Live Blog: Reading September’s Vogue

Here goes nothing something, we hope. We’ve never live
blogged before, and to our knowledge, no one else has live blogged a
magazine before. There may be a reason for that. Guess we’ll find out!
We should mention that we have not even opened the September issue of Vogue
until now, nor have we read other blogs’ takes on the issue. We have no
idea what to expect and only the most optimistic of hopes that we’ll be
done before Conan O’Brien starts.


8:04 p.m.: Sienna’s eyebrows are the exact same thickness as Gwyneth’s are on the cover of W.  Guess we’re all supposed to break out the eyebrow pencil this fall.

8:05 p.m.: The cover says the issue is

Extra-extra large!  Our biggest issue ever

Which really means more ads than ever before.  Less to read, more for Vogue to tout!  Great!  Okay, enough with the cover…now we’re actually going to open the magazine.

8:08 p.m.: Serious lust for the Gucci jacket and gloves in the ad about a dozen pages in.

8:10 p.m.: Next
ad spread is Hilary Rhoda for Estee Lauder.  Is she the one who kicked
off the thick brow craze?  Confidential to Sienna:  Hilary’s look good
because they’re natural.  And next, more of the Yves Saint Laurent
ads with Gisele.  Love the right-hand page shot of Gisele from the
waist down…we would hang that on the wall, poster-size.

8:12 p.m.: Cavalcade of celebs!  Kate Winslet for Tresor, six pages of Angelina Jolie for St. John, Halle Berry for Revlon.

8:13 p.m.: Four Prada pages with strange black plastic-looking…things.  We don’t get it.  Someone explain?

8:15 p.m.: We’ve arrived at the table of contents, page 54.

8:19 p.m.: So if Kate Moss looks like Grover from Sesame Street
in that fluffy electric blue Versace coat, how will any mere mortals
wear the thing?  We like the strapless dress with the opaque black
tights, though.  Yes, we’re in the middle of another 50 pages of ads
and still haven’t hit the rest of the table of contents.

8:22 p.m.:
Jordache is advertising?  Really?  Also, after three kids in short
succession, if Heidi Klum’s actual body looks remotely like it does in
this ad (besides the Barbie-like lack of nipple), we were gypped in the
genetic lottery.  Sigh.  When does Project Runway come back?

8:26 p.m.:
Look!  More contents!  Page 96.  Do you read the table of contents
except to find a specific  article?  We usually don’t bother lest the
descriptions actually convince us not to read something.  Like the
article by Plum Sykes in this issue, which we’ll totally read because
we hate her, but listen to the way it’s listed here:

Plum Sykes tackles brooches big and small in search of one that sticks

We’re turned off for reasons that have nothing to do with our rampant
dislike of Plum.  (Note to self:  Find out if that is, in fact, her
real first name.)

8:31 p.m.: The
power in our apartment just went out for no apparent reason.  We had to
stop blogging to play with circuit breakers!  At least something
happened…we were starting to get bored by the endless ads–Calvin
Klein, Michael Kors, Bulova.  Blah.

8:38 p.m.: Soooo
many ads.  Still.  The same Molly Sims Cover Girl ad we’ve been seeing
for months.  Valentino’s Rock ’n Rose–a model covering her breasts
with flower petals!  How very cutting-edge.  We’re just flipping
through now in an apparently vain search for content.

8:41 p.m.:  Hey,
look!  More contents on page 146!  According to "Cover Look," Sienna is
wearing a cream ostrich-plume dress by Marchesa.  Would you believe we
were so captivated by her brows that we didn’t even notice the
feathers?  Clearly, our powers of observation need some work.

8:44 p.m.: Dillard’s bought eight pages of ads and the only notable thing about them is the dog.  Cute pup!

