In the best of all possible worlds, what would the perfect
magazine be like?
It would feature surpassingly beautiful goddesses, size 14 and up, with no minus-size skeletons whatsoever.
It would situate plus-size models in breathtaking locations, wearing lovely feminine clothing, showing off their generous figures.
The photographs would be of such high quality as to match or surpass the best of Vogue
The magazine would be resolutely pro-plus in its text and images. It would celebrate the joys of being full-figured, of guilt-free self-indulgence, and of leading a pleasurable life. It would give readers a "vacation feeling," an escape from the workaday world.
And of course, it would contain no diet ads or curve-disparaging stories whatsoever.
Such a magazine would be the stuff of fantasy, a glimpse of an ideal world--a better world than our own. It would reveal what our media environment would
have been like, the kind of timeless beauty that it would
have idealized, if the aristocratic heritage of Western aesthetic history hadn't been overthrown in the 20th century.
*Sigh* It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Such a magazine could never exist.
But it did exist . . . and its name was Mode.
was everything described above--and more. It directly gave birth to this Web site, and defined the very notion of a plus-size model as a living embodiment of Classical beauty. To this day, all other magazines (whether they are plus-specific, or straight-size oriented) are measured against the Mode
standard. They are all invariably found wanting.
From its inception in 1997, to its tragic end in 2001, Mode
featured the most beautiful girls who have ever called themselves models, and created the finest images of plus-size beauty the world has ever known.
How was it able to do this?
What made Mode
Why have no other magazines been able to match it--let alone surpass it?
Why did the magazine decline during its final years?
And ultimately, why did it perish?
Now, you will know.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of Mode,
it was my great privilege to interview Michele Weston, one of the magazine’s co-creators and, for years, its Fashion & Style Director.
In this extremely informative interview (the longest that has ever appeared at The Judgment of Paris), Ms. Weston relates the history of the founding of the magazine, reveals why it folded, and answers the questions that have plagued Mode
aficionados for years (e.g., "Why did the models get smaller?").
But the discussion is more than just a tribute to the magazine's greatness. Michele speaks very candidly about the particular conditions that made Mode
possible, and the difficulties that any publication seeking to take its place will encounter. Ms. Weston provides a hard lesson in the realities of magazine publishing, and anyone who reads the text in full will find it a sobering yet enlightening experience.
The interview is illustrated with 31 of the magazine's greatest pages, some of which have never before appeared on this Web site, all scanned in full (including Mode
’s original text), and tagged to indicate the editorials from which they were taken, and the issues in which they originally appeared. Seven feature Shannon Marie, ten show Barbara Brickner, five present Kate Dillon (during her fuller-figured heyday), and the rest exhibit other popular Mode
models. You may click on any of the images in the interview to view them at a larger size.
Now, sit back, click on the link below, and enter the idyllic, halcyon world that was . . . Mode
- Click here to read the interview