Saturday, 22 September 2012

(The) Fantastic Man (and The) Gentle Woman ...

Fantastic Man is a semi-annual men's fashion magazine which was launched in 2005. It presents men's fashion by detailed interviews with male celebrities and intellectuals from many different backgrounds.
The featured personalities included Ewan McGregor, Tom Ford, Rupert Everett, Malcolm McLaren, Helmut Lang, Bret Easton Ellis and Pierre Cardin. Contributors include photographers Juergen Teller, Bruce Weber, Wolfgang Tillmans, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
The magazine has been lauded for its art direction, winning the British D&AD award for Best Magazine & Newspaper Design in 2008 and is also known for the quality of its writing and its arch, sometimes ironic, editorial voice. Aaron Britt, in a review of men's fashion magazines for the San Francisco Chronicle, praised it as "...the best fashion mag out there ... Fashion-forward, clever, deeply engaged with the fashion world, ... Fantastic Man is better designed, better photographed and rafts more stylish than the competition. If you buy only one men's fashion magazine, it should be this one."
It is published in Amsterdam by Top Publishers, which also publishes BUTT Magazine. Fantastic Man launched a website with daily content in 2009 and a sister publication aimed at women, The Gentlewoman, in March 2010.

Dutch magazine celebrates menswear
By Ben Seidler
Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 in The New York Times

AMSTERDAM — In a set of neat new offices in the center of town, a gray, rectangular, cardboard box that once contained Chanel perfume is flattened and nailed to the wall for inspiration. The packaging hangs in the cell-sized room like an icon, worshipped for its straightforward design.

Beneath it, Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom study photos for Fantastic Man, the biannual menswear magazine they edit, now in its ninth issue.

The image on the laptop screen, like the room, like the magazine and like its founders, has a distinctly Dutch Protestant Puritanism about it - a sense of lush clarity rather than the ostentatious glamour found so often in fashion.

On the screen, a slender guy of 22 or so, hands in the pockets of his sleek, black, collarless Balenciaga suit, stands against a Cubist-inspired backdrop. Jonkers and van Bennekom question whether the man, a bartender from London, is too "model-y" - and decide the pose should be less "fabulous" to make it more Fantastic Man.

It's a common deliberation at a magazine that aims to "explore fashion ideas on guys who are not models," says van Bennekom, 40. Personalities are supposed to show through the clothes in his magazine, rather than the "absence of presence" found in a lot of fashion editorial.

"We were interested in how people were wearing the latest collections, rather than the latest collections themselves," van Bennekom explained. And the description covers his readers too, the mainly urban 30- and 40-somethings who can afford fashion and like reading about clothes and design in relation to their lives.

"I'm very much against glorifying youth in the media," van Bennekom said. "I'd like to see men I can relate to."

Fans say Fantastic Man marks a watershed moment in the menswear industry: The long shadow cast by women's wear is gradually receding, and menswear brands are developing strong identities of their own.

Stefano Pilati, creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, has been quoted as saying Fantastic Man is "one of the first male magazines that I really considered male."

And Lucas Ossendrijver, Lanvin's menswear designer, said in an e-mail interview: "Fantastic Man found a different way of portraying fashion for men, which is not easy to achieve."

Jonkers and van Bennekom, the designer said, "have their unique way of elevating seemingly 'normal' people and situations to high fashion in a sense that is still easy to identify with; there is something human and accessible to it."

Since its inception in 2005, Jonkers, 37, a fashion writer for the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, and van Bennekom, a graphic designer who has worked with brands like American Apparel, have been developing the magazine's content and format. Each issue now sells about 48,000 copies worldwide, at €10, or about $13, each.

But the magazine's precise design, often dense with text and sparse on photography, has become something of a trademark - as has the noteworthy collection of men who have been models and interview subjects.

The roster includes Tom Ford; the artist Francesco Vezzoli; Simon de Pury, the well-known art dealer; the photographer David Bailey; Rem Koolhaas; Fergus Henderson, the London chef; and the filmmaker Gus Van Sant.

The 200-page issues, mostly in black and white, merge images and text into a series of essays, discussions that go beyond the wardrobe to matters as diverse as smoking, writing letters, the perfect steak and the ideal handshake.

Despite the economic downturn, the magazine has recently added advertising campaigns by Tom Ford, John Varvatos and Topman to its roster.

But Fantastic Man, van Bennekom maintains, is for readers, not advertisers. One product credit, for example, identifies a coat by the designer Adam Kimmel as "grand of stature but humble of fabric" - and no retail price.

The Gentlewoman is a fabulous biannual magazine for modern women of style and purpose. Featuring ambitious journalism and photography of the highest quality, the magazine celebrates inspirational, international women through its distinctive combination of glamour, personality and warmth. The Gentlewoman offers a fresh and intelligent perspective on fashion that is focused on personal style – the way women actually look, think and dress.

As of today, FANTASTIC MAN has a sister magazine called THE GENTLEWOMAN – the debut issue was presented yesterday at a joyous cocktail party in Paris. Designer Ms. PHOEBE PHILO from the house of CÉLINE is on the cover, shot by Mr. DAVID SIMS, and Ms. PENNY MARTIN is the editor in chief of the whole project. The magazine will be available at newsstands around the world in a week or two, if not sooner…in

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