Glamour's photo spread of today's fresh young talents impersonating the dead, the old and the fictional female icons women could not be more inadvertently hilarious. It's so bad, it could be an ANTM photo shoot, and you know how silly those are. (Last night, Tyra had the hamsters dressing up as good little girls, which was just as icky as it sounds.) The copy claims:
You can do anything! That’s the message of the seven decades of female risk takers, rule breakers and style makers here. We celebrate them with the help of some very-2009 young talents.
It's a toss-up as to which impersonation is the worst. As Rosie the Riveter, Alexis Bedel just looks peevish as she displays her lack of upper body strength. While I'm not so naive as to believe that she actually thought up the accompanying quote, at least it sounds semi- convincing.
But the Women of Woodstock is equally inane. Hippies and their "we can do anything" spirit? Obviously, no one at Glamour was alive then.
Amy Alkon points out that the spirit of Emily Latella is with us yet. Steven Waldman, blogging at Belief.net, worked up a good lather over Vogue's insidious use of Photoshop:
Apparently, Vogue took Siena Miller's head and stuck it on someone else's body (presumably because Miller's actual body was so grotesque).
But they didn't. Vogue stuck Miller's head on her own body. Two different photos, composited.
Here's where the fun really begins. Waldman links to a Huffington Post story about the new documentary, The September Issue. Danny Shea writes:
"The September Issue," the new documentary about Vogue which screened at Sundance, has unearthed its first juicy tidbit: the magazine photoshopped Sienna Miller's head onto a different photo of her body.
Did Waldman actually read the piece or did he just find the headline and slam in a link? Must have, since he can't spell her name correctly. He gets pretty righteous about all this "visual lying":
Is this a victimless crime? I don't think so. Each girl or woman who models themselves after ever-more unrealistic notions of beauty -- and dislike themselves when they don't reach that standard -- suffer from these lies.
Yes, and Wonderbras, Miss Clairol, tinted contacts, and Spanx are just as guilty, I'm sure. Get a grip, dude. (Is it weird that Belief.net has an ad for California Psychics.com?)
Speaking of Photoshop, Waldman might want to rethink his own headshot.
Elle has hired Creative Artists to help insinuate the glossy rag-mag into more TV and film productions. As if whoring the staff on CW's Stylista wasn't enough. Since Project Runway's Nina Garcia isn't on the masthead now and Stylista isn't likely to come back, what's a public-conscious editrix to do?
Magazines on TV aren't all that new--the National Enquirer tried, a zillion years ago, and TV Guide has its own lonely little cable channel. Gourmet and Real Simple have PBS shows (your tax dollars at play), and Seventeen, Rolling Stone, and Car and Driver have all hosted reality shows, Elle's publishers must think there's still room at the trough. And the mag isn't likely to follow Sport's Illustrated's Swimsuit edition lead.
Personally, I think the best bet for Elle is through writers and production designers, rather than suits. Instead of going for the obvious--Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty etc., work the name into unexpected shows. On My Name is Earl, Jason Lee's character could pick Elle as his favorite bathroom reading matter. Or shooting a little higher, maybe Turtle of Entourage could get a gig writing a dating advice column?
Aim for the stars.
The Mexican edition of Playboy has created quite a stir with its new cover photo, issued uncomfortably close to the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
“The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure. The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover," said the magazine. Right.
One Renaissance figure might find the sexy image all too familiar: Savonarola
, the fiery Florentine Dominican who inspired the original (or at least most famous) bonfire of the vanities
. In a 1496 Lenten sermon, he denounced Florentine artists, and their patrons, for the way they portrayed holy figures:
“You painters do harm, and if you knew the resulting scandal you wouldn’t paint figures such as these, filling our churches with human vanity. Do you really think the Virgin Mary went around dressed as you depict her? I assure you she dressed like a poor girl, simply and modestly, and was so well-covered that all you could see were her eyes....”
