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"Put in Just for Pictures": Fashion Editorial and the Composite Image in Nova 1965–1975
Nova was published for a decade in Britain, and in that time provided unprecedented space for creative talent, and enjoyed a relatively radical freedom of expression. This article focuses on two aspects of Nova that distinguished its production from that of other magazines of the time: the construction of fashion images and the content of fashion editorial. Rather than being a disposable item, Nova was an object to be collected. This study is about how the treatment of fashion in Nova encouraged some form of further action beyond purchasing the clothing featured in the magazine. It is proposed that this behaviour was encouraged by an emphasis on visual form, demonstrated by the inclusion of cut-out-and-keep flip-books, wall murals and posters, and, fundamentally, underpinned by the treatment of fashion by Nova's production staff. Fashion played an incidental role: more important were the visual possibilities offered by the fashion spread. Naming three broad areas to categorise the treatment of fashion in Nova – The Editorial Fashion Feature, Photo Story fashion spreads, and the Composite Image fashion spread – Beard argues that they emphasise a prioritisation of form over content, and of image over product.
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