Burn those bras and plunge those necklines, ladies! Let’s take a stroll through the sexy ’70s, courtesy of the leading purveyor of sexy ’70s ladyhood, Cosmopolitan magazine. It’s fair to say almost all of these covers (if not the entirety of them) were shot by the legendary Francesco Scavullo, who was brought on by also-legendary Cosmo Editor-in-Chief Helen Gurley Brown in the mid-sixties. Together, they defined the Cosmo look and brand for decades. For most of the 1970s, that look meant a lot of boob, hair and eyeshadow – which is interesting in retrospect since no one today would characterize the fashions of the decade that way. Women’s fashion and beauty magazines have always pushed a more glamorous or aspirational style and aesthetic than the readership was likely to replicate or attain easily, but Scavullo really did go off into his own world for the seventies, preferring to shoot a far more lacquered version of female beauty than what was preferred by women at the time. We had to double-check half of these covers to make sure they weren’t a decade older. We don’t know if we should praise Scavullo for being prescient about where fashion was heading or characterize his seventies work as a refusal to pay attention to trends and stick to his own high-gloss aesthetic.
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