Over the two years that have passed since its inception Riposte magazine has established a solid place for itself on newsstands as “a smart magazine for women.” Now that the magazine is in its fourth issue, editor-in-chief Danielle Pender was keen to avoid needless changes in favour of upholding the high standard which it has already set.
“I think there’s sometimes a pressure in publishing to change things drastically design-wise to create a talking point,” she told us, “but at times it can feel like a gimmick. We did look at different options but it felt like we would be doing it for the sake of it, rather than it be a natural progression. So for the fourth issue we focussed more on working hard on the smaller details which amount to a sharper overall issue. We’ve really worked on the writing quality, the visual commissions, the typography and the print quality – this all sounds pretty dry, but it has been really important.”
Just one aspect of this was a series about wise women by illustrator Rebecca Clarke, pictured below. “Rebecca illustrates a feature about the life lessons of a collection of great women,” Danielle says. “Women who have made an impact on our contemporary culture – who have experienced life in full colour and close to the bone.
“We spoke to Viv Albertine of The Slits, fashion icon Diane Pernet, photographer Jill Furmanovsky, writer Alice Rawsthorn, Pauline Black of The Selecter and model Jackie O’Shaughnessy.” New York-based Rebecca was a natural fit to work on the series, she says. “I saw an illustration of Grace Coddington that Rebecca had done and it was so full of life, colour and character, yet it wasn’t caricature. She really captured the personality of the women and their energy without patronising them – I love them.”
Elsewhere in the new issue there’s an interview with Lindsey Hilsum of Channel Four News, which is Danielle’s favourite feature this time around. “She’s my new hero. She has reported from numerous wartorn areas and her life is pretty mental but she’s one of the most humble, funny and generous women. She gives a great interview about being in Libya at the fall of Gaddafi and how the guy who fitted Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s kitchen became her fixer over there. I love to read and find out about women who aren’t the obvious show-stoppers that everyone has heard of.”
In addition to Lindsey, and alongside interviews with Susie Bubble and Eno Williams and features on Petra Collins and Elaine Constantine, sits a collaboration with the Anonymous Sex Journal. It came about very organically, Danielle explains. “We wanted to do something on desire and fantasies but every format option we came up with felt either too academic and analytical or too sensationalist. We thought a collaboration with Alex and the ASJ would be a great way to explore honestly and simply what people were into without tainting it with analysis or opinion."
In classic ASJ style, the stories, which are about desire and fantasies, are submitted anonymously and printed unedited, alongside illustrations by Laura Breiling. “Some are funny, some are shocking, some are messy and some are sad – a more real version of sex than you usually read about.”