It’s been a busy old end of the year here at magCulture, so apologies for the lack of magazine reviews recently. I’m not planning an end-of-2013 review, but sometime contributor Andrew Losowsky has been delving into the year’s posts to compile an overview of highlights and I hope to get something a little more forward-looking up over the holidays. But if I were to note some highlights, this final Magazine of the Week of 2013 would be among them.
Names are always important for new magazines and Riposte seems a perfect one for this, the latest in the wave of new alternative women’s print magazines. Most notably represented by The Gentlewoman but also including Oh Comely and Libertine, these magazines are all challenging the norms of, are a riposte to, women’s magazines. They each have healthily different approaches to content and design, but all centre on strong role-models. Certainly this is what Riposte is concentrating on; from the cover on, this is about more than the way women look, and instead all about who they are. Check out the list of names on that cover (the need for a face is answered by a portrait of Nelly Ben Hayoun on the back cover, above).
The issue has plenty that will appeal to both sexes, essentially presenting interesting stroies about people who happen to be women. New Yorker art editor Francois Mouly, for instance, is a great interview that will appeal to anyone reading this site.
Another story gives an overview of contemporary arts organisations at a time when their popularity is challenged only by their budget cuts. The five people featured are women, and writer Danielle Pender discusses their experience of the male-dominated art world.
As I hope the selection of pages here show, Riposte is well art directed and designed, with great use of the basics of magazine structure, from photography to illustration via typography. There are plenty more great stories – a look back at the late Claire de Rouen, pieces about women music producers and computer scientists – and as is the case with the best mags, the team (led by editor Danielle Pender and creative director Shez Madani) make the whole thing look deceptively simple, which I’m sure it wasn’t. Riposte is a great addition to those other magazines listed above.