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HSG
24th April 2007, 15:01
<br>Astonishing as this realization may be, we have just reached the tenth anniversary of the debut of <i>Mode.</i>

It was ten years ago this season, in 1997, that the very first issue of the magazine, the Spring '97 edition (<i>Mode</i> was a quarterly during its first year), appeared on newsstands.

How melancholy to consider that while the talent in the industry today is just as good, if not better than it was back in that fateful year, there has never been any publication since <i>Mode</i> that has even come close to replicating its size-positive editorial philosophy, or its consistently beautiful imagery.

Various individual advertising campaigns have exhibited the "<i>Mode</i> spirit," and occasionally, a tear sheet in a mainstream magazine, or an editorial in <i>Figure,</i> will be described as being "like something in <i>Mode</i>" (which is the highest praise that any expression of plus-size beauty can merit). But whereas these are isolated examples of genius, <i>Mode</i> displayed such brilliance in every single issue, month after month, for years.

The Judgment of Paris Forum debuted just one month before <i>Mode</i> tragically folded in 2001, and in the early years, we devoted numerous essays to describing what it was that made the original <i>Mode</i> so great; how poorly other magazines suffered by comparison; and what mistakes <i>Mode</i> made toward the end of its run that drove readers away.

Here are six essays, beginning with our lament at the loss of the magazine, that offer some thoughts about how <i>Mode</i> cast its magic spell:

- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/archive01.htm#eulogy" target="_blank">A Eulogy for <i>Mode</i></a>
- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/archive01.htm#mattered" target="_blank"><i>Mode</i> mattered</a>
- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/archive03.htm#original" target="_blank">Was the original <i>Mode</i> really that good?</a>
- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/archive08.htm#mode" target="_blank">The <i>Mode</i> love affair</a>
- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/archive09.htm#more" target="_blank">"More is more"</a>
- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=19" target="_blank">Michel Arnaud: The Eyes of <i>Mode</i></a>

Today, one can at least say that <i>Figure</i> comes a step closer to <i>Mode</i> than unloved and unlamented <i>Grace</i> ever did, but <i>Figure</i> remains a mere shadow of its hallowed predecessor, and although it mercifully no longer publishes diet ads, neither is it anywhere near as size-positive or celebratory as <i>Mode.</i>

With this forum, we have ever attempted to replicate the <i>Mode</i> approach by celebrating the work of models who would have been deemed "<i>Mode</i>-worthy," if the magazine were still in print, and by maintaining a size-positive editorial philosophy of our own. However, a forum can never be a substitute for a high-quality, glossy magazine with <i>Vogue</i>-level production values, and a choir of harmonious voices.

We still yearn for the day when some gifted individual, or group of visionaries, with a sound grasp of the "<i>Mode</I> formula," will apply that formula in the creation of a new magazine for today's "Torrid generation."

The models are there. The customers are there--far more than there were ten years ago. It only remains for the editorial <i>talent</i> to be found, for <i>Mode</i> to be reborn.

Natalie Laughlin, on one of <i>Mode</i>'s most memorable covers--its second issue, from Summer 1997:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/nl/mode02b.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/nl/mode02.jpg" target="_blank">Click to view larger</a>