07 July 2010

I'm a Lula Girl

Lula and I have been acquainted for some time now – can it really be five years? A chance encounter – I don’t remember quite where and when we met – and I stumbled onto a magazine that would become a long-term relationship. And yes, I’m as head over heels as ever. Why? Lula does what I think the medium of magazines can do best – and also what is also most neglected. Storytelling.

There’s something about excitedly unwrapping the latest edition from its crisp paper bag and plunging into its pages that’s like a dip into nineteenth century France via Proust, a day trip to the deep South through Welty, a sunny siesta in the Mexican heat with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It pulls you into its unique fictional world, seduces you with its vivid sense of place, beguiles you with its wistful dreamy editorial sequences, its quirky earnestness, its girlish charm.

Lula has one of the strongest editorial visions I’ve ever encountered in a magazine, from its distinctive visuals to its simple Q&A interview format, to its childlike, niche choice of subject matter. Which I guess we can mostly put down to the vision of Canadian Editor Leith Clark. That’s why, I think, it inspires such a cult like following: “I’m a Lula girl”. There are book clubs devoted to Lula – which I think tells a lot about its strength of vision and creative draw.

It’s a strength of vision that’s often watered down by commercial demands – rightly or wrongly – in magazine land. Lula proves that editorial conviction and, let’s face it, serious quirk, can be not only marketable but inspire personal loyalty.

To be free to explore largely underground designers, to create fairytales for girly girls who love fashion, to see a singular vision made tangible through words and pictures and print - and to invite your friends along – is an editor’s dream.

Leith Clark recently turned that distinct vision to the world of retail, creating an exclusive and super charming pop-up shop at UK’s Harvey Nicks (shout out to Patsy Stone to introducing me to the UK department store). With a hand-picked selection including glitter Miu Miu heels, a Lover playsuit that it physically pains me not to own, as well as Rodarte bow-fronted dresses and A Bout de Souffle-inspired tees, it’s as lovely as you’d expect, and a fitting way to celebrate Lula’s fifth birthday.

Check out the Lula Loves Harvey Nicks pop up store online
Some amazing pics for those of us who can't visit in person over at Style Bubble
Check out Harvey Nicks FB photos of the launch dinner thing. Suitably awesome [top pic edited from this bunch].
Some other great pics here.

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