There’s no denying the quick-fire wit of the title to Marcus Ohlsson’s shoot in the current issue of S. Magazine. But, to some extent, it’s a little misleading, better re-purposed as a stage name for a high-power drag queen. Sure, there’s a strong feeling of vintage about the shoot that showcases a number of silhouettes that might have been worn by Judy, but, on the whole, it would be more accurate to say that it more immediately conjures up Betty Page than Judy Garland.
Drawing together a number of strands that are in the ether at the moment, ranging from the current craze for vintage and burlesque – which, let’s face it, is fairly mainstream if you can find it as the subject of a contemporary Hollywood film and stage musical- the story takes such ideas and reinterprets them in an S. Magazine style. For those who have yet to browse through the pages of the title, let’s just say that it is notable for a fairly graphic presentation of fashion and often seems to have only one thing on its mind.
Here, rather than endless gratuitous nudity, the emphasis is on a bit of naughty titillation and harmless boudoir games. The vaguely vintage styling even gives the whole thing the kind of naïve innocence that we now, looking back from an ubiquitously hardcore society, find in vintage cheescake mags or Betty Page’s pioneering bondage for the bourgeois suburban set.
Showcasing a strange mix of lesser-known designers such as Ida Sjöstedt with carefully selected items from the likes of Sonia Rykiel or Agent Provocateur, a pioneer of the whole retro saucy underwear and lingerie field way before the current craze for burlesque and suburban perversity, we’re offered something that is undeniably titillating without really feeling seriously exploitative. For one thing, Marcus Ohlsson’s crisp and slick photographic style ensures that this is a million miles away from the sordid grubbiness of the Readers’ Wives territory that is more usually associated with the subject matter. For all of its aspirations to Las Vegas grind or girls being used as human ponies, it actually turns out as a rather elegant affair.