Sunday, July 23, 2006

Newsstand Roundup: Manila Glossy Mags

As I mentioned before in my last entry, I seem to have gotten less catty with age. It's definitely not easy, especially right now in the Philippines where most of the nice stores work with "Asian sizing" (note: nothing larger than a US Size 10 for clothes) and beauty still equals youth (see how Filipinas fared in Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty here), but for the most part I'm a lot more patient and even-keeled about the whole situation.

That said, I still feel like sharpening my claws about the Pinoy fashion scene over here, and especially the way it has been covered in the local glossies. On the one hand, the local designers have been turning out a lot of breathtaking designs, and the scenesters are more diverse; on the other, however, we still haven't seen the democratization of fashion that Manolo has been talking about and us fashion bloggers have been yapping on in this space. Maybe it's because Manila's still taking a lot of cues from global mainstream fashion media, but I for one have a wish list of Things I Do Not Want To Read About Ever Again While I'm Still Here:

- Holding up favorite fashion-blogger targets such as Bai Ling, Mischa Barton, and Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig as fashion icons
- Leggings with skirts (also see: Miller, Sienna)
- Shorts as formal wear
- Male models with both bitchface and "butterface," as in "The body's good, but the face..." (in other words, Borgy - or should I say Borg-like - Manotoc)
- Being defined as "fashionable" just because you have the latest It Bag or designer shoes
- Telling us that size and money don't matter when it comes to personal style, then bombarding us with advertorials for expensive things that only skinny trophy wives can wear
- Whitening products in general (I just love it when the mags here praise self-tanner as the Next! In! Thing!)
- All references to the Belo Medical Group... not because I don't want to know who got plastic surgery from Vicki Belo, since I've stopped caring already, but because there's something fishy about how her patients are way too open with the press about their procedures. Hey, Doc, wouldn't you be wondering, too?

Now that I've got your attention, I really should start the nitpicking. The glossies I've chosen to pick on pertain squarely to fashion; for this reason, I've weeded out the Philippine editions of international magazines (like Cosmo and Marie Claire, both of which are just as annoying here as they are Stateside) and teen magazines as well. Because I have limited exposure to these glossies (read: I only get to them when I'm at the salon), I've also decided to base my impressions on a few back issues, so forgive me if some of these views are not as objective as they ought to be.

- The first magazine I bought when I arrived here was Mega, which I thought was fairly decent at first... until I started reading the articles. No offense, since the copy I have here was pretty old and purchased at a back-issue outlet but the grammar was just so stilted (on singer/icon Zsa Zsa Padilla: "She's got an impressive set of pipes on her, with lips to knock out even Jessica Rabbit..." I'm sorry, but - what?) that I couldn't help but take out my red pen and grammar-check the whole issue. Seriously, I am no grammar nazi - and I let a lot of other things ride grammatically over here - but if I read something like "Renown in her own right, [person]'s previous projects includes..." in my magazine, it grates on my nerves. (Dear editors: Yes, all of these blurbs came from one writer in particular. I'm just saying.) It's not a good impression to make on any reader, but especially if said reader usually reads Spirit Fingers to mock the very fashion victims... I mean, fashionistas that Mega's advertisers seem to be targeting. (Not for nothing does Bulgari and Louis Vuitton get a lot of coverage in here.) In short, nothing inspiring to look at here, let's just move right along...

- I only got to read one copy of Metro, the glossy mag for "independent women" produced by the owners of The Filipino Channel. I wanted to forgive them for featuring only TFC-related celebrities, especially since they did come up with some good fashion and beauty reviews. (Well, except for their insistence on skin whitening.) But how can I take a magazine for "independent women" seriously when the articles I remember the most were written by a gay male writer mostly about the fading club scene and how the good old days were so much better with all the drugs going around? Again, I'm just saying.

- Which leaves us with Preview, which has always been my favorite magazine ever since they came out ten years ago looking very much like Allure. It's still not perfect; there's too much emphasis on the "hipster" elements and how it's hard out here for a fashionista (which... well, again, I'm the kind of person that reads Gawker, and this is also the sort of thing Gawker likes to snark on) and the grammar makes my teeth hurt a little, but at least the beauty advice is sound (yay, bronzer!) and the articles are really interesting. I have their July issue right now, in fact, and as much as I don't always agree with them (see my list, above) I actually can see why they chose this particular group of women to be their Best Dressed for the year, all of which I can definitely picture as being edgy and modern without crossing over to annoying. I also think that their celebrity coverage is a lot more thoughtfully handled; even the most annoying starlets are featured in a way that isn't too fawning or condescending. Even luxury items such as resorts in the Maldives and expensive watches are presented in a sophisticated, but still readable, manner. All in all, an entertaining read.

Edited various times because I should be my own Grammar Nazi once in a while.

1 comment:

CT said...

Ever notice how Mega always has more advertorials than Preview? Check the publisher. ABS-CBN owns Mega, and I suppose it makes more sense if you can use the mag to promote your celebs.