Kimberly Fortier casts her wary eye over the Times’s revamped Style
Editorially, there was nothing wrong with the Sunday Times’s Style
magazine. The problem was commercial. Estee Lauder lipsticks and Alfa
Romeo sports cars long to be seen at their best - on glossy paper. So
the big news is paper quality, and being neither a Canadian timber baron
nor Sting, I’m easy on this. I’m more sceptical about the editorial
The magazine moves from young hip fashion to comfy middle-aged gardening
then back to youth with fitness. As the last smoking, drinking living
Californian, I can think of no bigger yawn than 23 extra pages of health
and beauty. Style spends several of these teaching me how to swim. I
know how to swim. It’s a gentle upward dog paddle which keeps my make-up
and hairdo intact.
I was also particularly intrigued by an outbreak of art-directoritis in
the shape of a big hairy comb - an epic David Lean of a big hairy comb.
New columns have mixed success. Chrissy Iley is channelled in to a
column suited to her type of journalism: Never trust ... But Who Do They
Think They Are? bears a resemblance to the Saturday Telegraph’s Social
Stereotypes - and the Help! column by a Mrs Mills (fictitious?) is a
pale imitation of the Spectator’s flesh and blood Mary Killen.
What remains excellent is the clever, social bitchiness of the old Style
magazine. Tara Palmer Tomkinson’s column is as roll-your-eyes as ever
and the section is a marvellous showcase for A. A. Gill. Can a man be
the Queen of Bitches? If so, Gill wears the crown. His recent review of
the Hempel Hotel is one of the great cruel/comic moments in history.