Whilst doing my annual tidy up and packing up my room in preparation for a cross country move, I came across six copies of Elle Magazine I hadn’t read. They lay gathering dust under my desk. I managed to look through two copies, one with Pixie Geldof and the other Natalie Portman as cover girls. Zzzzz…. Oh and Natalie Portman’s caption was “Hollywood Angel.” Just shoot me. Where did it all go wrong? It used to be that magazines had so much to say, they covered a lot of ground and before all this social media, blog explosion, it was our way of knowing what was to come in the industry. However, times have changed and we don’t have to wait four weeks to know what will come in four days; its all just there. Still, some of us, most of us, love that traditional feel of the magazine and want it to stay relevant even if they can leave us cold and so uninspired with several doses of eye rolls at the clichés; Hollywood Angel? Seriously? A mess.
Somewhere along the way it stopped being about us.
Following my discovery of the six offenders under my desk I decided to cancel my subscription to Elle because a quarter way through one of those very monotonous issues I wanted to call Elle subscriptions and ask them for my brain cells back. Why the bloody hell do I have to open a magazine to see what the staff are wearing? What is so wonderful about it, that they deem it fit to put in a magazine except for the fact that they cannot be bothered to come up with content to put in its place. The Portman Hollywood Angel issue on Pg 161- How to Wear the Checked Coat. Pg 162- How to Wear the Leather Wrap Skirt. Pg 165- How to Wear the Pinstripe Trousers (Really?) pG 166- How to Wear the Oversized Cardigan. Various street style looks for another few pages, the Spy section, team Elle Spy section, jump ahead to 400 Elle wears The Skirt….Bloody Hell! But somewhere in the midst of all that is a piece on feminism which they could have dedicated more pages to.
Look, I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a weird thing with magazines, it blows hot and cold; I love them and in the same vein I loathe them, because they are most unrepresentative media, most media is unrepresentative and unreflective of their readers but magazines even more so because they are most guilty of tokenism and they easily offend what with painting models to darken their skins and the white wash of the industry they tend to perpetuate through their imagery and working with people like Terry Richardson etc. etc. Still I liked Elle magazine enough, I’ve no idea whether it has always been this blah or I was just blindly fan-girling, but they used to be able to capture the imagination somewhat and remain more fashionably inclined than a lot of others out there, the fashion stories in Elle come second to none, I’ll concede that, maybe bar InStyle. On content, Red Magazine is one of the more intriguing and interesting reads, when it doesn’t have her royal Goopiness, Gwyneth Paltrow all up and through. Oy vey. Elle was a good-un, the Michelle Williams cover of December 2011 both subscription and Newstand copies remain my favourite ever covers of theirs but they have rarely been able to recapture that magic and on content, it can suck sometimes. Though this is an issue that plagues several magazines.
I get it, magazines are in a battle to the death with the resurgence of bloggers and the social media revolution that makes everything so immediately accessible and not to mention livestream, which takes us inside if only for fifteen minutes at a time, yes its hard out here for an Editor, but that is not an excuse to take the foot off the gas, that’s more a case to STEP UP THE GAME. Fashion is so much more than it is made out to be yet, very few magazines capture that essence. If you want my £5 a month you need to do better- the age issue, the beauty issue, the whatever the hell else issue is not cutting a damn thing and I most certainly do not want to see pictures of what your staff are wearing to work. Don’t even get me started on the lack of inclusivity of race, body type, etc that goes on because we don’t have enough time for that.
Ya know, all I’m saying is, as one reader to an editor, you really ought to do better. Push the envelope, rip it up and take a chance off the beaten path. #thatisall.
As you were.