dover Street Market but I picked up mine at John Rocha, just another excuse to call into this beautiful store in Mayfair. NOK

Pics: Boo George, Garance Doré, Tom Allen, Neil Bridge

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Mysterious and dramatic - the addition of a veil to a fashion image instantly adds a degree of intrigue. It has been a visual trope used by imagemakers for years, from the days of fashion photography’s earliest innovators like Edward Steichen who draped Gloria Swanson in a veil of black lace and Irving Penn who used veiling to great effect in his technically perfect portraits. In 2009, the veil has become ubiquitous in fashion imagery. It's everywhere – on covers - Tasha Tilberg on i—D, Chanel Iman on Lula - and editorials. It has also hit the red carpet with a vengeance. Personally, I love seeing it in the right context- to heighten the drama in a black and white image such as this Linda Evangelista portrait by Steven Meisel from the Urban Decay shoot in August’s Italian Vogue. Other times it comes across as a lazy styling trick used to quickly capture the required mood. It you’re looking for dark and alluring, grab a piece of net and the job is done (Kylie in BlackBook). Similarly, if it's light-hearted and quirky you’re going for, a Luella-esque veiled headpiece is all you need. (see countless Teen Vogue editorials). I am guilty of it myself – at college, veils were everywhere in nearly all my styling and photography projects. Sometimes I carried it off, but more often than not, the model just looked like she had gotten lost in a dressing box. NOK

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There really is a new girl in town....

It’s a great month for mags. We get the big fat September issues of all our faves plus issue two of Love and the first issue of Pop under Dasha Zhukova. A-may-zing. Issue two of Love is basically full of teenagers and as Katie Grand says in her editor’s letter “if you’re over the age of 21, the fact that everybody who appears on [these] pages is younger than you might make you feel a little bit old”. And yes, after almost 300 pages of pouting posing teenagers I did feel pretty ancient, but weirdly I didn’t feel jealous. I wasn’t even jealous of Tavi, the 13-year-old blogger whose site ( gets a reported half a million hits a month and who is now garnering mainstream media attention. My Portmanteau other half and I always joke that we were actually way more clued in about our careers when we were 10. After school on a Monday we would scour the Guardian media supplement for jobs. (We were really weird.) But looking back at our incredibly boring diaries - highlights of which include descriptions of the tuna sandwiches we ate - I’m not sure that we would have been the media sensation that Tavi is. But yeah - like I said - I’m not jealous. She has all the painful teenage years ahead of her, not to mention the anxiety-filled early twenties. Good luck, Tavs.

I am really jealous of Dasha Zhukova though. She’s closer to my age, she’s really pretty and an excellent dresser, she’s going out with a billionaire and although we were sceptical when we first heard she had been appointed as editor, I've got to admit that Pop is actually really good. The front cover boasts “Where else do you get Ed Ruscha, the president of Liberia, Spinnerette, J.G. Ballard and Jeurgen Teller? Plus a Naomi 25-year tribute, and a stem-cell research celebration by Rodarte” Seriously, where else could you get all that? It’s also filled with beautiful editorials and the paper size and texture varies throughout, making each new story an individual little treat. Tavi (her again) is cover girl and appears in cute and playful editorial that was styled by Tamara Rothstein and shot by Jamie Morgan. LE

Photos from Pop (but taken on my phone so excuse picture quality)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Then We Came to The End

The September issues have hit the shelves, my traditional signifier that summer is officially O.V.E.R. And I can breathe a little easier. There was one dodgy period when the forecasters were frightening me with their talk of heatwaves, but thankfully that didn’t last for much more than a week. Yes, summer is over and I survived with my opaque tights still intact. I just don’t do summer – much more of an autumn / winter girl and there are so many treats to look forward to this season - The September Issue, scarves, The Sartorialist goes from blog to book, velvet, fashion week, Coco on the cover of Love, our first look at Dasha's Pop, autumn leaves on Holland Park Avenue, even woollier tights. I kinda knew it was all going to be fine when I saw the cover of July’s Vogue, usually the sunniest and therefore, for me, the worst issue of the year. But there were no scary cover lines proclaiming the Summer of Love, no swimsuits. Just Julianne Moore photographed by Alasdair McLellan in all her fiery, autumnal glory. But how did Alex and Co. capture the mood and sense that summer would be such a washout? If life at Vogue House ever gets too much, a career at the Met Office could be on the cards. NOK

