In the French October 2013 issue of Cosmopolitan (a fashion/lifestyle magazine for women) some interesting references to the genres of science fiction, agent/spionage thriller/crimi, and film noir can be found, and some pretty specific allusions to The X-Files.
I don’t know if the English and German issues have the same content, because I only bought a copy as a special travel indulgence during our vacation in France. Normally I don’t care a lot about about fashion or celebrity, and I don’t like spending money on magazines about these topics (hey, what are free blogs for?). So it was an even bigger surprise we found the pictures and hints which will be described in the next paragraphs.
The pictures are included for educational purposes only.
The cover of the issue looks pretty ordinary and typical for a women’s fashion mag: Held in tones of white, red, and pink, and featuring a woman wearing a somewhat revealing dress with black lace, herself sporting a classic-chic look. There is a text reference to British style as well, which was the first thing I associated with The X-Files, even before opening the magazine. How so? Special Agent Dana Scully often is shown in a classic look somewhere between old-school office chic and British prep style, at least that’s what I’d call it. If this is way off, please tell me the proper label for her style.
I marked the pages with four colours of sticky page markers – orange for X-Files in general, green for Scully, blue for Mulder, and pink for any other references.
The first pictures associated with Scully and The X-Files were found in the “So British” section, indeed. The first of these picture shows a petite woman with middle length reddish-blond hair in a tweed skirt and blazer combination hovering in an upright position over a lawn, in classic “alien abduction” pose. The torso and head/neck is rigid and the extremities seem doll-like limp at the same time, eyes closed. Some pages later, a series of pictures again is featuring a women of similar type (with shorter hair, Scully-length) in a darkened, old looking swimming hall. She is wearing differe
nt party outfits, all of them not very revealing and all having black as a base colour, with colourful accent patterns and some glam. The a little rusty and lost looking environment, the poses, and the use of light and shadow allude to film noir and agent movies. In one of the last pictures the same woman in wearing “spacy” looking shoes with a ghost print. Hello there, Mrs. Spooky. All while she seems to be hovering a little above the ground instead of standing firmly, again.
In the beginning I thought of it as nothing more than a general allusion to certain genres, while my partner was insisting it was a specific reference to aliens and The X-Files, and he said that magazines in themselves were telling stories throughout an issue with their selections of pictures.
My opinion began to change when I saw
– a black and white picture with something looking a little bit like a file cabinet, with the words “THE FUTURE IS LEAVING [brand name here] GO FORTH” written on it; while on the left page a young woman in a white office shirt and shorts with a spooked and yet determined look on her face is shown,
– several pictures of women either looking ghostly and/or hovering, some again reminiscent of “being transported upward” abduction. (The one on the right looks like a ghost version of Samantha, in my opinion.)
In addition there are references to different science ficiton series and movies:
On a double page, on the left site a kneeling man in shorts/swim trunks which look a bit like boxers (some guys on TV seem to lose their shirts and pants quite often, by the way, this holding true e.g. for Mulder, and for Jacob Black from Twilight) is shown holding a big plush. The plush looks a little like Chewbacca from Star Wars. Meanwhile on the right page a woman is wearing a dark blue and black combination which is reminding me of the Star Treck: The Next Generation uniforms. Some other furry accessories alluding to Chewbacca can the found throughout the magazine, among them shoes, scarves, and coat sleeves. Then there is a picture of two women holding concealer pens like syringes, alluding to the “naughty nurse” concept as well as to medical experiments, which in return allude to alien abduction as well. A general reference to science fiction can be found in a big, double page perfume advertisement, the perfume being calles “ALIEN”.
This is the most obvious clue about the whole subliminal theme of the issue. The woman in a golden dress on the other page of the ad also made me think of Gozar the Gozerian from “Ghostbusters”, and on a different page another women is shown wearing nothing but strings of jewellery, again reminding me of Gozar in some weird way, or maybe of a Goa’Uld queen from the “Stargate” universe.
Oh, and don’t forget the advertising for an UFO shaped lamp shade made from old egg cartons.
Concerning the agent/spy thriller/crime thread of hints, there is a “making of” of a series of fashion shots, with a text description of the environment as “un décor à la Agatha Christie”. On a page more towards the end of the magazine there is a black and white photography of a woman in “typical” agent/spy clothes as often seen in the show “ALIAS” who is carrying a video camera (a very old model of video camera, according to my partner, so another reference to old shows like The X-Files and, before that, the film noir). Furthermore, in one advertisement a woman is depicted who is forming a gun with her hands, perhaps alluding to Charlie’s Angels, or to cop-centered shows in general.
So you can see I already had got a lot of hints about a purposeful background story told by the pictures, but then the bomb was dropped: my partner took a look at the very last page inside the magazine and said something along the lines of “look, we know this face!”. One of the two persons on the photo looked like … Agent Mulder, and on his face the typical depressed “Scully is gone” expression. Well, I was already pretty astonished about this “coincidence” when I spotted the name “David Duchovny” in the upper left corner of the page. Yes, as in the original actor playing Fox Mulder in the series. Time for a round of hysterical laughter and a high-five. (Later after seeing some other pictures online I got the impression that the other person on that picture looks at least a little bit like Diana Fowley, Scully’s concurrent in the later seasons.)
A coincidence is merely the fact that we started watching The X-Files only recently so we could recognize the connection between different pictures and ideas.