The latest edition of The Skirt Chronicles consolidates the Paris-based magazine’s unique position as ‘a magazine without rules.’ Addressing the theme ‘happy satisfaction and enjoyment,’ what other magazine might so coolly bring together these five stories?
ONE: ‘Attention à la mousse’ – it’s not latte art. When French set designer Céline Corbineau orders a cappuccino, she draws in the foam with the end of her spoon, before instagramming it. I am reminded of paintings by Yoshitomo Nara: Corbineau’s plump little faces are rendered in the same creamy colours, their wide-set eyes similarly ominous.
TWO: The magazine has four consistent features each issue: ‘Drawing Matters’, ‘Family Portrait’, ‘Addresses’ and the final page, ‘Flipskirt’ (above), which is always dedicated to a photograph of a woman, talking about a skirt – or lack thereof. Issue four’s was a skirt that was never worn – too much in Paris, not enough for Tokyo. Issue 5’s ‘Flipskirt’ is a photo of the trouser-wearing Mrs Daelnavaz, the mayor of Mazreh-ye Kalantar Village of Meybod.
THREE: The pages of seasonal horoscopes are wonderfully different to the usual astrological readings that magazines make a point of including these days. The ‘Moods, Wisdoms and Injunctions’ are inspired by the Celtic Tree Calendar. Depending on your birthday, you will be assigned a tree and ‘a few home truths for Spring and Summer’. I was awarded the Linden tree, as well as some wonderfully vague (though accurate) advice: ‘A long lonesome walk once in a while will do you good.’
FOUR: While the seemingly perpetual romanticisation of the English upper classes is something of a tired trope in Britain, Dafyyd Jones’s pictures deserve a lot of credit. Shooting on black and white film, Jones photographed the new ‘Bright Young Things’ generation of the 1980s, often by sneaking into the balls, parties and clubs they haunted. The photos are glamourous, yes, but also funny, revealing, and embarrassing – Jones wasn’t looking to flatter his subjects.
The accompanying interview is a peek into the glory days of Tatler magazine under Tina Brown, when the publication became wildly popular, with Jones’s party pages serving as the social media of the ’80s.
FIVE: I can’t include it all in this review, but The Skirt Chronicles is full of poetry. Whether it’s an article about ‘eating smoke/haze/steam’ (above) – a Japanese expression, or the short, sharp inserts of dreamlike fiction that break up features, Sarah de Mavaleix, Sofia Nebiolo and Haydée Touitou have ensured that their magazine cannot be neatly boxed up or labelled as just one thing. For example: each issue’s layout is ‘determined by the date of completion’; instead of a list, the table of contents is a timeline.
Editors-in-chief: Sofia Nebiolo and Haydeé Touitou
Art director: Sarah de Mavalfix
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