Mags: UK ELLE "30, flirty & thriving"

Call me generationally narcissistic, but the mere mention of anything Gen-Y specific is enough to capture my (apparently short) attention (span). So it was with great pleasure that I delved into the May issue of UK ELLE, fronted by 80s pop culture princess Kylie Minogue, which features the results of the magazine's "ELLE Turning 30" survey.

You see, the first of the Gen-Ys are now turning 30 (as of last year, really), a fact which seems to have passed most other media by (Frankie, which perpetually feeds Gen-Y nostalgia, may be the exception). Perhaps this is because most of the current media makers are Gen-Xers too busy with their own prolonged existential crises/financial crises/babies to notice, or Baby Boomers sidetracked by the status of their dwindling super accounts. Or maybe the media, nursing a Paris Hilton hangover, just doesn't want to indulge our collective attention deficit disorder?

Well, I say, Happy Birthday To Us! And thank you, ELLE, for so graciously indulging us. Given many of us still live at home and have cash to burn at Topshop, you are very wise, Lorraine Candy. Representing Team Y this issue are New York-based writer Sloane Crosley (I swear, I had a premonition about her contributing a piece), singer Duffy and the return of lipgloss (we were the first kids to trade Lipsmackers and Juicy Tubes, no?). Model Petra Nemcova ('My Stylish Life'), Scarlett Johansson (see '10 Rules of Beauty') and Alexander Wang ('Fashion Playlist') make token appearances. Oh, and then there's Agyness Deyn for Jean Paul Gaultier and Christina Aguilera for Stephen Webster, too. It's a small, tokenistic party.

Then there's the results to the survey answered by 2,000 readers, which reveals we are the 'me generation' (no revelation there) that values relationships and personal and emotional fulfillment ahead of our careers. The survey stands to assuage readers already in their 30s as much as encouraging those fast approaching the big 3-0 to look at this milestone with optimism. According to ELLE:
  • 80% of us believe 30 is the perfect age to get married or engaged, with 43% citing 30 as the best time to have a baby;
  • over 70% of readers believe 30 to be the age when you put your relationship ahead of your career;
  • turning 30 means more confidence for 60%, more security for 46% and more overall happiness for 37%;
  • 32 is the age at which four out of 10 women feel most attractive.
Essentially, turning 30 is something to be hotly anticipated, like the next range from Kate Moss for Topshop. But, more than statistics, it's our Gen-X predecessors we can learn from and, as such, this issue of ELLE is still dominated by Gen-X: from Kylie and her Botox confession, to a series of personal memoirs and Stacey Duguid's 'Mademoiselle: Confessions of an ELLE girl" column (coincidentally, this month Duguid laments "the last birthday I will ever celebrate"). Gratuitous nod to Gen-Y aside, ELLE is still, like 40-year-old covergirl Kylie, "30, flirty & thriving" (at least in her mind!). I'm calling it the Sex and the City complex.


