In May of this year, Stylist, the hugely popular women’s commute magazine, took the daring and exciting step of publishing one of their weekly issues with an 89-year-old woman gracing the cover. The zoom was close, the finish crisp. Beneath her eyebrows-raised expression was printed the question: “So why are we so afraid of getting old?”
I plucked my copy off the recently vacated tube seat next to me as I was nearing Brixton, my stop, flapping its covers together to read later. It looked interesting – and a bold move on Stylist’s part. I then glanced at the pristine and wrinkle-free face of Chanel’s model on the back cover, peering up at me with a half-smile, as if shrugging and saying, “You can’t get too far from Photoshop and 20 year olds!”
I pondered over this strange cover battle all day. Stylist lay on my desk all day as I rushed back and forth from my desk. I left it front cover up, Domenica’s wrinkled visage attracted no light-fingers such as magazines normally find in my office. When I turned it over to let Chanel breathe a little, it took only a few minutes for a passing female to pick it up and start flipping through it.
From seeing Domenica for the first time, it took 5 highly retouched advertisement photos (not including editorial pictures) before you then saw a woman (Julianna Margulies, promoting -what else? – an-age fighting face cream) looking remotely over 40 years old. It then took another 9 retouched photos to reach the article about ageing (after which we were encouraged to visit Age UK to help out the elderly) and saw one large photo of an elderly woman similar in size to the adverts. Another 3 retouched images, and we reach Chanel. Three to the power of 18. Can we answer the question yet?
Well done, Stylist, I can’t think off the top of my head of any magazine who has displayed wrinkles on its front cover this year. However, you’ve asked a question that I fear you’ve helped to answer with the majority of your pages every week. May your first adventurous step not be your last.
More: read the entire issue from May 2012 here