Friday, July 31, 2009

The News

My Friend Michael Jackson: Uri's Story marked the end of our MJ obsession. For about a month we talked of little else and listened only to Michael Jackson music but at least now we have some answers. Uri says that he hypnotised Micahel Jackson without his knowledge (an unethical but perhaps unsurprising move given that when you begin typing Uri's name into Google the first suggestion is 'Uri Geller Fraud') and MJ vowed that he did not abuse any children. We also learned that Trevor Nunn, the acclaimed theatre director, thought that MJ had a Peter Pan complex and Mark Lester informed us that MJ liked to shop. So like I said we now have all the answers and can move onto our new favourite news story - the ballad of Jude and Samantha.

People magazine must be finally getting over their MJ obsession too. He’s been relegated to the side-bar of the latest issue with the Saved By the Bell gang (minus sex-tape making, tax-dodging Screech) gracing the cover. Dustin Diamond was even airbrushed out of the 1989 cast photo like he never existed in the first place. Maybe he'll have the last laugh though as apparently he’s currently working on a tell-all book called Behind the Bell. That's another amazing classic for the library. And what about Mr. Belding? Well, according to the comments section of New York magazine, he’s become a bit of a creep in the intervening years. So no place on the shiny, happy People cover for you, Mr B.

Hopefully Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s appearance in character as Zack Morris on Jimmy Fallon’s show was just a taster of the delights to come. We're totally in favour of this reunion although with constant repeats on TV it's not like they ever really went away but as pointed out in today's Guardian, we are living in the age of the comeback and so we can’t blame the SBTB kids from joining, or cashing, in. Our ultimate eps include the one with the Casey Kasem-hosted dance-off at the Max won by Lisa and Screech despite her sprained ankle (Casey: “"C'mon everybody, let's do the...the...the Sprain." ) and the Jessie-Spano-is-hooked-on-caffeine-pills classic (Jessie: "I'm so excited... I'm so exciteeeed!... I'm so... SCARED!"). LE & NOK

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Show & Tell

I was quite intrigued by the concept of the Showstudio shop , just opened off Bruton St. Nick Knight and his team have curated a selection of one-of-a-kind pieces used in seminal fashion shoots and catwalk shows, all for sale. There is also a live studio space for fashion designers to create pieces onsite for the shop, all filmed by the Showstudio webcams. Showing the creative process behind the final, retouched fashion image is what Showstudio has always been about and this is an extension of that.

I would be totally up for redesigning the flat to resemble the pages of a Paris Vogue editorial. I mean, who wouldn’t want a giant bunch of cherries hanging on their sitting room wall? Walking in, I had visions of a Shona Heath / Tim Walker-created fantasy prop extravaganza, brimming with whimsical wonders, everything there up for grabs. Not really the case. The gallery itself is extremely small with only a selection of the available works on show and having the pieces stand alone against the white walls mean they lose some of their magic. The website provides more choice and context and it is nice to know that the life of these amazing pieces doesn’t have to end when a shoot or show is over. Although the prices mean that it won’t be competing with Argos and charity shops as my main sources of furnishings for the flat.

Slightly more affordable are the books and mags on sale at Idea at St. Martins Lane hotel, a pop-up outpost of Angela Hill’s concession at Dover Street Market. Yet another address to add to the list of great fash mag suppliers in London town. NOK

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Career Guidance

There is a beautiful Alexa spread in May’s Harper’s Bazaar. Styled by Alison Edmond and shot by Guy Aroch, the photos capture the frothiness of full-length Nina Ricci and Giambattista Valli gowns whilst combining them with harder pieces like a Charles Anastase leather jacket or a pair of All Saints boots. Accompanying the dreamy spread is an equally fanciful interview in which Alexa discusses, once again, her varied career ambitions. The decision to turn down a place at Kings College is obviously mentioned - I don’t think there has ever been an Alexa interview that didn’t refer to it – which begs the question “WTF is the big deal about turning down a place at Kings College?” I turned down a place to study English at Trinity but I rarely/never mention that because eight years later it isn’t in any way relevant to my life.

