“Who buys it?” This is one of the first thoughts when picking up Chaos SixtyNine. Oversized in A3 ultra-gloss, the magazine is weighty, and not just in a physical sense. Its £69 price tag is expensive, and makes the magazine tempting to dismiss. Yet one look inside and it’s impossible to put down.
Chaos SixtyNine is a biannual poster book presented in magazine format, with a choice of five different covers. Inside, each page comes with a perforated fold, and readers are encouraged to tear out the pages and paste them on their walls. The original ‘accessible’ art. Everyone grew up in bedrooms plastered with posters, explains editors Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall in their jointly-penned editors’ letter. With such an image-conscious approach driving the editorial, each and every page of Chaos SixtyNine is a masterpiece. Needless to say, there is not an advertisement, at least in the conventional sense, in sight.
Chaos SixtyNine is the brainchild of British stylists Stockdale and Lyall, aided by a large team including Mushpit’s Charlotte Roberts. The duo have been working together for more than 15 years at publications including British Vogue, i-D and Garage, and on fashion shows for the likes of DKNY, Viktor and Rolf, and Victoria’s Secret. In 2014 they launched Chaos, a luxury fashion brand that specialises in iPhone and travel accessories. Although Stockdale and Lyall are well-known on the international fashion circuits, Chaos SixtyNine marks their first foray into magazine publishing. This debut issue is totally self-funded.
Issue one comes in five limited-edition covers, shot by Karl Lagerfeld, Cass Bird, Dexter Navy and Phil Poynter. The big names don’t stop there. Lengthy editorials by David Bailey, Nick Knight (above) and Martin Parr (below), pretty much the crème de la crème of British photography, all feature inside, and contributors include A-listers Lara Stone, Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner.
But amongst all of this grandeur comes a wealth of compelling and thought-provoking journalism. While Cara Delevingne and Adwoa Aboah discuss activism in the context of their work for charities Girl Up and Gurls Talk, tantalising photographs of lips, accompanied by empowering statements, challenge the once-dominant perception that feminism and attractiveness are mutually exclusive. “As the political engagement of this troubled moment demonstrates, the mouth – and the voice – remains the most powerful tool in expressing approval, or protesting for change. It’s an instrument for positivity, a means of both seduction and revolt.” Elsewhere, a seven-day travel guide to Mongolia spills onto a double page spread: left for Mongolia by day, right for Mongolia by night (below).
Stockdale and Lyall may have contacts, and no doubt money, and it shows in the publication that they’ve created. But the end result is exceptionally well done. The images are a joy, but they are not the only triumph of the magazine. Chaos SixtyNine has a clear agenda and a bold voice.