Nova Magazine is undoubtedly one of my favorite magazines to have ever existed. Part of me feels like a poser for revealing this, as I wasn’t even alive during its lifespan. Regardless, the appreciation is real and the underlying messages are still relevant. The magazine had it all: rebellion and wit, paired with progressive content and photography. Deemed “the new kind of magazine for a new kind of woman,” the publication was critical and conscious of the politics, culture, and societal expectations of the time. All while showcasing fabulous fashion (intelligence + awareness + fashion = life). The spread that best encapsulated these values is “Tight is Right” by Caroline Baker and photographed by Helmut Newton (1971).
This shoot brilliantly comments on the hypocrisy of social expectations while breaking the illusion of a dehumanized affluent class. I love the contrast between formality and savagery: women are both put together and disheveled at once. No woman is prototypically sexual or happy. These women embody freedom – even if their outfits are constricting.
I look at this shoot every so often as a reminder to keep questioning the role of a woman in society. It is absolutely important that fashion continue to comment on current political and societal occurrences. Of course, it is best done with humor and excellent clothes.