Or Why is Everyone Always Naked in Edgy fash mags?

I downloaded the new issue of LOVE magazine last week (not the best idea, but worth trying on my new occasional/communal use ipad) and it’s been a while since I had a proper look at one of the thick biannuals so I was like ‘ok so nipples are back then’ when I had a swipe through.

There’s something contrary about a fashion magazine that doesn’t dress its models. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE… They all supposedly exist to sell us clothes after all. But LOVE is obviously a bit beyond the mainstream monthlies, a fash journal that sets the style agenda and the new season’s aesthetic – it’s ART tartz.

So the only clothes I noticed in issue 9 are the ones in the adverts – CLEVER. Instead covergirl Kate Moss is adorned in twisted bits of dried flowers in one shoot or writing sexily, bottomless, in the bath in another. Which is all very lovely of course, and it’s not as if we haven’t seen it all before (wink>>KATE!) – but then that’s surely why it’s not shocking… and I was only slightly surprised because there are so many pages of it. 

As Verity reminded me when I asked her and Phoebe the question above, all of the Euro-editions of Vogue do regular nudes with a nonchalant raise of the eyebrow and shrug of the shoulders, so there’s no reason why LOVE, which is an internationally-read/influential mag wouldn’t follow their rules rather than ours. In France, where the word liberation is even on their coins, worrying about such things would be tres baffling, I’m sure – and in Germany too, my over-analysis would be met with an efficient NEIN of miscomprehension.

But however chic and worldly Verity feels with her pile of Paris Vogues sexily posing on her coffee table, full-frontal shots and high nipple-counts in British magazines are still mostly confined to the I-Ds and Dazeds of the shelves where going naked in print is often a lazy route to appearing subversive, cool and liberated.

It’s not just Moss who’s in the buff in this issue – there’s Cara, the teen model hot on Kate’s cool trail and then Liberty Ross with a point to make and a comeback to announce. Models have been stripping off in the name of high fashion since Helmut Newton (and everyone else) asked them to, so there are no questions over that kind of exposure any more – it’s all about being the photographer’s muse and adopting whatever persona is required to tell the story. As Verity told me, ‘because the mags I read generally only contain haute couture/aspirational fashion that there’s no way in HELL I could afford anyway, it’s become much more about tantalising eye candy – TITillating, if you will. *ha ha haaaa* The fuss is made over the model, photographer, actress – to the point where the fashion is just an excuse for the image.’

And let’s not forget the attention you’ll get for printing some photographs of Kate in the nude again. Like this blogpost for example. Oh well…

PS>> after I started drafting this I noticed a Grazia report on the Tim Walker floral-Moss story and Tim explained that he was inspired by Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop. Shamefully it’s one of the only Carter novels I’ve not read, so I can’t comment on the connection between them but know that her heroines were mostly up for some bawdy frolics.


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Co-editor and co-founder of Pamflet //

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