39 minutes ago
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Clay Felker's sale of Esquire Magazine in 1979 marked the beginning of an on going end to one of the storied magazines in history. The fact that it's still published demonstrates the power of a brand. Much like GM for instance. Both should have died many years ago, but inertia keeps it printing.
Realizing that Esquire's day in the sun had passed onto New York Magazine, in 1983 Fairchild Publications made a valiant effort to capture the hearts, minds and wallets, of America's affluent, and stylish males with M, the Civilized Man Magazine. While the title may have been an oxymoron, each month M would publish what could best be described as a catalog, of the dying WASP culture. Anglophilia never had it so good. Ambassador so and so at the Hunt Ball kind of nonsense. It was all done very seriously, and the many of the better class of criminals were shown as being almost respectable people.
For several years, late 83 until perhaps mid 88 or so I subscribed. There was no magazine like it. It was a great tutorial for we slumming wanna be's. The cover shot above is from the first issue, I still have it. Surprisingly much of the advertisers wares held up pretty well over the years. A lot of Ralph, Tommy, Alexander Julian. Nothing too progressive, need I say.
By the late 80's the Establishment was dead, and most interest in it. M wobbled around until '91 or 2 a mere shadow of its former glory.
There is a bit of a cult following for old copies of the Mag. A younger set, who have only heard of the mysteries to be found, search old book stores, or EBAY for mouldering copies. Currently, there are a dozen or so 1986 thru '88 copies on EBAY. I shan't be bidding. I still have the originals.