Tuesday, 3 June 2008

On American fashion magazines

As I have written before, I am rather picky when it comes to fashion magazines. I spend my money on the Italians, sometimes the French. Give me any fashion magazine, (really, any) and I will flip through it and find some inspiration. However, I have a problem with the Americans. The most current example is the June issue of US Elle that Minni gave me. First, the cover.

Sure, Rihanna is cute and all that, but why, oh why is there always a celebrity on the cover? Where are the models? In my books, someone like Heidi Klum or Gisele doesn't count; they are airbrushed, Victoria's Secretized, boring specimens of semi-celebrities. Second thing that annoyes me about the American covers is the sheer amount of text. Why not cut it down just a little? Maybe the cover images would be a little bit more bearable if one could at least see them properly. And what is it about the 475836590 style ideas? How do they come up with those numbers anyway?

Then, let's look at the contents. I am not even going to comment on the silliness of the articles, because they are an international phenomenon. The general problem I have is the size of images and font. A great example is the runway report in this particular Elle.

There are about a gazillion small pictures on one page. The accessories images are so tiny that one can hardly even figure out what is going on in them. This type of stuff runs through the entire magazine. Not only are the images small, but the texts that describe the pictures are smaller than this. I don't get it. And don't even get me started on the editorials. How commercial can they get? Where is the innovation, where the creativity? All I see is a ton of traditional "girl-next-door-just-4-sizes-slimmer" supertan faces and bodies. Booooring!

Enough with the negatives: usually there is one editorial that might be bearable. There was this one in this particular issue:

Okay, the model is probably 15, but at least she is not made up to look like a 25-year-old. There is a hint of innovation in the styling as well. (The shoes and stockings actually look rather edgy to me.) They didn't take the pictures on a beach or a desert, which is always a plus, and they haven't made her jump and smile.


Jennifer said...

I might just be terribly generalizing here, but as an American, I think it's because our culture is so obsessed with being "on-the-go" and wanting as much "punch-for-the-dollar" constantly that the need to fill magazines to the brim with nonsense has become second nature. There is a certain expectation that the more something is filled up, the more one is getting out of it. That I think is mostly why the there are so many images cramped together and tiny text to accompany all the images. There is little appreciation for negative space and space or simplicity in general. It's always give us more, more, more. It's very sad actually and I know I'm not alone in wanting our mags to change, but the majority of people have come to expect that, so who are the mags to argue with what the paying majority want. Living in the land of Hollywood stars it's no surprise that stars usually make the covers of mags. They are set up as role models because that's how they started out and are still to be toted as. Unfortunately, most of them don't have the grace and class of olden stars that this phenomenon originally came from. *sigh*

I prefer Japanese fashion mags, but it's hard to get them here or find the right ones.

The Waves said...

jennifer: you are probably right. My experience is that "less is more" is certainly one thing that seems to be lost in the US in general. Of course there are exceptions, and not everyone out there is like that, but when it comes to mainstream music, films or media, everything just seems like it is a bit much. You lose focus and just get confused because there is a lot of "noise".

Hailey @ stylesymmetry.com said...

I hate to see pictures of solitary items (shoes, dresses, accesories whatever). They need to be shown IN an outfit so that I can see how to wear it and with what (I miss Jane Mag!). And really it's all about spend spend spend, not how to work with what you may already have - the magazine is saying "No you need something new"!