Rearview Fridays: Loulou Magazine Ripped Us Off

Rearview Fridays is a regular post in which I share an artistic project I completed sometime in the past. This one reaches back 20 years and is a co-pro with my childhood friend Christa Couture. It goes something like this …

Our slogan, settled upon early on in the process, was, “if it’s not a Lu-Lou then its a tacky Bu-Bou.” I’m not kidding. Born marketing geniuses.

Circa 1991 Christa was in the midst of a 3-year battle with cancer (deadly and serious). I was being homeschooled through junior high (socially deadly but not quite as serious). She was often in the hospital or home sick. I was able to visit or hang with her because of my loose schedule, plus she was by best friend, it went without saying that we had to hang whenever possible. We were very crafty (still are) and inevitably a project emerged: Lu-Lou. I have no memory of how Lu-Lou developed, or why we chose a periodical format, but it was an imaginary empire that grew, made us laugh hysterically and filled a lot of awesome, creative hours of companionship. Lu-Lou gripped our early teens.

We had and have very different artistic styles. But we shared a common love for the, ahem, extreme when it came to our designs. That’s my work on the left, Christa’s on the right. I still giggle at the disproportionately long and skinny femurs on my model.

In fact we published, er “published” 14 issues with about eight pages per issue. And this was in the days before computers and desktop publishing were common in the home. We drew each page, wrote every bit of copy by hand. It’s quite a feat, by true magazine publishing standards and in terms of sheer dedication to a purely fantastical, creative project. It represents some serious perseverance.

An assortment of Lu-Lou covers. Note the colour themes. We’d choose five colours to be the focal point of a month’s fashions by the great Lu-Lou (because Lu-Lou was more like Martha Stewart in that everything was “by” her. Yes, she was a living entity to us.)
Bikinis. Wow. We always set the price, as you can see here, this one was $75. Designer pricing in early 90s terms! I love the density of colour on the surf board.

And Loulou Magazine SO ripped us off! I was shocked when, in 2004, a Rogers Media publication showed up on newsstands called Loulou. So blatant. So obvious. Clearly someone had been into our secret Archive of Awesome. They. Ripped. Us. Off. We are currently suing for copyright infringement and various damages. They think they can add an “O” to the first “Lu” and get away with it?!

This “Galactic Hit” piece is a favourite. Back in the day I was jealous I didn’t draw the Jem-esque model or design her spectacular dress. Remember Jem and the Holograms?
Christa laughs, hard, whenever she sees or recalls this gem (gem. Jem. Get it?!). And she’s right. Really, just take a look. I love the librarian-chic of the model and setting that I’ve chosen. I don’t think I entirely understood the connotation of “worldly woman,” oh innocent self! And note how I carefully priced the socks and shoes separately, but the dress, belt and tank top, those are ONLY sold as a package bitches.

Okay, back to reality, I really was shocked when I saw Loulou, had a laughing fit in a Toronto subway station near the newsstand and immediately emailed Christa. What a coincidence! Who would have thought we had had such foresight, that we were so ahead of the curve?

We were so organized that we drew some of the same models from month to month, the ones that we liked. We tracked them on the back of each page with first and last name, age and tracking number. We should have had an agency. These were our faves: Christa’s on the left, Summer St. James, age 16, #15357, and mine on the right, Karen Salmon, age 16 (we weren’t 16 yet so 16 was the coolest age to be), #92007.
I was not joking when I said we tracked our models. Back of each page. Boom.

The funny thing is that, until last year, I worked in magazine publishing for 10 years and for a Canadian fashion designer for four years. I could never have predicted that at 14! And Christa works in electronic media and graphic design with panache and success.

We held a contest. We advertised it a few issues before we announced the winners. It was the “Lu-Lou-ist Girl in America” (modeled on Sassy magazine‘s Sassiest Girl in America, Christa was a dedicated Sassy subscriber, I wished I was). We profiled finalists and the winner. We created interview articles with them, drew head shots and photos.

The other funny thing, though not so surprising, is that we have both turned out to be fiercely, professionally creative. I’ve spent most of my independent career as a dance artist while she works as an independent musician. [Shameless plug: Christa’s got a fantastic new album out this month called The Living Record. You can get it on Bandcamp or iTunes. And you should.]

We created Lu-Lou products. There was a lipstick line, Dr. Zigma’s skin care, and these perfumes. The Essence of Life line. Daily, Funky and Romantic. And here are the slogans, I cannot make this shit up folks: “for any day and every day to feel good and smell great use Essences of Life Daily to put that extra spice in your life” | “For the exciting and fun moments in your life use Essences of Life Funky to put that extra pizazz in your life” | “For that special night or moment use Essences of Life Romantic to put that extra love in your life.” Note also my struggle with the spelling of “essence” yet I doggedly wouldn’t use whiteout, something about the Waldorf-kid in me I think!

I murmur this into the past: oh 13 and 14-year-old selves, you were utterly, absolutely awesome. Cheers to exploding creativity in our genes and excellent friends with whom to share  and cultivate it. You grow to be amazing women if I do say so myself.

Even a mail-in offer for Lu-Lou jewellery for the dedicated subscribers of 1991.
Of course we had a special bridal issue. We were teenage girls after all. And since then we have both gotten married. And if I do say so we were both turned out genuinely stylishly. But neither of us thought to consult our bridal issue for ideas. Maybe a do-over for an anniversary is in order … I could get behind that blue number on the right, and I’ll never tire of Christa’s extravagant head pieces.
Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Rearview Fridays: Loulou Magazine Ripped Us Off

Please leave a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s