An ode to touch
The Skirt Chronicles is an endearingly whimsical fashion magazine. There are two women hugging on the front cover of Volume VII; a kind of ode to non-essential touching. The issue was made out of “zoom calls, and spilled tears”, editors Sarah de Mavaleix, Sofia Nebiolo and Haydée Touitou write in their opening letter.
Inside, there’s the usual mix of poetry, short stories, interviews and fashion photography. One of my favourite pieces is a feature on the photographer Tina Barney, whose portraits of fractured American family life appear particularly moving now, in the midst of yet another lockdown. In one photograph, hundreds of plates sit expectantly on tables, waiting to be served to an unseen crowd.
Sarah, Sofia and Haydée talked me through the new issue via email.
The magazine opens mysteriously. “Two s’s are better than one… We all know where we’ve been: in a desert full of desserts”. Why did you want to open the magazine like that?
We always enjoy inserting one or two inside jokes here and there. They might create an element of mystery but we don’t do it just for the sake of being mysterious, they always mean something to us. In this very precise case, it had something to do with a pun around desert and desserts. A way of reflecting upon the first lockdown which was still the only lockdown at the time we were writing this text.
I like the way the first fashion shoot is laid out, with credits at the back like the shoot itself is a short film. Was it your intention to elevate fashion to the status of art?
Art might be a strong word but we definitely intend to show fashion in a new light. Perhaps in the ‘noblest’ way, with a very specific attention to the brands and houses we’re working with. We feel the same about the photographers we work with. It’s very important for us to value them; some photographers are present in this magazine and have been with us since the first volume. Also, the choice to have the credits at the end is a way of protecting the integrity of the image, and it allows us to print it as a full page.
You have four covers for this issue. Can you tell me why?
It was the first time we’ve done that, we always have one cover. But after all we’ve been through this last year, it was too tempting to celebrate our contributors and readers with not one, not two, not three (our lucky number) but four of them, the fab four! More seriously, we really admire those four photographers —- Tim Elkaïm, Gillian Garcia, Theo Wenner and Alexandre Guirkinger — and it was an honour to have so many covers, each very different but still complementary.
You interview Miró’s grandson, Joan Punyet Miró. I like how eclectic your interviewees are. How do you choose them?
In this particular case, it was Karl Henkell, editor in chief of Record Magazine and friend of ours (we actually met at the Stack Awards in 2018!), who came up with this idea and we loved it instantly. Just like with the rest of our content, our main priority is to ensure that it remains relevant even if you pick up a copy of The Skirt Chronicles in a few years.