The good bits:
  • Kylie "Locomotion" Minogue confesses to using Botox and opens up about how cancer affected her body confidence (the chemo meant she put on weight: "I still have to deal with it. I've got fat ankles hidden beneath these boots. But I think my body in many ways is better now for having weight on it."). The self-confessed workaholic talks about her perfumes for Coty and bed linen range, defends her sister against media criticism ("I'm just so proud of my sister and it annoys the hell out of me when comparisons between us are made in an unfavourable way to her.") and muses on her role models: "Dolly Parton and Bette Middler – those lovely ladies are still doing it and doing it their way." What about Madonna? "She takes... insane care of herself... I'm not a gym bunny."
  • I enjoy Ellen Burney's 'Style For Less' column (high street pieces with designer references), though it's a true sign of the times when even your vicarious shopping pursuits are done on the cheap!
  • Closet Confidential introduces us to former model and Zadig & Voltaire creative director Cecilia Bonstrom, whose style is "masculine-feminine" and says, "The older you get, the simpler you dress, the better you look and the younger you stay."
  • Louise Roe tests out the jumpsuit in Fashion Tried & Tested: when one is pursuing a trend, it helps to have the body of a model as Roe does. As such, this is less of a service piece and more of an advertorial for Asos, Jean-Pierre Braganza and Sea NY.
  • Menswear is "The High Street's Best-Kept Secret" with men's pants, jackets and tees all essentials for spring's androgyny.
  • Lucie Whitehouse, now 32, writes of the wakeup call she received as her 30th birthday passed and she found herself in hospital. She recalls what she'd hoped to achieve by the time she passed the 30 mark and how she'd fallen short despite her career success. Her story ends on a positive note: "I was always queen of the quick fix, wanting everything done yesterday, but I learned it takes time to make a real, sustainable difference."
  • Sloane Crosley writes 'Turning 30: Only Adults Allowed' and challenges the idea that with your 30th birthday comes the responsibility of being a bona fide grown-up: "In the end, 30, like anything else, is what you make of it. For better or for worse, we create our own milestones to reach and our own corsets to lace... Perhaps being an adult is as simple as not letting the rest of the world say when."
  • Take a trip down Pop Culture Lane with 'Ethan Hawke: The Grown Up'. A keen social observer, he says: "I'm fascinated by the fact that it's the wealthy who commit suicide. The more options you have in life, the more existentially lost you become" (how very Reality Bites). It's the catch-cry of Gen-X. He also says, "You have to be careful how to define success; that's very important if you're to keep your mental health."
  • Jude Rogers writes of losing her father as a child and her subsequent quest to get to know him through conversation, a recorded tape, Google entries and photographs. A poignant piece - I called my dad. In a similar vein, 'Mum, Make-Up & Me' is Suzanne Scott's sweet tribute to the woman who encouraged her foray into fuchsia lipsticks and red hair dye but discouraged overzealous brow-plucking and sun exposure. Scott lost her mum aged 15 and still recalls the smell of her O de Lancome scent. This story will give you the warm and fuzzies.
Blink and skip it:
  • I had to check to see that I hadn't stumbled into the pages of U.S. Vogue when I came across Bliss Broyard's piece, 'Friends with money'. Though I don't think even Anna Wintour, who has been accused of being out of touch with the 'real world', would have commissioned this piece right now. The Brooklyn-based author writes of the social angst she's experienced as "the token impoverished bohemian among my Manolo Blahnik-heeled friends." Broyard's parents were of the asset rich/cash poor variety, and she spends her own money unwisely. She rationalises freeloading off her wealthy friends because "a part of them admires my choice to pursue my artistic ambitions... And I allow them one of the pleasures of having money – spontaneous generosity without guilt or expectation." Broyard's idea of keeping her friendship "accounts" balanced is to provide the odd meal ("I haven't, however, planned on footing the bill for all the groceries"). When she does need cash to pay her bills, she'll "turn to friends with modest savings accounts... so there's no risk I'll 'forget' to repay them with the rationale that they don't really need the money." Is this woman for real? By the article's end (and it only gets more self-indulgent), I am so infuriated by the author's lack of grip on reality that I want to throw the magazine against a wall. How about spending one of your "summers off" living amongst some truly impoverished people to gain some perspective on your relative wealth?
  • 'Diet: Approach With Caution', the headline for Avril Mair's latest 'Beauty Extremist' feature, says it all. Following the food plan recommended by Dr Jeffrey Fine (the fashion "insider's secret" passport to thin), Mair subsists on protein, citrus fruit, weekly vitamin injections, mineral supplements and the "empty, complaining growl" of her stomach. Fun! Mair is not content to be an "average" size 10 (UK), thus she enlists Fine's approach to shed those pesky surplus kilos ("I just want to fit into my RM by Rouland Mouret pencil skirt. This is all about vanity. Not health."). This is not a "fad diet", you see, but a "properly prescribed, medically approved regime" akin to Atkins, but with fruit. After losing a stone, and inhaling a jumbo pack of dry-roasted peanuts, Mair resolves to stick with the eating plan: "it is the extremes that make it successful...It's all or nothing." Yet it's this sort of thinking that sees girls step on the Kirtsy Alley yo-yo diet train.
  • Eva Mendes, 35, who is not a fan of the gym, consumes an entire pizza on the completion of a project and has been smoking for five years is the month's 'Health' page subject. An unusual choice.
Pretty pages:
  • ELLE encourages us to invest in "heirloom pieces" (i.e. designer advertiser pieces) that will last a lifetime, like the Balmain miliary coat and Lanvin's one-shouldered dress;
  • Milla Jovovich and Lily Donaldson appear in the street fashion lineup;
  • 'Show me your wardrobe' gives us six impossibly chic women in some of their everyday ensembles;
  • Loving the 149.99 leather jacket in the Matthew Williamson for H&M ads;
  • 'Living Doll' is all "diaphanous" designer pieces;
  • 'Ray of Light' gives us sequins, beads, crystal and gold on a sanddune backdrop;
  • Suede and leather are the focus for 'Style Is Skin Deep', which features some very cute short/shirt, skirt/blouse, pant/jacket ensembles;
  • Yellow, white and rose gold jewellery are in focus for the Jason Ell-shot 'Pieces of Me';
  • '25 Expert Tips and Tricks' draws on makeup artists, hair stylists and facialists who give us the 411 on new techniques and trends for looking pretty (though using the waistband from an old pair of tights to pull back your fringe/hair is the oldest trick in the high-school girl's book).
Glossy posse: Kylie Minogue, Leigh Lezark, Lily Donaldsonm Jourdan Dunn, Karl Lagerfeld, Petra Nemcova, Chloe Sevigny, Ayelet Zurer, Duffy...
Glossy stats: May 2009; 276 pages
Blosses: Lorraine Candy; Hachette
Glossy ads: De Beers, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Dior, Clinique, Roberto Cavalli, Prada Eyewear, Emporio Armani...
Glossy rating: 2/3: not good for the self esteem but worth a flick.

Yours truly,
Gen-Y Girl With a Satchel


katiecrackernuts said...

Argh, am Gen-X, by a whisker. Am 35, but loved turning 30. For some reason I felt like I'd done my womanly apprenticeship. Life didn't suddenly get easier, but did feel somewhat more in my hands. Sounds like a great edition of UK Elle.

Glossy Girl said...

I haven't researched anything, but this is just a thought: Magazines have boomed as Gen Y has gotten older, and now that new generations are starting to emmerge, magazines have had to move over. Do you think the plight of magazines has to do with different generations, or the financial crisis? Or both?

Glossy Girl said...

We're missing you today Erica!