We love the 90s, take two: VOGUE 100 anniversary issue

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Your final dose of 90s magazine goodness is brought to you by an issue anyone reading this should probably own: the Vogue 100 anniversary issue (start your eBay search engines!). It’s the ultimate fashion bible’s ultimate issue, printed in April 1992, the heydey of the supermodel and covered by the top faces at the height of their careers (clockwise from top: Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Karen Mulder, Elaine Erwin, Niki Taylor, Yasmeen Ghauri, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and Tatjana Patitz (center). How amazing to gather all of these women together for one cover!

All that, and in classic white shirts styled “the newest way to wear it–tied at the midriff,” according to the ‘cover look’ notes. That’s just a hint of the good, the bad, the hilariously the-way-we-were that is every single page of the rest of the issue. As I watched (and became giddy during) Madonna’s Superbowl half-time show – and saw the flashes of Vogue covers – this issue and the glory of the nineties came to a serious full circle. All the better to flip through these pages with you, and all the more awesome that Vogue trolled its archives for Madonna moments.

This was the age of Cindy at her beauty-mole-est, Christy at her classically-visaged best, Claudia as the Guess Girl. Cindy is particularly on fire in this issue. She had it all: the hair, the sex pout, the mole, and the cleavage. The nineties LOVED cleavage. This ad, apparently, is for a handbag:

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Cindy was a serious minx, and this editorial showcases her sexual power and healthy-looking body:

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No 90s-magazine roundup would be complete without some (awesomely)bad, am I right? I give you:

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This one is particularly awkward:

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There are ads for Caboodles and Zum Zum, Keds and Sam + Libby, shampoo to extend the life of one’s perm, Virginia Slims, fashion editorials featuring baby-doll dresses (well, more of these appeared in the back issues of Seventeen I also have at the moment, if we’re gonna be technical). If you wanted something featured in an ad, you bought it in a store, called or mailed off for it. For the media-minded, these mags are a case study in advertising and branding. What worked then and how consumers and brands have changed–or haven’t. For example, Clinique ads have remained largely unchanged. Would you think this ad was from 20 years ago?

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And here was Banana Republic then, referencing its safari-themed roots:

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Ads reflected a clear imperative to appeal to the needs and concerns of the everywoman, from Armani hawking basics a la the neighborhood produce stand to no-nonsense hosiery.

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Then there are ads that prove that certain ideas aren’t quite new, but rather newly packaged or reintroduced:

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I could go on and on and scan for days and days, but let me leave you with two final images. Compare, soak it in, and let this be a lesson: there ain’t a whole lotta sartorial space between this Wal-Mart ad and this current American Apparel ad. You’re welcome!

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