Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vogue: The Kraken

I have a complex, quasi-abusive, and completely unbreakable relationship with fashion. In so many ways the entire industry is indefensible. But, like with those people who like the running and catching and throwing and such, I remain, as they say, a fan.

And, like it or not, in the center of the melee, like a bloated, multi-tentacled Kraken, sits Vogue. Its current American edition is ridiculous, as gorgeously documented by former West Egg resident R.J. Cutler in his documentary, The September Issue. The film took a look at the nearly 40 year (!) working relationship of Editor in Chief Anna Wintour and Creative Director Grace Coddington (they started off at British Vogue in the 60s, then both made the move to New York). The various editions of Vogue are often out of touch and embarrassing. The American version is dull and stagnant and honestly, I couldn't care less about the current version of this particular beast. But in its first few glorious decades, it employed such luminaries as Man Ray, Edward Stiechen, George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst, Cecil Beaton, and Lee Miller (who scooped the NY Times with her coverage of the liberation Buchenwald as she traveled with Patton's army. Miller is a personal hero of mine and deserves her own post.). In the teens and 20s the covers featured gorgeous, modern illustrations.

But, every once in a great while, most often in their Italian or Paris editions, Vogue will come up with something that produces at least a dim echo of their former glory. Such is the case in this month's British edition which contains an achingly lovely editorial spread based around a zodiac theme. The photographer is Tim Gutt. The sets were designed by Shona Heath. And the model is Siri Tollerød. You can see the whole thing here.

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