Just four pages away from a spread that has Farrah Fawcett-Majors draped in the haute-couture novelties of Paris, the April Vogue reveals men wrapped in some equally new fashions: absolutely nothing.
That's right: nude men in Vogue, a first for the slick monthly arbiter of what's in and what's out.
"We don't exactly think of it as nude men," says Vogue editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella. "The photographs are something that grew out of a beauty and health trip to depict life out of doors - running off to get sun and air and water. Whenever one feels really well there's a certain sense of freedom about one's body."
The photographs - really two of any consequence - show today's Now Couple running out of the surf and later laying on the beach.
"These are photographs of a real 1978 with-it girl," says Frencesco Scavullo, the fashion snapper who made the pictures in Petit St. Vincent in January. "A real modern American gal and guy. Her freedom, her sexuality, she's full - I mean she's not a bag of bones like so many of these models today, and he's a very good looking guy. I'd say the photos are quite modern and radical for Vogue. After all, it's the first nude guy ever in the magazine."
Mirabella says it's too early to tell what the response will be like. The 900,000 copies of the magazine have just gone out to subscribes and newstands.
"I don't think it will be anything like the Newton spread," she adds, referring to a series of photos by German photographer Helmut Newton that ran two years ago. Those photos, of a waman being munched by a Doberman pinscher and the like, sparked a bit of controversy.
"We didn't really see them of any special interest," says Mirabella. "Just a modern relationship and a little provocative. I don't think they had the perverted quality that a lot of people read into them."
"My photos are very fresh," says Scavullo. "Nothing like Newton's, which are very set."
Diana Vreeland, the doyenne of fashion and once editor of Vogue, thinks it's all very healthy.
"These photos mirror the times," she says. "They look like very cultured kids, a healthy couple. The weakness of most magazines is that they stay at one level. Vogue is pushing ahead with these photos.
"They're very courant."