Friday, April 30, 2010

The premier issue of Vintage Magazine ( has just recently debuted and I have to tell you about it because it's extraordinary! Editor-in-chief Ivy Baer Sherman was inspired to create Vintage when she went to a retrospective exhibit in 2003 on the magazine Flair, which had a very brief life (it was published for only one year, 1950-51) but was hugely influential. Flair's founder, Fleur Cowles, pushed the boundaries of design, color, photography, and even texture, and featured innovative articles on art, music, fashion, travel, food, and culture. Vintage aims to offer a similar mix of style and content, and with its flaps, folds, layout, diecuts, and various papers it truly is a "tactile" reading experience.

Some of the articles featured in this premier issue are "Jacketing Music" by Gary Giddins, "Mes Chers Parents!" (the adventures of a Smith College student abroad in the 1950s) by Judith Oksner, "The Recipe File" by Kristen Frederickson, "Barbie Complex" by Barbara Lippert, and "Trimalchio's Myserious Vintage," a look at Roman hospitality and conspicuous consumption as portrayed in literature's most notorious dinner party, Trimalchio's Feast, the largest surviving chapter in the novel Satyricon, written by Titus Petronius Niger, who was Nero's courtier and a poet and writer. The magazine is physically held together with a string-and-glue binding, which gives the impression of being hand-sewn (though surely this is done by machine?), and its $20 price tag is just one clue that this is an uncommon production.

I am especially impressed by Sherman's introductory note to readers on the magazine's website, in which she states, "The magazine itself offers a multi-textured foray through history and out into the present; I do hope you choose to participate. That said, I believe that the innovative, textured qualities of print have counterparts in the lush, multi-tiered, ever-evolving environment of the Web." There is so much room in the world for both a hugely satisfying magazine experience and an amazing Web experience. Kudos to Sherman for being one of the very few to say so.

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