Sometimes I'm asked what is the most important thing I've learned since founding HairBoutique.com way back when in 1997. The answer is simple. There is so much that I don't know about just about everything. Even more importantly is the fact that I didn't even know what I didn't know.
I did discover that doing business in the fashion, beauty and hair arenas is like removing the proverbial peeling of an onion. As I peel back one layer I discover lots more stuff that I had absolutely no clue about.
For me, every day at HairBoutique.com is a major learning experience. If I don't learn something new, I feel like I haven't done my job properly.
Luckily I have found many mentors, friends and associates to help me avoid so many of the potholes that are littered along the way to success.
Hard Work Pays Off In Spades
Another way that I learn along my daily path is watching the work and achievements of others. Such is the case of Joe Dolci's Star Magazine. I have literally watched Star transform before my very eyes from a traditional grocery store gossip "rag magazine" to a front runner for Fashion, Hair and Beauty bible.
Note: Joe Dolci has left Star Magazine as of April 2007
Yes, I still love Vogue, Glamour, InStyle and Lucky while I am newly enamored with Stop, Etc., but Star is coming on like gang busters.
Note: Sadly Shop, Etc., Magazine closed their doors.
And trust me, because I know from firsthand experience, an incredible amount of mind-boggling work goes into the fashion, beauty and hair pages of Star Magazine. I am completely blown away every single week by what they accomplish and take to the newsstands.
(Image above from June 28, 2004 issue of Star Magazine - all rights reserved).
How do they do such an amazing job of fashion reporting every single week? I am convinced that the fashion, beauty and hair editors at Star never leave their desks, even to sleep. Yes, they make it look so easy and the results are so spectacular, but it is beyond normal human comprehension to even know what it takes to have a good fashion, beauty and hair section, let along a magnificent one. Star is rapidly nipping at the heels of some of the historically greatest fashion tomes.
So what does it really take to be a fantastic source for fashion, beauty and hair? It takes a superhuman mind-boggling focus on the latest trends and the ability to dig out the very best sources from all of the related fashion and beauty industries. Making things even more challenging is the fact that everything changes constantly at warp speeds.
Not only do celebrities constantly morph through a never ending range of hair colors, lengths and styles, the stars and their stylists shop nonstop 24/7.
The result? A rapidly changing landscape of hot new fashion designs, latest looks, hairstyles and accessories. Geez, accessories alone could take an entire army of editors to track and report on. After all, you have shoes, belts, gloves, purses, earrings, bracelets, and even hair accessories. The list of what celebrities wear to accessorize is endless, from Star Jones' wedding tiara to the latest celebrity endorsed shrugs and caplets.
(Image above from August 23, 2004 issue of Star Magazine - all rights reserved).
Who can keep up with whether feathers are in or out and if they have been replaced with metallics, leather or suede? And seriously, when will pink really die and is peach or violet the front runner to replace it? Are chandeliers still really being worn or have they totally been killed by earring strings?
Just think about it from the average woman's perspective. Imagine that you were going to a major event and had to select the right hairstyle, makeup, gown, shoes, purse and accessories. Yikes. It could take days, even weeks to pull it all together. Now imagine the fashion, hair and beauty editors at Star Magazine keeping track of all of the top celebrities and what they wore from their hairstyles to their shoes on the gadzillion red carpet appearances that seem to happen daily. Take just one little person and multiply it by magnitudes. Whew.
Unfortunately the stars don't waltz down the carpets wearing little labels that say "shoes by Blatnik, brooch by Gerard Yosca, purse by LuLu Guiness and hair by Fekkai". Nope. The editors at Star are constantly on the phone with celebrity stylists, insiders, designers, fashion photographers and hairdressers getting the "scoop" on what Jessica, Angelina, Paris and JLo were wearing. I can only dream of the fashion, beauty and hair sources that they must have on their speed dials. I would kill for just a few of those numbers. Even more importantly, how many years of hard work and thousands of hours of research did it take to get those names?
Not only do the Star editors need to figure out what every hot celebrity was wearing to whatever event, they also have to keep track of who bought what, where, when and from whom.
