Blast from the Past: Mirabella

The news is always going on about the death of print, but what happens when a familiar favorite magazine really does go away forever? Fans of 90s fashion will fondly remember Mirabella, sitting on the newsstand alongside issues of Elle, Bazaar and Vogue. From 1989 to 2000 the magazine founded by  fashion fixture and former editor -in -chief of American Vogue, Grace Mirabella offered up a no-nonsense take on fashion. Appealing to women who valued not only style, but substance the magazine was chock full of the era’s trademarks: supermodels, shoulder pads and colorful imagery filled with designs from the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, and Helmut Lang.

Even though the days of Mirabella have long since passed, time hasn’t stripped the publication of its charms. Looking back there are a great many aspects of Mirabella that still feel contemporary: Sarah Moon’s haunting photography is just as relevant today as it was nearly two decades ago (check the latest Valentino campaign if you need proof) and Christy Turlington – a perennial Mirabella fave – is still one of the industry’s great beauties. Today’s obsession with model-style seems foreshadowed by Mirabella’s sleek Glen Luchford editorial styled by none other than Kate Moss and it’s hard to think of a glossy that wouldn’t jump at the chance to publish a feature along these lines today. Styles may come and go but Ines de la Fressange still turns heads as trendsetter for the ages and Regan Cameron’s images of the legendary French muse are an enduring delight.

Amber Valletta & Michaela Bercu

Christy Turlington

Chandra North by Glen Luchford, styling by Kate Moss

Honor Fraser and Yael Reich by Sarah Moon

Christy Turlington by Fabrizio Ferri

Kristen McMenamy by William Garrett

Ines de la Fressange by Regan Cameron

Janine Giddings by Sheila Metzner

  1. Thanks for the post, Janelle. This was really sublime. It’s such a shame there aren’t magazines like this anymore.

  2. Janelle, I would also like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, this post was really special! Too bad magazines have lost a little bit of the edge and magic from yesteryear – with a few exceptions, of course.

  3. Fantastic! But the model next to “A light touch” is not Honor Frazer. It is an Israeli model called Yael Reich who worked a lot with Sarah Moon in the early to mid 90ies. Honor is right below Yael ;^)

  4. Thank you kayleaf, Gustavo and Patrick, I’m glad you guys enjoyed this little trip back in time 🙂

    Will edit to include Yael’s name as well Patrick, thanks for ID-ing her!

  5. Thank took me back in time with this one..I love Fabrizio Ferri”s work so much..I miss this time in both fashion, beauty and photography. Mirabella also had a very smart writer named MELISSA SONES whom I loved as well. Wonderful post MODELS.COM

  6. I loved Honor Fraser and Janine Giddings, they were two of my favorite models of the nineties. But also Christy, Amber, Kristen and Chandra, of course.

  7. Film images have so much soul and are so vivid and strong. This kind of photography requires patience and real skill, and above all else, vision. Not just the ability to see, but to envision, shape and execute. Often all of this came together elegantly on editorial shoots in the past. Things were not planned out so carefully. They just happened, and it was magic. You could feel it on set.
    Many photographers no longer frame up images. They crop them. They do not compose, but they edit in post.
    Too much criticism and input has taken the life out of the images. We now have static images of pore less, open mouthed faces with bland skin tones – photoshopped to point of a video game cartoon fantasy.
    I am so happy that I got to experience working in the photography world the 90’s. I remember the spontaneity and creativity. I also remember the discipline. I remember what “genius” really was. Thank you for reminding me.

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