Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feelin' Lucky?

Thanks to Thursday's New York Times Style Section (aka Women's Sports) I now know there is a new editor at Lucky Magazine. Launched in 2000, Lucky is Conde Nast's "shopping magazine". It was evidently losing its footing in the slippery world of women's magazines under the old editorship. Originally created for shopping-pleasures-only (no relationship pieces or dreaded diet articles), Lucky was— the Times pointed out— a precursor to how we shop now on the web: directed and with a passion.

Lucky's new editor is Eva Chen, a protege of Anna Wintour, who now holds the title of Creative Director at Conde Nast. Anna hasn't loosened her grip on Vogue either. At age 33 Eva Chen is one of the youngest women to be appointed editor of a major magazine not directly aimed at the young. Supposedly her tech-savvy self (proficiency in Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as Facebook et al) will make the difference.

Lucky girl

I put down the Times and rushed to my stack of crisp September magazines. It's been my practice to wait until the actual month begins before I crack one open. I made an exception to scope out this new Lucky.

So what are we first greeted by? A cover produced by the venerable stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, age 63, an Anna Wintour favorite who styled Anna's first cover for Vogue in 1988. That's lovely and says a lot right there.

At 236 pages this September issue barely made it through a cup of coffee. Where are the pages and pages of shoes or handbags or jeans? Gone. Instead we have a very curated magazine and the equivalent to what I call a fancy store: a museum with price tags. While there was a wide range of prices in the old Lucky (a $40 handbag to a $400 one to the $4000 I-had-a-dream variety), at least there was something for everyone. Either Eva Chen has very deep pockets or just expensive dreams, nothing (save the odd scatter pin or ratty boucle sweater coat) was actually affordable. Take page 44, which I opened randomly:

Lizard platforms $1740
Jacket $490
Sweater $248
Pants $238 (these last two from J Crew shame on you)
Sunglasses $165
iPhone case $40
Suede platforms $995
Sweater $675
Skirt $895
Clutch $205

The sticker shock in the new Lucky hit me the same way as would walking into H&M and finding an extra zero added to each price tag. Is it still my store? Is it still my magazine?

Great coat, grating price ($1200)

Isn't there something inherently wrong with coveting such pricey paraphernalia? Even if you could afford it, should you consider a $38,000 handbag as did Oprah Winfrey in Switzerland? Don't get me wrong. I love Oprah. She does so many Good Works I would never fault her jonesing for a pricey handbag. But do the rest of us actually need encouragement? And will this result in (especially the young who may not have figured out how unimportant is fashion status to self worth) discontentment with our lot in life?

Are you feeling the new Lucky?


  1. Wow; sticker shock indeed. Perhaps this falls in the category of wish list and we shop for a similar look. Tough when time is precious...

  2. Interesting, because in one interview with Chen that I read she said that the biggest challenge for Lucky was to give the magazine a more upscale look without sacrificing the way the magazine had always featured lower cost items along with the higher. Sounds like she needs to try a little harder.

  3. It's interesting to hear about the new editor. I've had a Lucky subscription for years, and lately I've been feeling disenchanted with it. I actually noted to my husband how skinny the September Lucky was as I was pulling it out of the mailbox...usually that's a sign of a dying magazine!