View Single Post
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: another girl, another planet
FASHION / INSIDE OUT
August 18, 1994|DEBRA GENDEL | TIMES FASHION EDITOR
When Hiro, who trained under Richard Avedon, was asked by Mirabella magazine to come up with the face of American beauty in the '90s, the legendary fashion photographer considered his options.
"I could have gone into the cornfields of Iowa," he said by phone from his New York studio. "Or I could have drawn on the type of beauties from the past, like Ava Gardner or Merle Oberon."
Instead, he chose to create a woman of the future.
The clue to this futuristic female's family tree floats to the left of her cover portrait. A tiny computer chip is a tip-off that Miss September is more (or less) than meets the eye. A computer-generated composite of several women, to be exact.
"When people first see her, they say she's very beautiful," Hiro said. "After I tell them she does not exist, they say, 'I thought there was something weird about her.' "
Others have called her vacant, inhuman, detached, said Pat Beh Werblin, Mirabella's director of communications. (Reminding us of some flesh and blood cover girls.)
Overall, she's not as ethnic as she ought to be, given our increasingly ethnic population. The 35 women Hiro initially interviewed represented a cross-section of ethnicities. He says he wanted to get away from the "peaches and cream, blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic beauty." Yet the features of his creation remain steadfastly Anglo-European. Ultimately, Hiro photographed five women in similar poses and scanned the photos into an image generator. Then he went to work, blending eyes, noses, skin tones, cheekbones into his own conception of American beauty.
"In America, beauty has a history of being manufactured," said the Chinese-born photographer. George Hurrell made beautiful women ravishing. Calvin Klein turned a skinny adolescent into an object of desire. "The camera sees more than we can ever see. But a photograph doesn't always tell the truth."
I always thought this 'model' looked like a uber-tanned Georgine Grenville (left)...
via voguesgirl.blogspot/ frankwbaker.com
By Anne-Marie Schiro
Published: August 09, 1994
The September issue of Mirabella carries the cover line "Who is the face of America?" next to the image of a blank-eyed young woman with flawless sun-tanned skin, perfect pink lips and damp brown hair that falls below her shoulders. Traces of sand and droplets of moisture cling to her face and bare shoulder as if she'd just emerged from the sea, like Botticelli's Venus.
She is just as much an ideal. She's not a model or an actress or the girl next door, but a computerized collage of features of models of different ethnic backgrounds assembled by the photographer Hiro. The face has as much vitality and intelligence as a store mannequin. Is that how Mirabella sees the American woman?
"I wasn't trying to make her intelligent; I was just looking for the beauty in her," said Sam Shahid, Mirabella's artistic director, who collaborated with Hiro on the face. "The September issue is about American beauty, and I told Hiro I really would like to find the new American beauty. We've always manufactured beauty, we in the industry, and we keep manufacturing the same beauty. But I didn't want a blonde with blue eyes. I wanted something darker, not French and not Italian, but a mix, something much more exotic. Like an alien."
"I think we're still searching for the new American beauty," he added. To Hiro, the face is a vision of the future. He used models of a variety of ethnic backgrounds but said he wasn't trying to achieve a mixture. "If I used 10 percent of this and 10 percent of that to represent all the peoples of America, it would become a monster in a way," he added. "A cover shot has to be beautiful, intriguing."
Alien, monster or the face of the future? The readers of Mirabella will have to decide.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust
View this member's profile
Post a comment to this member's profile
Send a private message to ellastica
Find More Posts by ellastica