For our 25th anniversary issue, Purple celebrates the artists and models who incarnated the spirit of the magazine through their style, attitude, and personality: Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Paul McCarthy, Michèle Lamy, Susan Cianciolo… Stella and Eva… Amanda Wall, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Hameline… and more.
We have made 25 different covers showing 25 Purple icons, including amateur erotic photographer John Kayser, a Duncan Hannah painting, and even a cactus. The cover girls tell the story of our 25 years working with the best fashion designers and stylists.
They include super-models Eva Herzigová and Stella Tennant; ’90s icons like Guinevere, Alek Wek, and Chloë Sevigny; the strongest models of the 2000s, like Jamie Bochert, Saskia de Brauw, and Anja Rubik; new-generation talents, like Tamy Glauser, Anna Cleveland, Rila Fukushima, and Sky Ferreira; and emerging supermodels Slick Woods, Kiki Willems, and Grace Hartzel. Since 1992, Purple has been connecting art and fashion. For our 25th anniversary issue, we pay tribute to some of our favorite models and celebrate modeling as a form of art: fashion models are the ones who embody fashion at any given time, the ones who truly inspire the designers, photographers, stylists,and editors. It seems obvious, but this is something to think about in the internet age, when influencers and selfies are increasingly undermining their role, and when social media is replacing established magazines.
Twenty-five years ago, Purple emerged from a revolution in fashion. In the early ’90s, it was called “anti-fashion” or “grunge.” Yes, it was in opposition to empty late-80s glamour. And though it may sound like a rejection of fashion modeling, it wasn’t at all. We looked for new kinds of girls, new faces, and different poses in front of the camera; we wanted more freedom, spontaneity, and variety in attitudes and sexuality. But while Purple stands for fashion as an art form, we also have to recognize the models as artists in their own right. By creating a legitimate connection between an attitude and clothes, a model brings fashion to life. Through intuitive communication with a photographer, the model is the co-creator of a picture.
The art of modeling is not about simply looking good in front of a camera, finding the best profile and attitude, and then having fun and looking sexy. The guys and girls on instagram do enough of that. There is no school for modeling, no repertoire of poses. A good model is someone who instinctively reinvents modeling from A to Z. Certainly, Purple has a preference for models who are “real” psychologically and emotionally. We encourage them to be who they are and to engage with the camera, dressed or not, and to do so without falling into conventions. We also encourage them to question what is supposedly “right” or “wrong” in the business of fashion. We love all sorts of modeling, including versions other magazines will not consider, such as no hairstyling, no make-up, no stylist — just the photographer, the model, and a box of designers’ clothes — as Juergen Teller did with Stella for his Balenciaga shoot in this issue. We also like working with artists, sometimes including those who have no prior experience in fashion photography, because they will bring another level of experience to the models.
Another way to break the rules is to revisit modeling in intimate ways, such as having the model shot by a lover, which often happens in Purple. In this issue, I shot my girlfriend Amanda Wall in Los Angeles for Prada. Since the late ’90s, Purple has also intensively returned to the studio, a place to play and to explore lighting, poses, and attitudes. As an abstract environment or a white box, a studio functions as a laboratory for modeling. We always explore the possibilities that modeling might allow, stretching its limits to extend the scope of fashion photography. In this issue, Anders Edström shot Alek Wek, often from the back, walking diagonally across the studio.
Purple started as an anti-fashion magazine. Now that we’re part of the “new establishment,” we are fighting the system from within to celebrate fashion as art. The paradox is that after 25 years, alternative magazines like ours have to protect true design from the business of fashion, which believes that the internet and social media are the new el dorado. Many brands now tend to think they don’t need magazines, models, photographers, or fashion editors. They believe that they can reach consumers directly by selling clothes through influencers, whose millions of followers will buy what they post. This is the new business of fashion, and this could be the end of the magazine world, and for sure the end of fashion as art.
[Table of contents]
Duncan HannahRead the article
Purple 25 Years 25 covers
text by Olivier Zahm
Emanuele CocciaRead the article
Mark GrotjahnRead the article
Roberta SmithRead the article
Martine RoseRead the article
by Daniel Pinchbeck
Age of Anesthesia
by John Jefferson Selve
Glenn O’Brien on the death of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy WarholRead the article