What is success? What makes a thing stand out and have dedicated fans? That is always the question, for any product, especially with the outcrowd and jealous competitors. How do they do it? Take for instance THE GENTLEWOMAN 17 Allison Janney.
THE GENTLEWOMAN, fashion magazine aimed at ‘modern women of style and purpose’, is published in London but reaches an audience in all corners of the globe. True, not the only high fashion magazine in the world, but certainly the most fascinating. What is the magic of it? What makes it more popular, more trendy, more appealing to women of note?
A humble try to dissect this success by looking at its latest edition: Issue no. 17, Spring/Summer 2018, with Allison Jenney on the cover.
First of all, the cover, its size, its photography, its typo. THE GENTLEWOMAN just can’t be ignored, though the title is in seemingly modest undercast. But it fills the front full width, clear and outspoken, on a white background this time. Under it, in a fierce black frame a picture Allison Janney. Not a young woman now, 58, but full of energy and highly succesful in 2018. Photographed by Colin Dodgson days after her triumph at the Golden Globe Awards for her role in I Tonya (and also awarded with an Oscar, recently). Referring to the ten page article and fashion shoot with her, both results of a meeting in Hollywood.
Under this cover: 336 bold pages. The first 100 pages are, with a exceptions for colofon and contents, for advertisements only. The quality of a fashion magazine is defined by the quality of the brands that advertise in it. In THE GENTLEWOMAN all the brands that matter are present: Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, Sacai, Hermes, Filippa K, you name it. Of course with the beautiful photography that only fashion shows, of products, of women. Classy commercial content is an essential component of fashion magazines.
THE GENTLEWOMAN 17 Allison Janney is split into three sections, part a, b and c. Part a, printed on smooth glossy paper, starting after nearly 100 pages, is themed ‘Modernism’. Fashion designer Molly Godard, 29, on the succes of a dress. And Modern states, short views on mental wellbeing: Fearlessness, Asleep and Consent. Modern details focuses on the small and pretty thing that adorn life: a quiet membership, the armlet, shock denim, hankies, dermal gizmo and power oats. The hotness of shorts and shirts. An interview with actress Hong Kong-borm comedy actress Sally Phillips. An interview with Katharine Hammett, 70, fashion designer who became activist. And with Anthea Hamilton, who is taking Duveen Galleries as het canvas. A photoshoot with Dutch superstar model Kiki Willems.
It is Part b, profiles, that forms the true essence of THE GENTLEWOMAN 17 Allison Janney. To stress this, it is printed on rough newsprint. It portrayes five strong women, from all walks of life. Tavi Gevinson – from bedroom blogger to new-media mogul, author Val McDermid (‘Scotland’s queen of crime’), who has sold some 15 million books, awarded actress Allison Janney, Shirin Neshat, eminent Iranian filmmaker and Indian rocker Kim Deal. Most of these women around their sixties, not old, full of energy, but with enough experience in life to know a bit about theirselves. Who on earth invented the silly idea that women in media have to be young?
The last section, part c, on glossy pages again, is for pure fashion photography. Sensual and beguiling in NEARNESS, with Lituanuan model Giedre, BOY-ish in a fotoshoot with young emerging model LULU, DARK in a shoot with Brazilian model MICA, Countrylike in CAVALCADE, shoot by fashion photographer Theo Sion.
This is the list of ingredients of the new THE GENTLEWOMAN 17 Allison Janney, but of course only tasteful ingredients can’t guarantee a mouthwatering cake. The magic is in the mix, I guess. First of all the mix in the lead team that bakes this magazine twice a year: editor in chief Penny Martin, creative director Jop van Bennekom, fashion director Jonathan Kaye, art director Veronica Ditting. And subsequently, the mix in the subjects of each edition. In this case: Molly Godard, Sally Phillips, Katharine Hammett, Anthea Hamilton, Tavi Gevinson, Allison Janney, Shirin Neshat and all the others that are profiled, clear and honest. True women, with a view, a career, a background, an age. Outspoken and free and wise. Women that inspire the world.
THE GENTLEWOMAN is the fashion magazine that goes far beyond clothes, accessories, models and trends – it is pure printed empowerment, a magazine that both records and strengthens female impact on present day culture. No wonder it has 103K followers on Instagram.