Marcus Gaab and Christiane Bördner on Blog Logic and Princess Paz
Inspired by research into bloggers and the intuitive way in which they create and publish content, I Love You magazine was launched in 2009 by Christiane Bördner, an art director, and her photographer husband Marcus Gaab (together they run Berlin consultancy Agentur E). The magazine, which is free of advertising, was conceived as an intensely personal project, with text repurposed from a variety of sources on and offline, and a wry, experimental approach to fashion editorial. We had a light-hearted conference call with the Berlin-based partners about femininity, freewheeling cover girl Paz de la Huerta and the danger of taking things too seriously.
You describe your way of working in print as “blog logic.” Could you explain?
Marcus: The big difference between blogs and normal press is not about being on the Internet; it’s being independent and being very direct to a certain audience. The idea was to do a women's magazine done by women in a very direct, easy way. Not heavily marketed, no market research behind it.
Christiane: What I also like in blogs compared to magazines is that there are a lot of nerds out there who are really into a special topic. Like, there’s one guy who’s an architect who’s only collecting pictures of stairs, and there’s another guy who’s collecting pictures of staples. I like this––people digging deep into a specific topic. This is what I like to do for the magazine. No matter if it’s news or not, just saying, Okay, there was this movie in the 80s, and I’d like to do a whole magazine around it.
Marcus: Paz came up the same way. We had a few offers… we were looking for this princess character. Paz came up and everybody was really warning us, saying, “Oh no, she’s really mad, she’s really crazy, she’ll mess up your whole shoot.” But that was exactly what we needed, a really crazy girl. It works and it’s inspiring.
Do you think there’s an improvised element to everything you do?
Christiane: Improvising is part of our aesthetic. On the cover of the last issue, there’s a hairstylist’s arm coming into the frame, with a brush. I like the improvisation to show that it’s all an artificial world, to show the breaks between the perfection of beauty and the imperfection of reality.
Marcus: The fashion industry can be very serious sometimes. I’m not against perfect pictures, but at a certain point you’ve got to realize this is about people having fun together.
Christiane: On the other hand, we have our philosophical moments. We don’t see the magazine as a fashion magazine. It’s more like talking about identity. And I would also like to say to the readers, “Hey, come on, love yourself and don’t take it too seriously––you’re beautiful as you are, just enjoy.”
Marcus: This is how blogs work. All women talk about what they wear and are being very self-conscious and self-assured about what they do, even if it’s odd.
This is a magazine for women, by women. Is the princess theme murky from a feminist point of view?
Christiane: I was thinking about those moments you have when you’re a kid. Our daughter is now into this pink phase, and I hate pink, but I’m so excited to go with her to a toy store and explore all these pink, glittery things. But on the other hand, the princess is this sad person, she’s imprisoned, she’s depending on the prince. There’s this negative side.
Marcus: It has a lot of shades but it’s a very torn character in today’s world––being the idealization of a woman but also not being in charge. But people, little kids, are so into it. And there’s all this marketing, all this American dream of being a princess. In the US, at least, people only get married to be the bride... Back to the fashion bloggers, and most of them being girls: for me, they always resemble this princess idea, because they can sit front row, they can get dressed however they wish. They are young, they are super-spoiled, and this is what fashion is about.