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They Took Manhattan and then Fashion: The Dynamic Duo of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey

They were barely known in their home country of England and were nobodies in New York. But when photographer David Bailey and model Jean Shrimpton arrived in Manhattan on a cold January day in 1962, Vogue editor Diana Vreeland greeted them like long-awaited celebrities. “But they are adorable,” Vreeland cried. “England. Has. Arrived.” Bailey was still new to the fashion world and 18-year-old Shrimpton, a recent graduate of the Lucie Clayton Modelling School was, she remembers, “as green as a spring salad.” The pair had met less than a year earlier and worked well together on a shoot for Brides. A few months later they muscled their way into British Vogue, with Bailey agreeing to do the shoot only if the unknown Shrimpton was his model. The 14-page spread was a hit with readers, so the magazine took another risk and sent the pair to Manhattan, where a Youthquake culture was growing. “Young Idea Goes West,” the shots they took during their whirlwind week there, were published in the April 1, 1962 issue of British Vogue, and made the duo famous. They travelled with Read More »

Is This the Worst Vogue Cover…Ever?

Um, what the hell is going on here? Putting aside the (now) kitschy Margaret Keane–esque factor, there is nothing fashionable nor French about this cover. You would have to dig deep into the normally stellar Vogue Paris archives to find a truly bad cover, but this, ahem, dog just fell into my lap when I was hunting for something slightly more chic. I mean, what is this? A sad pomeranian offering a posey of violets to a forlorn reader? And so cliché! (Parisians and their frou-frou puppies.) Of course I couldn’t stop here, and had to go and Google “ugliest Vogue cover,” and that’s how I found this lovely lady: Read More »

Àli Mode: Flashback to a More Affordable Seventeen

Is this the end of an era for tweens? Yesterday AdWeek published a blurb about the news that Seventeen magazine is eschewing its seven-decades-old teen-budget-friendly mission in favor of adding upscale luxury items to its style guide. Starting next month, items like $400 Marc Jacobs wedges and $400 Coach purses will be paired with $6 Hue socks and other items under $50. Editor Ann Shoket assures that no items will exceed the $500 mark—I’m sure all the tween readers who don’t live in Beverly Hills and the Upper East Side are breathing sighs of relief.

Listen: I’ve never been a huge champion of Seventeen. Like many girls I discovered it when I was about 12 and outgrew it by 14 when it suddenly seemed incredibly dorky next to my Harper’s Bazaar and Mirabella magazines. And yet this news has been eating away at me since I read it. Seventeen is definitely goofy, and while I wouldn’t call it a “safe haven” for girls—it is depressingly rife with reinforcements of negative stereotypes—at least it has generally provided affordable, cute looks styled in ways young girls can emulate. Or has it? The truth is, I haven’t really looked at a Seventeen magazine in at least 20 years. So I decided to see what was on newsstands and compare it to the issues I have at home: A full year’s worth from 1991. (Why do I have a year of Seventeen? Because I buy a lot of my magazines from library sales, and nabbed a bound book of the things for something like $3. You should shop these sales, too, as it supports your awesome local library system, and vintage magazines can be hilariously retro—such as Seventeen, circa 1991—or drop-dead chic—Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, circa anytime pre-1970). Read More »

Donyale Luna Makes History and Graces the Cover of British Vogue

On this day in 1966, a revolutionary issue of British Vogue hit newsstands, the first featuring a woman of color on the cover. Never mind that editors had the model cover most of her face (rumors later flew that she was specifically asked to hide her nose and mouth) or that the image didn’t run on American editions, but history had been made. The mystery woman was Donyale Luna, a 20-year-old beauty who was anywhere from five-foot-ten to six-foot-two, depending on the source and what the often contradictory model felt like saying she was. Whatever her height, Luna was having the best year of her career. Having only left Detroit for New York City about 16 months prior, her face was so Read More »

Fashion Statement: Edna Woolman Chase

“We at Vogue don’t throw ourselves under subway trains, my dear. If we must, we take sleeping pills.”Edna Woolman Chase, American editor of Vogue magazine from 1914 to 1952. Chase, who had very strict ideas about proper decorum among her “Vogue girls,”  was giving advice to a young editor who tried to commit suicide by throwing herself under a subway train. Pictured above are covers from two of the last issues Chase worked on before retiring after 56 years with the magazine (check out the manicure on original supermodel Lisa Fonssagrives!). To read more Fashion Statements, click here. To read about the history and founding of Vogue magazine based on Chase’s excellent autobiography, Always in Vogue, read the Story Behind the Style. Read More »

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