8:46 p.m.: Okay,
this Taryn Rose ad?  New heights of ridiculousness.  The model is
wearing a short, low-cut dress with a fur stole and leopard-print
heels.  Not so weird…except that she’s apparently standing outside
a medieval cottage with a wooden door pruning her garden.  (No, that’s
not a metaphor–she’s holding a pair of clippers in one pink rubber
glove-clad hand and a long-stemmed bud in the other.)  Also?  Not a
single flower on any of the plants in the photo.  Ads that make no
sense make us wince.  We’re idealists.

8:50 p.m.: Guess what?  More ads for crap we can’t afford!

8:51 p.m.: Teri
Hatcher in lingerie for Badgley Mischka.  The good: There’s actually a
tiny crease in the flesh of her bare stomach, as if she’s at a normal
body weight.  (Ha!)  The bad:  Her face looks more youthful than when
she was on Lois and Clark.

8:55 p.m.:
Another page of contents, though we’re pretty sure by now this issue
contains nothing but more tables of contents and ads.  Lots and lots of

8:57 p.m.: An ad
for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Covet.  Just go away already.  We are not
interested in a perfume that will supposedly compel us to COMMIT A
CRIME and break a window in order to snatch the basketball-sized bottle
of chartreuse liquid.  Still better than the TV commercials for the
stuff, though.

9:01 p.m.: Christy Turlington!  A supermodel!  How very novel.

9:02 p.m.: Hey,
Gap, we see Selma Blair and Lucy Liu featured in your current
campaign.  They’re lovely people, we’re sure, but is that the best
you can do?  If you were trying to land hip and relevant actresses for
your ads, you’re a few years behind with those two.  Also, why did you
destroy any charm Sarah Silverman might have had?  She looks like a
malformed emo Annie Hall in this picture!

9:05 p.m.:
Editor’s letter, page 208…interrupted by fifteen more pages of ads.
Sorry, Anna, what were you saying?  Making the September issue is like
making a movie?

9:08 p.m.: We
spoke too soon–twenty more pages of ads, including a repeat of an ad
for  How many times will that one pop up, we wonder?

9:13 p.m.: Anna
Wintour says that Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the designers
behind Proenza Schouler, “live a very downtown and bohemian life.” So $375 tanks are what pass for “bohemian” in Wintour’s world.  Yikes.   

9:13 p.m.:
Sienna Miller looks far better in the ads for Tod’s than she does on
the cover.  Dare we say, with these photos, we almost understand the

9:15 p.m.: Tony Blair is on the cover of Men’s Vogue.
So if you want to appear on a magazine cover, you only have to be young
and good-looking if you’re a woman!  Sure, Blair’s got plenty to talk
about…but so does, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and we don’t expect to
see her on a fashion mag any time soon.  Or ever, really.

9:22 p.m.: Ad
for Ports 1961. “Otherworldly” is the kindest way we can describe
this look.  A sad contrast to the Lily Cole for Bloomingdale’s spread
immediately preceding this.

9:25 p.m.: Stretch!

9:25 p.m.: Ad for Le Mystere No. 9, the bra for women with breast implants.  No, really.

9:27 p.m.: Six pages promoting fur!  Hope Anna Wintour’s prepared to get another cream pie in the face
at the Paris shows this fall.  The ad calls fur “the natural,
responsible choice”–natural, sure, but responsible?  How’s that?  Is
the use of fur somehow keeping the tragic overpopulation of minks in

9:39 p.m.: Time for “Life with Andre”!

9:44 p.m.: We
aren’t the most fashion-savvy person by any means, but we still hate
when we’re confused by Talley’s fashion references.  He’s like the
couture version of Dennis Miller.  Like this:

on the thirty-seventh floor, what her corduroy coat was to her elegant
Schiaparelli side, the fire-engine maxi, worn over a bird-of-paradise
black evening column and accessorized with a black leather visor right
out of The Wild One with Marlon Brando, shows her fresh Claire McCardell side.

We’re guessing he doesn’t subscribe to the belief that high fashion should be accessible to everyone.

9:51 p.m.:  Um, our power just went off again.  Not fun this time!

