Ruth Ansel: ’65 Steve McQueen Issue

What is it: a 1965 cover of Harper’s Bazaar

Designed by: Ruth Ansel,

An image of: Steve McQueen

Photographed by: Richard (Dick) Avedon (who was also guest editor)


One reason this cover is notable is because it is ground-breaking. This cover, by Ruth Ansel, was the first time a man was on the cover of a women’s fashion magazine. It was photographed and guest edited by Dick Avedon, who had a similar style to Ansel. The two worked closely together to create some of the most iconic cover at Harper’s Bazaar. In her interview with Index Magazine, Ansel talks about her love of layering. As in the ‘65 space-age cover of Jean Shrimpton, here she also layers with the female hand on Steve McQueen. The fact that she chose Steve McQueen was also surprising. In her interview, she said “Steve McQueen was a tough guy put into a tuxedo in a high fashion magazine. If it were Cary Grant, it would have been less interesting, more predictable.” She wanted to surprise viewers with something new and off-putting. That was her style, especially at that time where everything was cut and pasted by hand. There is mystery in that fact that the woman, whose hand is on McQueen, cannot be fully seen. It leaves you wanting to know more. It showcases Ruth Ansel’s ability to think outside of the box and create something unexpected. While it’s not obviously edgy, that in itself and the use of a man are her her signature edgy and modern style. 



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