Monday, April 28, 2008

Superheroes Take Over Vogue Magazine

I took a double-take when I saw the cover of May's Vogue Magazine -- it had an Iron Man helmet on the cover!

Of course, it also had Gwyneth Paltrow hawking her new movie. But I thought the fact that mainstream comics made the cover of Vogue was pretty neat.

But that's not all -- there's also several superhero-inspired photo spreads, including:
  • Paltrow posing with various Iron Man equipment
  • Haute Couture superhero costumes -- including Poison Ivy and Catwoman
  • A model posing with Tom Welling (yow!)
  • Another shoot with the introductory text: "A shimmering flash from the dynamic duo of satin and statement jewels...the flutter of a fluid silhouette like like a crusader's cape -- summer's supercharged looks befit any radiant heroine

There's an insert booklet with Alex Ross cover art advertising The Costume Institute's "Superheroes Fashion and Fantasy" show (sponsored by Giorgio Armani) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Armani is quoted in the booklet:

"The power of fashion, like the power of the superhero, lies in its ability to bring excitement and hope to everyday life."

The article that accompanies the Costume Institute article analyzes various superhero costumes in terms of their symbolism and influence on high fashion. For example:

""The Postmodern Body," personified by the Punisher (1974) and Ghost Rider (1972), is a contemporary take on the idea of graphic signifiers, an eclectic mix of gang fashion and style."

Postscript: With magazine sales at new lows and a hurt economy making women more wary about purchasing high-end fashion items, might publications like Vogue be trying to court a more general audience with pop-culture stories on summer blockbusters and the like?

I would be interested in seeing the sales numbers on this issue.

Smiling somewhere:


  1. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Man, those are some great shots, especially that Poison Ivy one. Why don't Marvel or DC hire some of the fashion/photography people to do some comic ads? Those would make excellent covers.

    I remember DC did some house ads, at least a decade ago, probably more, featureing real people dressed up as the characters. I only remember the Ray one, but it was pretty lifelike and cool looking.

  2. I just find it interesting that Iron Man has kind of become Gwyneth Paltrow's comeback vehicle. Where as just a few short years ago a lead role in a larger scale romantic comedy was the comeback recipe de jour.

    It raises an interesting question though. Does the current climate in Hollywood mean that an actress looking for a comeback role has a better chance with a supporting/love interest role in a summer blockbuster than a staring role in her own film? Were there just no female leads meaty enough to warrant a comeback role?

    Or on the other hand, was this just a role she took for the paycheck, but now that everyone is convinced Iron Man is going to be a big ole' hit, She decided to make the big comeback publicity push.

    Also, that Poison Ivy dress is pretty. But I do have to say... wow, that is a hell of an angle her back is tilting at.

  3. I totally posted & the computer ate it! GRRR.

  4. I don't doubt the blockbuster nature of it convinced her, but apparently her husband is a huge Iron Man fan. That probably didn't hurt. :)

  5. If you hadn't told me the shellhead was there, I never would have seen it.
    Gwyneth has that effect on me.
    Can you believe that it's opening this Friday? I'm getting ready to eat some crow about this movie sucking and Marvel making a mistake by taking over their own movies. Looks as though it will be great.
    This too Will Pass

  6. Wow, Vogue is acknowledging comic culture. We HAVE come a long way!

    Not that I like Vogue or think that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, but the more "legitimate" forms of media that acknowledge anything comics, the better.

  7. Anonymous6:41 AM

    1. Tom Welling makes my ovaries explode with joy!

    2. This is a brilliant idea: "Why don't Marvel or DC hire some of the fashion/photography people to do some comic ads?"

  8. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Doesn't the photoshop job on Gwyneth freak anyone out but me?! Her head is floating away from her neck goddammit!!