9:52 p.m.: A Valentino ad between pages of “Life with Andre.”  The slicked-back hair and red lips are very 80′s Robert Palmer video.

9:57 p.m.: Okay,
shameful confession time.  We started to read “The Gift,” an article
about Nabokov, but then we looked at the clock and realized we’d never
finish it before The Hills begins.  Some priorities we have.

10:01 p.m.:
Audrina’s going out with that freak JustinBobby again?  Nabokov can
wait.  Yes, we are filled with an appropriate amount of self-loathing.

10:05 p.m.: Gwen
Stefani looks hot in the ad for L.A.M.B. perfume, even if the stuff
does smell an awful lot like Clinique’s Happy.  Bonus points for
affixing the ad and sample with an adhesive strip so it’s easy to

10:07 p.m.: The
ad for Payless shoes includes the word “bootine.”  Please, please tell
us that is not a real word.  We’re making a stand right now—we will
fight to prevent that word from entering the vernacular.  “Bootine”?
That’s just stupid.  Even “bootlet” would be way better, assuming we
need to start inventing words for every possible permutation of shoe.
Which we don’t.

10:11 p.m.: Note on The Hills:  We are so, so glad we are no longer 21 and single in L.A.  We wouldn’t go back if you paid us in free magazines for life.

10:12 p.m.:
According to their ad, Lord & Taylor sells the perfect clothes for
playing croquet on the lawn of your mansion with kids dressed in
breastplates and doublets.  Great!  We were looking for exactly the
right outfit for our next event!

10:17 p.m.:
We’re pretty sure we’ll never actually wear teal, yellow, and purple
together, but that Kate Spade ad makes the color combo look
incredible.  We want those red knee socks something bad.

10:23 p.m.:
Another reason we can’t abide Plum Sykes.  On the “Contributors” page,
she says she’s most looking forward to the onset of fall because she
plans on 

“Getting Michael Kors’s uberchic little black minisuit and wearing it to lunch as soon as Labor Day is over”

she the only person on earth still adhering to the rules about which
colors you can wear in which months?  Or at least the youngest person
alive who won’t wear black in the summer?

10:29 p.m.: Rebecca Romijn’s face looks like a doll’s in the ad for Bebe, and not in a good way.

10:33 p.m.: Best part of the “Letters from Readers” about the Keira Knightley-and-elephant photo shoot from June?  This sentence:

Twelve of us, plus
guide, braved the elements to camp in the Kalahari and Moremi Game
Reserves, often besieged by hyenas, elephants, and rampaging hippos—not
to mention a killer lion or two.

Wait, these people were trekking in the wild, and the animals were besieging them?  Come on!

10:45 p.m.: Taking a quick break, be right back.

11:15 p.m.:  We’ve returned.  Checking out “The Magic Touch.”

11:29 p.m.:
Still strangely fascinated by “The Magic Touch,” chronicling a woman’s
journey to India where she performs therapeutic massage on leprosy

11:31 p.m.:  Did
we say Sienna Miller’s brows were thick?  They’re nothing compared to
the model in the Vera Wang ad.  Wow…just…wow.  We have no words.

11:36 p.m.: Just
finished the story.  Guess how it ends?  Surprise!  The Western woman
goes to help the needy, but they end up helping her change!  Oops,
sorry for the spoiler!  Also, there’s this:

I could face almost anything—even India’s crazed rickshaw drivers, waiting just beyond the village gates.

That’s the worst thing she has to face?  Rickshaw drivers are the terrible fate she’s been dealt?

11:43 p.m.:
Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley in “Talking Fashion.”  Considering the rest
of page 422 features the usual suspects—Katie Holmes, Kirsten Dunst,
Cate Blanchett—this is a good thing, even if Jenny’s minidress is

11:47 p.m.:
William Norwich attends a party thrown by Jessica Seinfeld.  This can’t
possibly be interesting or relevant.  On to the next story!

