Lucky’s Charms

If you’ve ever doubted that journalistic hand-wringing over popular culture should be banned, consider New York Times media reporter Alex Kuczynski’s snarky May 8 preview of Lucky. That’s the new women’s magazine about shopping that looks like a catalog of fetish objects (which is pretty much what it is). Kuczynski’s coverage of the magazine business has never before been characterized by feminist sentiment or concerns about consumerism, so she must have had a conversion experience when she read the publication: “Have we sunk to a level of consumer obsession so craven and silly that women are expected to be fascinated by a centerfold featuring cosmetic sponges, faux alpaca powder puffs, and makeup wedges?” she demands to know. But now that Lucky is on newsstands, you can see for yourself how thoroughly Kuczynski misses the point. The magazine has none of the pretensions to seriousness affected by Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, the results of which always make the phrase “women’s journalism” sound like an oxymoron. Lucky eschews the earnest articles advancing pop-feminist causes that are usually no more than an excuse to profile attractive, well-dressed women. Lucky does not feel the need to tout the photogenic young author of the moment as evidence of its cultural heft. Lucky understands that what the fashion-magazine reader wants is pictures of stuff and nothing but stuff, along with prices, phone numbers, and Web sites–news a girl can use when in dire need of, say, that new green python-print Henri Bendel bag for $339. (Full disclosure: Culturebox is friendly with Lucky’s editor, Kim France, and has even solicited fashion tips from her. Some might say that gives her unique insight into Lucky’s charms, though I suppose that judgment would depend on how successful you thought France’s advice has been.)