Beth Ditto graces the cover of Love, Condé Nast's new British title helmed by the former editor of Pop, Katie Grand. The magazine is Condé U.K.'s attempt at adding a much-longed-for edge to its portfolio, which includes Vogue and W. The Guardian's Jemima Kiss likens it to "Anna Wintour trying to host an electro night."
It's not an easy magazine to pull off, but Kiss concludes that Grand pretty much does. In her editor's letter, Grand explains the celebrity images inside Love are un-retouched because she wanted to celebrate the things she loves about the subjects. She continues:
"Everything about the way that Beth looks reminds us not of her imperfections but our own. She has self-assurance and confidence by the truckload. She is happy with who she is and the way she is. Don't we all wish that we woke up in the morning and felt like that?"
There's something uncomfortable about proclaiming Ditto to be such an icon in this way. Isn't having her on the cover a statement enough, that we might come to that conclusion on our own? And if "the way she looks" (don't mention the "f" word!) is such a positive thing, why aren't there any other podgy people in the magazine?
The subjects profiled include Iggy Pop, Anjelica Huston, and Courtney Love, all of whom are certainly not shopping in the plus-size section. The magazine doesn't have a lot of words to read, but Kiss calls the photographs some of the best she's seen in a mainstream commercial magazine. Yet no matter how frustrated Grand is with how Botoxed, airbrushed, and tucked women in magazines are, she can't help but include some of this in her new title. Though Grand's is edgier and more real (whatever that means these days) than other commercial magazines, she still has to play by their rules. And it should be noted that the first 46 of Love's 334 pages are ads.
Condé Nast's new style magazine: Love - can you feel it in your fingers? [Organ Grinder/Guardian UK]