Always articulate Vanity Fair usually has a fair bit of trouble talking about fashion but the September issue of Vanity Fair breaks the mold: it is a dream for a fashion lover. A plethora of fashion articles interspersed with style-centric articles about About Frank Gehry, Marella Agnelli as well as famous madam Madame Claude will prevent anyone from keeling over from fashion fatigue.
The cover featuring model Natalia Vodianova is sensual and will appeal to the fashion-conscious reader who has been on a first name basis with the model for over a decade as well as luring a few straight men to an issue that might otherwise be of limited interest. The almost imperceptible colour contrast between Vodianova’s hair and the Givenchy fox fur coat has the effect of making Vodianova look at once more nude as though she is only using her hair to cover herself and as though the animal fur is a part of her person, that she is herself a wild creature. While political correctness stops us from saying these these, the image and every connotation or extrapolation is free of censure. I love this cover and the (relative) risk the magazine is taking by putting a model on the cover.
The Best Article of the issue is “Designed For Destruction” by Maureen Callahan, adapted from her book Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and the ’90s Renegades who Remade Fashion. Too often fashion coverage does not dare to look behind the curtain and expose the dark side of fashion. Callahan’s article looks at the demise of both Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen with an incisiveness that is shocking and a refreshing alternative to the glamorization of McQueen and Blow in their worst moments. This article works well with Tim Blanks’ Throwback Thursday McQueen videos on Style.com.
The Worst Article of the issue is the disappointing “Spotlight: Cut to the Future”. It is essentially a list of CFDA nominees and winners and no information that any reader interested in fashion can bite into. The article does inform the reader that a video is available on the Vanity Fair website (and is accessible to the reader reading a digital copy). Cut to the video and you will find that Tabitha Simmons, pictured and credited, is not in the video. While this is certainly not the end of the world, the content falls a little short for the print edition and the digital supplement is incomplete.
The Best Editorial of the issue is “Urban Legends” photographed by Mario Testino, styled by Jessica Diehl. The photograph of Marcus Samuelsson and Neil Patrick Harris is particularly memorable though a great menu shot have their share of charm.
Coup De Coeur: “Denim Rules” about Jane Herman Bishop and Florence Kane’s website Jean Stories as well as denim fashions and the hilarious “The Ironman Nightlife Decathlon” by Christopher Tennant are two of my favourite articles from the issue. It is such a pleasure when shorter and less serious articles are of the highest quality.
Bottom Line: A fashion lover can’t go wrong buying this issue. It has a rea-time of upwards of 4 hours but does not feel unnaturally long or tedious which is always a fear with the bulky September issues. 4.8/5 stars!
A Note About the Edition: The reviewer read the Vanity Fair Digital Edition. The advantages of reading Vanity Fair‘s Digital edition include a few videos that complement articles available by simply tapping the screen as well a survey of Natalia Vodianova’s best red carpet looks. These are all available on the Vanity Fair website and are not exclusive to the digital edition. By far the best argument for purchasing the digital edition of this magazine is that the reader no longer has to flip to the back for the continuation of almost EVERY article. This is by far the most tedious aspect of reading Vanity Fair‘s print edition. and is remediated by the digital edition’s use of the scroll down. The reviewer is still awaiting the print edition through the mail.