For the ladies…Dolce & Gabbana, Fall 2011

I’ll skip the long introduction and get to the good stuff:

Dolce & Gabbana, Fall 2011


This image is nothing new.  Helmut Newton did it in French Vogue in 1979:

Helmut Newton, 1979


And more recently I posted this one from French Vogue, 2005.

But I’m not complaining.  It’s all good.  More, please!  I’m talking to you, late-to-the-game American Vogue.


For the boys…Dolce & Gabbana, Fall 2011

We’ll be back to our regular sapphic posts tomorrow, and with a lustily genderfucking ad to share.  Today though, I have to bring your attention to what could be a trend.  Maybe I got too excited too soon, but take a look at this ad from Dolce & Gabbana:

Dolce & Gabbana, Fall 2011


Holy crap that’s homoerotic.  (You’ll see the female counterpart to this ad tomorrow.) The second best thing about this ad (after it being made in the first place) is that for once we see a whole lot of male skin.  And some body hair.  No Ken-doll Abercrombie & Fitch pretty boys for this ad campaign. Not that I lust after male body hair, but you know, it’s the principle of the thing.

The women in tomorrow’s ad, sadly, are fully clothed.

This could have been an isolated incident, until I passed this massive ad in Macy’s window on my morning commute:

Johnny Weir for MAC, 2011


Before I knew who this was, my first thought was “for goodness sakes, that’s a twinky model they got for their new ad campaign.”  But it’s Johnny Weir, the gender-fabulous (and all-around fabulous) skater.  Check out this genius.  Vogue!



Vogue Paris, August 2006

Snejana Onopka & Bette Franke: Beau Chic, Bons Genres – Vogue Paris by Patrick Demarchelier, August 2006

Tricornes and Gaydar

It must have been tough to be a sapphist back before…oh wait, it’s still difficult to tell which ladies like the ladies.

Unlike gay men, who have the bandana in the back pocket or an earring in the right ear, lesbians don’t have any such visible sign.  Sure, asymmetrical rumpled hair is a hint, as is the ubiquitous wifebeater (tank tops, for all you PCers).  But those are not clear signs, since they abound in straight girl style as well.

I’m getting off on a tangent.  The point of this post is to introduce my next mini-project, which is to comb my book collection for images of 1910s-1940s women in tricorne hats.

My beloved mentor at MCNY has a theory that the Tricorne was an early sign that the wearer had sapphic leanings, or at the very least was enough of a bohémien to consider a little experimentation.

To start, this fashion photograph from Harper’s Bazaar, Dec 1939.  This era was a time of notoriously wacky hats, but I intend to be thorough in my search so I am posting it even though I don’t think  the photographer, Francois Kollar, had any intention of making a lesbian statement.

Harpers Bazaar, December 1939

The First One, 1965

Perhaps not the first, but according to my professor of Fashion Photography, this was an early image that caused a minor kerfuffle because of its implied homoeroticism.

The image was by Bob Richardson, and was published in Harper’s Bazaar October 1965, p. 209.  The caption read: “Daisy chains of diamonds, swaying in a net sweater that drapes in a cowl over the bodice of a white satin dress.  Diamond flares, silver streaked, twinkling on a gauzy sweater atop a white dress.  Both dresses by Mollie Parnis, in Staron Silk.”

"Giggling" by Bob Richardson, 1965

"Giggling" by Bob Richardson, 1965

Buffalo Jeans from David Bitton, In Style 8/2010

Another fashion photograph that hints at homoeroticism and includes “the sister thing“.  It doesn’t have a strong alienation element, but something akin that I don’t have a term for yet but know as the “come join us, Viewer” look.

I find this especially interesting, given that the ad was published in a fairly straight woman’s magazine, In Style.  It’s interesting, but not surprising, since most female homoerotic advertising appears to be aimed at straight women.

Buffalo Jeans Ad Campaign, Fall 2010

Buffalo Jeans Ad Campaign, Fall 2010

Leon Max, Spring 2010

There are a few themes in fashion photography with lesbian undertones.  Two of them are in the ad below, which I nicked from the Vanity Fair March 2010 issue at my doctor’s office.  It’s from the Leon Max for MaxStudio Spring 2010 ad campaign.

Theme # 1 is alienation.  The two women are physically close but don’t look at each other.  The right woman’s arm touches the left woman at an intimate part of the body (the waist) but if you look at her face there is no evidence of any emotion.

Theme # 2 is what I call the sister thing.  I don’t know if there is an art-theoretical word for it.  Both women are made to look similar, almost like twins, or a mirror image of themselves.  This is an old idea about lesbianism- that women had sex with other women out of a desire to have sex with themselves.  Autoeroticism to the extreme.

Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture by Bram Dijkstra has a great chapter on this subject, focusing on male paintings of perceived female autoeroticism in the late Victorian era.  For example, this drawing by Fernand Khnopff, “The Kiss,” 1887.