Glossy Review: The (Aussie) September Issues (Finally!)

Just as Grace Coddington outshone the guarded Anna Wintour in The September Issue, and Tina Fey emerged from back-office writerly obscurity to 30 Rock Hollywood, so too did the Best Supporting Actresses in this Aussie ensemble.

While the cover stars steal the limelight, and score the big bucks, it's the writers, stylists and understudy subjects who added depth to this glossy reading experience. So now to the five Aussie glossies presented IMDb-style (no Rotten Tomatoes here) for your viewing/reading pleasure. Ta da!

Glossy: Vogue
Tagline: Fifties fever
Starring: Catherine McNeil
Director: Kirstie Clements
Producer: News Magazines/Conde Nast International
Writers: Kirstie Clements, Tim Blanks, Natasha Inchley, Cleo Glyde, Lisa Drake, Sarina Lewis, Kelly Doust
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Valentino Garavani, Donna Karan (playing ‘Wonder Woman’), Jerry Hall, Georgia May Jagger, Lisa Ho, Kit Willow Podgornik, Emma Balfour, Maeve Dermody, Miranda Otto, Krew Boylan, Vampire Weekend, Alison Goldfrapp

Star performance:
Catherine McNeil does what she does best modelling in 'Fifties fever' and 'Pretty baby'; it's a Sandra Dee transformation moment!
Best supporting actress: Nicole Trunfio for her performance in 'The Beauty Bubble'. “I do think some models get away with a lot, but it’s not necessarily the important things in life – it’s more on a superficial level. For example, free products, free flights, free tickets, VIP access to clubs and concerts, free holidays; even saying unintelligent things or having a bad attitude can be acceptable for beautiful people...But not for long, because outer beauty does not last.” Nicole Trunfio, ‘The Beauty Bubble’

Plot: ‘Twas the night before Fashion’s Night Out (September 9), and all the Voguettes were getting primped to face the public. What to wear? Something grown-up, elegant and chic, of course. We are girls men want to marry now, not ones who hang out in bars (except, of course, when we front up to the after-party at the Ivy). Liberated from super-tight leather leggings, we wear socks with heels and spectacles and full skirts and carry books in our satchel bags.

Will Tim Blanks steal the show in one of his crazy shirts? Will Tom Ford stop by to plant kisses on cheeks? Will someone channeling socialite Lauren Santo Domingo ruffle feathers in a Givenchy goat hair skirt and fluttery fake lashes? Will Cleo Glyde glide past showing of her platelet-rich plasma-injected skin? Will someone wipe themselves out on drugs bringing discredit to the entire Vogue franchise? Or will everyone show up wearing the same Miu Miu frock? It's almost TOO MUCH to take in. The fashion! The feathers! The fabulousness!

Requisite flashback: Cue montage of Vogue’s beloved photographer, artist and friend, the late Richard Bailey and a walk through Valentino's life's work with curator Pamela Golbin.

Memorable lines: “I love what university is. It’s a group of people reading the same things and then coming together to talk about them. I love learning; I’m hungry to learn things.” Maeve Dermody

Goofs: Donna Karan seems to contradict herself: “We communicate too much. All this blitz, these wild shows. Millions of dollars are spent talking to the consumer about next season. She doesn’t know what’s happening. We have to turn down the volume on the future and lift up the volume on the present.” And yet: “To me, you can’t communicate enough. I love that I get to speak directly to the consumer through my web site and my iPhone app. It’s both instant and immediate. I also love the convenience of reaching her where she lives and when she wants to listen.”

Wardrobe: Fifties fever (Catherine McNeil never looked so good); rockabilly ‘pretty baby’; Codie Young in Miu Miu (that dress!), Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci vintage lace and House of Cashmere styled by Meg Gray in ‘Miss Behaviour’ = divine.
Supporters: Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Prada, Gucci, Omega, Bvlgari, Miu Miu, Tiffany & Co, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Bally, Gap, Burberry, Hermes
GWAS Rating: 3 - Catherine McNeil in 50s glamour is breathtaking; a trip into the world of drug addiction via Cassandra Dhati's first-person piece a stark reminder that often behind their fashionable faces people are "lost, lonely and filled with self-loathing." Sobering.

