While coverlines are, by nature, designed to be noticed, most of the time, the only ones that really stand out are the bad ones — the ones that make you say, "Who the hell approved that?!" When thinking back on great magazine covers, it's much more likely that people remember the cover star, the styling, the photographer.
But for months now — truly, months! — I have been obsessed with a coverline from Town & Country's September issue. It read: "Bourgeois? Moi?"
It just really tickled me! So simple and yet so effective.
The fact of the matter is, month after month, the team at Town & Country, under the leadership of editor-in-chief Stellene Volandes, is delivering the cleverest coverlines in the biz.
Let's take the most recent issue — starring Gwyneth Paltrow, natch — as an example (pictured above). "Gwyneth Paltrow Accepts Your Apology" alone is a stroke of brilliance, but then there's also, "The Etiquette of LSD" — which, considering Town & Country, could either be a reference to drugs or to socialite-turned-entrepreneur Lauren Santo Domingo. (I can't wait to find out!) The real kicker here is "Beans for Billionaires: What the Rich Are Hoarding Now." Obsessed. Sign me up!
Ana has not stopped thinking about "Is There a Birkin in Your Family?" from the March 2020 issue. Other standouts, for me at least, include, "Are the Most Interesting People Already Dead?" (October 2019), "Where's Mommy? A Summer Camp Guide to Plastic Surgery" (Summer 2019) and "Nepotism: A User's Guide" (November 2019).
What these coverlines indicate is a magazine taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to its subject matter. While I've never done it myself, I have to imagine writing for the über wealthy in 2020 presents something of a challenge, all things considered. It's a fine line between classy and tacky — something I learned about reading Town & Country!
In a way, it reminds me of the old Tatler, which I used to be obsessed with reading, despite the fact that I was certainly never going to have to navigate which private school would be best for my children and that half the names in it sounded made up. It was so funny and well-written that it made even the most outrageous stories feel fascinating, even relatable. (Then, as can be the case in media, Tatler scrapped the existing team for a brand new one and ruined the tone, pivoting to taking itself way too seriously.)
Town & Country is the rare magazine I enjoy reading cover-to-cover. Everything inside, from the editorial spreads to the feature articles, deliver on the promise of its coverlines. It's clear the team at Town & Country takes its reader and its content seriously, but not so seriously as to be off-putting to plebes like me. I mean, the only number approaching even a mere six figures in my financial portfolio is my student loan debt, and I still subscribe! Ba-dum-tiss!
So bourgeois? Maybe not moi, but it's still a damn fun read.