Love Magazine Issue 4 shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott released 8 covers all depicting women who are deemed the epitome of femininity. Stereotypical styles and advertising trickeries such as no pores, no wrinkles are employed, highlighting just how the perceptions of women really are distorted through visual media. However, I do appreciate the appearance of androgyny, paving way for boyish girls to be deemed beautiful and feminine also.
The first two featured an androgynous looking Alessandra Ambrosio pegged as “The Angel” and a leopard print clad Rosie Huntington-Whiteley named “The Siren”. The leopard print does two things: it denotes a sense of fiery, animalistic, raw sexuality, which is exciting to readers whilst also dehumanizing “The Siren depicted: she is seen as more animal, unhuman, a mere sexual object. Her breasts and lips are accentuated, mimicking the effects that occur when women are sexually aroused. Thus, this image presents a very stereotyped view of femininity, that of degradation and sexualisation, where big breasts and full lips are deemed “ideal”.
The second group consisted of Gisele Bündchen, “The Bombshell,” and a black and white image of Lauren Hutton, named “The Heroine.” The image of Gisele is simple and warm, echoing styles of previous ‘bombshells’ such as her bouffant hairstyle, reminiscent to the beautiful Bridgette Bardot. Meanwhile, I feel the use of black and white, exclusive to Hutton’s image, denotes a sense of older age. Black and white imagery evoke and mimic photography from much earlier periods such as the 70’s, thus reinforcing this image is a depiction of an older lady. All the other subjects are young and shot in colour whilst Hutton, the only older woman is pictured in black and white. This reinforces and presents an inequality between the young and old in the fashion world as well as within beauty standards. Youth is deemed beautiful whilst age is not. Hutton’s wrinkles are also diminished to reflect a much more youthful and therefore desirable look.
Then, we are presented with “The Rebel”, Agyness Deyn, and eerily, “The Mannequin,” which is an image of a doll named Ms. Perfect. By titling Agyness a rebel, instantly separates her from all the women depicted. Thus emphasising that an androgynous style lies on the edges of regular femininity. It evokes ideas related to masculinity instead: James Dean in “Rebel without a cause”, 1920’s lesbians in trousers smoking, the violent skin heads of 1980’s England. The doll reinforces our unrealistic ideas of beauty, that if they were true, they would take on the form of a lifeless doll.
The final coves depict British model Kelly Brook, “The Sweetheart” in the nude, with only a boa covering her breasts, and the other featuring an unrecognizable Sienna Miller “The Pin-Up”. The images of Kelly Brook feature all the commonplace and sexualising tools advertisers use to entice readers. Her nudity and rounded curves are deemed beautiful and feminine, reminiscent to the curves of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. The boa denotes a sense of glamour and burlesque performance, as if she is performing for a man who cannot be seen, thus this is definitely an image seen through the male gaze. Such features are echoed in the image of Miller.
Overall, I found this feature useful as whilst it claims to represent a variety of women who are “sublime” and the epitome of femininity, the images are still cleverly constructed and distorted. As a result, the portrayals are unrealistic and false just like all the other advertisements out there. Nonetheless, it’s pleasing to see that an older woman and a boyish girl are featured which shows how the future of femininity and beauty is already changing.
Love (2009) Love Magazine (4)
Fashion Gone Rogue (19 August 2010) LOVE Magazine #4 Covers | Gisele, Alessandra, Agyness, Rosie, Lauren, Sienna & Kelly by Mert & Marcus [online] available from<http://www.fashiongonerogue.com/love-magazine-4-covers-gisele-alessandra-agyness-rosie-lauren-sienna-kelly-mert-marcus/> [2 March 2014]
Style ITE (19 August 2010) 8 Reasons To Love Love Mag’s Issue 4 [online] available from<http://www.styleite.com/news/love-magazine-issue-4-covers/> [2 March 2014]