My Sweet Valentine
February 13, 2016
Rinse Off
March 4, 2016

Fashion Nude and the Rise of the Sexy Villains

Fashion nude has always been an intriguing concept to me. It seems like such an oxymoron on the surface: if fashion imagery is about clothes, then how can there be a nude that is fashion?

It’s a question that compels people as we know that, despite the apparent paradox, the fashion nude certainly exists. Since assuming the role of editor-in-chief of UNCOVERED in January, 2016, I’ve been tasked with (among other things) a refinement of what we are about. Not a change but a chance to refocus on where we are, what we do well and where we want to go as a publication.

As I work that through, I continually return to this notion of the “fashion nude.” To even understand why it exists, we have to accept a simple fact about fashion photography: not all fashion imagery is about clothes. I’d personally argue that most of it isn’t. Fashion imagery is about life. A life you don’t have, a life that you dream about, that you aspire to, that intrigues you, a life that calls you. Your access to that life is the clothes.

That may seem a little pretentious and ethereal but consider most ad campaigns and the images which comprise them. They show you a life you could have… just buy the clothes and the life is yours. If that sounds a little cynical, I’d just say you’re an idealist; the premise of most fashion ad campaigns could be boiled down to that when stripped of all pretense. Gucci doesn’t sell leather goods as much as it sells an alluring European sensuality. To own their goods is to have that. Jil Sander didn’t sell women’s suits as much as she sold the life of a confident, modern, minimalist woman. To own those clothes is to be that woman.

So when you consider that it is selling a life and not simply clothes, then the fashion nude makes more sense, as there are plenty of times when it fits the life shown in the image. Bruce Weber was notorious for having naked models in Abercrombie & Fitch’s marketing of the late 90s and early 00s. Incidentally, the brand sold the collegiate american lifestyle rather successfully due in no small part to the imagery by Weber. Peroni ads of about a decade ago featured fashion lifestyle images that were completely devoid of the beer (opting instead to have a photo of the beer in a simple product shot, almost saying “There’s the life: drink this and it will all be yours.”).

Now, if we are to be about the fashion nude, we have to consider what that means for us as a brand. Sometimes the fashion nude is more art than fashion, other times it’s more fashion than art. Alternatively, there are also times when it’s decidedly erotic. If commercial is the protagonist in the rom-com and fashion is the hero of the action flick, then the fashion nude — the paradox that seems like it should not exist but does, the complex notion that makes sense but doesn’t, the concept that flaunts the line of acceptability and dares you feel something about it — the fashion nude must be the sexy, brilliant villain in the psychological thriller. You can’t ignore it, you can’t get past it, you have to deal with it and you always feel something about it.

That’s what we’re about at UNCOVERED: we’re about the sexy villains. You’ve even been showing us this for some time via social media and such, telling us visually how you see us. We hear you, you sexy villains, we hear you. As we expand to give you the content you want, we’re going to be looking at the life that you sexy villains enjoy. Beautiful photography, always. Fashion, art and more. Yet, we’ll begin to give you something extra: writing that engages, highlights that inform, brands that interest.

We’ll be about more because you’ve shown us you want more. More to the point: the fact is that we have always been about this, we’re just much more focused on it now. You’ll still see some refreshing variety but our identity will be much clearer even then.

I hope you like the changes which have already occurred and the ones we have in store for you. We have some exciting photography lined up, a return to magazine issues in eZine format and more. I’ll probably fade back behind the scenes but wanted to let you know that we’re listing as we grow and will deliver what you want.

Cheers.

–Kincaid Blackwood