“You would do everyone a favor if you wiped out the suggestive figures you have painted: you show the Virgin Mary dressed as if she were a prostitute!”
(Quote source: Mary in Western Art by Timothy Verdon.)
Variety has dimmed the lights on The Stylephile, written by Caroline Ryder. Fashion and beauty publicists everywhere mourn the loss by wearing black.
On the other hand, perhaps "gifted" can revert to being an adjective, rather than a verb.
Hey Virginia, don't you write for Forbes? Maybe you can help me figure out what's going on over there. Apparently now they are not only ranking the richest people in the U.S., India and everywhere else in the world, they are now listing "Hollywood's 10 Hottest Tots."
The AP's explanation: "Forbes.com...ranked celebrity children 5 years old and younger based on media attention and their parents' popularity."
Apparently Suri Cruise is numero uno and--get this-- only three of the six Jolie-Pitt kids. Ouch. Apparently Maddox didn't make the cut. WHAT!?!? I protest! He practically started that band!
Anyway, this makes my mind wander over to the recent Motrin add that was killed by Twitter moms. (Forbes has this story too!) The ad, see it here, starts out "Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion." Turns out moms don't like to think of their babies as fashion statements and they don't want to think they look tired and "crazy" because they carry the baby on their body.
It's actually pretty hilarious when you realize the Motrin takedown was started with just one woman's Twitter (article here) in which the The Longmont Times points out, "The ads came at a particularly bad time, Gates noted. This week is International Babywearing Week, according to Babywearing International."
But back to our hottest tots. I'm seeing a huge disconnect here. I mean, I get that Forbes loves them some lists. Hello The World's Most Expensive Houses, The World's Billionaires and Top 10 Real Estate Markets Most Likely to Rebound, and that's just for starters. But hot tots? This I do not get.
Their rationale for the Hot Tots list is this:
"With a growing need to generate magazine sales and Web traffic in a softening economy, media outlets are increasingly turning to stars that are both much-loved and highly reliable...But as the economy heads toward what many predict is a recession, these adorable kids--and the desire to chronicle their upbringings--may become more important than ever. Simply put, fawning over celebrities and their picturesque families may be just the sort of distraction people need."
The article ends with this little ditty, "Los Angeles-based Kitson boutique owner Fraser Ross sees the benefit these children provide retailers, 'Kids are becoming the new designer handbag.'"
OK, nuh-uh. Nononononono no. I'm seeing a huge disconnect here. Let's set aside the fact that the Kitson quote is so stupid I don't even know where to begin. Also forget the fact that the people who supplied the quotes in the Forbes story are upscale boutique owners, gossip rag editors and the owner of a paparrazi company; let's just focus on the list itself. How is it in any way supposed to help brands tap in, and thus cash in, on what consumers desire when, as seen from the Montrin backlash, this is the very last thing they want? Apparently moms don't want babies just to add to their personal glamour. Whaaaaa?!?!? I know, you're all shocked. (Wow, I feel like I just came to the same sarcastic conclusion that the VW Routon's ad agency did. Great minds and all....)
Hey Forbes, I get that maybe you're trying out stories that are maybe a bit more recession-friendly, but why not try this one on for size: The top 10 money-making mommy blogs. That might help your readers a bit better and avoid a Twitter backlash in the making.
Because as the lede in the Longmont Times said, "When Amy Gates spotted an Internet advertisement that she felt trivialized mothers who "wear" their babies...and posted her beef online on Saturday night. "
OMG, ya'll! Do NOT tell the Kitson owner!
[The black-and-white kids? From left to right: Robert, Moira, Malcolm Jr. (Steve), Timothy, and Christopher Forbes, October 1957, from Google's new Life archive.]
The Los Angeles Times Magazine is tucked into Sunday's paper, and since I don't subscribe, I had to fish it out of my neighborhood recycling bin. Most of the contents are on the website, but you have to search, which is less messy but more frustrating than my method.
