Media: The Sunday Times’s Style Section: An expert’s view

Kimberly Fortier casts her wary eye over the Times’s revamped Style magazine.

Kimberly Fortier casts her wary eye over the Times’s revamped Style

magazine.



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

changes.



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.

Snooze.



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.



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