Glossy: Marie Claire
Tagline: 15th Birthday Collector’s Edition
Starring: Kylie Minogue
Director: Jackie Frank
Producer: Pacific Magazines/Marie Claire International
Writers: Anna Saunders, Anna Tsekouras, Nicky Briger, Felicity Robinson, Jonathan Franklin, Stephanie Osfield, Andreina Cordani, Elise Loehnen, Amy Fallon, Elizabeth Rubin, Penny Wrenn
Cast: Jennifer Hawkins, Doris Day, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Collette Dinnigan, Alex Perry, Akira Isogawa, Cameron Daddo, Erin McNaught, Stella McCartney, Marie Claire staff
Star performance: All the lovers in the world can't save her new album, and at 42 she's no ingenue, but Kylie is a likable character with a Gen-X view on relationships and life. She's part of our national narrative, so a fitting lead if not a bit predictable.
Best supporting actress: marie claire's own Jackie Frank, brought to life by Nicky Briger in 'Is she a devil?'. What this mag lacks so often is personality and fun. The ability to laugh at oneself shouldn't be underrated.

Plot: It’s marie claire’s 15th birthday and all the fabulous people are invited to the party. The opening sequence is a brilliant, Baz-Luhrmann-esque multi-scene montage starring all the magazine's fabulous friends in all kinds of magazine-y settings. Fun! But, as in Harry Potter, there are sinister forces at play – Venezuela’s Osmel Sousa is the warped Willy Wonka of the beauty pageant world threatening to “fix up” any girl who departs from his Barbie ideal. Eek! Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s fatuous first lady, Grace Mugabe, threatens to steal the limelight from Kylie, girls with guns take matters into their own hands, the pay gap trips up some of the cast and anti-depressants threaten to sabotage all the fun. Thankfully, Stella McCartney, Hannah MacGibbon and their fellow female fashion designers swoop in to save the day; let's here it for girls wearing the pants (or aprons, as in '1o1 ideas' for your kitchen)! In a Choose Your Own Adventure style twist, you can take the road to Afghanistan as an embedded (and pregnant) war correspondent or take a trip down the Yellow Brick Road of 'The Best Boutiques' or the big '15th Birthday Giveaway'.

Requisite flashback: There is reminiscing over fashion and pop culture as it was in 1995 (pp56/57/185/189).

Memorable lines: “Today you can get wonderful products that weren’t available 20 years ago” (Kylie Minogue on looking 10 years younger); “Grab her forearms, then stand back and say, “Look at you!”, as if you’re admiring the would-be-hugger’s fabulosity” (‘How to say no… to a social hug’).

Wardrobe: Maticevski layers, sass and bide minis, cardigans, brogues, Annie Hall suits, Star Wars frocks, tribal ensembles, Karen Walker loveliness in ‘Spring Fever’; crazy-girl confections in ‘Free Spirit’; ‘50s elegance in ‘Love in the afternoon’; party sparkles in ‘Invitation Only’.

Supporters: Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, Dior, L’Oreal, Giorgio Armani, Burberry Prorsum, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Pantene Pro-V
GWAS rating: 3.5 - marie claire should let her hair loose more often. Sophistication and worldliness needn't be all serious. It's okay for women to explore their softer sides beyond floral dresses.

