As someone who is not rich, not thin and not young, I am not exactly in the cross hairs of the editors at current popular fashion magazines. Nevertheless, I love fashion and I love to critique Vogue’s annualÂ ‘September issue‘. Once a year I put on my probably-not-stylish bitch hat and go to work. The September issue is always a biggieâ€”almost 800 pagesâ€”and requires an extra effort on the part of my mail carrier to get it my door. To his credit he also delivered my Restoration Hardware catalogues the same week so I’ll owe him a compensatory tip at Christmas. So many times I’ve been tempted to cancel my subscription to Vogue but it’s fashion eye candy and who doesn’t love candy.
So, Boomerbroadcast readers, here is what I see as relevant and irrelevant in the September 2017 issue of Vogue:
- Overall, I’d rate it higher than last year’s edition, which came as a complete surprise to me (click here to read my review of the September 2016 issue). I was all set to be majorly disappointed but there were a few nice surprises along with the usual clunkers.
- It was their 125th anniversary edition. The cover fold-out included reprints of vintage covers including a July 1967 one of Twiggy with flower power painted eyes which I particularly liked.
- Absolutely every brand in existence bought ad space congratulating Vogue on their special anniversary. Just in case we forget their names.
- Dior’s all-navy spread a few pages in had definite merit and was appealing. And I’ve never seen a Dior bag I didn’t love.
- Ralph Lauren showed a Glen plaid suit for women with a nifty watch chain draped from a belt with silver padlock that is totally do-able. I could repurpose a silver chain and charm I already have without having to buy the pricey real thing.
- Gucci’s metallic makeup and glitter overload were just too over-the-top to find anything I could relate to. Boomers and anyone over thirty simply do not do iridescent or shiny. For perfect pubescent skin only. #gucciandbeyond
- Tiffany rarely disappoints. Their new line of horse-bit styled chain jewelry is to die for. Sigh . . . as if I could ever afford it.
- Neiman Marcus advertised a fun Calvin Klein (205W39NYC) full-length coat that looked like a quilted Mennonite bedspread with Glen plaid arms that I actually liked. Cool!
- Canada’s own Holt Renfrew sprang for a two-page spread of retro painted-lady dresses. Wear once. Bored. Toss. Disposable clothing with a big price tag.
- Stella McCartney’s people were truly innovative with their two-page spread showing a prone young woman in a green turtleneck dress lying on top of a pile of recyclable garbage, alongside a couple of Stella’s leather-free purses. Says it all. Simply. Green. Absolutely loved everything about the concept.
- Anne Klein’s black and white ads were rather introspective with memes like “My worth is not defined by other people’s perception of me”. Honourable intentions but I’m not sure it’ll induce me to look for Anne Klein in stores.
- Page 382 was all about yummy belts. Ouch! If only I still had a waistline I could resurrect that drawer full of gorgeous belts I already own.
- Buried in the barely there pseudo editorial content was a half page blurb on the latest face-brightening non-thermal laser technique called PICO (page 462) which promises to banish rosacea and broken capillaries. If there were an effective treatment for rosacea I’d be first in line to try it as I’ve had no luck with anything so far. False hope?
- Eternally tasteful St. John showed a gorgeous soft pink (looked like cashmere) open coat with matching turtleneck and grey pants that I would love to buy when I win the lottery.
- The GAP’s double-page spread of denim jeans and white tee shirts is perhaps indicative why their business is slipping. Nothing new. Nothing original.
- The book page (616) usually grabs my attention but the selection of books, all focused on young characters should come as no surprise from an editorial staff of young people who have no awareness of generations beyond twenty-somethings. No range.
- Hallejuliah for the “Good Jeans” (play on words) section featuring ‘older’ super models like Amber Valetta, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelistaâ€”some photographed (by Annie Leibovitz) with their daughters. The dark lighting smoothed out imperfections but we know we’ll never age as well as they have. The inclusion of Kendall Jenner totally pissed me off though as I’m so sick of the Kardashian klan. Sick, sick, sick of them.
- I did notice that most of the models in this issue wore minimal makeup which was interesting.
- Oprah’s Bliss provides an update on her current state of mind which is a slice of welcome editorial content.
- For tennis fans who care, there’s a piece about Serena Williams photographed in all her pregnant glory. I’m not interested in tennis, Serena or motherhood so I skipped that one. Purely a subjective choice on my part that not everyone would agree with.
- Other interesting women were featured. Nicole Kidman turns fifty; Megyn Kelly turns to NBC, Chelsea Manning turns over a new leaf, and Calvin Klein (obviously not a woman) turns heads.
- Every issue of Vogue includes a fashion spread toward the end that I never ‘get’. That’s where the creative people get Ã¼ber creative and go crazy with arty concepts that I think are supposed to win awards or something. This issue’s theme is post-war boom years in suburbia with retro-fifties fashions photographed in caricatured suburban settings like back-yard barbecues with swing sets and white picket fences, the Sunday roast, console televisions as the focal point in living rooms and models channeling June Cleaver. Cute. Sounds so much like it’s finally something that should appeal to boomers. Perhaps I missed the point but there was not a single inspirational visual takeaway for this old boomer. Nice idea but where’s the beef?
- Lena’s Dunham writes about becoming a redhead. Good writing. Universal theme. Read it yourself (page 728) to see how it turns out. You’ll like it.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration? When I canvassed my own circle of friends, it seems we prefer to scope out what we see other women wearing in the malls, on the streets, at the grocery store (well, maybe a bad example). Observing street style from a sidewalk cafÃ© is great fun. I’ve often approached someone in a store and asked them where they got a particular item they’re wearing that I love, or asked who cut their hair. Some people refer to Instagram or they collect pictures on Pinterest. Another source of my own fashion inspiration has increasingly come from on-line blogs such as:
- Susan After 60
- Accidental Icon
- une femme d’un certain Ã¢ge
- Senior Style Bible
- A Well-Styled Life
- Style Your Way to Success Over Fifty
- Baby Boomer and Mature Women Clothing Styles
- Style at a Certain Age
- Not Dead Yet Style
Some of these sites are far better than others and I have my favourites but fashion is subjective and you can pick for yourself which ones you would like to follow.
The reason we’re turning away from the fashion magazines is because they’ve become irrevelant to so many people. Who among us can relate to pouty, stick-thin genetic mutant teenagers wearing faux fur vests with combat boots, ripped leggings and carrying five thousand dollar handbags? The same logic applies to the media’s myopic worship of celebrities. We don’t expect to see an entire issue of Vogue devoted to lumpy baby boomers (or do we?) but a few more Helen Mirrens, Diane Keatons or Isabella Rossellinis would be a welcome addition. Long live Iris Apfel. We do have an interest in fashion and a few bucks to spend.
It annoys the hell out of me that we continue to be so invisible to the fashion industry. Do they ever ask their readers what they like? Really? We want fashion media to succeed but when are they going to produce material that actually inspires its readers to go and buy what they’re selling? The September 2017 issue was better than I expected it to be but imagine what they could do if they acknowledged a broader market. Just imagine . . .
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