How else would we know where Lindsey Lohan bought her Michelle Roy designs or where Jessica Simpson shops in Beverly Hills? They need to track current, future and who-can-believe-it fashion and beauty trends.
Digging For Fashion Scoops
Once the Star editors gather the appropriate scoop they have to hustle like mad to line up an enormous array of contacts from the various designers to get "samples" to recreate a photo shoot. I swear, they must be doing their photo shoots at midnight just to get everything done in time for their deadlines. I also think that their rolodexes must weight at least 1,000 pounds. After all, us ordinary folks want to know exactly how to recreate Jessica's, JLo's and Jennifer's stunning looks. And yes, that takes so much time. I can't even imagine how I would survive in a job like the fabulous Star editors do. I go a little crazy with simple questions about how Rita Hazan recreates Jessica's hair color.
While they are working under tremendous looming deadline pressures they are calmly working the phones, fax machines and email trying to get samples of the latest Yosca, RJ Graziano, Eve Reid and BeBe for their recreation pieces. The Fed Ex and UPS delivery people must know all of their first names. Keep in mind that while some fashion magazines have days or weeks to get samples, the Star editors have literally minutes.
Just thinking about what Joni Cohen, Star's resident fashion guru, accomplishes every single week and contributes to the promotion and translation of fashion for the average reader is worthy of an Academy Award. If there were such an award, I would campaign for Joni to win. She is totally amazing to behold.
Note: Sadly Joni Cohen left Star Magazine in April 2007. A great loss for all of us Star Magazine fashion fans.
In essence if you take one super Vogue fashion editor, blend in an InStyle fashion editor and sprinkle with a Glamour editor you have the fashion genius of Joni Cohen as Star's fashion wunderkind.
Great Fashion Research
I recently was researching a story on brooches. Where did I go for my initial research? Star Magazine of course (thank you Joni). The October 18th issue had two full pages of the most gorgeous layout I have ever seen on brooches in any so called fashion magazine. Using Beyonce Knowles, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bridget Moynahan as story foundations, the article displayed over 20 different styles and types of brooches from a dizzying array of designers in every price range.
There was the Sergio Rossi $1,400 bejeweled suede boot next to the Nolan Miller snowflake pin for $110. There was also a very reasonably priced Liz Claiborne brooch for $18. The cornucopia of hues, shapes and designs brought goose bumps to my arms as I drooled over the pages.
How did Joni Cohen do that?
In the back of my mind I was beyond amazed at how much time and energy had to go into creating such a stunning fashion piece. I can only imagine how many hours of phone calls it took to gather all the samples, credits, pricing and get approval to use everything. No easy or simple task. I have decided that Joni must be a undiscovered fashion genius.
No offense to Star Magazine, but who would ever have expected such a brilliantly beautiful fashion piece to pop up in Star which made their name as a gossip magazine? Definitely Vogue, Glamour and InStyle would do this type of spectacular fashion reporting.
But Star? All I can say is WOW.
Even more amazing is that fact that Vogue and fashion magazines of that statue have months to create a piece that Joni and the fashion folks at Star create every single week. Does that "freak your freak" as Ellen Degeneres would say? It freaks mine.
Which of course is why I am giving Star Magazine the first nod as Magazine of the Month. If you want to know the Best Fashion Buy of the Week, the Most Chic Girl of the Week, Who Bought What then run to the nearest newsstand and buy Star. In fact, hit your used bookstores to beg, borrow and steal any old Star issues from the Joni Generation of Fashion. They will be collectors items someday. I know that I am starting to put all of my past issues in special plastic to protect them for the long haul.
Star magazine has the formula that makes them, truly a Star in the fashion, hair and beauty arenas. If you have to limit your magazine reading, make sure you always pick up the Star because it truly has its finger on the pulse of what new, hot and totally happening.
I give Star Magazine five stars as the best fashion, hair and beauty magazine on the stands and because they rock and because they have Joni Cohen guiding their fabulous fashion layouts every single week.