Glossy: Harper’s BAZAAR
Super Fashion Issue
Starring: Elle Macpherson
Edwina McCann (editor); Alison Veness McGourty (editorial director)
Producer: ACP Magazines/Hearst International
Writers: Marion Hume, Claire Brayford, Natasha Stott Despoja, Derek Blasberg, Georgie McCourt, Naomi West, Rachel Sharp, Emma Sloley, Eugenie Kelly, Jason Kibbler
Cast: Daria Werbowy, Meg Lindsay, Carey Mulligan, Emma Balfour, Valentino Garavani, Gail Elliott, Gaia Repossi, Sarah Murdoch, Miranda Kerr, Hannah MacGibbon, Diane Von Furstenberg
Star performance: As Jason Kibbler writes, "The story of the swimsuit model who turned out to be a shrewd businesswoman is legend by now." Yes, we have been reading it since the 90s and now, thanks to Marc Jacobs, we can read about it all over again. And soon, we can see it all on her own website, too. She is opinionated and a stickler for perfection and won't let her guard down, which is respectable but not particularly endearing. It's hard to feel empathy for this character let alone relate. On another note, remember Sirens?
Best supporting actor: Valentino provides comedic value as he passes by on his boat en route to Sicilia with his "beautiful friends, either models or very important actresses” and his pug dogs (Marion Hume scores the best interview award).
Best supporting actress: Daria Werbowy for this insight: “A lot of the time I feel like I’m part of the problem when it comes to all the superficiality and vanity that impacts the way girls grow up”.

Plot: The “boy-girl stick creatures” of the catwalks are being taken over by a tribe of Amazonian superbots possessing the kind of beauty that can’t be achieved by sustaining oneself on Starbucks and cigarettes alone. While latte loving fashionistas get into a gym-going, weight-lifting, carb-loading frenzy, they are faced with two decisions: elegant restraint or head-turning femininity. Headache. “Humble luxury is the new black! New minimalism is where it’s at!”. Meanwhile, designers are usurping the fashion bloggers and e-retailers by taking their wears from the runway straight to the inboxes of consumers, and former senator Natasha Stott Despoja has her knickers (or should I say underwear?) in a right knot over sexist political commentators. Oh, and Miranda Kerr drops by to remind us the secret to beauty is Noni Juice.

Sub-plot: Farm girl Alix Johnson faces the realities of ageing with fancy skin treatments (flip to page 210 for a full catalogue of options); the Rodarte girls dream up a makeup collection for MAC; and Eugenie Kelly travels to Hong Kong to sniff perfume then sets the bar low on happiness after baking her iPhone (gold - never has the phrase "blah, blah, blah" looked so cool in beauty copy).

Flashbacks: Adorned in “modern boho-luxe in Morocco” garb model/designer Gail Elliott makes a cameo as Talitha Getty while remembering that iconic fashion moment in 1991 when “the five ‘supers’, Cindy, Christy, Naomi, Linda and Claudia, walked down the runway at the Versace A/W 91-92 show in Milan singing to George Michael’s Freedom.”

Memorable lines (all by Valentino):
“Unfortunately, the greatest photographers don’t pay extreme attention to the clothes. If they decide to put a dress in a bathtub or in front of a cow in the countryside with dirt everywhere, well, the dresses come back… ready to be put in the garbage.”

“I was at the premiere of Sex and the City (2) at Radio City Music Hall; 5000 people and you have no idea. My eyes! I wish to have the black glasses, very, very, very dark.”

“To be really happy I would need to see all the little postcards with flowers like in the past, people being nice to each other; I don’t want to see violence and these disgusting films and fights and battles. I would love to see the world peaceful and less terrible.”

Wardrobe: Back to the future in sculptural pieces; embellished frocks; clean white lines; leather satchels; monochrome combos; retro candy colours; leather and lace.
Supporters: Moet & Chandon, Louis Vuitton, Estee Lauder, Giorgio Armani foundation, Prada, Alberta Ferretti fragrance, Gucci, Miu Miu, Bally, Cartier, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Burberry Prorsum, YSL…
GWAS rating: 4 - this is a really strong issue: after a while spent in the editorial abyss, the glossy seems to be returning to her old self (almost). Loads of personality and a little irreverence go a long way.

Glossy: Madison
Tagline: What to buy this spring
Starring: Kylie Minogue
Director: Lizzie Renkert
Producer: ACP Magazines/Hearst International
Writers: Jessica Rudd, Claire Weaver, Brooke le Poer Trench, Alexandra Carlton, Jessica Montague, Gigi Mahon, Jessica Montague
Cast: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackson, Michelle Williams, Dakota Fanning, Julianne Moore and David Beckham (all shot by Tom Munro); Elle Macpherson makes a cameo via a Harper's BAZAAR mini-mag insert.
Star performance: Brooke Le Poer Trench has had to piece together a cover story off the back of a short interview with Minogue about her new perfume, Pink Sparkle. In such cases, the journalistic filler becomes the story; the journalist the key character. Which isn't always a bad thing. Le Poer Trench only just misses out on 'Best Supporting Actress'.
Best supporting actress: Jessica Rudd, for telling her father's opponents they can suck it in more eloquent words.