11:49 p.m.:  So
we skip the gratuitous society party story, and what do we get?  An
endless ad for Juicy and the same ad we’ve already seen
twice!  It’s like the magazine knew we were skipping something and
decided to punish us for it!

11:51 p.m.:
More Vera Wang ad pages, these ones dedicated to her line for Kohl’s.
We’re pleased to report that these pics feature utterly normal
eyebrows, meaning Wang has her finger firmly on the pulse
of…well…wherever there are Kohl’s stores.  (Though we doubt the
ultra-thick eyebrows are going to fly anywhere outside of fashion

11:54 p.m.: Stephanie Seymour! 

12:12 a.m.: Oh, the folly of this description!

Your more simplified life is in your hands.  YSL bag, $1,895.

it’s a great-looking bag, but how would it simplify our lives?  By
depleting every single red cent from our bank account.  Life would be rather simple if we owned nothing but a fabulous bag!

12:17 a.m.:
This may be attributable to the fact that it’s late, but we just cannot
stay focused on an article about “the fear of chic.”  (That would be
“Dare to Wear” on page 461.)  Our lack of interest may also be due to
the fact that it’s a fundamentally ridiculous idea.

12:22 a.m.:  From “The Sloppy Syndrome”:

Writer Anne
Stringfield, who often attends events in Zac Posen, Dolce &
Gabbana, and Giambattista Valli, has been known to toss a cardigan or a
jean jacket over her dresses, or wear her glasses to “kind of
undermine” the look.

wear glasses everyday.  And often, cardigans, since the air
conditioning in our office is set at a temperature that could keep
dairy products fresh.  Guess we’re undermining our own look completely
unintentionally!  Reading Vogue is always such an eye-opening experience.  What insight will it bring us next?  Ooh, nail-biter!

12:29 a.m.: Is it completely immature that this made us laugh out loud?  From “Sweet Reverie” on page 486:

dreamed of a pair of gold earrings with hot-pink rubies and yellow
sapphires,” she [jewelry designer SatBir Kaur Khalsa] says.  “I’ve
never woken up in the middle of the night with such passion.”

12:31 a.m.:  We are going to have nightmares about the Lanvin ad (similar to these)–if we ever finish reading this damn magazine and get to sleep, that is.

12:34 a.m.:  You
know how lingerie ads usually feature women lounging around their homes
in a matching, ornate bra and panty?  Well, La Perla’s ad has a woman
lounging around her DECREPIT WOODEN ROWBOAT in an intricate set.  At
last, a realistic depiction of how we women wear our fancy lingerie!

12:39 a.m.:  Article about Rainer Werner Fassbinder.  We have no idea.

12:41 a.m.: From “Ask Mrs. Exeter”:

First Nan Kempner and
then Pat Buckley; our most fearless national exemplars of taste have
been disappearing at an alarming rate…

is funny, because this page is adjacent to an ad for Dockers; and sad,
because by “disappearing,” the author actually means these women have

12:44 a.m.: Dear Tumi, about those yellow bags featured in your ad?  Yes, please!  We’ll take one of each.

12:46 a.m.:  Back to Mrs. Exeter.  The question asks for advice for women of “a certain age,” and Mrs. Exeter replies:

I discussed your letter with some best-dressed arbiters over 30…

Is over 30 synonymous with “of a certain age”?  We know the fashion industry has a skewed view of aging, but that’s ridiculous.

12:50 a.m.:  No
one’s actually going to buy the fringed, feathery dresses in the Nina
Ricci ad, right?  Right?  We have a sneaking suspicion that someone’s
going to show up at the Emmys in the white one, which looks like an old
blanket that went through a shredder.

12:52 a.m.:  More Vera Wang.  How many collections does she have, anyway?  Average-size brows in this one, too.

12:54 a.m.:  And we thought we’d be done by now.  We have 300 pages to go.  Sob.

