What I Believe Is Called A Smackdown, "W" Magazine vs. Vogue's September Issue
The fashion world recently suffered a management shakeup. Stefano Tonchi left the New York Times Style Magazine, often titled simply, "F," to head up "W." Are we, style-lovers of America, happy about the change? Use the handy scorecard below to decide.
But first a brief aside. Will we all rush out and purchase the clothes in Mr. Tonichi's new mag? Heck no. This stuff is expensive. But mid-tier retailers are watching carefully. The zeitgeist so skillfully evoked in September's "W" will start to infiltrate J. Crew, and Anthropologie, and maybe even Talbots. Like smoke under the doors of closed rooms.
You're Busy, You Want Plot Synopses
If you hate fashion magazines, here's your plot synopsis for "W," September, 2010:
The Women of Mad Men - both the full skirted, floral, 50s gals, and the sheathed, monochromatic 60's - got bitten by vampires and moved to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Where they knitted some things in tweed.If you like fashion magazines:
Fashion you can make sense of - woven patterns, tonal color, more subdued but more textured shoes, matte bags eschewing billboard logos, an in-your-face restraint - I could if I wanted to, but I won't. Luxe minimalism. The "pop" of color, made famous by Stacy London and her pal Clinton Kelly, is finally laid to rest.But on to the competition.
"W" Scorecard - An Extravagance of Plus - As Evidenced By:
1. XIV Sins and Virtues Jewelry by Jessica McCormack. In the style of her key pendants, below, only each piece represents a sin or virtue. Anger has a claw, Sloth some feathers. These keys give Tiffany a steampunk run for their money, no? "W" has exclusive images of the Sins line.
2. De rigueur photo of mouth covered in dark red lipstick, shiny as polyurethane. Title? True Blood.
3. Last Exit to Brooklyn. The photo shoot at top, in which everything I said in the synopses is proved to be true.
4. The "What" photo series showcasing objets de desir. Avec tarantulas. And black chicken feet. No, I promise, it's amazing.
5. A casual reference to and photo of Chanel "Stigma" nail polish, a "shimmering blackberry." Pictures of this color aren't even available online. Now I want it more. By The Amazing Peter Phillips, who was also responsible for "Jade," and the Chanel temporary tatoos.
6. Revealing that Etro is stepping up to play a slightly more affordable aide-de-camp in the Dries van Noten mortgage-your-house-for-a-print brigade
7. Highlighting the Loewe "Amazona." In a world where even Louis Vuitton now explains that their logos are "discretely placed," Loewe has been turning this model out for 3o years. And yes, LV says "discrete" instead of "discreet."
8. A short piece on Ikou Tschuss. A small company which supports Swiss grandmothers knitting and may soon do the same for New York omas, farmors, grannies, and grandmamas. Even if I don't buy many woolens the idea tickles my apparel fancy.
9. Ads for Strenesse. German, in the Jil Sander vein, with a less expensive line called Blue. Jil Sander calls her less expensive line Navy. See what I mean? And Gabrielle Strehle made me want a leather shift, of all things preposterous.
10. Campaigns indicating even Versace's gone minimal. When a brand known for ornamentation and excess slaps you across the face with black and white ads, featuring models in sculptural outfits, both brand and trend benefit.
(-2 points for disingenous articles about how people rich enough to own helicopters host informal weddings with barefoot guests, and how a woman with D breasts isn't sad about her chest any more. But these things come with the territory.)
Vogue Scorecard - A Drone of Minus - As Shown By:
- Boring essays on culture. If I want some really good boring essays on culture I'll read the New Yorker.
- Self-congratulatory navel-gazing about Fashion's Night Out. I don't live in New York and I'm not going. It's nice you guys get a street fair. We have them too, with dogs, balloons, and local wines.
- Vogue may have become, just like Chanel, a "dusty" brand. I didn't make this up.
- In this media-jaded day and age, once you've read a magazine with its accompanying documentary playing in the background, it's tough to go back to naked print. Go watch The September Issue again, and skip 2010.
- This issue had not a single image I was compelled to share. That's saying something, because I like pictures.
(+3 points because Anna Wintour is still Anna Wintour, we presume Grace Coddington is around somewhere, and Halle Berry is on the cover representing African Americans for the first time since 198o-something.)
Final score: "W" 13, Vogue -2.
I know, I know, "W" is bigger than a mailbox.* But the next time you're running for a plane, craving a way to amuse yourself, pick up "W" instead of Vogue. If you really want to thank me I think I'd like Jessica's key necklace. Oh, how kind. You shouldn't have.
*As aptly described by Worthy's fiance.
Last Exit to Brooklyn, via Tom and Lorenzo. Who completely disagree with me about "W"'s brilliance.
Jessica McCormack key pendants via her blog
Etro via Style.com
Loewe's Amazona via Loewe's
Versace F/W 2010 Ad Campaign via porcelain fashion