June 30, 2007


In my fashion research, the old editorial director of Fairchild Publications once said in an interview that the only difference between a fashion photograph and an art photograph would be that the former includes credit (or shopping) information.

I've been avidly reading magazines since I was 10 and obsessed with borrowing issues of YM and Girl's Life from the public library every month. But until I started really going behind the scenes at fashion and beauty magazines myself, I was rather naive about how the genre operated. I always thought, for example, that when a magazine featured someone in their home that the home always looks the way it does (it's normally somewhat to completely propped), with all the amazing accessories and styling. Also, I assumed that the clothes people wore were their own - which is (in 99% of the time) not true!

But the biggest concession to the commercial nature of magazines in my opinion? Beauty credits! I remember in high school trying to "copy" the look of many a Seventeen cover girl...and it shocked me to find out that beauty credits are normally advertiser friendly rather than honest. Basically, the make-up artist does their magic with whatever products they have and like (or get for free as they might be sponsored by a make-up conglomerate). Then, the credit is given to whatever company or companies the magazine wants to keep happy...

What do you think about this? Has everyone but me always known about this practice and I'm just naive?


Henna said...

Nope, I didn't know it either when I was younger and only found out when I started reading blogs (a couple of years ago).

Is this now common knowledge? It should be, shouldn't it, so that magazines will stop doing it.

And to think that when I first discovered the "get her look" feature, I was excited to try it.

Sandra said...

I knew about the styling, but not about the cosmetics. However I did suspect it. I've seen product lines featured on hispanic models or actresses that I KNOW don't carry any colors that would match that skin tone.

By the way, love your blog.

A Gentle Hedonist said...

I had no idea. Thanks for the intel.

timoni said...

I knew it because I read "Color Stories" when it first came out (http://www.colorstories.info/). If you have *any* interest in the cosmetic industry (and obviously you do), it's a great read. A little dramatic, but tons of fun and incredibly bitter to book.

fashion theory said...

Oooh! I have to read that!

I really liked the Lucky editor's book, I think it's called My Improbable Career in Beauty and Magazines. Loved it!