Monday, 27 July 2009

Magazines In The Spotlight: The Rake

The Rake (cover of issue four)

The magazine spells out, in exquisite detail, the ground rules for grand, flattering dressing...and then explains how and when those rules may be broken. The Rake

Regular readers might have noticed that it has been a few months since our last 'Magazine In The Spotlight' post but this is not want of trying. I normally furiously finger through the racks at my favourite newsagents but instead have been nonchalantly flicking through them before placing them back only to walk glumly out empty handed. Fortunately, it isn't all doom and gloom though as we stumbled across a fine specimen of a gentleman's magazine, The Rake.

I first heard about this brainchild of Singapore-based publisher Revolution Press via a Simon CromptonMen's Flair a few months back where he justifiably declared "
penned piece for Finally. A magazine that professes to be about men’s style and actually dedicates most of its content to that topic." This bi monthly launched last December but it has taken me this long to track a copy down because, somewhat criminally it just is not stocked anywhere in the UK. Thankfully my own hunt for the magazine was concluded by a chance sighting of the James Sherwood cover peaking out from the shelves of Lodger Footwear.

A closer look at Savile Row tailors Chittleborough & Morgan

Issue four is a celebration of British heritage and elegance and I've found it difficult to put down since picking it up last week. James Sherwood, self appointed Savile Row guardian and author of the marvellous The London Cut, is guest editor and overseas proceedings. During his editors note Sherwood confesses that the premier issue of the magazine 'prompted a murmur of satisfaction that at last a publication had arrived celebrating the fine art of men's dress' and no doubt the satisfied murmurs are echoing throughout the rooms of whoever encounters the publication. It amazes me that this magazine published in Singapore and so damn hard to find in Britain has really shown what the British magazine market has been missing. It certainly fills the void for the disenfranchised, elite sector of the male population whose needs are just not catered for by the likes of GQ anymore (boo hoo I know). As someone who is not yet a member of the disenfranchised elite, I am interested more in the magazines desire to recapture codes of classic men's elegance which have been increasingly marginalised in the printed press as I've grown up.

Whilst refusing to be drawn in to the 'who is the best Bond debate' the feature dissects the style of Sean Connery's iconic Bond.

This is a magazine which caters for mature minded readers who have become alienated by the typical, 'edgy' , fashion focused offerings on the market. Rather than following the lead of the catwalk and the latest releases, sartorial inspirations are drawn from icons of classic gentleman's dress including Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, The Duke of Windsor and a few contemporary counterparts.

The Fabulous Bentley Boys: A dashing photographic homage to the daring aristocratic rakes of Roaring Twenties British motoring.

During the last few months there have been a number of ominous grey clouds hovering over an industry struggling against an economic downturn induced advertising slump and a general state of publishing soul searching. One of the obvious signs of a magazine being in trouble is an issues weight and number of pages and it is clear that most on the market are becoming more like style pamphlets rather than style bibles. 00o00 highlighted the WWD article which predicts that as advertising revenue is in decline, the September issues will drop with a whisper instead of the usual thud. Thankfully, The Rake is decidedly plump and full of juicy content. Highlights inside issue four include features on rebellious sartorial legend Tommy Nutter, masterful shoemakers John Lobb London and Foster & Son, superb shirt maker Turnbell & Asser and Sean Connery's seminal style.

Offering something more than a classic black dinner suit taking guidance from the Duke of Windsor, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, followed by a few words on formalwear uttered by no less than G. Bruce Boyer.

Through providing comprehensive knowledge of the heritage, expertise and craftsmanship of some of the world’s most luxurious products and brands, The Rake seeks to educate readers on their inherent value something which the likes of popular men's fashion magazines consistently fail to do. Yes, the content is classic elegance and it is undeniably shaped by the past but with contributions by the likes of Patrick Grant, James Sherwood and Timothy Everest it certainly has a modern voice. Here's hoping that the flailing British counterparts learn a few things from this publication or at the very least, The Rake becomes widely available for all to marvel over.


Michael said...

Great post. The Rake looks great - a real shame its not available in the UK.

Style Salvage Steve said...

I am surprised that RD Franks don't have it yet. Lodger Footwear though on Clifford Street stocks it though, so just another excuse to look at the beautiful shoes!

Michael said...

I've not swung by Lodger yet so that gives me a perfect opportunity to do so this weekend. Thanks for the info.


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