Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back Issues: Vogue, November 2005

I have a habit of hoarding fashion magazines. When I was living by myself in Brooklyn, I kept every single one that I bought during my two and a half years there. A small mountain took root in one corner of my apartment. It wasn’t until it was time for me to move home that I culled the pile, throwing out everything except for a few special issues.

But on yet another search through my mother’s house, I came across magazines saved from college as well as the time that I lived at home right after graduation. Unlike the ones in my apartment, where the space and the solitude allowed me to keep even those issues I became bored with, these magazines had been kept for a reason. But now, many years on, I didn’t necessarily remember why some had been kept over others. So I decided that I should start reading them and try to remember why they were spared.

For what must have been the 57th time since I bought it nearly four years ago, I picked up the November 2005 issue of Vogue last week and considered recycling it.

But that time, just like the previous 56, I read it once again before putting it back in its place.

It’s easy to forget how quickly the model population turns over. There were, of course, the old standbys. Kate Moss for Dior. Gisele for St. John. Daria Werbowy for many. Jessica Stam before the blond and the Fendi. But there were also a lot of faces that I hadn't seen in years. A story told of the arrival of the Topshop Unique line stateside four years before the store itself would make the leap. I must have been excited about the prospect at the time. While I was studying abroad in the first half of 2004, I had spent innumerable hours in the Oxford Circus store. The loss of access to it had added an extra patina of sadness to my return that June.

After skimming through the long piece on women dressing for work and the accompanying editorial on suits from the Resort collections, I landed on what I assumed was my reason for keeping the magazine. It was a fashion editorial featuring Josh Hartnett and Gemma Ward. Mario Testino had shot them at the coast. And they had put her in the types of pieces that I wished I could wear. Light and romantic. They were also, of course, those I was most afraid of trying.

I always liked when they had editorials with a male actor and one of the models. The pictures reminded me of stills from a film. Together they told a story, which was an element that I loved yet didn't often see.

I was satisfied that I had found the reason for this magazine's rescue.

I flipped through the last two stories. Remembering when Trovata was nominated for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and had four designers. Dreading the return, once again, of Boho Chic. When I turned the final page, the real reason I had kept the magazine surfaced. A phantom red dress. A Carolina Herrera that Gemma Ward had worn as she mimed playing the cello. Every time I picked up the magazine, including this last time, I would hope to see the dress before remembering, once again, that this was not the magazine.

It was another from that fall, but I couldn’t remember which.

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