Mirror, Mirror

About a year ago, we unveiled a redesign for this magazine. Banished, we hoped, were successive pages of dreary grey type. Trimmed and tightened were stories that had grown flabby through lack of discipline. Moved up and restored to glory was a food section that had drooped its way over time from the proud front section to the saggy back. (The rear got quite a lift as well.) This refreshed version was to be a whole new us, we hoped: bright, perky, and plump in all the right places.

Was Vanmag really so bad before? Perhaps not, but we thought that if we could only be ruthless in our self-assessment we would find the juice to make serious and lasting changes. And I’m delighted with the results, not just because we’re looking sexier and sassier than ever but because the (endless) conversations about values and feel and functionality and design that preceded our makeover also led us to the cover story for this issue — a compendium of cosmetic procedures, surgeon tips, personal essays, recommended creams, and more that we’re calling “Vanity Fair”.

We in this city, like everywhere, struggle to understand how to age gracefully and successfully; what sets us apart, as Stacey McLachlan writes in “The Young and the Restless,” is that we are also in thrall to an idea of natural perfection. “Is it irony or two sides of a coin?” she asks. “What could be more ideal than an organic apple? What could be more ideal than a face that never ages?” These and many other astute observations inform a package I’m very proud to publish: not just a how-to but a why-to, a when-to, and (at times) a why-not-to.

Refreshing the magazine meant digging deep into our understanding of why we labour so hard to share our views of this city with you. Looking in the mirror required, as Paddington Bear would say, a hard stare at who we really are. In the end, the same truth awaits everyone in that mirror, whether it’s this staff considering a magazine or all of us assessing what we present to the world. We should all be lucky enough to come to love what we find.