In light of Mario’s latest work for Holiday Magazine, Mira Mira looks back to another cult favourite, the legacy of 90s fashion bible Dutch Magazine, with this exclusive archival imagery.
Spanning a full roster of fashion talent from the 90s, from Mario, to Kate, to Naomi Campbell, Dutch was a document of its age. Now, as we witness a revival of 90s pop culture, from the runways of fashion week to our cinema screens, we revisit Dutch, its unique grip on the publishing industry, and its legacy today.
It’s 1994. Clinton is President, Pulp Fiction is in cinemas, and Oasis has a No. 1 album across the U.K. Viktor & Rolf, the avant-garde Amsterdam label, has just turned one – in an era where the Netherlands was more renowned for protestant puritanism than haute couture. In Amsterdam, from his home-office, Sandor Lubbe scouts publishers for a new magazine – about to tumble down the rabbit hole of the publishing industry.
Many editors desire to ‘find a new space within the industry’, Dutch didn’t so much find a path as bulldoze itself a new one. Joining with publisher Mercurius, Lubbe founded Dutch as a collage of gothic motifs, street brands, and high fashion. It peered into the minds of 90s fashion fiends, reflecting their own scrapbooks and aesthetic more than most glossy retail magazines thought possible. No longer were street fashion and high fashion at odds – in Dutch, one was as likely to find Louis Vuitton in some tawdry highway hotel room as hanging from the arm of a model at the Ritz. Kate Moss in close-up, Travis Fimmel in chains, and Karen Elson airborne in black leather – these are the 90s, and counterculture is king. Mario shoots his muse, Kate, in tantalising close-ups, or by selfie, or in the full glamour of her garb. Dutch laughed along with the industry in a hearty cough, its mercurial styling going on flights of fancy, and to the depths of nightclubs at 7am.
If Dutch cared little for boundaries of nudity and titillation, this did not impact its success. Indeed, its iconic naked issue, with all 83 pages showcasing only nude models, is still talked-about. Designers and publications still pay homage to its ribald humour; this year, Jacquemus’ FW17 campaign (“no shoes, no clothes, just love”), featured two entirely nude figures in embrace. That issue was accomplished under then Editor-in-Chief Matthias Vriens McGrath, who went on to become Worldwide Creative Director for Giorgio Armani and Senior Art Director for the Gucci group.
But Dutch also made its name with exclusive projects, like its 1997 portfolio of Mario’s most candid works, featuring 21 portraits taken from Miami to Tangiers, Lima to London. Indeed, Dutch No. 34 ‘Selfie’, encompassed Mario’s relationship with Kate Moss as few publications could – with humour, with warmth, and in close-up. In the same way, his shoots with the likes of Anastasia Barbieri prefaced the decades of collaboration to come. Dutch captured the zeitgeist; amid its pages, intimate documents of Mario’s and Kate’s friendship became fodder for us all, letting others in on the secret.
Nostalgia makes flatterers of us all, with the 90s in particular starting to resemble a golden era of fashion. We’ve seen this in the recent revivals of punk and skate culture. But Dutch’s images have an elbow grease quality to them, a lo-fi aesthetic no insta-filter could mimic; teasing us, and giving us exactly what we want; we’re offered erotica, rather than sex, made voyeurs, rather than VIPs.
All magazines, like the fashion industry itself, have cycles. Renewal and rediscovery are the twin peaks of fashion, as we see fashion houses merge, cultures collide, and new voices establish. After becoming a cultural bible, with its tone of humorous provocation, Dutch folded after its 40th issue (due to a disagreement with publisher Audax). Its eight-year stint featured imagery now brightly seared in the visual lexicon of fashion – portraits of Chloe Sevigny, Vincent Gallo, and Kate Moss that are now the first references to come to mind when their names are mentioned. Mario’s above image with Kate was employed as the magazine’s cover image, before the term ‘selfie’ was part of our daily lexicon. Dutch may now be out of print, but the world it created still exists.
Featured Image: Amsterdam, Dutch, 2000
Photographs © Mario Testino