Richard Hamilton made his first etchings and drypoints as a student in the late 1930s. Throughout the following decade he continued to use etching, drypoint and aquatint and experimented with lithography, but it was the influential screenprints incorporating photographic and hand-drawn stencils made in the 1960s which brought him international acclaim as a printmaker. The use of photography has long been an integral part of Hamilton’s working process.
This work was based on colour cine-film frames from the Bing Crosby movie Holiday Inn (Mark Sandrich, 1942) . The work was printed by E H Schrieber, Stuttgart, H P Haas, Stuttgart and Dietz Offizin, Bavaria and published by Petersburg Press, London in an edition of 150.
This work explores how masculinity and fashion can be determined by a technological environment – here signaled by the glamour of the space race, typified by John F Kennedy’s 1961 exhortation to go to the moon. Hamilton’s investigation of the languages of advertising and popular culture through painting and collage has a critical intention as much as a poetic force. He understood that “the artist in twentieth-century urban life is inevitably a consumer of mass culture and potentially a contributor to it.”
The cover displays a surreal sculpture designed by Robert Brownjohn, an American graphic designer known for blending formal graphic design concepts with wit and sixties pop culture. He is best known for his motion picture title sequences, especially From Russia with Love (Terence Young, 1963) and Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964).
The image consists of the Let It Bleed record being played by the tone-arm of an antique phonograph, and a record-changer spindle supporting several items stacked on a plate in place of a stack of records: a tape canister labelled Stones – Let It Bleed, a clock face, a pizza, a tyre and a cake with elaborate icing topped by figurines representing the band. The cake parts of the construction were prepared by then-unknown cookery writer Delia Smith. The reverse of the LP sleeve shows the same “record-stack” melange in a state of disarray. The artwork was inspired by the working title of the album, which was Automatic Changer
Many people believe that “Let It Bleed” was a take on The Beatles‘ song/album Let It Be. The titles are very similar, and there was a running history of the Stones and the Beatles tweaking each other. The Stones’ Let It Bleed was released months before Let It Be, but the songs from Let It Be had been recorded earlier than most of the songs in Let It Bleed.
The lyrics include a number of drug and sexual references; however, to Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger, the song is mainly about “emotional dependency,” with Mick Jagger willing to accept a partner who want to lean “on him for emotional support.” Unterberger also asserts that Let It Bleed may be “the best illustration” of the way the Rolling Stones make “a slightly sloppy approach work for them rather than against them.”
Peter Som, United Bamboo, Imitation of Christ, Jeffrey Chow, Behnaz Sarafpour and Sebastian Pons
Proenza Schouler designers Lázaro Hernández (left) and Jack Mc Collough. In this picture they attempt to corral a llama, inspired by Inge Morath’s 1957 photograph in which the animal rides a cab through New York City.
Angela Lindvall and Donna Karan; Isabelli Fontana and Kenneth Cole; Alek Wek and Diane von Furstenberg
Carolina Herrera, surrounded by models and the members of the Frick Museum’s gala benefit committee.
Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa, Natalia Vodianova, Luca Gadjus and Patrick Robinson (the-then designer of Perry Ellis)
Fashion Editorial pressed in Vogue USA, February 2004
Photographer: Mario Testino
Editor: Tonne Goodman
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