I suspect that perhaps one of the reasons Alexa brings it up so frequently is because she feels slightly intellectually inferior. Although one would think that hanging out at Bungalow 8 with Peaches and Pixie all the time would actually make you feel really smart. Comparatively, at least. Anyway Alexa plans to make up for it – when asked where she sees herself at 30 she answered, “I want to write columns and I want to have studied literature and just be really clever, have an excellent vocabulary and just be really eloquent.” She also discusses her dreams of holding an exhibition of her photography and becoming an actress. Not in plays or Casualty or anything but in “some really cool hip thing. Juno or something.”

As somebody who has earned a living as a waitress, actor, shop assistant, drama teacher, runner in a post-production company, TEFL teacher and most recently production assistant/researcher type person, I am really in no position to judge. In fact, I am just jealous. Jealous of somebody who has pretty much everything I want in life - a column in The Independent and an incredibly long pair of legs.

Harper's Bazaar May 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pop Goes Dasha

So after months of speculation, it has been announced that Dasha Zhukova will replace Katie Grand as editor of Pop. The Portmanteau's first reaction to the news was something along the lines of "WTF?? – this must be a joke". Miss Zhukova is pretty and really rich but she has no experience of running a magazine. One minute she's designing latex leggings for Kova & T, the next she's Russia's answer to Jay Jopling, spending boyf Roman Abramovich's millions on Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud paintings and opening her own art gallery in Moscow. When asked in a Guardian interview which artists she likes, she replied: "I'm like, really bad at remembering names ...”. She seems equally confused about her career path. Note that none of the options involve homeopathy which she has actually studied.

At least she'll have some help at the office. The team linked to Pop's relaunch is v. impressive - Sam Taylor-Wood, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Daphne Guinness. BFF Olympia Scarry will be lending a hand as artistic director, although Daphne didn't seem to know anything about her new role until she read about it on the internet which is a little worrying. Katie Grand used to complain about Pop's cramped offices and tight budget but luckily this lot won't have to suffer similar conditions with publishing house Bauer somehow finding the cash for a new London HQ and an installation space in Berlin. Much more suitable for a bunch of spoilt socialites.

But who am I kidding? I’m not so secretly rather entertained by Dasha and co. I even wandered for hours through the grey slums of Moscow to visit her art gallery. And then it was closed when I got there. It should have taught me a lesson but no, I’m still fascinated and can’t wait for Pop redux on Sept 1.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tatler Tales

With all the anticipation surrounding the launch of Katie Grand's Love this week, you could be forgiven for forgetting the drama going on at two of my other favourite titles. Over at Tatler, editor Geordie Greig is leaving to take the reigns at the Evening Standard while ES Magazine's Catherine Ostler is heading to Hanover Square to take his place. Ok, so maybe no one cares about this except me. I have admitted to my love of Tatler here before but have yet to wax  (or should that be blog?) lyrical about ES Magazine. It comes free with the Evening Standard every Friday and is like a weekly, mini-Tatler. I know it should be filed in that section of my magazine archive marked Guilty Pleasures but when the newspaper costs 50p and the mag is this good, I refuse to feel bad. I hope the new editor doesn't mess around too much with the formula - pretty girl / foppish actor with something to promote on the cover and (the best bit) an insider's guide to London by someone in the know on the back. In between, you'll find excellent party pages and lots of articles on Russian oligarchs, art world scandals etc. Basically, it's the best 50p you can spend in London town. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting a Dressing Down for Dressing Up

I’m pinning all my Oscar dress hopes on M.I.A. and Tilda Swinton. These are the only two people that can be trusted to not turn up in a blah, boring, safely-picked-by-a-stylist ensemble. And I don’t even know if they’re going to the Oscars. M.I.A.’s Paper Planes is on the nominated Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack but I’m not sure if that means she’ll get an invite and anyway, she’ll surely have had the baby by then. Tilda won Best Supporting Actress last year so I suppose she might be there to present an award (I have no idea how she escaped nomination this year when she was the best thing in the not very good but 13-times nominated Benjamin Button). If those two don't turn up, then I could settle for Marion Cotillard who seems to be able to find pretty yet interesting pieces to wear to award ceremonies. Last year's mermaid dress is a case in point.

