Book Review: Vintage Magazine

This is the very first issue of Vintage Magazine, and it is tempting to judge it by the cover. I was seduced by the huge watercolour Marie Antoinette and bold purple lettering radiating simplicity and beauty from the printed page. Since conventional wisdom dissuades us from judging books by their covers, I decided to take a closer look. Vintage is driven by editor Ivy Baer Sherman, who was inspired by the short-lived Flair Magazine that ran from 1950-51. Using different papers, inks and surprise elements in the layout, it attempts to recapture Flair’s absurdly artful presentation, which included die cuts and foldouts.

The articles are not only fashion-centric, for the publication aims to study the “impact of history on our present culture.” That said, I was more interested in the essay on Ferragamo than the one about Ferraris (about which I am not entirely surprised). The fashion-related pieces include musings on Barbie, a short history of hairstyles (with a flipbook feature) and an essay on Ferragamo’s invention of the wedge. The writing is interesting and provides some good synopses, but never takes a definitive stance. While it’s clear that Salvatore Ferragamo was forward thinking in developing the wedge (no less than a paragraph is spent namedropping his clients), the piece never seems to move beyond an inventory of material innovations.

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