Archive for the ‘models’ Category

What about the undies?

January 19, 2015
A Woman's Own centre spread from 1939 - 'She likes undies'

A Woman’s Own centre spread from 1939 – ‘She likes undies’

Undies. When did you last see that word? It used to be used on women’s magazine covers and in headlines quite a lot. But where do you see it now? Fashion journalists in magazines were certainly not afraid to use it in 1939 – as this centre spread from Woman’s Own shows – ‘She likes undies.’

And in Woman’s Fair in its January 1940 ‘Wishful thinking’ editorial for the new year: ‘We are going to stop hoarding old evening dresses and decrepit undies and make instead the beauteous evening gala outfit on page 24.’ At the end of the 1940s, here are undies as the topic for the main cover line above the title on Woman’s Pictorial:

Woman's Pictorial magazine from 1949 with the cover line: 'Beutiful undies to make and embrioder'

Woman’s Pictorial magazine from 1949 with the cover line: ‘Beautiful undies to make and embroider’

But note that these were the days when fashionable women made their own. I can’t see such an article causing Woman’s Own to go flying off the shelves today. Fashions change and it seems that reliable, cheap undies from Marks and Spencer tempted women away from their sowing machines. By 1991, the Times could inform us: ‘And we know that Margaret Thatcher gets her undies at M&S. “Doesn’t everybody?” she asked a television reporter.’

The full Oxford English Dictionary defines undies as meaning ‘Articles of girls’ or women’s underclothing’. In support, it quotes:

  • 1906. Punch 30 May: ‘She’d blouses for Sundays, And marvellous “undies” concocted of ribbons and lace.’
  • 1920. Arnold Bennett, the Woman editor and novelist, in his book Our Women: Chapters on the Sex-discord: ‘You have only to reflect … upon the astonishing public importance given to what are delicately known as “undies”.’
  • 1939. Arthur Ransome in Secret Water: ‘Go on, Bridgie. Off with your things. Undies too.’ (Doesn’t sound like it’s from one of his Swallows and Amazons children’s books!)
  • 1967. Crime writer Nicolas Freeling in one of his Van der Valk books, Strike Out Where Not Applicable: Arlette … knows I’m not just belting off for the afternoon because of the black undies.

But that OED definition needs rewriting because undies are for men these days, as the Christmas clash of the male models shows:

David Gandy has claimed victory over David Beckham in the battle of the undies – and even made the astonishing claim that his underwear range has single-handedly saved Marks & Spencer (Mail on Sunday, 18 January 2015)

Undies meaning men’s underwear is a trend that goes back to at least 1993, when the Evening Standard talked about a company ‘that makes men’s undies’ and there was an ‘offer’ in another newspaper that year, the a Daily Star: ‘Buy a pair of Gazza’s undies.’

However, a quick flick through the newspaper cuttings suggests the word is these days much more likely to appear in the Sun than a broadsheet. While the ever-so-posh Lucia van der Post was quite happy to talk about undies for How to Spend It, the Financial Times glossy magazine, the FT put the word in quotes last year in a column by David Tang; almost as if it’s not quite a safe word to touch for its tycoon columnist (a sense suggested in that ‘delicately known as’ phrase from Arnold Bennett in 1920):

A stay at a flash hotel in Miami last year had us in a suite of rooms with a huge art-deco style bathroom, beautifully decorated in black and white, but with nowhere to sit or put one’s ‘undies’

‘One’s undies.’ Now that’s a really rare phrase.

The original i-D cover – from Picture Post

January 10, 2015
The fifth issue of i-D with a manipulated image of Princess Diana as the first winking subject and cover lines that pun on i-D, Di and DIY

The fifth issue of i-D with a manipulated image of Princess Diana as the first winking subject and cover lines that pun on i-D, Di and DIY

Fashion magazine i-D was founded by former Vogue art director Terry Jones and the winking model has been a feature of the cover since its fifth issue in 1981 (note the unusual landscape orientation for the magazine). The winking face mimics the letters i-D turned on their side as an emoticon.

It seems that certain people cannot wink, so some subterfuge has to be found to cover up the subject’s right eye. Sade and Madonna can manage it, but Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss can’t! In the duotone blue image here, Princess Diana has someone else’s heavily made-up winking right eye posted over her own.