Much has been made by bloggers and journalists of other actresses' safe (i.e. horribly dull) choices this awards season, but we only have ourselves to blame. We howled with laughter when Celine Dion wore that backwards jacket. We placed Gwyneth on all the worst dressed lists when she turned up in the Ralph Lauren meringue. And we berated Cher year after year. So now we must all take responsibility for the “classy” dresses that Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie are sure to parade down the red carpet in. Grazia is getting very excited about Freida Pinto’s awards look but I really can’t see what all the fuss is about – she just looks like a pretty girl going to a debs (albeit wearing couture).

Don’t get me wrong – I hated Celine, Gwyneth and Cher’s OFs like everybody else but right now I’m desperate for a bit of personality on the red carpet.

A nine-months pregnant M.I.A wearing House of Holland

Marion Cotillard in Jean Paul Gaultier

Friday, January 30, 2009

Love Me Do

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and our shops are soon going to be full of nauseatingly pink balloons and cards. I claim to not really care about Valentine’s Day but always act like a spoilt brat unless I receive a bouquet of flowers at the very least (carnations bought in Tesco do not count). It probably stems from the fact that I didn’t receive a Valentine’s card until I was 20. Other girls in my primary school spent the 14th counting their messages of adoration, whilst I comforted myself with the fact that I lived on a road that had very few boys and therefore the lack of male interest was not entirely my fault. If I had more access to boys, I reasoned, I would surely receive more cards. I still act a little competitive on the day, comparing my boyfriend’s gestures to the romantic gifts delivered to my colleagues.

Le Love - a blog that collates images of beautiful couples from online and print media - is destined to make anybody who’s feeling insecure about the lack of romance in their life feel about 10 times worse. If you’re single, you imagine that your life would look like that if only you could get somebody to go out with you. If you’re part of a couple, you know that your photos could never look that hot. Whenever the boyfriend and I are pictured, he’s squinting and I look mildly angry. It’s still a guilty pleasure though – perusing images of Irish stylist Celestine Cooney and her handsome beau, as featured on The Selby, or gazing at the adorably colourful Agyness and Albert shoot from February’s US Vogue.

Images from Le Love

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home

On my list of magazine reading priorities, features on interiors come last together with the yawn-inducing beauty and accessories pages. Usually they feature glossy, over-styled and unattainably perfect rooms owned by boring people like Allegra Hicks. They just tend to make you feel bad about your own shabby not-so-chic shoebox.

However, one magazine that gets it right is Apartamento - now I should, of course, be totally against a magazine devoted to interiors alone but I love this one. It features interesting people and is a little bit like The Selby but a lot less pretentious. In fact, the style of Apartamento is informal and understated, with pages completely free of PR copy. The latest issue features Chris Bollen of Interview magazine who lives in a cottage in the West Village and photographer Felix Friedmann whose home is an old library in London - yes, still utterly unattainable but at least these homes have personality, are often cluttered and untidy and look like people might actually live in them. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One shop we're not so fond of.....

The Mirror is today reporting that Sienna Miller was “airbrushed to within an inch of her life” for American Vogue’s September ‘07 cover according to the documentary, The September Issue. Like, duh. Sienna’s camp has sensibly responded to the furore, stating that Sienna is always airbrushed for magazine covers. Anybody who has ever stepped inside a newsagent will know that it is not only Sienna who has undergone some photoshopping for American Vogue. Kate Moss was barely recognisable when she graced the cover of the Age issue last August, her skin a creepy orange colour and her eyes devoid of any kind of life. I fully understand magazines retouching pictures to remove the odd spot or obliterate some downy fluff but when the subjects cease to look like themselves, you have to wonder if photoshopping has gone too far. The King of the retouching tool is Pascal Dangin - in one issue of US Vogue (March 2008) alone he doctored 107 ads and 36 editorial images along with rendering Drew Barrymore virtually unrecognizable on the cover. Magazines are quick to defend the practice, claiming that people don’t expect reality when they buy a fashion magazine. Alexandra Shulman has been quoted as saying “We are not in the business of portraying reality all the time and people buy magazines like Vogue in order to look at a kind of perfection.”

