On my first flip through the Vogue Met Gala 2014 Special Edition issue I must admit to being underwhelmed by the photographs and even upon a more thorough reading, I have to say that the the issue fails to recognize some of the best-dressed because they aren’t already famous singers, actors or sports stars. I noticed the same thing during my perusals of the online slideshows but was hoping that the Special Edition of Vogue would contain pictures of those memorably dressed guest.
What I liked about this special edition of Vogue is the chance to slow down and refect rather than chase down what’s new and what’s next. The articles devoted to Charles James were humorous and more complicated than fans fawning over his designs.
The most arresting article is “Who’s That Girl” by Leslie Camhi about Cecil Beaton’s 8 Beauties photograph featuring the designs of Charles James. I love the commentary of some of the models and various fashion editors, but what is most moving about the piece is how for so long the image has been Cecil Beaton’s and now with the exhibition we are discovering the impact of the designer behind the clothes. Fascinating article.
Another strength of the issue is to focus on the work of the Metropolitan Museum of Art rather than Vogue’s part in championing it, or rehashing and reexamining who wore what. This change probably has much to do with the naming of the Anna Wintour Costume Center; with that name who can doubt Wintour’s and Vogue‘s contribution to the Met. It is probably also due to the fact that editors are now embracing that the internet is better suited to dealing with the endless slideshows of best-desseds.
“The New Wing” by Lynn Yaeger delves into the renovations of the costume center but also talks to those working there to get an idea of their work. Truly a great and informative article.
My favorite part of the issue, hands down, is the interior design article “Change of a Dress” by Emily Holt, photographed by Jason Schmidt. Zac Posen is probably the most obvious pick for a designer who has picked up the mantle from Charles James, so the article doesn’t really bother conferring it to him. Instead the reader is treated to a lush and unexpected design aesthetic, unexpected because it isn’t what young and fashionable people are doing these days. The pictures are mezmerising for the mix of colorful paint and furnishings, the presence of wallpaper and the art that fills the home. A great addition to the issue!
There are many more great articles in this issue and I must say that despite the a-little-over-2-hours read time, the issue reads as much longer because of the articles of substance. With a newsstand price of $11.99, the cost per page of this 128 page Special Edition is quite high but for any fashion fiend or those interested in fashion history of fashion criticism, this is a must buy. 5/5 stars! Last year’s cover was way better though.