Obituary Magazine: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

(Via Jim Romenesko) Russ Smith suggests in an article in today’s Wall Street Journal ‘Grim Reader: Let’s Have Obituary Magazine’ that Conde Nast, Hearst and others stop obsessing about celebs and stock tips and consider his idea: Obituary magazine. “In 2003 alone, Obituary’s editors would have had so many stories that space alone would dictate the contents of a given week’s issue,” he says. “But the genius of this magazine would be a combination of sensationalism; thoughtful pieces on diseases like breast cancer, SARS and Alzheimer’s; 25th or 50th anniversaries of the deaths of famous people; and longer outtakes on famine in Third World countries.”

‘Prep Rally’

I don’t know why Ruth La Ferla (or Cynthia Rowley, for that matter) seem to be surprised that John Bartlett, the Harvard educated fashion designer, has now gone preppy. In the ‘Front Row’ column for Tuesday’s The New York Times (‘John Bartlett Goes Preppy’) Ms. La Ferla noted that the award winning designer who “made his mark on the runways by embracing marginal cultures and espousing styles like police-blue harness- strapped shirts and leather wife beater tops”, is now embracing the decidedly much more mainstream, straight laced, and conservative preppy look.

She recounted how, when Cynthia Rowley, a good friend of Bartlett’s, spotted him clad in jeans and “what passed for a Brooks Brothers shirt” at the recent CFDA Awards, it prompted her to inquire, “What on earth are you wearing?” Who says preppy and hip style (or chic) cannot live in peace and harmony? If you think about some of the world’s best dressed- and most chic- through the ages, many have relied on a certain classic, preppy-ness in both dress and grooming (Jacqueline Kennedy, Slim Keith, Babe Paley) for their all American look. And just recently, Ralph Rucci admitted that what gets his attention are not tricks and gimmicks, but the effortlessness of the white shirt and pearls (which can certainly be described as ‘preppy’).

Maybe it’s time to toss aside ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and dust off your copy of ‘The Official Preppy Handbook’ edited by Lisa Birnbach in 1980. Speaking of which, Lauren Weisberger, the lanky Cornell grad who was once Anna Wintour’s assistant, and penned the best selling book, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, was on hand at the newly reopened Borders in Lower Manhattan, for a book signing and reading. And no, she was not wearing Prada, but rather, a decidedly preppy Kelly green cotton golf shirt, faded jeans, and chic green thong sandals.

Though Lauren refuses to admit that her book is directly molded from her experiences at Vogue Magazine, the funny thing is that as she read out loud for the audience, the fictional “boss from hell” Miranda certainly sounded like Anna, complete with British accent.



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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