Time Style & Design
Of course you don't, because you no more read Time for such effluvia than you do Vogue for its foreign-affairs exposition or Architectural Digest for Joel Stein's peppy wit. And thus the new issue of Time Style & Design arrives with the deck stacked against it. Just who is this magazine for?
Even if you can somehow get past the misguidedness of diluting the iconic Time brand by haphazardly slapping it on a breezy fashion/design publication, the execution is clumsy at best. The Spring issue boasts cover models with magic-marker eyebrows. It plugs ostrich- and cobra-skin handbags. It waxes philosophic about the "icon" that is a Rolex watch and the "artifact" that is a ballet slipper. I'm guessing that Henry What's-His-Face would not have approved of a Time-branded title that opines, in its editor's note, "For spring you may already know that silver is ubiquitous in handbags and shoes and that the silhouette veers between a replicant look best realized by Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga and an overtly romantic vision put forth by Alexander McQueen."
The thought process here seems to be that there exists an audience thirsting for content that meets at the intersection of news and style/design, and that potential is realized in a single story (about an apparel manufacturer pledging to pay its every employee a living wage). But beyond that, Time Style & Design chronicles home automation, eco-aware beauty companies and the leasing of high-end cars/gowns/artwork as if they are brand-spanking-new trends and/or entities. Even worse is the cover-touted "What's Next Now" hodgepodge of items about "bleak chic" and tanzanite ("the next hot rock"), which is buttressed by a Glamour-lite spring fashion showcase and a spread on silver-hued accessories, most of which look like they were spray-painted.
The mag makes some interesting layout decisions, like cramming eight white "Right This Minute" products onto 80 percent of a page and devoting the other 20 percent to an orange sidebar of "Verbatim" quotes (oh, Karl Lagerfeld, you're such a bitch). As part of its attempt to geographically diversify the look at sneakers for city folk, it identifies Vans as indigenous to Atlanta. And I don't quite understand the mag's predilection for highlighting the dopiest and least memorable lines from its stories as pull quotes ("Whatever the cosmetics industry is doing to reduce its environmental impact is welcome," "There seems to be a return to the special -- pieces that are desirable because they are beautiful and well made").
Yeah, launching a new magazine brand is hard. But if you have any kind of fondness or respect for Time Inc., you should be saddened that the company has wasted the still-strong Time brand on the kind of editorial lark that Time Style & Design represents. If you work for one of the other Time Inc. publications gutted over the last year by layoffs, you should be appalled that resources were expended on it. God forbid the time and money should instead have been devoted to something that could blossom editorially and financially, like a coherent Web strategy.
But never mind all that. Time Inc. made its hay in print, so that's reason enough to keep the print brand extensions coming. Advertisers cannot subsist another day without the opportunity to hawk their tchotchkes in Fortune Home, Real Simple Health & Fitness and Short, Old People. Go, you plucky opportunists, go.