1:01 a.m.:  Andre Leon Talley’s tribute to Gianfranco Ferre was almost moderate…until this paragraph:

I spent many a night
with him in Milan, too, previewing his collections—a rare thing because
he was not prone to let people into his inner sanctum of design or his
private life.  We shared risotto meals in the best restaurants, along
with his favorite cousin and former public-relations director, Rita
Araghi.  And it was his generosity that often led to a madcap spree.
After his shows, he would allow the supermodels Naomi Campbell and
Linda Evangelista and his favorite editors, including yours truly, to
hitch a ride back to Paris on the corporate jet.

was expecting too much that Talley could get through an entire article
without a touch of self-aggrandizement, wasn’t it?  Sheesh.  Not even
the dead escape!

1:05 a.m.:  A
Dior promotion featuring “New York socialites and style mavens” Tinsley
Mortimer and Ferebee Bishop.  Oh, good, they needed more exposure.

1:28 a.m.: Plum Sykes, at last we meet again.

1:52 a.m.:  It’s
taking forever to get through this Plum Sykes thing.  Probably because
we’re exhausted and we keep having to go back and re-read, and also
because it won’t end.  This must be the world’s longest article ever
about, of all things, brooches.  Of course, it’s also about, of all
things, Plum Sykes. 

The trouble is, pin-wearing is alien to me; the last person I knew who wore them on a daily basis was my grandmother Madeleine.

Trouble indeed!  Why not take two and a half pages to figure out how to put a pin on a dress?

1:54 a.m.:  The exciting conclusion?  She successfully wears brooches in public.  Let the ticker-tape parade begin.

1:58 a.m.: And now an essay about gloves?  That’s it.  We refuse.

2:00 a.m.:  Handbags too?  And scarves?  Is anyone’s life really so settled that they have to work out their issues with accessories?

2:02 a.m.:
After all that navel-gazing about accessories (which, you know, we
didn’t even bother to read), we are thrilled to find a piece about
textile technology.  This may be the best article ever.

2:04 a.m.:  Six
hours in and hundreds of pages left to go, and we haven’t even read all
the articles.  We can’t decide if we hate ourselves or Vogue more.

2:14 a.m.:  Is
it bad that we’re finding YouTube more compelling than Vogue at this
point?  At least watching the thousandth spoof of “Chocolate Rain”
isn’t putting us to sleep.  Uh…textiles…right.

2:17 a.m.:
Forget fabrics.  We’re going to gaze upon these red T-straps by Ecco
for a few moments.  Where can we buy these shoes?!
Well, that worked out nicely for everyone, didn’t it?

2:20 a.m.:
We’re no longer sure what we meant by that comment three minutes ago.
We remember the shoes, though, even in our sleep-deprivation-induced
delerium.  Shoes pretty…Oooh…

2:22 a.m.:  The
model in the Jean Paul Gaultier ad is wearing four different plaids and
some sort of logo on her chin.  We’re pretty sure he doesn’t actually
intend for anyone to dress like this in public. 

2:25 a.m.:  We just skipped the movie reviews entirely.  But then, we usually do.

2:29 a.m.:
Yeah, we’re skipping a lot at this point.  Even when the issues aren’t
840 pages long, we normally reach a point in a magazine where we simply
lose interest and start flipping, even when we reach an article we’re
interested in.  We suspect it’s because we always read magazines from
front to back and never go directly to specific pieces we want to read.

2:31 a.m.:  Has anyone ever fallen asleep at the computer while blogging?  How’d that work out for you?

2:42 a.m.:
Flipped ahead a few more pages and voila!  Another piece written by
Plum Sykes, this time about a hairstylist’s “private Manhattan
atelier.”  Sounds swank.  We’re guessing Plum is going to have some
sort of struggle with her appearance, but she’ll eventually overcome it
after discussing it at length in minute detail.

2:53 a.m.:  All right.  We’re waving the white flag.  Uncle.  We surrender.  Vogue,
you win.  You are just too massive.  We’ve been overpowered by your
size.  We said we were going straight through to the end, but that will
only happen now if we can type and read with our forehead on the
keyboard and our eyes firmly shut.

