I have been quite a fan of Vogue since I was a teenager, and now that I actually have a house and everything, I also have a Vogue subscription. In 1995, when I was 17 and quite definitely a dancing queen, there were photo spreads of beautiful models, wearing obviously expensive clothes in expensive materials. The photo shoot of Bridget Hall in June 1995 was ingrained into my teenage brain, admittedly not so much because of the clothes, but because she was somehow achievable and real. It was one of a flurry of photo shoots taken in run-down locations of Middle America, of the kind that reminded me of our little family road trip across Arizona and Nevada a few years before.
One thing all these shoots foregrounded was the clothes. Of course they were not always wearable, and I suppose my favourite editions were the ones were they showed the priceless couture dresses that are more or less unwearable for any occasion a mere normal person might ever attend.
Of course the 1990s Vogue did also feature Kate Moss jumping around on a bed in a pair of tights, which also has very little to do with clothes; but the heroin chic shoot was iconic and the images have been reproduced 1000s of times. Fashion is also about capturing Zeitgeist, so the creation of iconography is a legitimate result that does not have to depict the clothes directly.
Vogue is much discussed at the moment, as a result of the new editor seemingly lobbing out everyone who has worked there for decades. The outgoing fashion editor in particular, Lucinda Chambers, seems to be incandescent with rage at being fired more or less for being called Lucinda. This at any rate is the only way I can explain this month’s photoshoot; it appears to be a vendetta on the whole industry, and a commentary that is begging someone to call out that the emperor has no clothes, quite literally:
This thing she’s wearing is described as a cropped wool shirt, yours for only £250. It wouldn’t perhaps be quite so ridiculous if it was described as a shrug, and if she wasn’t so naked wearing £2,700 of clothes that she has to awkwardly put her hands in front of her tits. She has some sort of moronic hairdo, designed to make her face look completely unattractive.
It isn’t even the most ludicrous picture in the series; a close second place is held by an image I can’t even be arsed to take a photo of and post. It depicts the same faux-ugly model pretending to light a cigarette, with no cigarette and no lighter visible. I assume they are no longer allowed to show smoking, or don’t want to, but in that case, don’t pointlessly mime the gesture, it’s embarrassing. Ceci n’est pas une pipe indeed.