The Lady vanishes...

There's been much in the press over the past few days about the departure of Rachel Johnson, Editor of The Lady.

Back in October 2010 I reviewed the magazine. Sadly I never was to buy another copy. When Rachel's successor takes over, I'll revisit the magazine, but in the meantime here's a reminder...

Rachel Johnson, sister of Boris, took over as editor of The Lady in September 2009. Her remit was to ‘reduce the average age from 78 to 45 and to double the weekly sales of 28,000’. Now that’s a formidable challenge – and it wasn’t going to be achieved without some blood-letting.

Our knowledge of The Lady is probably limited to flicking through an old issue in a waiting room. Advertisements for nannies, carers and housekeepers may tap into our imaginations as we wonder at the lives of those wealthy folk – but just how much did we read?

No, The Lady was either for ladies of a certain age, or those looking for a domestic position with a ‘good family’.

So in those first 12 months, what has Rachel been up to? Well, she’s recruited a regular team of contributors, including Michael Winner and Penny Smith. Themed series, written by guests, ensure continuity without stagnation.

The first issue I grabbed was already six months out of date, but I sensed a definite move towards a much younger age group. Johnson had interviewed entrepreneur Cath Kidston (who I didn’t know was a real person!) and her chummy style made it a good read. However, Johnson was such a fan of Kidston, it did border on the fanatical at times.

Sandi Toksvic wrote a tongue-in-cheek profile of Elizabeth Woodville – an important woman who I am now able to place in England’s history – albeit a little vaguely.

Fast-forward to October 2010 and I was pleased to see the content was still aimed at my demographic profile - painfully so. Much of the issue was themed to dating – women who have loved and lost – or been dumped for younger models.

Michael Winner was still there, flying the flag for men and the testosterone was topped up by Carolyn Hart’s interview with Eddy Ankrett – chairman of an introduction agency.

To retain a classical balance there was an excellent profile of French fashion icon Coco Chanel, written by Justine Picardie. Incidentally, check the list of Who’s Who on the first page and the office dog is named Coco – now that’s a stylishly fragrant canine!

And for those who just can’t let go of the past, a family in Kensington were looking for a live-in nanny!

Would I buy it regularly?

Well, not every week.

But if I was going on a train journey and wanted something light to read, yes – I would definitely look for it; after all, I am a Lady!