If you love cutting out magazine images and making inspiration boards, or if you buy W just to see the oversize, glossy images, you’ll love Style.com’s print magazine. The runway images are larger than life, as are the ads. But if you’re someone who’s content with reading magazines on an iPad and viewing runway slideshows online, you’ll probably want to skip the magazine’s next issue.
Most of the magazine’s content is generated from what already exists on Style.com, such as the most-viewed Spring 2012 runway shows. The images are high-resolution and there are some interviews with models that aren’t on the website, but overall, the content overlaps between the two.
The magazine’s table of contents includes a Twitter recap of editors’, bloggers’ and designers’ top tweets from Fashion Week, a message from Dirk Standen, Style.com’s editor-in-chief, and a list of nine “Top 10” lists. These include the “Top 10 Readers’ Shows”,” Top 10 Editors’ Collections”, “Top 10 Party Animals”, “Top 10 Shoes”, “Top 10 Bags”, “Top 10 Jewelry”, “Top 10 New Models”, “Top 10 Best-Dressed”, and “Top 10 Beauty Moments”, along with a list of the (limited amount of) interviews with designers, stylists and models. These lists are compiled by page views and comments on the website, so if you visit the site a lot, these articles are probably not going to be of much interest to you.
The “Top 10 Readers’ Shows” list is based on site comments and page views, which Style.com considers the audience’s way of “ranking” their favorite shows. The section even features reader comments from the online articles. One of Style’s main selling points in their creation of a new print magazine – when print is seen more and more as a dying medium – is the participation of readers in its creation, something not often a part of women’s magazines, especially fashion magazines.
If being able to vote on what content goes in the issue is something you’re interested in, you’ll love this magazine! But for some people, the point of reading magazines is to find out what the experts think, not for them to put in their own opinion. Many of the comments featured in the print issue, while nice in spirit – for example, that the Louis Vuitton spring collection was “soft and pretty” – don’t provide the same style and quality insight that experienced fashion editors and writers can provide in other magazines. So the Style.com print magazine is hit or miss in the reader-participation respect.
The “Top 10 Collections” list, on the other hand, is ranked by Style.com’s fashion editors, and does include helpful commentary on the shows. But this commentary isn’t different from the recaps you can already read on the website, and many of the shows featured are the same in both lists, like powerhouses Prada, Chanel and Balenciaga. While not surprising, it does seem a bit silly to create contrasting lists that substantially coincide with each other.
The “Top 10 Party Animals” list includes everyone from designers to It Girls to Terry Richardson. The Top 10 Shoes, Bags and Jewelry lists are compiled by Style.com’s editors, but are simply photo collages without any explanation as to why these accessories are particularly innovative or on-trend for this spring.
We were thrilled to see Jasmine Tookes as the top new model in that list, because it shows that the fashion industry is striving to broaden its narrow definition of beauty. But as with the other features, the model list is in a “quick hits” style. The general feel of this magazine is that Style.com had so much they wanted to include that they threw a bunch of features together without really developing any of them (sort of the feeling you get when watching an ensemble cast movie, but with fashion articles).
The “Top 10 Best-Dressed” list of models off-duty is based solely on the number of online reader votes, with legends like Kate Moss (unsurprisingly) making the cut. The “Top 10 Beauty Moments” feature is actually one of the magazine’s best articles. It analyzes beauty trends like primary-colored hair and new takes on cat eyes and compares these trends in their portrayal on different runways, as well as including beauty tips on achieving these looks in everyday life. While these images can be found online, it is nice to see examples from each trend in one place without having to search for them yourself. In the future, we’d like to see more beauty features in Style.com magazine, since beauty is an essential aspect of the fashion industry.
Godfrey Deeny, one of fashion’s most notable critics, describes his experiences at fashion weeks throughout the years in a two-page spread. The design of the pages, though, makes it difficult to read the article because there’s so much going on that you can’t focus on any one article. This works for the collages and lists, but a simpler layout would be nice for longer features.
In her cover interview, model Lindsey Wixson talks about her first modeling days and casting calls with Calvin Klein, saying she was a bit naïve about the process when she was just getting started. She also says that her favorite moment of the season was spending a day in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas, which made her appear refreshingly down-to-earth for someone who’s walked for designers like Prabal Gurung and done advertising campaigns for Miu Miu.
The “trend report” section is helpful if you need to brush up on spring trends, but if you’re a fashion die-hard and have kept up with the shows, you won’t learn much from these pages. And the “get the look” section seems decidedly out of place for a high-fashion publication like Style – those are features you expect in magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour.
The biggest challenge that Style.com’s print magazine faces is that it isn’t sure of its audience. The runway coverage is high-fashion, like the site, but the inclusion of reader comments and features like “get the look” are aimed more at the average person than the fashion expert. If Style.com wants to keep this print magazine going, they’ll have to determine who their target audience is so they can better cater to that specific crowd.