I admit it. I’m a glossy
magazine junkie. I own every copy of
British Vogue published since October 1975. I even edited a women’s glossy,
Marie Claire, for a brief few, Halcyon years. But women’s magazines also make
are they so relentlessly sycophantic, to celebrities and to the big fashion
brands? A piece in this week’s Grazia on JW Anderson’s new collection for
Topshop made me honk with laughter: next to a photo of a giant sweater with an
even bigger applique of a white bat on the chest is the caption: ‘The
hand-knitted bat jumper feels like an iconic piece, and it goes with
everything.’ It has a giant bat on the front you blind maniacs! Are you insane?
do our magazines so often treat us as if we are imbeciles? A good idea in the
October ELLE is an item on how to read the label on a beauty product, but all
it comes up with is ‘parfum in England is parfum in France’ and ‘if you have oily skin look for products that
are oil free’? Seriously, a rabbit could have come up with a more insightful
piece of copy.
why do magazines never come up with anything truly new? The close-up big shots
of flawless faces in the beauty pages, unchanged since the Seventies; the
endless mind numbing features on the latest must have designer perfumes (‘Coco
Noir is hotly tipped by industry insiders to be the new No5’ shouts Grazia,
clearly mindful of Chanel’s ad spend in its pages); the wildly self-congratulatory
editors’ letters that are clearly Zoolander-type spoofs (the new editor of UK Bazaar,
Jennifer Dickinson, writes in her editor’s letter of buying a pair of Dries van
Noten shoes aged 26: ‘The reason I bought the shoes was because an hour
earlier, I received the news someone close to me had passed away… I needed something to remind me there was
beauty in the world’).
would all be laughable, were these people not so intent on parting you from
your hard earned cash while they count their freebie handbags (ever wondered
why there are so many features on far flung spas? The editor has probably spent
too much on her nanny, and feels she needs a well-earned break).
In this new blog, I will feature The Insane
Object of the Month, such as the fact ELLE editor-in-chief Lorraine Candy packs
an Hermes pencil, costing £65, to travel to the fashion shows (you have to
wonder why she also packs an Hermes ipad cover. Seriously, I was doing ‘What’s
inside my handbag?’ features in 1982, and even then they were BORING!). I will give you Yawn of the Week, too: this
week’s runaway winner is Grazia’s cover story, Kate Steps in as Harrygate Kicks
Off: we learn that Kate’s megawatt smile has saved the Royal family, ‘a masterclass in quiet confidence’. I do not
jest. That was the story! Un-believable.
In this column I aim to be the industry’s self-appointed worldwide
watch dog. Which brings me nicely to the door stopper September issue of
American Vogue. In the June issue, remember, editor Anna Wintour pledged to
build upon the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s initiative to hire
models with healthy figures (British Vogue’s Alex Shulman clearly has the
memory of a goldfish, having pledged to do the same thing, then promptly
putting Karlie Kloss on her September cover, a model whose hipbones gave me a
paper cut). But the photograph of Lady Gaga on the American cover, dressed in a
custom-made Edwardian gown by Marc Jacobs, has been manipulated and airbrushed
so drastically not only is Gaga unrecognisable (I thought at first it was Cher),
she cannot even possibly possess more than one knee.
Which brings me to the biggest omission by all our
fashion magazines this month. Not one has put a disabled woman on the cover.
I’d have chosen, had I not been sacked by Marie Claire for championing bigger,
more diverse and older models, the superstar athlete Aimee Mullins, who has
been outspoken all week about the misrepresentation of disabled athletes. But
instead we have to make do with a global pop star who clearly has a body so tiny
there is no room for kidneys, let alone a brain. So, watch this space. And if I
ever use this slot to write about my lovely spa break, when I was all oiled and
massaged, hit me over the head with a shovel and bury me in a field, like a
model past her sell by date…