Conde Nast has a great rota of magazines ( Vogue, Traveller, Vanity Fair, the World of Interiors to name a few of my favourite ones) that it already publishes around the world, but it’s quite rare for them to launch a new one, especially in the current environment, when discussions about the future of the printed press are raging and not all of them are optimistic.
Baku, their new periodical, that for now will be published quarterly, hit the stands with its launch issue in Autumn of 2011. It’s editor-in-chief, is Leyla Alieva, the daughter of the President of Azerbaijan and the wife of Emin Agalarov, whose father is one of the most well-known Azerbaidjan tycoons and who in his free time records beautiful musical albums, I have been listening to his latest ‘Emin’ for the last few months in my car ( and the way he sang Muslim Magomaev‘s song from the cartoon ‘Musicians of Bremmen’-a Soviet classic, left me with goosebumps and in no doubt that he is an incredibly talented singer).
Leyla’s grandfather, Heydar Aliev, was the President of Azerbaidjan for many years and he managed to command immense respect as a politician in the former CIS and remained a very handsome man with great stature until he passed away in 2003. When he came to London he often stayed in Claridges hotel and even its staff, who is used to stars and celebrities, looked at him with tremendous respect.
Leila has been partially raised in London and has been spending a lot of time here as of late, showcasing her country of birth and its skills, from carpet making to the launch of skincare brand Gazelli in Urban retreat Harrods to the opening of the restaurant Baku in Sloane street (one of the most delicious tomatoes you can possibly source in the world come from Baku, they are actually called ‘bakinskie pomidory’-once you taste those gloriously red and juicy, bursting of divine flavour tomatoes, you wouldn’t want to eat any other!).
Azerbaidjan will also be hosting Eurovision song contest this year, so the increasing profile of this oil-rich country in understandable.
The magazine itself draws your eye on the stand and has its own identity, compared to anything else on newspapers shelves, from its front covers to its content. I can even be as bold as saying that in my view Baku wins hands down, compared to another fairly recent launch ‘Garage’ that is edited by by Dasha Zhukova-not a completely fair comparison, as Garage is dedicated to the art scene but still….
You will learn a lot about Azerbaidjan (in a way, inside it looks almost like a very glamorous prospectus of the country) but you will also have the benefit of fashion editorials, articles that cover a variety of subjects and have a lot of educational value too (interview with the cool powerhouse that is Tom Ford and French film star and wine connoisseur Gerard Depardieu, magnificent wildlife on the brink of extinction, the architectural change of the face of Baku and conservation of its historical buildings, a conversation with Tahir Salakhov, one of the country’s greatest living painters and even illustration by Leila herself-all that was in the launch issue).
Baku’s second issue, winter 2011/2012 is out on selected newsstands now, priced £5