On the left, the current Vogue cover shot by Mario Testino. On the right, a Vogue cover from December 1924, illustrated by George Plank. I know which I prefer. The 1924 cover was reprinted in a beautiful and inspiring book 'The Art of Vogue Covers 1909-1940,' with commentary from William Packer. I found the book at Oxfam in Putney. Packer rightly observes,
"Today fame rests easily on any face...making the model girl herself the very figure of present beauty. Safety and regularity are put first and all graphic adventure and risk inhibited. The standard face fills the page, armed cap a bouche, hair, eyes, lips and teeth all equal in their perfection, to general admiration and applause...How different things were in the days before the camera's unchallenged ascendancy..."
This compilation of covers offers endless inspiration. Spectacular shapes, juxtaposition of colour, hairstyles, proportions and obvious attitude in these images make them entirely fresh - ageless in fact - despite their years. I long for illustration to make a come-back in the glossies. Coupled with photography, the reintroduction of this nearly lost art of fashion onto the pages of magazines could invigorate the rather predictable way in which we document fashion in the 21st century. The book was £7.99, the price of 2 issues of Vogue.