Sunday, July 12, 2009

Should Vogue be budget-consicous?


Last week the New York Times ran a piece on how American Vogue has lately been featuring "mid-range" products in the magazine. They called the new trend "budget-conscious."

They quote fashion director Sally Singer: “We’ve always shown a wide range of price points and lower-priced items,” she said. “As long as Anna Wintour’s been at Vogue, from her first issue, she had jeans on her cover with a Christian Lacroix top. She’s always had a high-low sensibility.”

But lately Singer says the magazine has been deliberately featuring more cheaper items because of the economy. “In the past year, I feel a greater need to signpost certain elements we’ve had in the magazine. Maybe we need to make sure the reader can find them more easily.”

But if readers were looking for cheaper items, why would they go to Vogue in the first place?

Vogue has never pretended to be anything but a snooty, high-society magazine that puts emphasis on living the high life no matter what the cost. People read Vogue so they can take a peek at that luxurious fantasy life. The magazine has never been apologetic for featuring items like a Fendi 24k gold mink coat because readers expect to see ridiculous items like that.

I expect to see outrageously expensive but fabulous clothes, shoes, bags and jewels in the magazine even though I know I can't afford them. But when I start to see items from the Gap or J.Crew I get a bit scared. Where is the fantasy? If I want to see clothes from the Gap, I'll pick up Lucky magazine or walk down Yonge Street.

I do understand the value of the point that during these tough economic times a magazine shouldn't be flaunting inaccessible wealth to the credit-card debt ridden people. But that's the lure of the magazine; it's inaccessibility.

Vogue has weathered two World Wars and several recessions and still come out on top. Why should this time be any different?

So Vogue, you can throw in a few lower-range products to make it seem like you care about the rest of us, but don't throw away your soul aka those gold mink coats. It's just not you.