American media struggled throughout the 1960s to keep up with changing fashions, entertainment, and morals. Magazines worked especially hard to appear hip and trendy.
In 1963, the Post came up with a hot idea with perennial appeal. Why not do a cover story on women’s swimsuits? The idea was so good that the next year Sports Illustrated borrowed it and made it an annual event. (You’re welcome, SI).
In 1967, the Post returned to the swimsuit theme. Its June 3 issue featured a photo of a leggy model in a brightly colored suit with large, geometric cut-outs, next to a headline that declared, “The Nude Look.”
How could it miss?
The Nude Look, with or without capitals, had been introduced in Paris the previous year. Yves Saint Laurent showed sheer, revealing dresses that gave strong hints about the figure inside. The dresses made many women uncomfortable, but Women’s Wear Daily reported that they were wearing them anyway out of fear of being thought unfashionable.
The Nude Look might not have worked for women, but it worked for magazine circulation. This issue, with its attention-grabbing cover, sold 20,000 copies more than the issue before it.
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