Vivian Blaine from the London stage adaption of the musical Guys and Dolls on the cover of Picture Post in 1953

Vivian Blaine from the London stage adaption of the musical Guys and Dolls on the cover of Picture Post in 1953

So this Picture Post from 1953 with Vivian Blaine from the London run of the musical Guys and Dolls caught my eye – as it may well have caught Terry Jones’ eye, for he was born in 1945 and is on record as being a fan of Dan dare in the Eagle, which was produced by Hulton, Picture Post‘s publisher. Blaine played the chorus girl Miss Adelaide in the Broadway and film versions of Guys and Dolls as well as in London, with ‘Adelaide’s Lament’ as her show-stopping song.

French dancer Colette Marchand was renowned for her legs and is here shown in the French ballet Cine-Bijou by Roland Petit

French dancer Colette Marchand was renowned for her shapely legs, Picture Post tells us, and is here shown in the French ballet Cine-Bijou by Roland Petit

Picture Post is frequently cited as an inspiration for magazine designers, for example for Michael Rand in his work on the Sunday Times Magazine. Although a groundbreaking magazine in photojournalism and its layout techniques, Picture Post was losing its way in 1953 and was focusing on a male audience with regular centre-spread pin-ups and gimmicks such as 3-D pictures. As well the Guys and Dolls feature, this issue of  Picture Post includes photographs of French dancer Colette Marchand in a similarly-themed French ballet Cine-Bijou. She was renowned for her shapely legs, Picture Post tells us, and is here shown in the ballet by Roland Petit.

As well as looking forward 30 years to the winking i-D, the pointing Blaine image harks back 40 years to Alfred Leete’s pointing Kitchener cover from London Opinion in 1914, which was also used for the ‘Your Country Needs You’ first world war poster. This, of course, inspired many copies, including James Montgomery Flagg’s 1916 Leslie’s magazine cover – with its turgid cover line, ‘What are you doing for preparedness?’ – and the ‘I want you for US Army’ recruiting poster. Although the British did not reuse Leete’s Kitchener image in the second world war, Picture Post ran it as a cover in 1940 and the Americans dusted off Flagg’s image for their recruitment campaigns again.

Picture Post, i-D and London Opinion are discussed in my book, British Magazine Design, coming out in June from the V&A.

Joan Collins, Madonna and Kate Moss on magazine covers

December 22, 2014
Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail's Weekend supplement  - 30 August 2014

Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement this year

When it comes to longevity as a magazine cover star, the prize has to go to the actress Joan Collins. I’ve identified her as far back as 1951 at the age of 18 on the cover of Tit-Bits and there can’t have been a year since when she hasn’t graced a magazine, from Picture Post, to Span, to Film Review, Woman, Playboy and OK! That’s 63 years a cover star.

But although she may not be showing her age – the Weekend supplement cover here is from August this year – Collins is getting on (she’s 81!), so who can rival her in future? Two names spring out –  Madonna and Kate Moss (far too early to consider Lady Gaga). So what are their chances of rivalling Joan Collins?

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Joan Collins had a massive boost to her career with the role of Alexis in Dallas and such reworkings are vital to a long career. Madonna is back in the news at the moment over the ‘artistic rape’ she says she suffered because someone stole demo tapes from her new album. There’s no doubt the US-born singer and actress is a brilliant self-publicist. She has been recognised as the best-selling female record artist on record. Now 56, Madonna’s first Vogue cover was February 1989. Before that, she was a Smash Hits cover in 1984, when she was coming up to the age of 26. That’s 30 years as a cover star and, assuming she is still popular when she’s 81, another 25 years to go, total: 55 years of cover stardom.

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss turned 40 this year and marked it with a Playboy cover. Her modelling fortune was made by her appearance – as a scrawny 16-year-old – on a 1990 cover of style bible The Face shot by Corinne Day. Moss was the face of the Third Summer of Love (the others being 1967 and then the rave summer of 1988).

Starting at such an early age clearly gives Kate Moss an advantage. She has 24 years behind her and, assuming the 81 limit again, 41 years to go. Total: 65. That early start at 16 gives her a potential two-year edge on Joan Collins and a full decade on Madonna. Her first cover was on the Face, a relatively niche title, whereas Tit-Bits in 1951, the launch platform for Joan Collins, was probably selling a million copies a week. In contrast, Moss has been on a Vogue cover – frequently twice a year – just about every year since 1997, whereas Collins has never been on a Vogue cover.

On a personal level, Collins is on her fifth marriage – including Anthony Newley, one of the most gifted actors, singers and songwriters of his generation (Goldfinger title song, a dozen top 40 hits, roles in Dr Dolittle and Eastenders) – and has three children.

