It wasn’t just the fashion in the 1988 Next Directory that I wanted to write about: to a 21st century eye these underwear spreads from 1988 look more like real people stories than fashion layouts shot on models.
That’s because many models back then were bigger. And especially the girls who modelled lingerie: it was accepted that lingerie models should be a different shape to the editorial & runway girls.
Then two things happened. Firstly the 90s when Kate Moss and the xylophone-ribbed eastern European show ponies started to make an impact on the modelling industry as a whole and models across the board started to shrink, and secondly, lingerie started to become a fashion led business as brands like Myla & Agent Provocateur entered the market and started to shoot their campaigns on fashion models.
When’s the last time you saw an underwear model who looked like this? The basque on this girl from the 1988 Next Directory is actually cinching her in, as opposed to hanging off her.
I’m not convinced that photographing bras & knickers on models who have no curves is the best way to flog underwear. It certainly doesn’t make me hotfoot it to the nearest knicker purveyor.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if underwear retailers showed us their collections on a combination of slender AND curvy women?