Unsolicited Advice | Vogue

ELLE has trumped Vogue in ad sales for the first time.  So, I, a gal who spends countless hours a week on a non-revenue generating blog, have decided to weigh in.  I do realize that most of these ideas go against the principle of appeasing advertisers and actually making a profit, but I type nonetheless...

{1} Deceptively Simplify the Covers |  Someone, around 1991 or so, must have sent a massive memo to American and British magazine editors explaining that no one will read their publications if they don't splash ghastly hot pink or red words all over the cover. Let the picture tell the story -- like this or this.

{2} Go on Location | Traditional travel guides are generally terrible, so why not use your great taste and artistry to inspire us to flee (physically or just imaginatively) to far away lands (or Boston...or Cheyenne).  Dedicate each issue to a specific city and really delve in.  Every town provides a thousand different backdrops for editorial spreads. Tell us about the tiny boutiques and local labels like Domino did so wonderfully (yes, the Domino that went out of business), the places and lines that keep things interesting in the shadow of the ubiquitous megastores (yes, the ones that belong to your advertisers). Each issue will be a collector's item.

{3a} Give us the dirty details | There's one thing to creating the fantasy, but now that runway shows are online within hours, it's not enough to show key outfits from each collection. If you want us to invest in your advertisers' clothes, help explain why they cost what they do. Show us how they're made - one old woman's blood sweat and tears does justify $8,000 for a Birkin or a Balmain jacket. Couture gowns look beautiful, but they really look beautiful up close. Show us that hand stitching and a little of the process. You have access that we plebes could only dream of - and that no blogger will ever have. 

{3b} Go behind the scenes | Japanese hairdresser Katsuya Kamo (the guy who made all these phenomenal head pieces) created completely spectacular paper hats for the Spring 2009 Chanel Couture show. You pointed this out - and it was wonderful. We're not going to run out and buy paper (or bird) headdresses, but it's wildly interesting and inspiring nonetheless. More of that, please.

{4} More of the affordable stuff | This goes without saying, but if we're not treating ourselves to presents, it's nice to get a stocking stuffer or two.  Your shopping picks section at the end is great - expand it.  But when offering up bargains, make sure they're bargains. I treat money like VD - something to get rid of (I paraphrased that from something I read and loved), but I don't think I've ever spent more than $300 on an article of clothing. Bags and shoes, yes. Clothes, no.

17 comments

  1. Alexis says:

    You are very wise, Hollister Hovey. Vogue would do well to listen to you.

  2. {5} Hire Hollister H. Hovey

    ps yes! simplify the covers!

    pps kamo is such a GENIUS.

  3. Haha - thanks, Paul! (And Alexis!)

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  6. Elyse says:

    This post makes me dream of a better world of magazines...so much richer!! Thank you so much for sharing...especially the headdresses and that fantastic Vogue cover!!

  7. #6

    hollister hovey; editor

    we need some deep pockets for your OWN publication. no one currently gets it. we are starving out here for a magazine that excites us. hellooooo out there!

  8. mary says:

    Hollister..........this is a perfect post! Yes, that is exactly what I want to buy and read. No more surface...give me the reason and details of fashion and everything else.

  9. Fashion mags would do well to read a few recent copies of Gourmet Magazine. I don't really cook often, but the art direction, simplicity of layout and food photography is gorgeous and so inspiring. Take note!

  10. catbird says:

    yes indeedy! those eds get all caught up in their ways and seem to forget what made their magazines great in the first place.

    also, i miss domino.

  11. so absolutely fabulous

  12. "Show us that hand stitching and a little of the process. You have access that we plebes could only dream of - and that no blogger will ever have." Exactly. Access. That's the only thing that makes them relevant now. It's so simple.

  13. Freya says:

    Anna Wintour, READ HERE asap!

    Great post.

  14. Pamela says:

    I buy Hola Pret a Porter and Alta Costura twice a year simply for the clear and large photos of dresses. There is nothing else to compare. Since I sew, I would love to see the process. Sadly, most fashion editors do not really know about fine clothing anymore, only labels. How many times have I seen knits described as crochet or indeed, no fabric weave or fiber description at all? I saved the Martha Stewart show where Francisco Costa showed how he tucked, folded and pressed a silk dress into being. It was inspirational. Vogue and Bazaar need to take heed. You are so right!

  15. NCSwede says:

    But of course! I was wondering if I was just too "out of it" for not even desiring to look at these mags in the past few years but you have hit the nail directly on the head!

  16. Rachel says:

    This is a really cool magazine, the shooting is fabulous! I remember that last year, I was staying in a hotel in montevideo in Uruguay, and they were doing the photo session there for Vogue there because it was a beautiful neighbourhood. It was nice; I enjoyed it and learnt about fashion in different countries!