Vogue Paris August 2011 – “Escale à L.A.” (Arizona)

I had another look at this editorial in print today and now I feel more confident about writing this part of the review. As I’ve mentioned before, I think it’s important to look at these images in printed form – while digital images are wonderfully convenient, scanning issues such as colour fidelity and image quality can make or break a weak image (strong images, however, stand out regardless of these factors).

On this second viewing I chose to look at the colours and the setting before focusing on the model, Arizona.

Stylistically this part of the editorial is the complete opposite of Freja’s modern rock-chick – Arizona is cast as a glittering, technicolor suburban housewife of a bygone era.

The grain filter and saturated colours of each image indicate that these images hark back to an earlier time – it feels like we’re looking at old photos. The background setting of suburbia, with its white picket fences and clean cut lawns invoke a sense of nostalgia and longing for an earlier time when life seemed simpler. In light of the recent troubles with America, it’s no wonder that Americans would prefer to reminisce about the past… but I digress.

Within this idealised setting, Arizona is pitch-perfect – her bobbed hair and All-American good looks suit the era that I&V and stylist Suzanne Koller are aiming for and the images look exactly as if they were lifted from a Vogue magazine circa 1960. Brilliant. Arizona does an amazing job here – her megawatt-smile in her initial shot immediately sells the image of contented suburban housewife. However, it is her subsequent, more serious poses that remind the viewer that not everything is always as perfect as it looks in suburbia. These images depict dissatisfaction and yearning (Arizona staring off into the distance works wonders here) and sublimated sexual desire (look at the fourth image: why else would one lounge on the nature strip in an outfit that could almost be considered lingerie?)

The more I looked, the more I fell in love with the entire editorial (especially Lara and Natasha’s shots). I wish I could articulate the swirl of thoughts that occurred to me as I gazed at this. I think this issue will make a great addition to any respectable magazine collection.

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