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Nov 23rd 2003

The New Wave in Shopping: The Magalog

In the past there has been discussion about addressing car-related topics on I know that myself, and I’m sure others, have been anxiously anticipating these posts. But, alas, months have come and gone and still nothing.

While, I am hardly an expert on cars, I thought that I could contribute some variety to the blog by discussing something that is near and dear to virtually every woman’s heart, shopping.

Last month Lucky magazine was named Advertising Age’s Magazine of the Year. David Brooks recently discussed this new genre in the New York Times Editorials/Op-Ed.

Noting the tendency for magazines to cater to an elite crowd and feature fashions that never make it off the runway (well, okay, I concede-they also appear at the Academy Awards), Brooks praises this democratic magazine. Below are some excerpts:

“The hottest new magazine in the land is called Lucky.

Lucky’s success isn’t due only to its sensibility. The founders realized that they could do away with some of the things that clog up other magazines, like articles. There are almost no articles in the magazine. There’s no advice about relationships. No celebrity profiles. In fact there are almost no celebrities. The models are normal-looking women, and often are in fact Lucky magazine staff members.

Instead there is stuff. Lucky bills itself as “The Magazine About Shopping.” There are pages and pages filled with pictures of shoes, lipstick, perfume and handbags. It’s a hybrid between a magazine and a catalog: a magalog.

Some critics see the magalog’s success as a sign of the end of civilization. But Lucky succeeds because it applies an aggressively democratic sensibility to the world of fashion.

But in the world of Lucky, there is no beau monde. There is no fashion hierarchy. There are no authority figures, nor any social elite (that’s why there are no celebrities). There’s just the happiness of the local mall.

There aren’t even any trends. Anything can be cool if you want it to be. Moreover, the distinction between upscale and downscale is exploded. Lucky exhibits $500 pants side by side with stuff you could find at Wal-Mart. Lucky appeals to the modern sort of shopper whose consumption patterns don’t conform to her income level. She’ll shop at Dollar General for stuff she doesn’t care about and then rocket up and buy $400 boots at Neiman Marcus to feed her shoe fetish.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a rather important book on how, in America, the democratic personality supplants the aristocratic personality. The democrat smashes hierarchies. The democrat is interested in everyday happiness, not lofty excellence. The democrat simply does not acknowledge the existence of social class. Nobody is above me and nobody is below me. We are all equal, and we are all Lucky.”

For those of you whose curiousity is piqued go to:

Happy shopping.

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