Haute Topic: Vogue is uninspiring and out of touch

By: Esra Erdogan/Columnist

When I was younger, I used to think fashion magazines were my bible. Everything on the glossy pages of Vogue were utter perfection, from the ads to the editorials. I still love flipping through the pages of magazines, but it is becoming more and more rare that I purchase one. I hate to take a serious tone when writing about fashion when it should be a lighthearted topic, but lately I have really been hating American Vogue.

Let us start with the covers. I am sick of the same photoshopped-to-death actress on magazine covers. Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker are beautiful and fashionable, but I am bored to tears by them. Where are the models? Back in the 1990s, models who graced the cover of Vogue looked bright and happy. Nowadays most celebrities look absent, at best.
And if models are no longer profitable – which I find hard to believe because many of them are celebrities in their own right – why not try someone who is not constantly tabloid fodder? There are only so many times you can write about an older TV series or a breakup that happened in 2005.
After you finally get through three quarters of the magazine that have little to do with clothing, you finally reach the editorials. Unfortunately, the editorials these days are almost as tiring as Sarah Jessica Parker. Unapproachable and washed out models jumping in the air at awkward angles do not inspire me to go shopping at all. The editorials that are more interesting tend to be the ones outside the Conde Nast – the publisher’s building.
Even then, it seems that photographers are also running out of ideas. A year ago, there were allegations that a Vogue photographer plagiarized his own older works when taking pictures for an editorial. In contrast, the editorials in international Vogues are gorgeous and much more creative. As the original, American Vogue should be ashamed.

If you see the word bargain or affordable on the cover of Vogue, beware. Editors of the magazine are convinced that a $670 trench coat is totally a steal and that everyone is in want of a $45 lipstick.

Another trend that terrifies me is the fixation with plastic surgery. I cannot count how many times I have seen an article in Vogue urging readers to try a new injection or some unpronounceable procedure. Other pages are dedicated to expensive creams or diets to avert aging. Appearance is important, but the fixation on fine-tuning every pore is a little excessive.

It is not news that these magazines cater to an older, elite audience. In some ways, I understand why American Vogue is still successful. Vogue invites readers into a fantasy world, where food does not have calories, shoes are limitless and every one is taking weekend trips to somewhere glamorous with their Louis Vuitton luggage in tow.
Companies pay to have their brands affixed in the minds of readers and Vogue is happy to associate with them. To me, this is far from the less commercial vision that editors of the magazine had in decades past. I just wish I had been around to experience the Vogue that really did focus on fashion.
Unless Anna Wintour is reading this column and decides to change her business model, which is suffocating the millions of dedicated readers who just cannot relate anymore, this could be the end of a beautiful relationship for Vogue and I.
Luckily, there is a solution: younger magazines like Lula and Numero. The founder of Numero magazine, Elizabeth Djian said she crafted Numero because “I was bored with magazines… I wanted to create this magazine for an intelligent, smart woman who wants to read about art, design, music – not about stupidity [like] creams that take away wrinkles.” Djian, I could not agree more.
Haute Topic is a weekly fashion column. Look for it every Wednesday this fall.

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