Neon Mamacita

A&F Quarterly

April 9, 2015 by annie

The A&F Quarterly makes the lookbook models of today seem, well, castrated. Muted pastel colors, dull stares, and oily hair are all very fashionable now but they lack the arousal that teenage sex can bring to a pair of jean shorts.

Abercrombie and Fitch started publishing A&F Quarterly in 1997 as a semi-annual, semi-editorial, semi-pornographic magazine. But why? Well, basically street cred. When you’re selling $100 branded t-shirts, you better have a brand that people want to wear.

But let’s be honest, the A&F Quarterly pushed it farther than expected- past simply marketing and into space that re-defined what branded content meant. They were able to do this because of Bruce Weber.

His photos read like the culmination of everyone’s sexual imagination – a bacchanalian dream. The shoots are tied together by loose narrative threads:  it isn’t just a boy and a girl (or any homo or hetero combo out there)- it’s a substitute teacher and his student, a quarterback and his wide receiver, an entire group of friends on a camping trip- all indulging in foreplay. It is Weber’s embrace of American fantasies that I so love, why pretend that we want to read War and Peace when what we really want is Fifty Shades of Grey?

The A&F Quarterly introduced us Rococo Y2K, but while budding sexuality of Rococo was omnipresent in A&F, the restraint was not. This was the last time a national brand really took an editorial risk. Nowadays, while brands might fill our Instagram feeds with food-porn and camping-porn, we might just need some good old porn.


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