A few weeks ago, it was James Bond reading a copy of Playboy magazine. Tonight, it’s a sailor in Under Siege. The crew are anticipating the arrival of the July 1989 playmate of the month, Jordan Tate. In fact, the playmate that month was Erika Eleniak, who actually plays the Jordan Tate role in the 1992 film. She ‘wears’ a captain’s dress uniform, something that she also does in the movie, when she jumps out of a giant cake in front of Steven Seagal, playing the ship’s cook, Casey Ryback. Eleniak also had a role in Baywatch, a TV series that later produced another popular magazine pin-up, Pamela Anderson.
Archive for the ‘models’ Category
The typographer Dave Farey reminded me of the magazine designer’s mantra ‘No heads above the masthead’ at the recent launch of A History of British Magazine Design. So he immediately came to mind when I saw this front cover design from Woman’s Own dating back to 19 May 1955.
The actress Dawn Addams is photographed modelling a knitted jacket, but quite what the designer was up to is a mystery.
Were the film star’s eyes deliberately positioned to peer round the letters? Was the photograph cropped to show the most of the jacket? Whatever the intention, the end result is a mess.
Addams was a ‘delightfully vivacious’ British-born actress who had recently married an Italian prince, the ‘darkly handsome’ Vittorio Massimo, and had her first baby.
Julia Foster denies being a sex symbol like Julie Christie or Raquel Welch, but she was a big enough actress for a four-page interview and profile in trendy weekly Look of London. She was fresh from a role with Michael Caine in Alfie and was filming Half a Sixpence with Tommy Steele. And the second spread is devoted to a great portrait by photographer Jim Lee.
Jim Lee is not remembered in the same way as Bailey, Donovan or Lichfield, but he was up there in the 1960s and 1970s, as a Sarah Hughes profile of the fashion photographer pointed out in the Independent in August. His most famous image is probably ‘Aeroplane’ from 1969, for an Ossie Clark poster shoot with a ‘flying’ model.
The A.G. Nauta fashion blog has put together a nice sequence of Isabella Blow photos from magazines, including pages from the 1993 London Babes feature shot by Steven Meisel and conceived by Blow – the fashion muse’s brother has described it as the most expensive Vogue shoot of the era.
The blog quotes Blow, who wore some astounding creations from the likes of Philip Treacy – you have to see them live to really appreciate them:
Why the hats? To keep everyone away from me. They say, Oh, can I kiss you? I say, No, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve worn the hat. Goodbye. I don’t want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.
Can you believe it? A threepenny weekly magazine from 13 April 1946 sells on eBay for $5,100.99 – that’s£3,302 – after 45 bids. Gobsmacking, but it’s true. And the reason? It’s the first magazine to show Norma Jeane Mortenson, also known as Norma Jeane and later pin-up model and Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe, on its cover.
That’s four years before her first decent film role in All About Eve and seven years before the Playboy first issue cover.
According to the listing, this is the ‘first solo cover in the world’ of Norma Jeane, with the British weekly predating the April 26 issue of Family Circle in the USA picturing Norma Jeane holding a baby lamb on the cover:
This issue of Leader is a complete 28 page double-staple bound style pulp magazine in very good condition. Cover photo is the same Andre de Dienes ‘M.M.’ photograph which appeared a second time in France only a few months later on the cover of the September 3 1946 issue of Votre Amie (‘Your Friend’). The Leader cover photo was published in black and white, while the negative was flipped and photo colorised for its appearance on the cover of Votre Amie.
The same seller also sold a copy of that Votre Amie cover for £900 on eBay.
Leader was at this time published by Hulton Press, whose other magazines included Lilliput, Picture Post and the Eagle.
>>Leader magazine history
For the weekly magazine Woman in 1984, cover star Joan Collins was the world’s biggest sex symbol and ‘The greatest glamour queen of them all’.
Collins – or Dame Joan as she now is – had been a cover model, film actress and pin-up since the 1950s but her career was brought back to the boil when she landed the role of Alexis Carrington in a struggling US soap opera, Dynasty. She took the series by the scruff of its neck and made it into the biggest soap, overtaking Dallas and played the role for eight years.
Collins was nominated six times for a Golden Globe, winning the US TV acting award in 1983. In December that year, at the age of 50, Collins appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine, photographed by Hollywood glamour portraitist George Hurrell.
