To celebrate the start of London Fashion Week, we are looking at the best of Britain, and we’re not just talking about Burberry trenches or J W Anderson’s accessories! The Brits have plenty of storied institutions. Just look at the BBC, the monarchy, and, of course, the British press. In the U.K., print is not dead! In fact, some of the most beloved magazines have been around for hundreds of years. For many Brits, they are a true guilty pleasure.
This society magazine has been chronicling the lives (and lows) of aristos since 1709. The current editor in chief is Kate Reardon, but many a famous dame has topped the masthead, including Emma Soames, who happens to be Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, and Tina Brown, who would later make a splash in American editing Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Talk. And of course, there is the late fashion eccentric Isabella Blow, who was once the magazine’s fashion director. You can only imagine how outrageous the content was under this quirky crew. In the ’80s, Tatler was the go-to bible for all things Lady Diana, while the ’90s was about “Cool Britannia” and dissecting Mossy’s Possé (that’s Kate Moss and her squad). These days, many pages are devoted to the Middletons as well as the children of ’90s stars such as Kate Moss and Jude Law.
The Brits and especially the posh set are great at having a laugh at themselves and their lineage. Rather than hiding behind their birthrights, their country estates, and their ancestors’ more uptight ways, they put it all out there so we common folk can have a jolly good laugh at them! Recent headlines include “Kidnap! What to Say, Who to Call and How to Escape,” and “10 Rules for Wearing a Tiara,” because why not? Another amusing note: The word ghastly has officially been banned from Tatler’s vocabulary. Good God!
For a little more than a dollar, you get to know all the celebrity gossip and fashion in one weekly issue! The magazine’s fashion sections are the perfect mix of high and low for people with champagne taste but seltzer budgets. Recent Grazia headlines include “Is KStew Scientology’s new recruit?” and “Why is Emma Stone hiding her A-list Romance?” Grazia is the perfect read for an airplane ride to, say, Milan?You’ll quickly come away knowing all the season’s flats in all price ranges, which Caribbean getaway C- list celebrities are sunning themselves in, and the best retinol injections for you. Move over, Us Weekly.
This is the supplement to the Evening Standard, London’s beloved daily newspaper, which was founded in 1827 and is free these days. ES Magazine comes out every Friday and looks at all the best London has to offer for the weekend, from markets to bars to shops. In the “My London” section, celebrities are interviewed about their favorite places in the city. Dev Patel wants to give everyone free chicken wings from Londoner’s favorite fast food joint, Nandos, if he were made mayor for the day. Someone sack Sadiq Khan NOW!
This is Britain’s longest-running weekly magazine. Founded by Thomas Gibson Bowles in 1885, it is still privately owned by the same family. Gibson Bowles was the maternal grandfather of the legendary Mitford sisters. For those not up on their British history, The Lady is where Lady Grantham’s (of Downton Abbey) housemaid placed ads for household staff — also known as “the lady recruits.” If you are in the market for a butler, a bodyguard, a chauffeur, a governess, this is your handy guide. One of the most popular sections of the magazine is “the Diary of Miss Darcy Bustle,” a weekly column covering what Miss Bustle has been up to that week. Sounds like something most bloggers do, except Miss Bustle happens to be a dachshund.
Launched in 1897, Country Life could easily be referred to as the Royal Life — the magazine even featured Prince Charles as the guest editor in 2013. You’ll find stories like “The 10 Commandments of the station car, the ultimate rusty old banger,” because having a shiny brand-new car is the ultimate in vulgarity for the old-money set. Another gem of a feature is “Country Life’s guide to spotting a cad,” because God forbid we bump into one and had no idea?! The country pursuits of choice are fishing, riding, shooting, and drinking Chardonnay. Who knew Chardonnay was back in fashion?