After work yesterday, I swung by McNally Jackson, my favorite bookstore, to pick up the premiere issue of The Gentlewoman.
It is everything I thought it would be and more.
Just like Fantastic Man (which I've written about here and here), The Gentlewoman is made with such attention to detail and care that it becomes an escape from everyday life like no other thing can so easily accomplish. There is simply nothing like it out there in the market and it's exactly everything that I always wanted in a magazine but didn't think was possible in real life.
The first paragraph of editor-in-chief Penny Martin's editorial on would've been enough to seal the deal for me.
"It's fun to reel off the numerous iconic women who have amazed and empowered generations with their intelligence and glamour. The beautiful and indomitable Germaine Greer, perhaps, or the incomparable Poison Ivy, wielding her guitar in "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?" Or maybe gun-toting Patty Hearst, Janet Jackson, Schiaparelli, Helen Gurley-Brown and the wonderful Olga Korbut? Yet fetishising and endlessly focusing on the past only indulges the belief that the previous generation have a monopoly on feminine power and style or an appetite for change. A far more interesting question is undoubtedly: who are the women of the future?"Do you feel that energy too?
And surprise, surprise–she totally delivers! The magazine opens with a series of short interviews with beautiful up-close portraits of people like fashion designer Louise Gray, illustrator Julie Verhoeven, gourmet ice cream maker Kitty Travers and design critic Alice Rawsthorn. They are all wonderfully engaging and often revolve around one topic like manners, or ways of communicating with the people around you.
*The only disappointment here is the inclusion of Daisy Lowe, but I have to admit to feeling slightly vindicated after reading her interview which was mostly all uninteresting one-word answers about how she likes to clean.
There are also longer interviews with women like architect Kazuyo Sejima, who with her firm SANAA designed the New Museum here in the city among other things; Sara Perez a winemaker from Spain, artist Jenny Holzer and of course, the magazine's cover star, Celine designer Phoebe Philo. It makes perfect sense that she was chosen as the first cover girl, her aesthetic and her mystique seem to capture everything about the modern woman that the editors of The Gentlewoman are interested in.
The magazine's fashion point-of-view is very unique, there is something severe about its representation, although by that I do not mean that it is harsh or cold, simply that it knows what it wants to say and it gets there every.single.time. The black and white portraits of women's "knotted" up-dos are a little old-fashioned, and yet they seem subtly subversive in the hands of photographer Zoë Ghertner. Expensive jewelry is shot in the most real-life way possible, in the hands of attendants at London boutiques by Alexandra Catiere. The whole magazine is tastefully done in a palette of grays and pastels, but we get an explosion of color in a super rad editorial featuring a short girl and a tall girl wearing short shorts and impossible heels, shot only from the chin down (it sounds weird, but trust me, it's G R E A T !).
The whole thing is magic. It is a magazine for smart women about smart women? I mean, a lot of magazines can SAY that they are that but this one actually is. It's really inspiring but not in a cliche "feel the rain of your skin" sort-of way. You just read it and you kinda feel good. It is simple.
I did not even divulge some of the best things about the magazine for you so you can be just as delighted when you see them for the first time. If you can, do check it out, it is an absolute pleasure, a welcome respite from these crazy lives we're living. There is talk everywhere about the need for a magazine like Sassy to come back and inspire young girls, but what about a magazine that can actually inspire women? And not inspire them to go to the gym or get plastic surgery, but to truly inspire for within? This is it, you guys. This is it.