Promoted as "the magazine about shopping," Lucky is not for browsers. It's too hard-core. Lucky--and never was a moniker so ill-chosen--is a paean to consumption. Not the robber-baron Gilded Age variety, but pointless consumption nonetheless. Lucky doesn't survey classic looks or trumpet design artistry; it showcases clothes and accessories that are "of-the-moment." In short, it feeds a lust for instant gratification. Or, in Al Gore-speak, it layers the landfill. Now, fashion books may be a guilty pleasure, but it's one of degree--there is more to life than stretch minis.

Lucky is a magalog, a catalog that pretends to be a magazine. The only difference between it and the Sears catalog are the prices and the psychological sell. Chic! Sexy! Cool! Would it kill Lucky to have an article on money management or self-esteem? Because if readers feel this stuff is essential, month after month, then debt and despair, like Michael Kors and Armani, will be their new best friends.

Yes, I know, it's about shopping, stupid. But is it necessary to hock a 216-page shopping tome, 12 times a year? Aren't the endless catalogs that clog our mailboxes and the Web pop-ups enough? Idle curiosity, but can anyone explain the difference between an advertorial and a magazine if every page doubles as an advertisement? Frankly, the big difference between the ads and the stories (and I use that word liberally) is tone: The ads are more subtle and better art-directed.

But whether ad or story, Lucky drives the point home with Yes! stickers to mark must-haves. I wish they had this nifty feature in the New York Review of Books. Sadly, for every mother who tells her teenage daughter that clothes aren't everything, Lucky is there to remind them that fashion is the only thing.

We begin with "Our Obsession." I mistook the enlarged diamond and shark-tooth necklace, given its shape and size, for a chastity belt. Feeling design-challenged, I quickly moved on to the rest of the book, a photo-driven product extravaganza. The "Style Spy" section touted a $360 Tocca bag, a "hippy-girl staple." Excuse me, an update of a hippie-girl staple. Meaning, I suspect, that while counterculture rejections of materialism are passé, revamping and overpricing the look of disdain is not. Another winner: two pages of espadrilles, including a pair of snakeskin espadrilles, billed as "miles high and super chic," that retail for $395. Aside from being a podiatrist's dream shoe, the heel rake could more truthfully be captioned "women on the verge of a vertical breakdown." I won't even go near the epaulet "military-inspired" dresses. Suffice it to say, there are better ways to honor our troops than a sleeveless cotton knockoff.

That brings me to the most unintentionally ironic aspect of the issue: the ad about depression and bipolar disorder. Several symptoms are listed, but two are telling: buying things you don't need and spending out of control. For those who suffer such maladies, Lucky is like putting a Cosmo in front of an alcoholic. If you have an addiction to shopping, Lucky is your dealer.

Still, styling tips are always handy, and some of the outfits are cute. Plus, the do-good-while-you-shop entry lets you purchase items that donate a portion of sales to the National Parkinson Foundation, while the go-to guide of New York museum shops is kind of cool. More people should sport silver necklaces with engraved quotes by Alexander Hamilton. In fact, let's give it up for the woman who can marry a flair for dressing with a deep appreciation of all things Federalist. That's lucky.

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