Sign of The Times

In the 1930’s as the U.S.plunged into the Great Depression, Hollywood’s designated role was to take your mind off your troubles, with beautiful dancing Ziegfield girls. Historians may look at the current issue of W Magazine as the current equivalent. W, in case you don’t know is pitched at the wives of the Monied Crowd and the fashion business. This feature, entitled Summer Camp, is shot by Bruce Weber and is as close to pornography as the Conde Nast empire has ever published.  But more than that, it depicts an important late empire portrait of decadence that Nero would have envied. Weber, who made the wonderful documentary, Lets Get Lost,  on the Junkie trumpet player Chet Baker, is clearly trying to push the envelope with Sy Newhouse in the videos that accompany the project. With the exception of one Helmut Newton like image, the pictures are more countercultural than kinky. But there is no avoiding a Miami culture, built on the pleasure principle.

I am tempted to make some comparisons to a year exactly 40 years ago, 1968, but I am afraid it would do no one any good.

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0 Responses to Sign of The Times

  1. Hugo says:

    Why Heavens, I’d say they’re only trying to get them some Peace.

  2. Rick Turner says:

    Boy, is that some vacuous shit or what?

  3. Well the one with the naked guy in the bunny head being hosed down by a naked woman while the fountain sprays was certainly strange. Not that the Bitter Hinterlands is into that kind of stuff.

  4. Reto says:

    Serious, pornographic??? What planet are you americans on? One can debate over Mr. Weber’s seemingly repetitive style and the borning, cleaner as clean pictures he produces but pick up any european fashion mag and you are treated to ten times the amount of T&A. If Condé Nast finally gets the guts to publish something a bit more natural and normal (or how they like to say in the US: risqué) we should applaud them and not wiggle with the finger like a scolding grandmother.

  5. Rick Turner says:

    This is just a load of shite glorifying idiots. It’s not sexy; it’s all on the surface. I have no problem with erotic material in the media. This is just a bunch of phony Miami Vice-like coke heads who think they’re hip. Get over it.

  6. gage says:

    Tell me that the “W” in W Magazine isn’t THE W.

  7. zestypete says:

    Um, I’m sorry, are you seriously assigning content in a fashion magazine any kind of relevance to the zeitgeist? Jon, Hollywood’s “role” during the Depression wasn’t to take your mind off your troubles, it’s where people flocked to get away from their troubles and Hollywood responded in kind to the demand. You make it sound like they were assigned to task and weren’t simply taking advantage of the extra business.

    Seriously, have you seen fashion magazines these days? W is doing what they all do: showing ridiculously pretty/fit people wearing impossibly expensive clothing that most people won’t be able to afford until the knock-offs hit the discount stores. This feature isn’t anything more impressive than that and it’s main fault is that it’s doing it under the guise of “art” – or at least “avant garde” – at the hands of Bruce “Take your shirt off” Weber.

    And maybe I’ve been living in the UK for too long, but Reto’s right, that shoot’s about as tame as it gets. Clearly, you’ll not be wearing any of the season’s fashions featured here (which, based on this shoot, appear to involve tight fitting briefs for the men and not much else for the women).

    One more thought: anything with Kate Moss in it is: (a) trying desperately to be cool/cutting edge; (b) not cool or cutting edge, by definition. And probably involves her nipples being shown at least once.

  8. Jon Taplin says:

    Zestypete-I didn’t mean to come off as a prude. My wife’s fashion magazines don’t show much skin. I like Rick’s take on it: a bunch of coke sniffing lovelies froliking in South Beach to the sound of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

    But then again, I remember when I was 18 in 1968…

  9. zestypete says:

    It’s not the prudishness that bothers me – it’s that this bit of irrelevant fluff has now been given just a touch more credibility than it deserved by inclusion in this far more high-minded blog.

    But hey, a bit of T&A never hurt the site traffic, right? Next stop: the heretofor undiscovered nekkid photos of a certain John McCain…

  10. Dan says:

    I’m patiently waiting for an affordable knockoff of the bunny head.

  11. zestypete says:

    I bought my bunny head the second this edition of W came out. Full price. I am such a fashion whore.

  12. zestypete says:

    I bought my bunny head the second this edition of W came out. Full price. I am such a fashion whore.

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