Plot: Father’s Day is upon us and Madison is playing daddy’s little girl: a bunch of dads are in the limelight for their fatherly feats, including deposed PM Kevin Rudd, whose novelist daughter saves the day writing 'All About My Father' to answer the question, "What's it like to have Kevin Rudd as a dad?" and promote her book.

BUT daddy’s little girls are not all okay: the poor little rich girls have their Louboutins but fill their inner emptiness with drugs, alcohol, parties and pricey possessions; other girls are buying counterfeit luxury goods in the mistaken belief that a bargain is always a good thing; others are gambling away their lives; some are simply too nice to succeed; and still more are wrapped up in the lure of the ‘material world’. But there are sooooo many new it-bags, belts, watches and shoooooes to choooose from (see ‘Madison fashion’)! And beauty products, too! Dilemma. Thankfully, there’s a weekend escape in the country with friends to look forward to.

Sub plot: You can make your own relationship happiness if you are prepared to forget fairytales and commit. “Dr Epstein…found that the happiest couples in his research benefited from several factors that enable love to blossom over time: strong communication, physical proximity, vulnerability (such as seeing a partner through illness or some other crisis which fosters a nurturing instinct) and a shared sense of commitment to the partnership.” Sarah Gibson, ‘Can you learn to love someone?’
Memorable lines: “When people sledge him, I want to sledge them… it’s hard to see someone you love who has worked their guts out for something get cut down… Their pain is your pain, their joy is your joy, their sorrow is your sorrow, their laughter is your laughter. So what’s it like having Kevin Rudd as a dad? Blessed.” Jessica Rudd

“The trend for low-cut jeans is one cause of the modern muffin top. But could it also be our love of actual muffins that is causing this expansion?” (Katrina Lawrence, ‘The Vintage Diet’)

Wardrobe: Combat cool, global guerilla, double denim, Spanish renaissance, booming florals and big full skirts, Alex Perry lace (if I were to marry again, it would be the dress, page 156). Ooh, and that Miu Miu dress… again!
Supporters: Ralph Lauren, Avon, Clinique, Hugo Boss, Tiffany & Co., Kylie Minogue Pink Sparkle, Revlon, Almay, Rimmel London, Napoleon Perdis, L’Oreal Review
GWAS rating: 3 - Madison is caught between wanting to be the good girl, like American Glamour, and the ultra-fashionable girl, like Harper's. Minor identity crisis.

Glossy: InStyle
Starring: Angelina Jolie
Director: Kerrie McCallum
Producer: Pacific Magazines/Time Inc.
Tagline: Oh, Angelina!
Writers: Genevra Leek, Clare Press, Jo McKay, Mark Morrison, Alexis Elia, Sarah Ranawake, Angelika Otto
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Roberto Cavalli, Ewan McGregor, Teresa Palmer, Marc Jacobs, Grace and Maude Garrett, Adrienne Pickering, Amanda Seyfried, Halle Berry, Freida Pinto, Robin Tunney, Nicola Cerrone, Miranda Otto, Josh Duhamel
Pictorial cameos: Cameron Diaz, Emma Watson, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts, Olivia Palermo, Kirsten Dunst, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham

Star performance: You'd forgive Aneglina Jolie for being a bit guarded but she mentions recovering from her caesarian, having date nights with Brad and finding time for all her children. “My home is full of warmth and love and I couldn’t be happier… I’m very aware of how privileged I am.”
Best supporting actress: Teresa Palmer in 'Running Wild' and Sofia Coppola via Marc Jacobs: “Age doesn’t matter. What matters more are people who are interested in the variety of life and exploring life outside their comfort zone. People like Sofia Coppola are representative of this spirit. She is a mum, a daughter and an artist. She has a special eye, a unique voice and the curiosity to explore. Couple that with an unconventional physical appeal and what comes through is style – real style, as apposed to someone who is conventionally beautiful and radiates perfection.”

