Anyone with a true reverence for fashion has experienced, at one time or another, the feeling of colliding with a perfection too great to quantify. It’s the moment we stand back from a Lanvin gown, hands frozen at our sides, mouths agape. Do we touch the gown? Allow our fingers to run along the lustrous fibers only to be held hostage by a price tag we can’t afford? Such is how I feel every time a new issue of Purple hits the stands.
Some flout the publication for featuring A-list celebrities on its covers. Undoubtedly, there was an elegance about putting Chloe Sevigny on the cover before her influence had us growing out our eyebrows and discarding our proprietorial boot cut denim – a refined foresight that matched what was, and still is, the most exquisitely curated publication. Yet, even with Lindsay Lohan gracing the Spring/Summer 2010 cover, I still find myself humbly at the stands, impossibly excited to extract the magazine from its plastic sheath.
There is an intimacy within Purple’s pages, and the current issue is both an elegiac lament for the independent press, as well as a celebration of what is and can be done with print. Olivier Zahm, Editor in Chief since 2004, interviews Jefferson Hack, who founded Dazed & Confused in 1992 and Another Magazine in 2001 – the latter a publication that has rivaled Purple for nearly a decade.
Some years ago the small New-York based publication Tokion ran an article titled, “The Magazine As Art Form.” The piece included a conversation between the Editors of McSweeney’s, Purple, The Face, and Colors. Editors discussing the revolutionary possibilities of print mirrors those had by the best designers today – “an imaginative, determined personal vision (almost) always defeats the bottom line.”
Blogs are our universe now, and the conjunction of stunning design and palpable jollity is increasing. But what pleasure clothing offers – the smell of our love-worn Row t-shirts, the feeling of impossible lightness inside a perfect Lyell blouse, the flawless stitching that makes our favorite Earnest Sewn denim fit just right – so too do magazines provide a tactile reminder of design at its best.
Magazines may become more scarce, and beautiful garments will more often exist in our fantasies than in our closets. For now, Purple remains a minor investment; it is a collision well worth getting into.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.