Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Have you been Shortlisted for your own personal Stylist this autumn?

Breaking news in the world of magazines...

For every woman who’s ever been handed a free copy of Shortlist on a rainy day, only to sit down and trudge through a wealth of sport and gangster film reviews, for every one of us who is forced to splash her cash at the tills for a magazine that thinks Madonna’s latest adoption is the most newsworthy story of the week, or forced to watch Natalie Cassidy’s weight rise and fall...apparently our prayers have been answered.

Project Y has been under operation for nearly 8 months now but with the big reveal today: Shortlist, the free male weekly title, is to distribute a new women’s magazine on Wednesday from late September/October.

Titled Stylist, 400,000 copies will be dispersed over 6 cities, giving you content such as the high-end fashion you may expect right through to travel, people and careers.

We’ve seen this before you might say – revolutionary topics such as “I earned more than my husband so he left me” or “I’m the breadwinner in our house” featuring the obligatory stiletto heels and red lipped smirk. But Chief Exec Mike Soutar of FHM fame seems to be taking this seriously:

“...There are some important things it will never do: it will never publish unflattering paparazzi shots of celebrities looking their worst, never invent spurious stories about stars’ relationships and never cynically exploit women’s body anxieties.”

Sounds like a publicist’s dream – polished images and positive content. But even the likes of Grazia can’t resist a comment or two on the fashion fails and tangoed terrors.

We all get frustrated with the lengths some titles go to chart weight loss – stopping just short of calling them in for a weekly weigh-in. But everyone likes a little comment here and there, something that makes these glamorous celebrities seem human. Kate Winslet has built her career on interviews talking about how much she has struggled with, and learnt to love, her “real body.” Surely a sweat patch here or there or a mascara-teared picture looking worse for wear only helps this?

Targeting “affluent professional women” or as one reporter hilariously put it “20-40 year old women who enjoy 11 years of freedom and career building before starting a family”, Stylist is looking to challenge the Grazias and Marie Claires of this world.

Bypassing the comment that women only have 11 years of freedom (?!), it’s going to be a tough market to crack and I certainly wish editor Lisa Smorsaski (formerly of More) the best of luck.
It’s a step in a different direction – one that men’s magazines such as GQ and Esquire seem to have succeeded in achieving where most women’s magazines have failed.

But from one 20-40 year old woman in the “career-building” time of life who will be handed the title one Wednesday in Birmingham, could we please have just a little bit of celebrity smirking? In the nicest possible way of course...


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