Commentary

New York Look

An admiring mention of a "full-skirted... dress printed with bloody deer." Emptyheaded quotes from designer Roberto Cavalli ("I am all about nature, about... things that are unspoiled! Money is spoiled!"). Pictures of hilariously hideous men's clothes, like the ICU-goes-to-the-Easter-parade look (green scrubs decorated with purple flowers).

All these elements indicate that the recently launched New York Look (a twice-yearly brand extension of New York magazine) is meant for a select readership: true or wannabe fashion insiders. If you already know, or are dying to learn, the name of Anna Wintour's college-going daughter (Bee Shaffer -- a fact actually referenced twice in NYL), this is the mag for you.

NYL 's focus is the New York, Milan and Paris fashion shows -- which it covers with obsessive depth, almost like a fan mag. Yet any fawning is filtered through the witty, sometimes edgy worldview of its flagship pub, New York, whose "The Approval Matrix," charts weekly entertainment/culture on a graphic scale of "highbrow" to "lowbrow," "despicable" to "brilliant."

So in NYL "Fashion Week By The Numbers" details each designer's show according to such factors as DJs, playlist and "paparazzi bait." "The Front Row" consists of four pages of photos of, yes, exactly who sat where at the fall New York Marc Jacobs show -- coverage that can be seen as either helpful (for social climbers?), or as bizarrely thorough social commentary.

The possible edginess of this feature is echoed in the mostly black-and-white shots by photojournalist Paolo Pellegrin that appear throughout the issue. Pellegrin provides some arresting, non-cliched images (like an excellent shot of Cavalli that brings the text's description of him "as the fashion world's Bob Evans" to life), but sometimes veer too much into the avant-garde. Photos of a model's bandaged foot juxtaposed with shots of hair fragments? Weird. And the out-of-focus cover shot will just confuse literal-minded fashionistas who want to know what the dress actually looks like.

They'll be happier with the rest of the pub, where clear graphics and text present the trends of the season perfectly well, along with personality pieces on Cavalli and Marc Jacobs, a tongue-in-cheek piece on Anna Wintour's affinity for tennis player Roger Federer, and a feature that categorizes the strengths of the hottest new London designers.

Unlike consumer fashion books. which aim to interpret runway items for readers, NYL has little regard for what's actually wearable. That's particularly true of the aforementioned men's fashions, one of which -- a combo of Little Lord Fauntleroy and my Uncle Moishe's Miami Beach wear -- just about scared me off runway looks for good. But for someone with a closer connection to the clothes life, NYL is an interesting addendum to the business journalism of Women's Wear Daily.

MAG STATS
Published by: New York Media LLC
Frequency: Twice yearly
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