Thirty years earlier, she had starred in Cosh Boy, ‘the year’s most controversial film’, according to the 13 March front page of Answers – and the first to be given the new X certificate.
It’s difficult to see her popularity and longevity being surpassed, even by the likes of Madonna and Kate Moss.
This 1967 advert goes for a sci-fi look with a set that looks like something from Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds – complete with Thunderbird 1 on the monitor screen. It was for Dormeuil‘s Cosak, a cloth mixture of terylene (a light and crease-resistant polymer) and mohair.
The headline font is inspired by the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Code that was developed for the banking industry in the 1950s.
Apparently, Dormeuil spent a massive £100,000 on advertising the cloth in consumer magazines such as Town and Look of London as well as the influential trade title Tailor & Cutter. The headline look was slightly different in the latter, with a simpler sans-serif font.
Dormeuil’s website has a gallery of its past adverts, but this campaign is not mentioned.
The mid-1950s saw an explosion of men’s magazines after paper rationing was lifted. Many of them used a pocket format and one of the most popular was the monthly glamour magazine Beautiful Britons. Two copies of the first issue have sold on eBay recently, one for £29.99 and the other for a hefty £51.
Note the magazine’s motto: ‘The magazine of [EYE] appeal.’
Although the colour was cover, all the pin-ups inside were printed mono. The picture above is from the centre spread. The bikini was a relatively new invention – at least in modern times – dating from 1946 when a French engineer came out with the world’s smallest swimsuit, named after the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll.
The magazine’s publisher – Town & Country, known as ‘Toco’ – already published Spick and Span, both pin-up glamour magazines launched in 1954, in the same format. Many of the pin-up photographs were of unknown models but actresses such as Shirley Ann Field and Joan Collins were a staple for such magazines. All three titles survived into the 1970s.
Initially, the models were not topless, but the market was changed by the advent of Kamera, published by photographer Harrison Marks and his wife, the model Pamela Green. Kamera included topless models. Marks and Green, who also modelled under the name Rita Landre, were involved in the making of Michael Powell’s controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom. The horror thriller centred on a photographer who murdered women with a device built into his camera.
>>List of men’s magazines with profiles
Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, GQ was down there fighting for sales against the likes of FHM and Loaded by putting naked women on its covers as often as possible. Well, nearly naked. The delicate rules of the newsagent dictate that nipples cannot be shown.
This cute magazine cover-up for Naomi Campbell on the cover of GQ – sister title to Vogue at Conde Nast – in April 2000 has to go down as one of the best examples.
You can imagine the cover meetings at the time: ‘Well, how can we show as much naked flesh this month without revealing a nipple?’ They were taped up, covered in subtly-draped clothes or hidden under type. Sometimes, they were just blatantly airbrushed out, as in the example of Abi Titmouse below from FHM (then published by Emap) .
This is a great issue of Vogue, with Danish fashion model Helena Christensen on the cover photographed by Nick Knight (his second Vogue cover, the first being the month before). Inside, is Steven Meisel’s ‘London Babes’ photoshoot styled by Isabella Blow. From a printing point of view, the cover is interesting for several reasons. The Blighty colour cover I discussed last week was printed colour letterpress. That technique produces quite a crude result compared with modern-day offset lithograph printing, which is used for most magazines today, including this 1993 Vogue. Nick Knight is renowned for his digital manipulation of photographs and as a proponent of its ‘extremely exciting’ possibilities.
The detail of Helena Christensen’s eye from the Vogue cover demonstrates several things. First, the skin tones are purely made up of magenta dots. Compared with the Blighty cover, the dots are finer – more like 300 lines per inch than the 150 of the 1950s. Click on the images here to see them at a larger size. Notice how much blue there is in and around the eye – this looks to me as if a blue shadow has been added in Photoshop. Similarly with the blue highlights in the eyebrows and hair.
This close focus on Christensen’s lips shows a much higher density of the magenta, a tinge of yellow at the centre of the mouth and then a shadow of cyan, which becomes heavier moving to the right. Below is a a magnified image of the whole face, with the bottom of the G from the title across the forehead. This is printed in solid magenta.
JUST OUT – British Magazine Design, a highly illustrated hardback history from the Victoria & Albert Museum