M International #1
‘What does France represent today?’ M magazine, the accompaniment to French newspaper Le Monde has been asking that question since 2011, rounding out each week with its commentary, a self-described ‘alternative tempo’. Now comes M International, and an opportunity to scrutinise these past eight years of cultural coverage.
Just like ZeitMagazin’s International edition, M is an english language publication. It’s subtitled ‘All About France’, and this issue collates almost a decades-worth of material from the French version. Editorial director Marie-Pierre Lannelongue has emphasised in her introduction that the content choice comes from a desire to offer a broad view of the cultural changes that have gripped the country, rather than a highlight reel. For this reason, this (absolutely vast) edition is not simply a ‘best of’, instead it seeks to offer multiple perspectives on a variety of subjects. Fashion, politics social media, activism and beauty are all tackled in a serious way – M International does not skimp on the word count.
The magazine partly came from demands from international fans who were desperate to read M in its entirety, not just to ‘view’ the visuals. This, I think, is what separates M from its fashion contemporaries – it’s known for its high quality journalism, and does not see the two as mutually exclusive.
However, thanks to the size of the mag, the visuals are stunning. Whether the lens is focused on people or architecture, M International has made great use of the space, with photos inserted between long columns, and framed by dramatically disproportionate drop caps.
M International is separated into chapters: People, Places, and Trends. It’s an elegant way to organise a magazine with such a wealth of material, as a subject like fashion can be tackled under any one of these straplines, depending on the angle the journalist has taken. Don’t miss a brilliant article under ‘Trends’ (above) about the recent French obsession with Asian cuisine. For a country like France, so famous for its food, it’s a fascinating rumination on globalism and local culture.
Unlike Zeit International’s two editions per year, M will be published once a year. With such a large print format that seeks to balance the visual and written content, this is a good decision from the editors, who in future will have just 52 weeks worth of content to republish, rather than this issue’s overwhelming 416. Considering the size of issue one, a year should be just about enough time to read the whole thing before the next one comes out!
Editorial director: Marie-Pierre Lannelongue
Creative director/design director: Jean-Baptiste Talbourdet-Napoleone
Editor-in-chief: Camille Seeuws