The monthly magazine, edited by Annie Gilbar, is rather better looking than its predecessors, but it's still got some of the lamer features (Hollywood Rules, which is a sucking up piece by some sitcom actor ) and some new ones--My Best Story offers Henry Jaglom writing about lunch with Orson Welles, Laraine Newman on date night with hubby, a pet personal essay, and so on. A soft-focus cover story about organic beef ranching in Santa Barbara with the rancher's daughter who might be a friend of the assistant food editor, the aptly-named Amanda Bacon, gives us a peek at how rich people live.
The divine Mayer Rus has a nice photo essay of merch, but he really needs a column. Or his own magazine. Not on the website, of course. Nor is a profile of Ford Motor's design VP, J Mays. For some reason, the piece is written by Jonathan Schultz who lives in Brooklyn.
Editor Annie has a terrific interview with Frank Gehry, complete with wonderful photos of his buildings and models , but of course, you'll have to take my word on those, as there's no slide show.
All in all, I have to wonder if the dismal web presence isn't so much about luring subscribers with a pretty new toy, as about LAT staff editors and writers protecting their turf. The Magazine isn't perfect by any means, but it's far more interesting than Image or what's left of the Home and Garden section.
Steve Oney writes a compelling piece in Los Angeles magazine about decorator/conman/serial debtor Craig Raywood. Raywood came to LA from New York, where in the 80s, he'd done well as an interior designer:
For someone with Raywood’s gifts, Los Angeles was the land of opportunity. He could take advantage of the city’s insecurity about fashion and decor. Despite all the wealth in L.A., much of it is temporal—a hit TV series, an executive position at a studio—and at least in matters of interior design, there’s more concern with comfort and first impressions than with provenance. ...
Because Raywood billed himself as an arbiter of style favored by Manhattan’s old money, because he carried himself with such authority, he was accorded an added respect here. The setup was perfect—he might never run out of new prospects to seduce.
Unfortuantely, bad checks were one of his tools of seduction, and that never ends well.
Part two of the story appears in the December issue.
Stylista, the newest reality competition show on The CW, debuted last night. Humiliated hopefuls vie for a lowly job at Elle. Fashion mag editors are now obligated to be imperious, capricious, and talk funny. Anne Slowey made the role her own by her amusing inability to walk in high heels.
I worked at a fashion magazine one summer. Actually, I'd entered the Mademoiselle Guest Editor contest, but as I'd worked in the rag trade (receptionist/fit model for a 7th Ave. firm) the summer before, I was disqualified. Luckily, Mary Cantwell read my stuff, liked it, and offered me a real job, which by summer's end, convinced me that fashion journalism was not my calling. But that was long ago, in another country, and besides, the wench is dead. (For the record, I frequently fetched coffee, but never breakfast, and certainly not breakfast with a little scented candle on a tray.)
Stylista competitors aren't any worse than those on any other shows. There's the Ugly Betty chubby girl with actual style, a boutique-owning bitch, a guy with a Brit accent who dresses like an extra in Oliver!, and a bunch of others. One blond is named Cologne, and I was waiting for the "Oh, Duh!" moment, but it never came.
Last night's episode should have killed any lingering ideas about women dressing to attract potential partners. Kate, an ex-law student, sports a decotellage that distresses some of her fellows (unsurprisingly, no straight men appear on the show) and Elle's fashion director. You'd think someone would have the wit to suggest she go into ad sales. She gets all weepy about covering up. Who says big boobs aren't a means of self-expression?
Like the Rolling Stone show, the Car and Driver show, the Seventeen magazine show, and MTV's student newspaper show, watching would-be journalists isn't very exciting. (To be fair, the student paper show did have great characters, full of venom.) The producers here downplay the process and stress the bitchy interaction and asides. Why PBS doesn't produce a "I Want to Edit The New Yorker" reality series is beyond me.
Considering all the downsizing in the magazine world, perhaps the lucky ones get cut early.