For the record, we made
it to page 660.  It only took seven hours (less with breaks) and four
cans of Diet Dr. Pepper Berries and Cream.  Now, if you’ll excuse us,
we’re going to bed.  But don’t get too comfortable, Vogue—we’ll be back to finish the job.

19 thoughts on “Live Blog: Reading September’s Vogue

  1. You’re doing great! Alas, I’m an east coast girl and have to go to bed now.

    I used to think Tony Blair was the hotness (yes, my tastes verge on the quirky), but he fell from the fugly tree sometime in 2001.

  2. I don’t blame you for not getting through the whole thing in one night. It’s like sitting down to live blog the Bible. What you did is a great feat that’s never been done before. Applause!

  3. Let me go on record and say: blogging the Bible would be A LOT more interesting. (Come on! Lies, murder, adultery and payback? Dull, it’s not. Er… a lot of it isn’t, anyhow.)

    Oh, and the Plum thing? That was bugging me awhile back. (Did her posh parents actually name her *Plum* of all things? That’s odd, even by British Elite standards.) So I just HAD to look that up on wikipedia, and I discovered that she is indeed named Victoria… as in Victoria Plums and hence the nickname. Fascinating, right? I know.

  4. Ah! I stand corrected about Plum’s name.

    Hooray for slamming Andre’! Your description of his article was everything I thought it would be.

    Thanks for summarizing this month’s Vogue. You’ve saved us much time and energy. Now all’s I need to do is flip through the magazine to the Plum articles so I can refill my quiver of loathing for her.

  5. “Bootine”? Really? They couldn’t just use “bootie” like everyone else?

    Thanks for this marathon, by the way. My issue is still plastic-wrapped… and by the sound of it, it will stay that way. This post should also be “We Read It So You Don’t Have To”.

  6. I am choosing to believe that “Bootine” is a spelling error. It just can’t be real!

    Thanks for a great review!

  7. I thought her name really was Plum! And that explained (to me) how she came up with the name Ursula for her daughter? Anyways, I commend you-the live-blog was superb. uh must go to bed now.

  8. oh my gosh – kudos to you for getting in as far as you did. and i hear ya about living single in LA. i lived there from the time i was 22 to 25 and the dating pool is just sad. i’m so glad to be back on the east coast!! (why is the hills such compelling tv??)

  9. You guys are lame. I finished half of it in more than an hour, although it’s the half with the ads.
    And I really liked the Ports ads, although I didn’t expect it.
    And ‘the Magic Touch’ was so condescending and it seemed like she didn’t fully learn anything.

  10. Thanks for the comments (not to mention the Plum Sykes factoids), everyone. We really, really appreciate it! It’s been three days now and we still can’t bring ourselves to go back and finish the Plum Sykes article about the hair atelier…soon, we promise.

    Oh, and Paolo: We covered 660 pages in about 6 hours and 23 minutes (8:00 p.m. to 2:53 a.m., minus our break–noted on the blog–from 10:45 to 11:15 p.m.), which works out to over 100 pages an hour. If you can read faster while stopping every couple of minutes to write out and publish your thoughts, we’d love to read the results.

  11. “Bootine” is not okay. What the hell is wrong with “bootie”? Well, okay, now that I’ve written it out I see that there’s actually quite a bit wrong with it, but it’s still better than “bootine.”

    Thanks for taking one for the team. And by “the team” I mean me, because you’ve made me realize that I never want to read an issue of Vogue again.

  12. I took Vogue as reading material for recent camping, and have the say the most mind-numbing was the repetition of the same topic over and over again for articles on end. I get it – Anna wants me looking chic and tailored – can we move on please? With the issue feeling like 80% ads, you’d think there’d be a variety in the article content. Oy.

  13. It was so enjoyable meeting with you last night and talking. So I got up this morning to read about your momentous, LIVE blog! It was hilarious! Thanks for the laugh! ;)

  14. interesting post , very inspiring , dresses are presented in different styles as flower girl dress .
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