I think I have a new favourite magazine - the beautiful Lula. Just look at some of these glorious page spreads from the latest issue (no. 8) which I have been happily browsing this afternoon:
Whilst I can see that its style may be a bit girly and whimsical for some tastes, I have to say that for me it is an utter treat to read a fashion-led magazine which isn't entirely focussed on persuading readers they desperately need to buy this week's "must have" item and should slavishly follow the latest celebrity trends. Even better, Lula includes a minimal number of advertisements, which are placed only at the start and end of the magazine, meaning that as a reader, you aren't constantly bombarded - or worse, left wondering what is genuine editorial and what is marketing copy.
As the ever-wise Hadley Freeman points out, "contrary to popular belief, fashion magazines aren't catalogues" and the great thing about Lula is it really doesn't feel like one. Rather than being primarily about shopping, Lula is really all about inspirations, ideas and aesthetics. OK so I'll admit there's a "sleb" or two in there but at least they're not the usual suspects - this is, after all, a magazine that eschews the apparently inevitable choice of Victoria Beckham as fashion icon du jour in favour of such alternative (and far more interesting) choices as Louise Bourgeois, Gertrude Stein, Diana Vreeland and Peggy Guggenheim amongst others. And there are some thoughtful, interesting articles as well as beautiful fashion shoots - because guess what? The two aren't mutually exclusive! This issue, for example, brings together a feature on Edie Beale, a life-size dolls house installation by artist Heather Benning, short fictions by Rupert Friend and Louise Cork, and an interview with the incomporable Luella, as well as a whole treasure trove of lovely images to enjoy.
The only thing I would say is that the typography can get a bit annoying: the distinctive Lula font designed by Becky Smith and Pedro Cid Proenca looks cute for titles but becomes a bit unreadable when used for larger blocks of body text. But that aside - what better way than to spend a lazy Saturday reading Lula, drinking tea and eating ginger biscuits?
I'm now feeling inspired by... boater hats; grossgrain ribbons; birds and butterflies; tea parties; hats with veils; paper cut-outs; 1940s hair; anti-minimalism; giant Alice in Wonderland bows; doodles; latter-day Victoriana; cup cakes and cocktails; plaits; ephemera; Dalmatians; seamed stockings; misty old photographs; layering; eye-popping rainbow brights; and wearing socks with peep-toe shoes. Lovely!