Plot: Pregnant editor Kerrie McCallum has lost her purchasing mojo and the fashion team must come to the rescue! Armed with a bunch of new buys, celebrity pictorial inspiration, 15 hot-spot spending destinations and ‘The Ultimate Shoe Guide’ to put the, um, spring back into her shopping step, they just might save her weary wintry wardrobe in time for spring. Cue oodles of sunglasses, smart skirts, leather tee-shirts, white trousers (mind your beetroot), wild west denim, pool party frocks, pastel nail polishes…She’ll be back to looking like Gwyneth Paltrow quicker than you can say “Custard Apple and Holy Moses!”.

Sub-plot: Are clogs a frumpy fad or true fashion moment?; creative collaborators from the same gene pool add a quirky, feel-good touch and big burst of personality ‘What’s your hair personality?’ answers the question we’ve all been thinking about.

Memorable lines: “Like the tyre-tread sole of the ‘90s and the kitten-heeled thong, the clog is a novelty shoe, for fashion victims only.” Clare Press

“I don’t know very much about fashion… I remember in the 80s I had a big pair of baggy, multi-coloured trousers. I wore them with braces, a yellow shirt and orange pointy suede shoes.”

“An intellect is very overrated – aesthetics are everything. Looking good is much more important than what you think!” Ewan McGregor, tongue in cheek.

Wardrobe: InStyle is all about the wardrobe, using actresses as props for clothes as apposed to clothes as props for actresses: Teresa Palmer wears wild prints, True Blood's Deborah Ann Woll wears Marc Jacobs, cousins Grace and Maude Garrett wear Lover, Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Chanel, Arnsdorf, Richard Nicoll, Celine and Marnie Skillings.
Supporters: Estee Lauder, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Juicy Couture, Gucci
GWAS rating: 3 - InStyle is great for promoting local talent. No scary diet content. Innocuous.

GWAS Recommendation:
All in all, in glossy terms, quite splendid performances all round, though nothing revolutionary in making women feel great about themselves. But Harper's BAZAAR really stole the show, which surprised even me! Marion Hume's Valentino interview was pure gold; while I'm not a fan of his ostentatious lifestyle (and Harper's is ALL about that), it was a lovely lighthearted yet heart-felt and nostalgic fashion moment. Additionally, the Elle cover (not her biggest fan, either) is a stand-out. Perhaps it's not just those pesky covermounts lifting its sales results, after all?


And now you can cast your vote: which glossy is rocking your world for September?

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Jessica Caroline Holburn said...

my vote would have to be with Vogue - I adore the fashion pages - see the long skirts!! And the interview with Maeve Dermody was good too.

Ingrid said...

I would be interested to see your ratings for them all individually as per your normal mag reviews.


Anonymous said...

I cant see the ratings?

Julie said...

I'm normally not a Vogue girl at all but I do love me some vintage 50's style fashion!

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer the ratings too!

I think I'll end up buying Marie Claire as well. I've commented earlier, but Vogue was a huge disappointment - it felt there was nothing to look at, and the editorials were nice but not worth buying the issue for. I'm actually sad to have wasted my money on it. Russh's August issue instead is the sort of magazine you should be buying for good editorials.

I want to buy Marie Claire to read the article about Jackie Frank.

Anonymous said...

Dear Madison, I really want you to succeed but you're getting less personality by the second... You're like that girl at school who copied everyone else because she wasn't sure of herself. You'd be great if you just relaxed and had a bit of confidence in your own talents and stopped looking to overseas mags for every bit of editorial. Promise.

Sandy C said...

I love Madion. It is my pick of the month. Great local content and stories by good writers. I love the Jessica Rudd piece about her father Kevin Rudd, former PM, and the Kylie story is great. And being curvey, I loved the curvey girl feature. Well done Madison. Keep making us chicks think.