Madonna has been married twice – to Dead Man Walking actor Sean Penn and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie – and has four children. Moss has been married just once and has a child from her relationship with Dazed magazine co-founder Jefferson Hack.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether Kate Moss, or Madonna, has the staying power and the ability to appeal to such a wide range of people as Joan Collins.

Magazine sells for £8000 on eBay

October 31, 2014
Marc Jacobs 2014 Playboy special issue

Marc Jacobs 2014 Playboy special issue in perspex box

Magazine collectors have been setting more records on eBay recently. At the top of the tree is the £8000 spent on a copy of Playboy.

It’s one of the 60th anniversary issues of the men’s magazine with Kate Moss on the cover from Jan/Feb 2014 (which went on sale at the start of December). There were at least two variants of the cover: a sideways-on shot of Moss in a Playboy Bunny costume kneeling, which was used in countries such as the UK, Hungary, US and Germany; and one used in Mexico and Italy with the British model kneeling and looking back over her left shoulder.

Inside the issue were 18 pages of photos, which she told one paper she did as a way of celebrating her 40th birthday in 2014.

The cover photographs were taken by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, two UK-based snappers who usually spend their time doing cover shots for the likes of Dazed & ConfusedLove, W and Vogue.

UK issues have been selling for up to £30 on eBay.

The looking-back image was also used for 800 unpriced copies produced in co-operation with US fashion designer Marc Jacobs. One of these went for about £150 in the US recently. However, number 433 of the 800 edition twice failed to attract any bids recently on eBay when priced at £150 and £125.

The copy that fetched £8000 was one of 100 Jacobs copies that were signed by Moss and came in a perspex box. This one is numbered 33/100. Moss appeared at a Jacobs shop in Mount Street, London, at the start of December 2013 as part of the publicity for Playboy‘s 60th celebrations.

Of course, the buyer is after some kind of celebrity rub-off rather than a magazine. But £8000? Has to be a PR stunt. One of these Playboy anniversary issues in a box sold in the US recently for just $3000 (about £1800).

Kate Moss 2014 Playboy cover as it appeared in the UK

Kate Moss 2014 Playboy cover as it appeared in the UK

Goalen – the super model face of the 1950s

June 13, 2014
super model - mannequin - Barbara Goalen

Sunday Times Magazine celebrates the style of 1952, as personified by super model Barbara Goalen (30 January 1977)

Model – or rather ‘mannequin’ in the teminology of the day – Barbara Goalen was chosen by the Sunday Times Magazine as the personification of the style of 1952.

The issue marked changes in ‘Britain at Work’ over the 25 years since Queen Elizabeth’s coming to the throne in 1952 in an article titled ‘The New Elizabethans’ (30 January 1977).

In that year, Goalen had been part of a 40,000-mile world tour over four weeks to promote British fashions and exports.

Goalen was born on the first day of 1921 and died in 2002. She was renowned for her wasp waist and her aloof looks.  Her measurements were 33 inches (for her ‘charlies’ in her own words), 18-in waist and 31-in hips; she tipped the scales at under eight stones.

Goalen’s modelling face was marked by arched eyebrows and she was the ideal mannequin for Dior’s New Look – ‘mink and diamonds’.

Despite her international success, she would be the leading super model in today’s terms, Goalen gave up modelling in 1954 when she married Nigel Campbell, a Lloyd’s underwriter. In the 1960s, she gave out fashion advice in the pages of the Daily Telegraph.

The National Portrait Gallery has four  photographs of Goalen ranging from 1949 to 1952, by Norman Parkinson (one with Wenda Parkinson, Parks’ wife since 1947) and John French. A fourth image from Keystone Press shows Goalen next to a portrait of herself by James Proudfoot.

Barbara Goalen on the cover of the general interest weekly Illustrated in 1953

Barbara Goalen on the cover of the general interest weekly Illustrated (29 August 1953)

The cover of Illustrated here shows an image from the shoot chosen by the Sunday Times Magazine. (There is a certain irony here in that the advent of free Sunday supplements sparked by the Sunday Times, was a big factor in killing off the general interest weeklies such as Illustrated.) Illustrated headlines Goalen as modelling the ‘London Look’. Inside, two photographers are credited, Peter Waugh and David Olins. (Some websites have identified the photographer as Richard Avedon, but this seems unlikely.)

