Written for Girl with a Satchel
As the British press begins to cool down after the great British Parliament Expense Scandal of 2009 (which makes 'Utegate' look like child's play), Lucie Goulet returns with her take on the July issue of Tatler magazine, a title which feeds on the over-inflated egos of the upper echelons of society, and finds it largely lacking humility (and, suprise!, it's a little sexist, too).
This is Catherine Ostler's second issue as editor of British society rag Tatler. But having a new boss in charge of things does not necessarily make for groundbreaking changes; at least, not yet. The only notable difference to the Tatler produced under the sophisticated tutelage of Geordie Greig is that the 'Social Eyes' column has been cut to the point of non-existence. Still, it’s rare for a new editor's vision – even for a magazine with a 300-year history like Tatler – to become clear until at least the third or fourth issues, so let's give Ostler the benefit of the doubt.
Gorgeous Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman is on the cover of the July issue, wearing a dress of her own design, of course. If you're an Oscars fashion buff, chances are you are familiar with Chapman's designs, which exude the essence of red carpet glamour with a modern twist on Old Hollywood glamour.
By all accounts, Chapman is a successful businesswoman and designer, with Marchesa and her diffusion line, Notte, turning over $35 million worldwide. She makes a case in the interview for being judged on her own merits, rather than by virtue of being married to film mogul Harvey Weinstein. And yet the cover line is “Married to the Mogul”, as if being a wife defines her more than her own success. She may be living a 'fairy-tale' life, replete with all the Tatler hallmarks of female success (wealth, beauty, connections... okay, her heroine is Joan Collins), but get with the program, Tatler: women are creating their own success stories. Don't act so surprised.
The good bits:
- John Graham talks about the ‘Debs’ Army’, during the Second World War, when Tatler & Bystander (as it was then called) put ‘aristocratic women in their Red Cross uniforms’ on the cover and declared uniform the "It-outfit" of the moment.
- Keith Dovkants writes a lengthy feature about a ‘Paris match’ made in hell. Francois-Marie Banier and Liliane Bettencourt were close friends, in a non-biblical way. She’s the L’Oréal heiress; he’s a recurring artist on the Paris social scene. I’m sure you can guess the rest of story: Bettencourt gave Banier millions in cash, insurance policies and famous artworks. Her daughter argues that her mother was taken advantage of and has partially lost her mind to old age. The mother disagrees. Who wins? Clearly it's Tatler and the society press who get a good scandal story about the rich and famous.
Blink and skip it:
- ‘What a Pair’: He is a ‘racing demon’, she is the editor of The Sun. They’re getting married. Amazing.
- You would think there would be a surfeit of financial tales gone wrong to talk about at the moment, but the extensive coverage of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme in all the Condé Nast publications might cause you to think otherwise. Last month, Vanity Fair interviewed Madoff’s US secretary and this month, Tatler interviews one of his UK employees in ‘Conman about Town’. There are only so many times you can read about Ruth Madoff being weary of female employees, or how relaxed Bernie Madoff seemed at the last office Christmas party, before losing interest.
- ‘The House of Haslam’ has apparently "replaced the need for finishing schools in Switzerland, debs and Seasons". I just hope that Richard Dennen’s article was written with a good dose of irony in the second degree. (Read about interior designer/man-about-town Nicky Haslam, also care of Vanity Fair; clearly these two Conde Nast titles mix in the same circles. Mind you, Haslam was once art director for Show magazine, the forerunner for Vanity Fair, and is also a contributor for the London Evening Standard, for which Tatler editor Ostler used to work, and a British Vogue and Tatler contributor. Nepotism in publishing? Never!)
- With regards to the above, see also the review of Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter's Monkey Bar restaurant – it's a "smash with the Manhattan glossy posse"!
- Deana Goldstein, jewellery editor, always creates beautiful, fairy-like shoots and ‘The Big Blue’, featuring the summer’s best aquamarines is no exception. A Harry Winston necklace swims with a Tiffany pendant and translucent jellyfish in a photoshoped ocean.
- Photographing a beautiful girl wearing the latest nautical trend on a luxury yacht is not exactly ground-breaking, but it works every time. Amber Le Bon accessorises the latest swimwear with gravity-defying Prada heels and white round sunnies. How practical (cue: girl overboard!).
- Edie Campbell models 1970s clothes. She is the current embodiment of Cool Britannia, with an agreeable peach complexion and knack for modelling the most eccentric looks.
Glossy posse: Georgina Chapman, Rebekah Wade, Amber Le Bon, Daria Werbowy, Jessie Cave, Clary Aspinall
Glossy stats: July 2009, £3.90, 156 pages
Glossy bosses: Catherine Ostler, Condé Nast
Glossy ads: DeBeers, Lady Dior, Chanel, Rolex etc, etc.
Glossy rating: 3 - Possibly... worth a flick but not your lunch money.
Lucie/Girl With a Satchel