via Google Creative Commons
In the early 90s, right after the period where I was stealing Benetton inserts from Marjorie’s beauty salon, I began obsessively collecting fashion magazines. Vogue, Bazaar, Mirabella, Mademoiselle, Elle and Glamour were quickly replacing the glossies that were bursting with pinups of the New Kids and Bobby Brown. At the end of each month, I would take the remnants of my lunch money, head over to the 7-Eleven and stock up on enough periodicals to last me for the next 30 days. As a supplement, I’d watch CNN’s Style With Elsa Klensch on Saturdays and learn that Comme des Garçons wasn’t pronounced “commie dess garkonz” or that Pierre Cardin was more than just a name that was emblazoned on weird shirts worn by dads and uncles.
In his memoir A.L.T., Andre Leon Talley writes of how he would escape through the pages of Vogue from his everyday existence growing up in North Carolina. While, like Talley, I was far from being able to afford the luxury items featured in all of my reads, a world of aesthetic ideals was opened up to me—creating a space that ended up offering more eye candy than SuperTeen.