Fair enough, but the thing is I don’t find thinned noses, sharpened jaw lines and strangely elongated legs perfect. The most beautiful portraits of Kate Moss or Sienna Miller are not those in which they look the least real. The photos of Sienna and Savannah Miller in August 2007's British Vogue didn’t prompt feelings of envy at their perfection or a desire to rush out and buy the Twenty8Twelve clothes they were modelling, but rather a bewildered curiosity at how the retouching team thought that anybody would believe that those were actually Savannah’s thighs. The delicate and natural portraits by Corinne Day - a photographer famed for her raw style - were merely diluted by the overuse of photoshop.

Kate on the cover of American Vogue

Savannah Miller in British Vogue

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Let There Be (UV) Light

Just a quick note to say bravo to the talented Mr. Debusschere whose latest shoot appears in this month's Dazed. Ok, I may be a bit biased as Pierre is a friend but with this shoot he has achieved the seemingly impossible: using a combination of black light and UV makeup, he has made a DKNY collection almost intriguing and, dare I say it, cutting-edge. The pictures showcase Pierre's mesmerising way with light and are evidence of his major influences, the Northern Lights and Iceland. See the video he made to accompany the shoot at Dazed Digital and further images on his slick website

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Colouring-in the January Blues

It’s a depressing time of year. Obviously. Dealing with work-related emails that didn’t magically disappear over Christmas, facing up to the fact that the resolutions haven’t even lasted a week and battling the freezing cold weather all takes their toll on a person. Not to mention arguments over deposits with ex-landlords and rows with current landlords about having no running water. Early January is horrible and I plan to spend it tucked up in bed with the electric blanket turned up all the way (mainly because I squandered all of last month’s salary in a devil-may-care Christmas spending extravaganza and can no longer afford to venture outside).

At least I have my lovely Christmas presents to keep me company. I can pore over my beautiful Stylist The Interpreters of Fashion book, a present from the boyfriend. Or look forward to my mini-break at Bellinter House thanks to my mum. Most therapeutic of all though is my Colour Me Good colouring book that comes courtesy of my other The Portmanteau half. Colour Me Good – Kate is a lovely little colouring book full of pictures of Kate in various magazine poses that I can colour-in carefully, thereby forgetting about the larger problems in life. The terrifying bank statement is left unopened as I endeavour to not go outside the lines of Kate’s lovely hair or the fancy crown that she wore on the cover of December 2001's Vogue. Colour Me Good comes from the talented Mel Elliott, a London-based artist who is almost as obsessed with magazines and celebrities as we are. She has created colouring books and paper dolls based on all of our favorites – Kate, Aggy, Cheryl, Grazia, etc, etc. She is stocked in Artwords in London (there are more outlets in the pipeline) or you can buy from her directly through her blog.

Picture from Mel Elliott (because I am not nearly as good at colouring-in).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carine & Co.

So, our award for the most stylish workforce of 2008 goes to Carine and the crew at Vogue Paris. I always thought my co-workers were semi-stylish, but compared to this lot, we are complete slobs. The VP gang are intimidatingly stylish with their uniform of leggings, biker jackets and shoes that can only be described using one of the most irritating and overused terms in fashion-speak, popularized by Tyra and now hijacked by Beyonce’s rubbish alter-ego: yeah, although it pains me to say it, I have to admit those heels are definitely fierce. No £6 Penney’s flats for these ladies, that's for sure.

Although she looks kinda mean, my favourite must be Carine’s right hand woman, fashion director Emmanuelle Alt. She looks like she was born to work at Vogue Paris. Alt and her army of clones - her mini-me assistant Geraldine Saglio as well as stylist Ludivine Poiblanc and accessories editor, former model Claire Dhelens, always look impeccable. They clearly must never get the Metro to work. Yeah, although The Sartorialist won't be overly concerned with capturing us on our way to the office any time soon, I am pretty happy that I don’t have to work with any former models – it's tough enough getting out of bed in the mornings without having to compete with that.