A Victoria's Secret catalog from 1979 has resurfaced. And it has a lot to offer us that we don't get so often from the modern-day VS we all know and love: apparently natural breasts, visible nipples, and an absence of cutesy pink shit. Let's take a look.

The sheer free-boobiness of it all is certainly one thrilling departure from contemporary lingerie norms. Although I feel bad for the model with the biggest rack, who throughout the catalog has to pour her assets into a series of barely-supportive triangle bras. Also, who are these women? Where are they now? I wonder how they feel about the photos from a catalog they did 30 years ago going viral.

Most of all, it's nice to be able to see the texture of people's skin. I have no doubt that these images were retouched — with darkroom techniques and perhaps airbrushing, and not (obviously) the digital methods of today — but because retouching was so time-consuming back in the olden days, it was used more sparingly. Most decisions that affected the look of the final image were done in-camera, through lens selection, the use of filters, and lighting decisions. Nowadays every stray hair can be zapped and every mere bulge can be liquified with a few clicks. The women in this catalog may have been retouched, but in doing so at least they weren't made to look like latex-skinned cyborgs.


Did someone say Photoshop? Contrast the '79 catalog with the hyper-stylized, twisty-turny-posy, extensively digitally smoothed and corrected and finessed Victoria's Secret ads and catalogs of today.


Dodai says sometimes Victoria's Secret models' bodies are so affected by the contortions of posing and Photoshop that to her they look like they're being tortured on a medieval rack.

The way Victoria's Secret shoots its bras now, the boobies always look like they're fighting.


The three ladies in the 1979 catalog are depicted lounging around in a (truly breathtakingly decorated) suburban home, performing common lady-like activities. Such as talking on the telephone.


Doing needlework.

Admiring themselves.


Receiving and responding to assorted correspondence from paramours (an activity which is always best performed by committee, as anyone who's ever given an editorial glance to a girlfriend's text message knows).

And drinking. The more things change, I guess.

1979 Victoria's Secret Catalog [Retrospace]