Saturday, February 13, 2010
Every year, we at Victoria looked forward with great relish to the February issue. We just had so much fun finding stories as delicious as Valentine candy. And our pages were filled with roses, roses. Kim Freeman, who compiled many of our favorite things section, was given the assignment year after year to introduce readers to roses in yet another way. One of my last February issues, ironically enough, featured first roses in the Favorite Things section. Brides and babies were among the topics.
The other day I stopped at Dahlia flower market in Grand Central Station in New York and bought the whitest white roses I think I'd ever seen. The comments I got as I walked along with them brimming proudly out of my bag led me to believe that I wasn't the only one seduced by their unique beauty.
But Valentine's Day calls for red roses, doesn't it? The most spectacular ones I ever received had to do with Victoria being named Adweek's Magazine of the Year in 1990 (for 1989). They were long-stemmed and the bouquet so grand that I had trouble cradling it in my arms. (Well, I was a bit weak just coming off a bout of pneumonia. Getting the magazine to that point, only two years after our introduction, did take a bit of work and maybe I overdid it somewhat.) Just think: In 1989, Victoria not only went monthly, but we became the first magazine in the world to be done completely on computer. Just how brave were we?
Bryan McCay, our art director, was the guiding genius behind taking Victoria into the computer age. Bryan had been in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam and I don't think he thought there was a task he, and we, couldn't tackle. You have to understand that this was not like going to buy a new stereo. Every single aspect of the process had to be customized to our operation--and there was no precedent. Looking back, I think Bryan should have been hugging those roses, and I smile when I think of our Bryan, a burly type with Scottish blood, in such a pose.
Interestingly, I just read somewhere that women prefer roses other than red ones--but men have consistently stuck to the notion that they indeed are the true expression of romance. In keeping with what "the guys" think, here is a bouquet for you--rendered by the artist Leon Belsky. He is represented by The Catto Gallery in London, and while I only rarely buy a painting from them, they send me the most marvelous catalogs of all their exhibitions. I have saved this one for an occasion like this: Happy Valentine's Day.