In a field of Spring covers that generally involves a chilled, understated sensibility, the current issue of 125 Magazine jumps out. Paul Farrell’s perfectly shot close-up of make-up by Andrew Gallimore zooms in on a delicious mouth and reduces it to vibrant Pop aesthetics. The melting iconography of the American flag as a make-up look is at once reminiscent of all that American airbrushed hyperrealism, though of course here it is more real than hyper…
Heralding 125 Magazine’s ‘America’ issue, it is the perfect image: seductive, clear and provocative in more than one way. America, after all, is a complex idea and whether we respond to it with patriotism and admiration, skepticism or even contempt, we respond to it. Farrell’s image effectively becomes a powerful logo that doesn’t even need a full face to entice potential readers. It is shorthand for a plethora of ideas.
Between the covers, 125 Magazine explores these in various ways. Of particular note are the sprawling fashion stories engaging with ‘America’, shot by an eclectic range of photographers and stylists. In this project, imagery of the American dream and American realities are laid out, ranging from the nostalgic and abstract to homages to the tradition of hip-hop inspired street fashion. At times it’s a little staid, but there are occasional moments of brilliantly captured humour such as the reinvention of Hunter S. Thompson or Rankin’s impaled bunny girls inspired by American slasher flicks.
Of particular note is Perry Curties’ streetwear story that does its own thing and offers us a visually trippy presentation every bit as chaotic and alive as the DIY visual culture of rap.