Friday, February 5, 2010

Back Issues: T, The New York Times Style Magazine, Spring 2008

Most of the magazines I find in random places throughout my mother's house are from several years ago. Since I could only transport a few back with me, issues from my time in New York are rare. So it was with some shock that I stumbled upon my Spring 2008 copy of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

Mere weeks out from the Bear Stearns collapse and a spring and summer away from the eventual crumbling of large pieces of our economic system, there is something of the abandon of the earlier part of that first decade of this new century all over the magazine. In the clothes featured. In the lavish ads. Many, from Vera Wang to Bottega Veneta to Weatherproof, featured a second page with only the name of the brand. No product. Just letters floating in empty space. Elephants appeared prominently in both a Hermès ad with Lakshmi Menon and a fashion spread with Jessica Stam. Models leapt in Malandrino. Ralph Lauren commanded a four page spread at the front of the book. A short story shared the price per pound of a group of six dresses. The Roberto Cavalli, a mere wisp of a thing at 3.25 ounces, tipped the proverbial scale at $20,554 per pound. There was little talk of frugality, a topic that one will now find in every issue of every magazine.

But for all of its symbolism, this issue was saved only by my forgetfulness. I either bought the paper especially for this magazine while home on a trip or brought it along for New York to Boston bus reading before forgetting to place it in my bag before my return. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have kept it. Somewhat flimsier and less weighty than its counterparts, T's often lost their covers and with that found themselves out with the recycling.

Despite the fragility of the cover, upon rereading I found the weight one usually finds in the physicality of the magazine transferred to the writing. It supplied an element I often find lacking in its counterparts. Cathy Horyn took an in depth look at the inner workings of Comme des Garçons. Daphne Merkin compared heels that you wear and heels that you date without making me instantly think of the frivolity embodied by one Carrie Bradshaw.

Unlike the other issues in this series, where the reason for their rescue resulted from a long ago emotional reaction to images, this one was saved because of its words and its history.

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