Fashion Spreads: Word and Image in Fashion Photography since 1980

By Paul Jobling | Go to book overview

Introductionto Part 1

Fashion photography provokes viewers and consumers into confirming their own identity through structures of desire … constituting a nexus between fashion and selfhood.

Jennifer Craik, The Face of Fashion.

Since 1980 fashion publishing in Britain has become more diverse and diffuse than it has ever been. By the end of the decade, the market position of established and popular titles in the women's press such as Woman's Own, 19 and Cosmopolitan began to be challenged by more daring prototypes such as the English editions of Elle and Marie Claire, launched in 1985 and 1988 respectively. 1 More significantly, a triad of youth culture magazines, The Face, i-D and Blitz, all launched in 1980, had taken the initiative of giving work to inventive young photographers, many of them recent graduates from art and design school. By 1985 their contribution to the fashion shoot had begun to make much of the iconography in traditional magazines such as Vogue (British edition founded 1916) and Harper's and Queen (founded 1970) appear staid and lacking in imagination. At the same time, a revolution in the men's magazine market had been set into chain with the appearance of new titles such as Unique (founded 1985), Arena (founded 1986), For Him (founded 1987 and latterly known as FHM), and the British edition of GQ (founded 1988). This trend has continued into the 1990s, when avantgarde fashion photography also became the province of independently produced titles like Dazed and Confused (founded 1994) and Don't Tell It(1995–7).

All these new titles prioritised an ideal of conspicuous consumption, and the delectable fashion photographs they contained had a huge part to play in transforming attitudes towards both style culture and gender and sexuality. A more detailed analysis of particular examples of the latter and the work of many of the photographers included in the following chapters can be found in Part 3, which evaluates the construction of gender, sexuality and ethnicity in fashion photography and the representation of the body in terms of production and consumption. But at this stage of my discussion I feel it is necessary and useful to sketch in some of the more general developments in

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Fashion Spreads: Word and Image in Fashion Photography since 1980
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes *
  • Part 1 - Back to the Future: Fashion Publishing since 1980 15
  • Introductionto Part 1 17
  • Notes *
  • 1 - Vogue 19
  • Notes *
  • 2 - The Face 35
  • Notes *
  • 3 - Arena 49
  • Notes *
  • Conclusion - To Part 1 59
  • Notes *
  • Part 2 - Written Clothing and Image- Clothing: Roland Barthes' ‘the Fashion System' in Perspective 63
  • Introductionto Part 2 65
  • Notes *
  • 4 - ‘the Fashion System’: a Synopsis 69
  • Notes *
  • 5 - Going beyond ‘the Fashion System’: a Critique 83
  • Notes *
  • Conclusion - To Part 2 101
  • Notes *
  • Part 3 - Bodylines: Identity and Othernessin Fashion Photography since 1980 105
  • Introductionto Part 3 107
  • Notes *
  • 6 - Who's That Girl? Alex and Kate: a Tale of Two Bodies in Contemporary Fashion Photography 111
  • Notes 136
  • 7 - ‘statue Men’: the Phallic Body, Identity and Ambiguity in Fashion Photography 143
  • Notes 180
  • Appendix 1 - Directoryof Fashion Photographers, Stylistsand Magazine Features 1980–1996 189
  • Appendix 2 - Photographersfor British ‘vogue’1980–1995 211
  • Bibliography 215
  • Index 235
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