Often times, when reading American fashion print media such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour or Elle, it all seems to blend together into one magazine covering the same topics, in the same way, with the same text, models and photographers. The similarities between these magazines are endless. Today I analyzed an American fashion/lifestyle magazine as well as a French fashion/lifestyle magazine to look at the similarities and differences between our print media here vs. print media outside of the U.S.
For the American magazine I chose my new favorite that I discovered over the summer thanks to instagram, called Disfunkshion. This magazine descirbes itself as, “fashion, art, culture, surf, inspiration and wanderlust for the bohemian soul” and it delivers just what is promises. Contrast this with Numéro, the french magazine created by Elisabeth Djian. Her reasoning for creating the magazine? “I was bored with magazines that told me how to seduce a man. I wanted to create this magazine for an intelligent, smart woman who wants to read about art, design, music: not about stupidity – creams that take away wrinkles, you know, which is stupid” (Credit: FMD).
Each magazine is different from traditional fashion editorials, but very similar in their different approach to enticing the modern women looking for something more than face cream. Looking first to the covers, I noticed an immediate difference in the use of color. Disfunkshion is full of vibrant colors in the model’s clothes as well as watercolor in the background. They also placed 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 along the side of the cover in a handwritten font, similar to their logo font. This is the first time I have seen a long passage of text on the cover of a fashion magazine, or for that matter, anything from the Bible. Justina Blakeney is on the cover, and I did not know about her until reading her piece in the magazine. Numéro takes a different approach with black and white minimalist photography and a sans serif block text for the title as well as for the cover lines. Their cover stars are Sarah Brannon and Stella Maxwell, both known fashion models.
(Numéro Cover Story Photo Spread: Sarah Brannon and Stella Maxwell)
(Disfunkshion Cover Story: Justina Blakeney)
The content between the two is quite similar with emphasis on editorial pieces in a range of topics. Numéro is divided into categories as follows: Fashion, Beauty, Point of View, Architecture, English Text, Insider, and Addresses. Like any typical magazine they first open with advertisements, then the masthead and table of contents, followed by editorial. One editorial example is the cover story – Couture yin and yang – which was a photo spread located in the middle of the book. They also had an editorial profile on Salma Hayek along with a few other people. Disfunkshion was laid out in the same way but did include little paragraphs of text within their editorial photo spreads. Their largest editorial photo spread was 12 full pages on surfer Tia Blanco. They also had an editorial profile on Bethany Hamilton, detailing her shark attack at 13 and her current rebound in surfing. They placed their cover story on Justina Blakeney at the FOB which is interesting since cover stories are usually towards the back. Both magazines contained many editorial spreads and were dense with text and images.
(Numéro Editorial Photo Spread)
(Disfunkshion Editorial Photo Spread: Tia Blanco)
The imagery in Numéro was darker than that of Disfunkshion and gave off a grunge vibe with dramatic photos in muted colors. Disfunkshion was a true juxtaposition to this with vibrant colorful photos full of movement, life, and nature. This stayed true in the advertisements in each publication. Numéro featured almost all advertisements in the FOB coming from all of the recognizable luxury brands. They then had only four pages of ads at the BOB and had none mixed within the editorial content. Disfunkshion also placed all ads in the FOB and BOB splitting each equally at 11 pages.
(Numéro Advertisement From Louis Vuitton, FOB)
(Disfunkshion Advertisement From Umak and Paloma Stipp, FOB)