Spring & Summer 2011- Issue 40 —
The fortieth issue of the key Japanese glossy has two images of women dominating: lesbians and vamps. And, better still, a combination of the two. From the opening shot of the Ellen Von Unwerth cover to the feature on French photographer Bettina Rheims within, there’s a lot in this issue to please fans of girl-on-girl action. Perhaps the most intriguing of these is Mika Koyanagi’s rather obtuse article on what can only be described as a visual aide-mémoire rounding up international cinema’s portrayal of the Sapphic.
On the fashion front, the louche decadence – dare we suggest bisexual?- aura of the vamp and the bohemian siren that has cropped up in various ways in international fashion iconography in recent years is reinvented for Commons & Sense in new and arresting ways. Sol Sanchez’ stunning ‘Limelight’ fashion story creates a heady and erotic world of low-rent screen divas evocative of another era; the 1960’s turning into the 1970’s to be precise. If Jack Smith had ever made a promotional film for Biba, these might be the stills. Referring to the same period but approached entirely differently, Lars Botten’s story ‘Bonnie’ is equally notable; all bright sunshine and a free-wheeling California hippie feeling.
As always, the issue also offers treats for fans of illustration. In this particular issue, the three illustrated features – by Jeanne Detallante, Mesdemoiselles and Mamico- that open the issue serve as a powerful reminder of the power of illustration to convey an image of fashion. They are just one reason amongst many that this fortieth issue of Commons & Sense remains as collectible as its illustrious predecessors.