Magazine Wars: August 2012
On the cover: Thirty-seven-year-old Kajol, her face, but notably not the unibrow, smoothed to glowing perfection, is the poster girl for Vogue’s “age” issue, leading us to wonder what constitutes old in the fash mag world these days (last year, it was 43). Inside, the perky and ageless Kajol says she still reads Archie comics and Mills & Boon novels (maybe that’s the secret to staying young?), and that marriage, presumably hers to actor Ajay Devgn, is not always in “such a comfortable place”.
Read it: “Grey Matter”, where Fifty Shades of Grey writer E. L. James’ talks about writing mommy porn and why her trilogy is definitely not erotica (her millions of fans might disagree). “The Bald Truth”, where author and actor Ayad Akhtar writes openly about the vanities wrapped up in losing one’s hair, particularly as a single man who had to re-enter the dating market in his thirties. “The Travelling Dot”, about Marc Jacobs’s collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, because her polka-dotted flowers look like they might have er, inspired, another artist, this one on our shores. “The Cardigan”, detailing the wardrobe staple’s history, including that it was named for the seventh Earl of Cardigan. “Luxe Be A Lady”, because it’s got Naomi Campbell looking fierce while squatting. Also, she’s 42. “Faces of Grace”, because even though Vogue put Kajol on their cover, they make up for it by photographing a breadth of fifty- and sixty-something beauties of all styles including Nafisa Ali Sodhi, Mallika Sarabhai and producer-actor Punam Sinha. “The Metabolism Marathon”, a surprisingly sensible and sobering detailing of its downturn as we age, including factoids sure to depress anyone over the age of 21 (it’s all downhill from your early 20s onwards).
Don’t bother: “Into The Night”, where Vir Sanghvi—yes that would be Vir Sanghvi the esteemed food critic and political commentator—writes a puff piece about Chanel’s new perfume, leading us to wonder whether perfume companies are really the secret overlords of the fashion industry.
On the cover: Lisa Haydon as the “modern and eclectic” “new girl” wearing a Chanel wool jacket, and crucially, nothing underneath because that’s how we modern girls like to roll. Inside, Haydon, pretty as ever, models Indian designers paired with high-street finds but the shoot is disappointingly unimaginative, putting Haydon in an industrial setting, and punking up her hair presumably to match the backdrop.
Read it: “Leading Light”, because if you’re a fan of Emily Blunt (who will forever remain in our list of most fave movie characters as the acidic, anorexic assistant in The Devil Wears Prada), you’ll find that this profile just confirms everything you hoped she’d be, which is to say, very British and funny. “The Ropewalkers”, where the PA to Elle UK’s editor writes a potentially hackle-raising sermon on why twenty-somethings should work pretty much all the time and why spare time is for suckers.
Don’t bother: “Scents and Sensibility”. Perfumes. Frida Giannini. Enough said.
On the cover: Parineeti Chopra, looking the best of her recent covers so far, in a sparkly metal top by Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna and a Swapnil Shinde black skirt. Her tousled hair is a notch up from the fried disaster of here, but is still not entirely flattering for the 23-year-old, who says she once thought actors were “the most stupid things in the world” and prefers her men rude and “not trying to win me over”. Gentlemen, the bar has been set, and it’s grass-level low.
Read it: “All Hail The Midi-letto”, a pick of the season’s best compromises between sky-high heels and ballet flats, a style popularised by Kate Middleton. “Label Alert”, arguably Grazia’s best feature, this time spotlighting the chunky bibs of Bespoke jewellery label Miss K & A. “From Catwalk to Streetwalk”, about fashion’s new style icons, bloggers, half of whom are Chinese, thus confirming that the country really is taking over the world.
Don’t bother: “What Works For Work”, a ridiculously off-point story about wardrobes that will get you a promotion or potentially fired, but doesn’t account for the fact that different job environments doth different wardrobes allow. Their outfit that says you’re unhappy at work for instance—trousers, suede moccasins (by, ahem, Tod’s), cotton shirt—is the uniform of choice for most hacks and women in corporate jobs. Grazia, however, tells us “wearing flats every day creates the impression that you’d rather be comfortable than work up the career ladder”. Or you know, it could just be that wearing flats, in the rain, while running to catch a train, is the most “comfortable” way to make it to work on time.
On the cover: Actress Deepika Padukone, in a skin-tight, black cat suit. “Deepika’s Dark Side Unveiled” claims the cover headline except that all the star reveals is that “Everybody has a dark side…I’ve realised I have it.” Padukone declines to say what she means by that grand declaration, and interviewer Rhea Saran decides to leave it at that, but does slip in that she snaps—or in GQ’s words, “a look of impatience flits across her sharp features”—when the stylist attempts to change her hairstyle. Inside, Padukone looks suitably Catwoman-like, and at times unrecognisably so, particularly in a black-and-white shot of her mid-yawn.
Read it: “Olympics Revolution”, a bar chart showing the debut years (and in some cases, the year of deletion of) sporting events at the Games. Cricket, for instance, was only an Olympic sport at the 1900 edition. “Gangs of Bombay”, a somewhat late-to-the-party nevertheless interesting interview with crime journalist and author S. Hussain Zaidi, about the workings of the Mumbai underworld pegged to his new book, Dongri to Dubai. “Fast Bender”, a profile of Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender, which focuses largely on how his full-frontal scenes in Shame have turned his career into a series of penis jokes (whoever said only women are reduced to their body parts).
Skip it: GQ’s annual “Watch Report”, which really should have been an advertising supplement—despite the inclusion of such features as “The female of the species”, where editor Che Kurien provides a guide to gifting women luxury watches according to the stereotype they fit (ladies, you are either a “Socialite”, “Matriach”, “Activist” or “Careerist”). Yet another interview with Frida Giannini, this one with a bit about her music tastes (loves Florence, isn’t so sure about Gaga). “Talk Like A Man”, where writer Victoria Coren tells men how to say what women want to hear when the man in question is, for instance, swearing, ordering drinks (example: don’t say “Can I tempt you to some champers?” but rather “What would you like to drink?”) or paying compliments—because if you’re seeking this advice from a men’s magazine, you really shouldn’t be speaking at all.