Magazine of the Week

Welcome back, everyone!

In honor of Women’s History Month, this week’s title is Bust. This title was founded in 1993. It is published in Brooklyn, 6x/year, by editors Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel. It’s a “women’s magazine”, but not based in the fashion industry. Their focus is interviews with smart, influential women from culture at large. It includes a lot of celebrity/film/music industry interviews and coverage, but alongside that are news items, art scene coverage, discussion of environmental and social issues, craft as play, makeup use, medical updates, and political news. The content is delivered with a cheeky, self-aware sense of humor, and less of a condescending sales pitch than mainstream fashion magazines.



Stoller, Henzel, and Marcelle Karp met in the 1990s while working at the Nickeleon network. Their goal was “to start a magazine that would be a real alternative to Vogue, Cosmo, Mademoiselle, and Glamour, something that was as fierce and as funny and as pro-female as the women we knew.” The team started out by writing the content and copying the pages by hand and carrying them to local stores to sell. Gradually they figured out inexpensive ways to put up a big website and tablet-formatted versions.





Their DIY aesthetic has helped them remain in business. They finally got the nerve to sell the company to a bigger publishing studio in 2000, in order to earn money for themselves and improve Bust’s production values. But the company folded in the financial crash after September 11, 2001. They bought the company back and continued publishing the magazine themselves.







They try to put game-changing women on their covers, which have included women like Hillary Clinton, Tina Fey, Amanda Stenberg, Amy Shumer, Solange, and Mindy Kaling. Because the title doesn’t quite sustain itself, the organization also hosts craft fairs 2x/year in the NYC area. These feature lots of women-owned businesses and artists.


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Got any new books?

The New Books Shelf on the 5th floor of the FIT Library


Why yes, yes we do. I’m glad you asked that. I just wandered out to our New Books display on the 5th floor and thought I’d show you some cool new things! Come be inspired!




Beth and Matthew at the RIS Desk with Stitch, the FIT mascot






The other day our friend Stitch came through the library. We managed to catch him for a Research Desk photo op.

He wandered over the the New Books shelf, so we thought we would too. We try to buy books relevant to most FIT majors, so our new books are pretty fun and different.




There’s been a resurgence of interest in print design lately. Here’s a cool new history of the fine work of American graphic designers around the middle of the 20th century.

This book depicts the work of designers who came from Europe with Bauhaus ideals and updated American visual life for the next 30 years. It gives a brief history of their work as well as that of the American designers who worked with them and learned from them.



It’s funny that this stuff is supposed to look sleek and futuristic, but since I grew up with it, it feels retro and old fashioned. Still, it’s the most distinctive new look to evolve from the 20th century and the people who made it were passionate about their work.

Brochure covers and advertisements by Matthew Leibowitz, 1946-49


Magazine and book covers by George Giusti, 1957-62



I also really like this book on photography called Bystander.

It’s a history of street photography, so it’s got photos of New York City and other cities all over the world from the 1800s through the 20th century and a bit of commentary on the 21st century.

Take a look at the book yourself to see how many places in it you recognize.







I find images of what familiar neighborhoods looked like dozens of years ago especially fascinating. This book includes a group of pics of the Lower East Side, where I lived in the late 1980s.

There’s another cool image of Fifth Avenue in the snow from 1893. This image above left is from France in 1945.

This casual form of photography doubtless influenced magazine photography dramatically.



Another cool looking book on the rack is this scholarly one about dress and identity in South Asia and the people who emigrated away from there. We have a terrific collection of books and magazines that address fashion, customs, and identity.


FIT is a center of Fashion Studies, between all the terrific faculty working in the field, and the Graduate Studies program training new scholars and curators and conservators.








We have a DVD collection, too. Some of the titles serve our Film Studies minor, others are for their importance in the fashion world, and still others support other classes here. That means we have lots of documentaries, like this one here.





The last book I pulled down to take a look at is this pretty book about a tapestry weaving workshop in Australia. Tapestries are an ancient form of home decoration, and we have a lot of books on the subject since we specialize heavily in textile history. But this book highlights recent tapestries as art, and the people who made them.




There are some wonderful images of the weavers working on these large fabric hangings. They are difficult to manage because of the scale of the work. There are manuscript illuminations showing weavers working on them. It’s cool to see the current weaving team working in almost the same way.

Have a good weekend!

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Magazine of the Week

Welcome back, everyone!

Encens is published 2x/year in Paris by photographer Sybille Walter and fashion designer Samuel Drira. The title is super glossy and has very little, but very high end advertising. The editors focus on the visual properties of fashion, particularly exquisite photography.



Walter’s art direction embraces the current minimalism with a twist of richer color and texture, and a global point of view. Her layouts present the clothes clearly and lovingly, as art objects for the body. These alternate with interviews of designers and other fashion world insiders. The text is tiny, elegant, and bilingual, in French and English. Her hope, expressed in the editorial of the above issue, that it reflects the “atmosphere of a parallel world.”






Encens is probably our most elusive title, in that there has been nearly no online commentary about it that I could find. The word “encens” is French for an incense or perfume used in a religious context.

Come take a look!






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