Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's Do the Time Warp: 1970s British Vogue

My favorite local antique dealer, Jackie of Flask Walk, had quite a treasure on offer this weekend: a cache of vintage British Vogues from the mid- to late 1970s, all in mint condition. Impossible to resist, not least because a teenaged Janice Dickinson, "the original supermodel", was pouting on one of the covers. More of her later this week.

Today, a couple of observations. Lord was this a more innocent age, in media-being-the-message terms. In these pages we see little to no airbrushing; photography that was shockingly unsophisticated in lighting, pose, and even focus; black and white as a default over color (even in editorial shoots); makeup (especialy lip gloss) applied with a trowel; and so much more.

In counterpoint, on the plus side, the ad copy generally attempted to engage and address its readers as intelligent human beings, à la Mad Men.

Here, for fun, are some random pages I liked, click to enlarge, if you dare . . . we'll look more specifically at the fashions later this week.

To start, a reminder of how I spent countless hours of youth: baking in the sun in a vain attempt to get golden brown, instead of peely red. If only I'd used Ambre Solaire! Or gone topless. Either way, this particular scenario looks pretty damn great at the moment, damn the wrinkly consequences.

Next, this advertisement, which in no way addresses the readers as intelligent and does in fact just the opposite, with its aviatrix in front of her ditched plane, unscratched, with nothing more on her mind than applying another blast of Ted Lapidus perfume, presumably to mask the scent of scorched crankshaft . . . with Ted himself posed like a golden brown genie in the sidebar, one big WTF, the whole thing.

A nice example of unsophisticated advertising, from the Bobos brand, which somehow escaped becoming one of the decade's classics . . . No, seriously. Never mind how bad the clothes are, and how sloppily styled, look at the background. Could they not have moved two feet to the left to avoid the jackhammered pavement, and the nasty canvas covering the chairs? If this exemplified Anna Wintour's proving ground no wonder she's such a stickler.

And last but not least this gent, appearing in the Men's Vogue section . . . oy vey that moustache. Welcome back Kotter, didn't remember you as such a sharp dressed man.

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