Love magazine needs to do more than take Beth Ditto’s clothes off to be cutting edge

Newsstandsacross the country will befeeling the strain this morningfollowing the arrival of Conde Nast’slatest style bonanza,Love magazine.Weighing a hefty 1.5kg, the oversized glossy might carry the strapline ‘Fashion and Fame’ but it’s anything but a ‘light read’.

In fact, flying in the face of conventional handbag-sized wisdom, this new 334-pagepublication isonly available via the newsstands; presumably because the cost of having the already £5 titledeliveredto your door would requireasizeable remortgage – which of course are no longeravailable.

Not thatI can seeConde Nast’s managing director Nicholas Coleridge being too worried –I recall GQ’s 10th anniversary issue being anequally arm bending occasion, while thesize ofVogue aroundFashion Week is usually comparable to a new-born baby.

Perhaps of more concern should be the delicate balancing act themagazine is attempting to make infusing the all- too-accessible world of celebrity with high fashion. Of course, Conde Nast andLove’s of-the-moment editor Katie Grand deserve praise for even attempting such an audacious launch in the teeth of an economic recession.

It also comes exactlyone week after ABC figurestracked across-the-boarddeclines in magazine circulationsfor 2008, not least in the celebrity sector where only Hello! managed topost an increase, and onlythen because it hasstarted giving them away.Hello! itself has always placed its own success onthe quality-control over‘the stars’ it covers and how it approaches them– staying as true to itshigh society/regal-Spanish roots as possible:noBritney-chasing or Jade-bashing here.

Love’s editor,who used to be at the helm of Bauer’s Popmagazine, is clearly confident the British-public are ready for a change. She sees no reason whyluxury brands, fashion and pop celebscan’t share the same space, andhas placed a naked, plus-sized Beth Ditto andon the launch-coverto prove it.Striking, certainly. But is it enough to herald a brave new publishing world?

Conde Nast will point to its many pages of advertising, 46before you even get to any editorial, as evidence that the market is ready for the step change. Its initial commitment to publishjust biannuallyhas also taken the pressure off. But it doesn’t mask the fact Love’s so-called edge lacks conviction.

Getting The Gossip singerto take her kit off is hardly a new concept – it’s like a Dove ad on steroids. In fact, forget concept, actually sticking Beth’s baps on a magazinecover was first masterminded almost two years ago by NME.

Other ‘cutting edge’ celebrities to make the first issue include theubiquitous Lily Allen, incessantly annoying Pixie Geldoffand, er Amy Winehouse.Grand’s decision to get Mark Frith’s input – he of Heat fame –clearly already paying dividends. But fear not, there is one credible star unearthed in today’s first issue,Iggy Pop – you know, from the insurance ads.