Illustrated rival Picture Post also featured Goalen cover on its cover in 1952, in this case with a photo by John French.

 

Coddington

November 28, 2012

Grace Coddington has a book out so the publicity interviews with US Vogue‘s model-turned-creative-director have been all over the supplements.  The Observer Magazine has an interview by Eva Wiseman, while Janet Maslin provides for the New York Times. But they diverge on the facts. Wiseman writes:

‘While Wintour is painted as a terrifying ice queen … Coddington never wears make-up…’

Maslin writes:

‘Abruptly she mentions the ghastly car accident that severed one of her eyelids. The injury was miraculously repaired, but it sidelined her for a while and pushed her to affect dark and heavy eye makeup. Today, still a provocateur who prefers extremes to the dull middle, she lightens the area around her eye sockets to achieve what she calls “that pale, bald Renaissance look.” It’s a look that sends a spooky message to the conventional beauty world.’

Take a look at the Observer photographs by Danielle Levitt or the many other profiles and see who you believe.

Julie Kavanagh’s 2011 profile in Intelligent Life is a much closer portrait, but then Kavanagh was her assistant in the 1970s.

Also, Vogue has put up a Coddington timeline, videos of interviews and an excerpt from the book and shows Coddington as the model for Vidal Sassoon’s Five Point Cut.

Vogue profile

 

 

Madonna on Vogue covers

April 30, 2012

Been hammering away on the book I’m writing about the history of magazine design and looking through some old Vogue covers. How’s this for the first cover (May 1989) of Madonna in the US edition:

vogue 1989 may madonna us first

Anna Wintour was told this Madonna cover would not sell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion Indie notes that editor Anna Wintour says she was told ‘[Madonna]’ll never sell’, but, in fact, newsstand sales rose 40%. Strange that Wintour hadn’t checked with Liz Tilberis, her successor at the British sister magazine – ‘Brogue’ – which had run this cover in February:

Vogue front cover Madonna

British Vogue beat the US edition in having a Madonna front cover four months earlier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first cover under Liz Tilberis was of Naomi Campbell – her first appearance on the front of Vogue.

History of women’s glossies

British Vogue cover archive - search on date, model, photographer or editor, but not all covers are up

Family life at Dazed & Confused

November 3, 2011

There was a pivotal moment this morning as Dazed & Confused founder Jefferson Hack and Emma Reeves were showing me round the Somerset House exhibition of the book celebrating 20 years of the magazine. Reeves was reeling off the names of celebrity portaits by Rankin (the magazine’s other founder – they met at the London College of Printing): ‘Michael Stipe … Beth Ditto…’. Then Hack breaks in ‘… and Kate’.

He meant Kate Moss, of course, his former partner and mother of their daughter. Moss is the face on the exhibition’s publicity and the cover of the Rizzoli book. The tour changed then. It was no longer just about a great magazine with images and ideas from  many of the greatest illustrators, styists and photographers of the past two decades (though the names drop thick and fast, Bjork, Taylor-Wood, Coldplay, Hirst, the Chapmans, throughout the exhibition). Instead, it was about family. And philosophy and technology.

Both Reeves and Hack talked of the magazine’s staff and contributors as family. And there are two rooms celebrating a lost member of that family: Alexander McQueen. The fashion designer and couturier hanged himself in February 2010 a week after his mother died.

I asked Hack what was the best-selling issue. He responded not with numbers, but the fact that the Fashion-Able cover (September 1998) is the most requested back issue. This led us into room 5 of the exhibition where Nick Knight’s fashion portraits of men and women without legs, or arms, are projected on three large screens – the shoot was the idea of McQueen with styling by Katy England. It is a great cover – a model, who on first glance could be Kate Moss, with prosthetic legs. Arresting.

‘That was the point were the magazine grew up,’ said Hack, taking us into the room. ‘With that issue we were on page two or three of the world’s newspapers. We realised that you didn’t have to be the best-selling magazine to have an influence on culture. That has been our philosophy ever since.’

Getting editors to talk about philosophy can be difficult; for many it is too ethereal, even sounding pretentious. But the best magazines have one. The Economist has a page on its philosophy: ‘We are international, we stress the links between politics and business, we are irreverent and we are independent,’ says John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief. Mike Soutar had a ‘mantra’ in 1997 at FHM – ‘funny, sexy, useful’. US satirical monthly Spy was ‘smart, funny, fearless’.

