Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

Women can't do without their daily/weekly/monthly fix of fashion magazines, despite the fact that the skinny models and overpriced handbags plague them no end. This is common knowledge. Why do they buy? Because its like looking into another world, a world that eludes and fascinates them/ Publishers have taken advantage of this by churning out magazine one after the glossy other, to add to the obsessions of women. Two of the greatest fashion/couture magazines in the world today, have not only been around for decades, theyre a household name in many a woman's mind : Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.

Before I continue, let me elucidate. When I lived in Abu Dhabi, I couldnt afford either magazine, priced at over and above Dhs. 40-60. Thus, my criticism and compliments to the magazines lie in Vogue India, and Bazaar India, both priced at a fairly reasonable Rs 100.

Editorial Content: Bazaar India wins hands down. Bazaar India has done something that no other fashion magazine in India has done so far. Instead of inviting guest writers from the industry, they've made the editorial team the industry. Thus, every feature, every editorial, is written by someone who not only faces high fashion on a daily basis, but can also really understand the highs and lows of wearing couture. Vogue India, on the other hand, is severely lacking in terms of editorial content, focusing instead on expensive photo shoots of expensive products and clothing with short descriptions. How helpful. That aside, Vogue India seems hellbent on interviews/actresses/models from abroad. Case in point, I could just buy Vogue International if I wanted Michelle Obama on the cover, or if I wanted an interview of Katie Holmes.

Fashion Coverage: Grudgingly, this goes to Vogue, but a very small margin. Vogue takes pride in its fashion coverage; its glossy photos of truly bizarre fashion that no self-respecting working woman would ever wear. Or spend thousands of dollars/rupees on. Do I sound bitter? Yes, I am. Fashion coverage is good and all. What pinches is that very few readers can actually afford to buy the fashion you're covering.

Design and Art: I think the whole world knows of Vogue India's fiasco in terms of fashion shoots and art. Of all the possible creative ways to conduct a photo shoot, using beggars to accentuate the luxuriousness of Burberry is just cruel. Obviously, Vogue India didnt learn anything from the worldwide criticism: Their last edition has a feature of bikini-clad women prancing in front of burqa-clad women in the desert. Are you honestly saying there is no better way of portraying fashion? Bazaar, on the other hand, while playing it safe, doesnt break the boundaries of creativity. Their art is good, the look of the book is good, the design is good. But since when has good been good enough for the ruthless world of fashion?

Overall, in my opinion (note the my), Bazaar India wins hands down, in terms of "I would rather spend Rs100 a month on this magazine." While it doesnt dazzle me with its wowza, at least it doesnt make me angry like Vogue India does. I'd rather read a magazine strong in editorial content, than buy a magazine chock-full of Louis Vuitton and Burberry ads, which will just remind me that Im very very far from earning that kind of money.

On hindsight, however, I can think of better magazines/books to spend Rs100 or less on.
1) The Economist (the smartest magazine in the world)
2) Frontline
3) Outlook
4) Femina (yes, affordable fashion, and the magazine is only Rs30!)
5) Any Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie (yes, I know, I digress from the point of this blog, but such awesomeness I cannot ignore)

Note: Next on this debate: Why would women buy fashion magazines to feel not-so great about themselves, when they can buy an Agatha Christie, and think "Wowza! This was one scarily smart woman!" Yes, my next blog will most definately be a tribute to the great Mistress of Crime.

3 responses to "Clash of Couture : Vogue vs Bazaar"

  1. ello
    I know I usually end with this but I swear to god, my word today is RATHOING!!
    Ahaha.
    Anyway.
    I wish I could agree or disagree but I've never really read either one properly. What I can say, is that Vogue is far closer to expensive porn than Harper's and I'm sure that's somehow a good thing.
    Also. Missy. I will have you know, that a copy of the Economist is Rs. 200. So yea. I'd rather spend 15 bucks on bloody tehelka!
    Also. I most certainly look forward to your next post.
    Again, RATHOING!

    Harry

  2. You cant compare The Economist to Tehelka. So, you my darling, can spend your Rs15. I will read the smartest magazine in the world :)
    ps - i didnt have a word of the day :(

    Kyra

  3. Thank you thank you thank you for this blog post! While I am from America, I am frantically trying to get my hands on a Vogue India and Bazaar India every month. I absolutely notice the differences in which as well. You cannot be more on point, and I absolutely agree with you. Although Vogue India has some sort of quality that takes the average woman into a different world, sometimes that's kind of the point in most cases. However, I have to say that the editorial content in Vogue India is a treat for me to read-- they have this stylistic writing that is witty and just catches the eye. Because I felt like that about Vogue, I did not really like the type of writing in Bazaar because it wasn't as creative. But, you point out excellent details about the editorial team in Bazaar actually being apart of the fashion industry, and thus, giving the audience a different perspective on fashion-- a insider one.

    Anyways, this was wonderful to read! Bravo :)

    D

The All of us.

The All of us.