The demise of Lucky

A couple months back, Lucky editor-in-chief Kim France was abruptly replaced by Brandon Holley, the EIC overseeing Jane magazine when Condé Nast finally pulled the plug on it in 2007. (I was glad to see Jane go; I never cottoned to it, despite its pedigree.)  I basically see this as the death knell for Lucky, which I think is borne out in the first non-France issue, which looks offputtingly generic.

One of the things I always loved about Lucky was the no-BS approach. It’s a magazine about shopping, leaning I think a bit more toward style than fashion. There were no puff pieces about celebrities. No overly earnest articles about the youth-seeking procedure of the moment. The presentation of editors at different levels as people of style, people worth knowing – was I think a far more appealing approach than the sort of headless woman advertorial favored by InStyle. Another thing I appreciated about Lucky – apart from Jean Godfrey June’s column and the typically well-styled, high-low mix of clothes – was the way that the editors’ passion for design came through. I found the What I Want Now section to be consistently pedigreed, drawing inspiration from stylish women of decades past, instead of the starlet du jour (see: Marie Claire).

Lucky took some shit for its prose style (one of my profs theorized that the mark of a prose stylist is how easily the work can be parodied. I think that’s an argument in defense of Lucky…). I remember once they ran some kind of online contest for fresh ways to describe shoes, which I thought was pretty funny. I mean, WTF. It’s a ladymag, not Harper’s. Give them a break.

This past week I was thrilled to see Kim France surface online at Slate. I hope she appears there frequently. Andrea Linnett also appeared on this new site, which resurrects the Lucky backpage. I’m so glad they’re online, visible again. I think this is a testament to how well their contributor-as-personality approach worked (I mean this in the sense of editors at multiple levels, not just at the top a la Andre Leon Talley). Domino did the same thing; I still miss the writers there. Cynthia Kling has done some work for Elle Décor, but it’s not the same. Of course Nick Olsen still blogs.

It sucks in a way to have to seek these great writers/eyes out piecemeal, when they were once all together in a single, fabulous place. But all good things must come to an end. Things rise, then fall. I feel like I learn this lesson again and again with beloved magazines, starting with Sassy. Is it any surprise that Kim France and Andrea Linnett started there? Or that Domino was an offshoot of Lucky?

And now I see that Tavi and Jane Pratt are starting a new magazine together. Cautious optimism. With a lot of skepticism.


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