Many magazines have a family feel. Take Sir Luke Fildes, who was illustrating The Mystery of Edwin Drood when Dickens died half way through the monthly serial being written:

‘… at the request of the family, who wished me to fulfil the desire of the great writer, they asked me after the funeral to come and stay with them, and it was then, while in the house of mourning, I conceived the idea of ‘The Empty Chair,’ and at once got my colours from London, and, with their permission, made the water-colour drawing a very faithful record of his library; and stayed with them until they left the house prior to the sale.’

Woman’s weeklies have long talked about a family of staff and contributors, so Woman’s Own in the 1950s would discuss the lives of its writers and artists – showing a photograph of cover artist Aubrey Rix with his new baby for example, and discussing the roles and lives of young members of staff. And the promotion of the royal family in this era was a boon to magazine sales.

As for technology, Hack described a software installation by Nick Knight as ‘an app ten years ago’. Run your finger across the image to reveal layers of other images underneath. The software was developed for manipulating images – as in Knight’s cover for the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition for the V&A catalogue. And Reeves identified a watershed – eight years ago – for the switch to digital imaging at Dazed. Going back beyond then was ‘a nightmare’, she said. After that, the illustrators and photographers had digital archives of their work. Before then, ‘I’d end up at their mum’s house with a box in the garage.’

The free exhibition 20 Years of Dazed & Confused Magazine opens at Somerset House in London tomorrow. You can buy the Rizzoli book - a hefty 300-plus pages for £35 with more pictures than you can shake a stick at – at the exhibition or from the Dazed website.

Eat and drink nearby: American Bar at the Savoy; Gordon’s Wine Bar by Embankment Tube; and The India Club on the Strand.

Photoshop, friend or foe?: Digital manipulation and magazine covers

December 1, 2010
Kate Winslet stretched for  GQ cover

Kate Winslet stretched for GQ cover. 'We were thrilled,' said editor Dylan Jones

There’s a big divide in opinion when it comes to playing about with images in Photoshop. For newspaper editors – and many magazines – it’s a no-no, because it can undermine the trust of readers (it certainly caused a stink for the Economist in the US). However, it’s an essential tool for the big fashion magazines such as Tatler and GQ, both of which have run into controversy in recent years, over Princess Eugenie and Kate Winslet respectively.

Similarly for photographers, with Nick Knight in one corner:

‘Originally, photography was seen as a better recorder of truth than painting – that’s why it became popular. It’s taken us 100 years to realise that is not the case and neither should we want it to be.’

and rival fashion photographer Juergen Teller in the other:

‘[retouched images is] not what I find beautiful. Beauty advertisers change everything and it doesn’t do any good for the psyche of a woman’

Magforum has now launched a dozen or more pages setting out the pros and cons of Digital manipulation of photographs. Where do you stand? And what effect will digital magazines on the iPad and other tablets have?

Pearls of wisdom from Country Life

October 18, 2010

 

Typical Country Life cover in 1963

Typical Country Life cover in 1963

 

There has been a steady stream of TV programmes that feature magazines in recent years, from Jackie to The Lady, from Marie Claire to Front. They are rarely about the magazines themselves, but the working environment is a great background to the goings-on in what is presented as a rather bitchy world.

Next to hit the fan airwaves is BBC2’s High Society Brides (Wednesday, 20 October 9pm), which examines 50 years of the ‘girls in pearls’ page from Country Life (which was founded by Edward Hudson as Country Life Illustrated in 1897). The programme tracks five society debutantes from this page, which is the first editorial after the initial run of house-for-sale adverts. It comes across as Page Three for aristos, or ‘the girls for sale page’ as Miss October 1960 puts it.

It was all done  ‘with the expectation to find a good husband and get married’ and one girl had been ‘sent off to Lucy Clayton [a finishing school/modelling agency whose alumi include former Avenger and Gurkha activist  Joanna Lumley] to be tidied up and taught how to get in and out of a sports car without showing my knickers’.

Country Life has taken to campaigning in recent years, railing against officialdom discouraging children from playing with conkers or touching livestock. A 2008 manifesto called on the government and public to support 10 points:

  1. Give children more freedom
  2. Label food by county of origin
  3. Eat a rare breed
  4. Reduce Britain’s deer population by 30%
  5. Drink English ‘champagne’
  6. Clean up our verges
  7. Learn to love GM crops
  8. Only eat ethically produced chicken
  9. Save protected rural areas from flight paths
  10. Plant a tree

Best watched with a glass of port after Downton Abbey.


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