I grew up avidly reading The Face and i-D, so excited was I that there was this whole ‘other side’ of fashion that the conventional glossies didn’t dare to go but at the time, I wasn’ aware that they weren’t the first publications to push the boat. I’m quite in love with my local secondhand bookstore, Black Gull Books, that gets a steady supply of interesting fashion/photography books in every week and I’ve been hovelling up in there, skimming through every one of them. I picked up the companion book to an exhibition that toured in 2001 called ‘Look at Me; Fashion and Photography in Britain 1960 to the Present’ and saw prime examples of the styling work of 60’s-70’s key fashion editor, Caroline Baker. She was the fashion editor of Nova magazine, from 1967 and collaborated with the likes of Helmut Newton, Harri Peccinotti and Hans Feurer and this is what she said about working at Nova:
‘When I joined Nova, Dennis Hackett was the editor and his brief to me was: ‘I just want you to go out there and do different things. I don’t want it to look like Vogue or Queen or anything else. Your fashion pages are to be different.’ I was pushed into alternative fashion because that was what the editor wanted. That was the strength of Nova, we were exploring other avenues.’
What Harri Peccinotti, the first art director of Nova had to say:
‘The reason fashion magazines look like they do is that they have to please the advertisers. At Nova, the fashion pages were almost an insult to fashion at times.’
It’s that assault on mainstream fashion that I’ve always been attracted to, yet for me, I’m not giving a slap in the face for the Vogues, Harpers, Elle etc but rather, I’m grateful for having access to a well-rounded, all-encompassing view on fashion, with the seeds planted by publications like Nova and Deluxe (another 1970’s indie fashion mag).
All images scanned from the book and now I will go on a hunt for vintage back issues. It’s amazing how contemporary all the editorials look for something coming out of the 60’s-70’s and certainly has created a different facet to what I envisioned fashion of that era to be.
‘Tight is Right’, Photographed by Helmut Newton, styled by Caroline Baker, published in Nova, April 1973
‘Splash’, Photographed by Harri Peccinotti, styled by Caroline Baker, published in Nova, April 1971
‘We are just good fur-riends’, Photographed by Hans Feurer, styled by Caroline Baker, published in Nova, January 1974
‘Wild on the side walk’, Photographed by Byron Newman, styled by Caroline Baker, published in Deluxe, issue no.1 1977 // ‘Beds and Blankets’, Photographed by Armet Francis, styled by Caroline Baker, published in Deluxe, issue no. 2 1978