An Ode to The Gentlewoman
Welcome to my new monthly blog series, 'An Ode to...' where I will be shamelessly confessing my love as a proud fashion nerd to my favourite publications, whether that be books, magazines, journals, zines, look books, websites, or of course blogs, in an attempt to inform and inspire, but also just because I'm a gushing super-fan of far too many things and they need an outlet. Firstly I've decided to dedicate a post to The Gentlewoman magazine, and more importantly, Penny Martin, its Editor-in-Chief and founder. I first came across this wonderful publication whilst researching for a project during my fashion management course at Robert Gordon University,and after attending the PaisleyMake Design Festival a few weeks ago, I was inspired to delve deep yet again into the world of The Gentlewoman after an incredible talk by Penny Martin herself at Paisley Abbey.
The Gentlewoman began as a female equivalent (or more alternative) to Fantastic Man magazine, a chic bi-annual contemporary mens magazine, in 2009. The idea was to create an intelligent, editorial journal with wit, charm and affection, documenting the stories of brilliant women of purpose and strength: "The Gentlewoman celebrates modern women of style and purpose. Its fabulous biannual magazine offers a fresh and intelligent perspective on fashion that’s focused on personal style – the way women actually look, think and dress. Featuring ambitious journalism and photography of the highest quality, it showcases inspirational women through its distinctive combination of glamour, personality and warmth."
The main message Scottish-born Penny Martin wants to convey is non-conformity. Unlike traditional glossy fashion magazines, The Gentlewoman presents a new generation of modern women, who are not simply slaves to shoe shopping and obsessed with endless consumption. The reader in mind is intelligent and affectionate; she cares about personality over looks, and she wants a two-way conversation, not just inaccessible products being thrown at her from the pages. The magazine does this by presenting editorial portraiture on nearly every page, creating a dialogue and in-depth, under the covers view to classic celebrity culture. Independent contributor-ship and bold journalism creates the sort of conversations that happen between women when men aren't in the room; a truly authentic style of writing.
I adore the simple, minimalist magazine layout with lots of white space and bold text, the stunning black-and-white photography (often capturing beautiful candid moments and close-up details), and the humourous warmth of the evolved captions that emulate the style of vintage Vogue.
Overall, I think I just love the timelessness of The Gentlewoman. Its a classic coffee table read that transcends seasons and is genuinely a beautiful object in itself. As Penny said, paper and ink are luxury materials, so we must celebrate the world of print in our increasingly digital world.