Thursday, July 14, 2011

Funky Pretty

Collecting magazines is one of the great passions and pursuits of my life. To say I might have 10,000 magazines in my archive may be a huge underestimate. I have been collecting all sorts of magazines in a serious way since I was twelve years old. As a young girl, there was Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and Bop, all of those girly heartthrob magazines, full of pictures of brooding boys with come hither eyes or golden boys with perfect hairstyles and heartbreaking smiles. Below is an introspective photograph of a young Johnny Depp.

My stepsister had a shelf in her bedroom that held a precious collection of Seventeen and Surfer magazines. For a girl growing up in California, this was an essential library of beauty tips to help you charm that gorgeous surfer guy, the mythic perennially tan, blonde and salty skateboarding superhero. My stepsister and I would sit on her waterbed and read these magazines one after another, taking mental notes on which lip glosses will make your lips look most kissable, while listening to The Cure, The Violent Femmes and The B-52's "Whammy". Below is a video for the B-52's song "Legal Tender" from "Whammy".

When I was twelve years old, a posh work colleague of my mother's (who was well traveled and always fashionably dressed) bestowed upon me a gift that would change my life, opening my eyes to other worlds and ways of living. Like a fairy godmother in stilettos, this woman gave me her collection of international fashion magazines. 

There was Donna, Vogue Italia, Paris Vogue, British Vogue, Tatler and on and on. The lady was Italian by birth and favored Italian magazines and Italian fashion, so there were a lot of Italian titles. She was the mistress of a powerful businessman, so she often took short trips to Paris, London or Milan, where she would pick up new reading material at the international newsstand.

These magazines were a revelation of style, glamour, beauty, elegance and wealth. Everything was so exotic and jewel encrusted. Women had fantastic, perfectly painted faces with eyes drawn black and hair that fell in soft curls, almost impossible to replicate in one's own bathroom.

Soon, I would convince my mother to buy me Vogue or Bazaar and I would almost sacrilegiously, very carefully remove my favorite pages from the binding and tape them to my bedroom wall. I learned so much about fashion from staring at these outfits from Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Claude Montana, Azzedine Alaïa, and Christian Lacroix. This is a passion I still indulge on a daily basis, an addiction to beauty.

The girls in these images represent the exuberant style of the 1960s to 1970s. Although this era was before I was born, it is a time period that I tend to gravitate to visually. I find inspiration in the fantasy makeup and the carnivalesque patterns. The photography was experimental and took risks with angles and lens distortion, which gave the models and clothing a fresh, new look.

'Funky Pretty' is how I like to describe this vibrant style. Pretty girly-girls experimenting with crazy style in a psychedelic atmosphere. Contemporary fashion magazines emulate this look, but it is the vintage fashion photography that I really love. 

Brigitte Bardot is of course an icon both for her style and beauty, as well as for her screen presence. She was naturally photogenic and looked most beautiful when casually posed. 

Below is a video from Paris Aktuell, that ran from 1966 to 1970 featuring the fashions of Ungaro.

Below, we have a fun and campy French clip from the late 1960s that shows great fashion and style from that era.

Twiggy, Veruschka, Penelope Tree and Jean Shrimpton would have to be the most famous models of that time period. One particular photography book that I have always loved is "Veruschka" by Vera Lehndorff, where Veruschka is completely painted to blend in with her surroundings, so that she almost disappears. If you haven't seen this book, it is definitely worth getting.

Natalie Wood was an excellent actress and a great beauty. This is an amazing photo of her looking so angelic, yet seductive, relaxing at the beach... a one of a kind beauty.

Julie Christie was so great in the classic film "Shampoo" with Warren Beatty. She perfectly personified the free and easy, yet utterly glamorous look of the day. Her features are so interesting because she can look soft and romantic at the same time as looking willful and edgy, without changing a thing. This complexity has been used brilliantly by every director she has worked with. This photo below succeeds in best highlighting these characteristics. 

The next clip is of the legendary Marianne Faithfull performing the song "Hier ou demain" from 1967.

Below is a photo of Cher looking fresh, young and perfectly styled. 

Below is an incredible photo of the brilliant Sophia Loren looking punky, mod and fabulous that appeared in Vogue in 1970.

Last, we have a video made for the Santa Cruz, California band 'The Vox Jaguars'. The video is a great montage of cool 60's girls dancing and scenes from Russ Meyer's "Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" set to their song "Swagger".

1 comment:

  1. I adore Italian fashion glossy magazines, their sweet scented pages and glossy smooth feel excite me as I love to snuggle into their gorgeous spreads of colour especially Marieclaire, Elle, Vogue.