Magazine Review: Vogue Hommes International (FW2007) – Part I
Okay, now a more indepth look inside this season’s issue of Vogues Hommes International published by Conde Nast International in Paris.
Enough of the rant about why James Franco – being old news in movie news – is not the wisest choice for a cover guy.
Let us begin from the Editor’s Letter:
Penned by editor-in-chief Olivier Lalanne, the full-page editor’s letter is, quite honestly, one of the most thoughtless self-indulgence that ever saw ink stamped on paper.
Sample this: “Not only has Calvin Klein given us a chance to “objectify” ourselves as we see fit, but … He stands for the all-out freedom to be whatever we choose to be.”
Er, why is this “chance” to be able to objectify ourselves such a gift? If we are constantly being watched, judged and succumbed to the gaze of others such that we – instead of free-will humans – become “objects”? So then, how can Mr. Klein, by virtue of giving us the chance to objectify ourselves, also could have given us the “all-out freedom” to choose who we can be?
And then as an end-note, Mr. Lalanne wrote: “Because being yourself without making concessions is both a basic right and a duty.”
My dear Mr. Lalanne, by objectifying yourself for the sake of others, you ARE already making a huge concession that will greatly impede you from living an authentic life, with fashion essentials and all.
I wonder who does the editing for this magazine. Because the flaws do not stop here.
Witness a few pages later, following the line of Mr. Lalanne’s musing on male objectification, to Colin McDowell’s article “Show Me Some Skin Man”, on male imagery harnessing the power of sex to sell fashion.
In the published version, Mr. McDowell wrote: ” All male pride, insecurity and fear is concentrated on only one area of their anatomy: their genitals. … Or is it just gay men who are so obsessed by size that they even wear cock rings to enhance their attributes?”
Ac.Stet is not sure whether Mr. McDowell is gay or not. Or when at the time of his writing, Mr. McDowell was hanging out at a leather-fetish gaybar with his laptop. But where in the gay-and-straight-world, did he get the idea that gay men (and he implied all of that psychographic) wear cockrings?
Later, Mr. McDowell ends off: “Their way of showing sexual power is in clothes that enhance, not obscure, their trim-toned bodies – just as peasants working in the fields have always done …”
Oh really, Mr. McDowell? You mean peasants get up in the mornings to dress — not to be comfortable, functional and resilient against field and weather conditions — but to flaunt their plough-flexed and corn-fed bodies?
And then finally, Mr. McDowell says in the next sentence: “And we all know from Zola, Flaubert and DH Lawrence what a strong sexual charge they had for women.”
Of course, Mr. McDowell meant the sexual charge they had “on” women.
This is really sad, because Ac.Stet has followed Mr. McDowell’s fashion journalism career up to a certain point. When he writes for the Times Sunday Style Magazine in Britain, his crusade to save British Fashion from an exodus to Milan and Paris is laudable. And his weekly “Fashion Moments” is interesting and credible.
But now? In Vogue Hommes International, one really wonders what happened to Mr. McDowell’s crisp writing? Ac.Stet can only cut Mr. McDowell some slack and blame it on reaaally-reeally bad editing.
Which is only an intelligent guess, because if you look at the Vogue Hommes masthead, most of the names on the editorial board does not seem born with English as their first language, except for the Copy Editor, a Mr. Paul Richman, and some of the Translators, who are obviously not doing their jobs.
What then is interesting is the masthead for Conde Nast International, where Mr. Nicolas Coleridge is one of the four Vice Presidents. For those of you who remember and reads things besides coffeetable books and fashion magazines, Mr. Coleridge once wrote a book in 1988 called “The Fashion Conspiracy”, quite a clever and well-researched expose on the international fashion industry. Of course, that was almost 20 years ago.
But surely Mr. Coleridge – who is educated at Eton and Cambridge, a 1984 recipient of Young Journalist of the Year and a 1986-appointed editor of Harpers & Queen – should have a wee-bit more responsibility on the kind of contents that go into the publication of this magazine?
Ac.Stet. is flabbergasted, to say the least.
Later on, in the TRENDS section of Vogue Hommes, the write-up on the Biker look started off with the new version of the biker getup and then degenerates with this last paragraph:
“At Anne Demeulemeester we discover an elegantly aristocratic biker who has no idea whatsoever whether it was Tracee or Leslee who won last summer’s reality TV shows.”
First of all, how dare the person who wrote this (text credited to Loic Prigent) misspell one of the greatest names in cult clothedom! How can Ann Demeulemeester be denigrated like this? Can you imagine, one of the greatest fashion magazines in the world making such a mistake? Or do they even realize this is a mistake? Ac.Stet can only stiffle a giggle. And why they would even suddenly talk about reality TV stars is simply beyond Ac.Stet’s comprehension.
But of course there are some enjoyable moments. In the same TRENDS section on the “Full Velvet Look”, the writer (again Loic Prigent) begins:
“The evening suit … was back eons ago in Tom Ford-orchestrated runway shows until that terrible absence left us feeling we’d die,. (sic – yes with that extra comma hanging there with the fullstop)”
That part really made Ac.Stet laugh. But not for a good reason.
And then: “The velvet evening jacket is a flamboyant message shouted out to the world now that most actors, whose job it is to show the way, only ever wear ties on Cannes’ red carpet or, worse still, an open-necked shirt (unthinkable! someone call the police!).”
Seriously, Ac.Stet got lost. What exactly is Loic Prigent, the writer, trying to say?
And then: “The two jokers in the pack at D&G have even imagined the gold leisure suit with bowtie.”
Oh my god, Ac.Stet wants to bang his head with the 913-page 20th Anniversary edition of Elle Italia issued in Milan this month. Did the writer just called Mr. Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce “jokers”? What fashion authority does this Loic Prigent has to condemn Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana to “joker” court jester status? And if Mr. Loic Prigent really knows the fashion industry well, and if this magazine has been properly edited, he would have retracted his words … because, sweetheart, D&G – though created by Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana – is not designed by them, silly. D&G is designed by a separate team (i.e. definitely more than two “jokers”) and endorsed by Mr. D. and Mr. G.
More on Vogue Hommes International in Part II.