Monday, July 17, 2006

Vanity Fair 1983

I make a few runs up to my neighborhood thrift store every week. I buy magazines there all the time. I can pick up In-Style, Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair for .40 cents a piece. They are usually a few months old but what do I care, I have no need to be cutting edge around my kids.
I was there a few days ago when this magazine caught my eye. My first thought was that Vanity Fair had changed it's design. On closer inspection I saw that it was from October 1983, very strange since it was in pristine condition, nary a dog ear to be found on any page. I paid my .40 cents and took home my mag with Susan Sontag on the front (looking solemn like any good feminist writer should). Flipping through this magazine is like going through a time warp. Let me share some of the highlights. First off let's go with something positive.

Gas prices got you down? Well back in 1983 gas may of been 1.24 a gallon, but the price of a year subscription to Vanity Fair? 24 frickin dollars! In 2006 that same subscription onlys costs $18. Yep, I thought that would make you feel better. The only two things that go down in price the longer they have been around: subscriptions and electronics. Which brings me to this.......

1983 technology. I know this ad would of been so much better if it was selling beta. Alas it is VHS, but what strikes me as novel is the fact that in 1983 this is so portable (that's what the ad says). Well I guess if your definition of portable is that you can pick it up with out getting a hernia, well then yeah, I guess it's portable. So is a suitcase. I would love to tell all the people of 1983 (including myself) what portable technology will be like in 2006. Try a few ounces.
Nothing gets dated faster than technology........and fashion.

I was really disappointed with the 1983 advertising. In the present day Vanity Fair mag you can find goo gobs of luscious shiny ads for Gucci, Prada, Dior, etc. I look at this ad at the left and all I can think is "Where are the naked people?" God. How boring.
Back in 83' J. Jill was limited. She was also selling horrid, high neck, corduroy frocks for top dollar. Nowadays J. Jill makes clean, crisp, cotton clothes for stylish older women like my Mother.

Who could forget this?

The smell of conspicuous consumption. I have a vivid memory of Giorgio, one that can almost always trigger a migraine. I was in seventh grade and I was babysitting for a couple who lived off Ward Parkway. They were probably in their late twenties or early thirties, I was 13, so all I knew was that they were old. He had his Beemer and she had a big ol' bottle of GIORGIO BEVERLY HILLS. Which she doused herself in before she left. Which gave me a headache for the whole time I was there.

And last but not least here is Leona Helmsley. The successful bitch of the 80's. Martha inherited that title in the 90's.

On a totally unrelated note: I saw Strangers With Candy last night. HILARIOUS. If you are in the mood for absurd, politically incorrect, lewd, twisted, gross-out comedy then I highly recommend it. It was funnier than 40 Year Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers put together. A big dose of Stephen Colbert didn't hurt either.



Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

What a COOL find!

I had to giggle at the J. Jill ad. Looks like it came out of a 1950s publication.

My mother has a copy of Seventeen from the early 1960s, in which they featured Air Force Academy cadets ogling models, and my dad was one of the cadets.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Oh, this was fun to read. 1983 just doesn't seem like THAT long ago!

And my mother LOVED Giorgio. I remember getting her some of the imitation stuff one year for Christmas back when I was in high school... worst mistake I ever made.

And yes, I, too, vividly remember the days when someone in their early 30s was OLD. Perpective, huh?!

10:34 PM  
Blogger cameo said...

what's up with the cordorory nightgown?

and you know what? you're still in the know more than me as far as fashion is concerned. this is the first i've ever heard of j. jill.

oh well, i guess there will never be any hope for me being a fashion victim.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

I love me some Amy Sedaris. I definitely want to see this movie...if it's half as good as the shows on Comedy Central.

8:10 AM  
Blogger weigook saram said...

I love old magazines. Yeah, that J. Jill dress is awful.

9:11 AM  
Blogger lildb said...

Okay. blogger has eaten my comments five times. FIVE.

I can't do this again. I'll just tell you I think you're swell and leave it at that. well, swell x 100,000,000.

which is pretty darn swell, in my book.


12:34 PM  
Blogger julia said...

So funny about that magazine. Yes, the early '80s were a design sinkhole.

And the smell of Giorgio will always remind me of my girlfriends in 8th grade.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

I love old magazines, but not for my kids - for ME.

I've added Strangers With Candy to my netflix list... DUN, DUN, DUN... it's all on you.

p.s. Thanks for visiting me!

7:22 PM  

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