The Perfect Magazine?
‘The Perfect Magazine’ defines perfection in the Latin sense, ‘perficere’: to accomplish, to finish. We’re told this in the editor’s note for issue zero. I think the idea is to signal that this publication — which is headed up by the legendary stylist and ex-editor-in-chief of Love magazine, Katie Grand — will not be touting perfection in the old-school-women’s-magazine sense of that word (perfect skin, perfect body etc.). Instead, the intention is to “take the format of the magazine and elevate it from disposable paper commodity to a desirable object that satisfies the senses fully”.
When it comes to telling you how forward-thinking it is as a magazine, I find Perfect slightly unconvincing. If you are looking for a publication that will unsettle gender and sexuality stereotypes, I’d pick a title like Jezga, or Buffalo. Perfect’s gestures towards inclusivity are less than groundbreaking, which makes me wonder whether there is a genuine commitment to reforming the fashion industry at play here, or whether the editorial team are just trying to tap into the zeitgeist.
Some of the interviews are not just worthy, but actively boring. Virgil Abloh, for example, is pictured dressing Gigi and Bella Hadid while talking at length about riding waves: “You can’t surf without the wave. You have to study the wave, you have to be in the water, you have to look at it and know when it’s going to break. You have to know if there are any other surfers who are going to take that exact same wave…”. Interminably, the surfing metaphor continues.
Where Perfect does realise its editorial intentions — to elevate the magazine from disposable paper commodity to something grander — is in its fashion shoots, which are luxuriously long and textural. In one 58-page feature shoot, entitled ‘Wow wow wow’, there are pages that are so fabulous, looking at them actually makes me sweat. In one spread, we see Kate Moss wearing spiked black nails and latex hood. In another, we see a woman’s body coloured blood red, her pubic hair spray-painted a livid, smurf-like blue.
More a coffee table book than a magazine, the heft and the bulk of this thing is deeply satisfying, and there are lovely extras. Like a Gucci vinyl slipped into a pouch on one page, and a silver pamphlet about Miu Miu models, that fashion obsessives will note is shot by Nikolai von Bismark (Kate Moss’s boyfriend) and starring Lila Grace Moss Hack (Kate Moss’s daughter). This is the magazine to tuck into when you are starved of glamour. When you are looking to delight your senses, but you don’t necessarily want to actually read.