Monday, March 16, 2009

Vogue Magazine Under Grace Mirabelli

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975I own several issues of Vogue magazine from the 1970's, but when I look through them, I find them to be disjointed and uninteresting. Grace Mirabelli became Editor in Chief when Diana Vreeland left the magazine in 1971. Under Mirabelli's watch, the magazine changed from a bi-weekly to a monthly publication. It also underwent extensive editorial and stylistic changes to respond to the lifestyle changes of its target audience.

Women's liberation and the sexual revolution of the late 1960's and early 70s changed the way women lived their lives. Mirabelli believed that elaborate couture clothing was out of style, and she favored using ready-to-wear and off-the-rack clothing in the magazine. She felt that Vogue magazine under Vreeland was out of touch with its readers, their lifestyles, and their pocketbooks. She remade the magazine to appeal to the practical side of the 1970's woman.

But, it is also true that Vogue under Mirabelli became boring and staid. Many couture houses and high end department stores no longer advertised with Vogue, since their clothing was not featured in the magazine's editorials. Mirabelli was dismissed from Vogue in 1988, when 3 year-old magazine Elle started making headway against Vogue's market domination.

In an attempt to garner waning reader interest, Mirabelli often used fashion photographer Helmut Newton, known for the erotic and sometimes violent overtones of his images. While I do conceed that Helmut Newton is an artist of extraordinary talent, I don't enjoy fashion protrayed in this manner. Show me the clothes, not the sex and violence. Following are a few examples from Vogue, May 1975. How do you feel about these images?

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975"Halston's long, thin, perfect summer evening in red and white cotton knit stripes. (If you have to ask what to wear in the way of a bra, this may not be the dress for you.)"

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975
"...and just as she has the imatination to knot a streak of fishnet around her bare throat, she sometimes has the wit to wear the new Silver Sage perfume on her earlobes..."

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975" The ultra-pretty lacy and embroidered white bra with a plunging neckline, plunging sides, thin, thin straps...and the kind of easy front-closing anyone can manage." Bra by Flair of nylon tricot, about $5.

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975"The string-tied bikini in sienna brown jersey with a matching wrap skirt by Eres."