Much has been made of the name that the female counterpart publication to Fantastic Man. Yes, the Gentlewoman is finally here and yes, the name that some love or hate has stuck. It launched with a very dignified cocktail party in Paris a few days ago where every woman looked like a Gentlewoman and every man was Fantastic… rendering me at a loss as to why I was there. Still I had to pick up a copy before it hits the shops some time next week (22nd I believe…)
The name is in fact a reference to a turn of the 20th century magazine of the same name that in some ways informs elements of the content. In the same way that Fantastic Man isn't a FASH FASH fashion magazine, The Gentlewoman is very much about broadening the scope of style by presenting individuals as they are, not styled up dramatically but as strong beings who speak volumes with their natural modes of expression. It's not about being heavily cerebral either as the first portion opens up by asking different women such as Louise Gray (below), Daisy Lowe and ice cream supremo Kitty Travers about modern planning, transport, food and yes, housekeeping, hence why I said The Gentlewoman of old may not be completely dead/defunct (on an unrelated note, maybe I should pick up a copy the Rachel Johnson- transformation of The Lady magazine).
Alasdair McLellan's depiction of a Power Sessions (styled by Jonathan Kaye) sets the tone for an issue jam packed with quiet power. Power here is reconciled through beautiful knitted bra and knickers by Dolce & Gabbana, Alaia and Pringle of Scotland… working out never looked more appealing to a gym-o-phobe such as myself.
The star piece of course belongs to the cover feature; portraits of Phoebe Philo by David Sims and a lengthy article by editor in chief Penny Martin that I read and re-read. Both the portraits and the piece delved into the strengths and vulnerabilities that Philo faces as a re-emerging creative director, resurrected by her role at Celine…
Models and faces are by and large eschewed for 'real' women within fashion such as Gill Wilkins, a fashion editor at British Vogue…
…or artists like Catherina van Eetvelde, photographed by Willy Vanderperre, styled by Olivier Rizzo.
Princess of the Night/Princess Julia also shows a slicker side to her style here in frocks by Celine and Alaia.
My favourite part in Fantastic Man is when they focus on details like the 'Bow tie' or the 'shirt collar'… things that in menswear are probably more tantamount to a look but I guess there's no reason why this shouldn't also be the case in womenswear. This issue, it's about the knot and so we get perfectly pristine hairstyles that are actually pretty good solutions to the insane amount of hair I have (I lopped off a chunk at the beginning of New York Fashion Week and it has all grown back already… )
I loved the lines depicted by these still life shots by Qui Yang…loved that they used the ragged lines of the Meadham Kirchhoff S/S 10 glitter tees…
Are you into shorts or short shorts? It's this kind of pragmatic editorial that sort of reinvents the demonstrative nature of magazines of old… apparently both short people AND tall people can wear shorts… BRAVO!