Joan Smalls, Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss on the September cover of Vogue

Joan Smalls, Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss on the September cover of Vogue

The September issue of Vogue has been out for a couple weeks now so we’ve had time to digest the issue of issues. Here’s what you should come away with: Wedding! Street Style Labels! Paris! Go Read A Book! Amazing Editorials!

Weddings: Anna Wintour’s Letter from the Editor begins with beautiful photographs from her son Charlie Shaffer’s marriage to Elizabeth Cordry. This seems like a departure for Wintour whose editor’s letter are often more impersonal. I quite like getting a glimpse into her private life, and the tiniest glimpse it is, as most of the photographs included in the issue place the greenery and young wedding attendants at the forefront. The second half of the letter from the Editor subtitled “Autumnal Anticipations” seems to be a rundown of the magazine which seems odd as that is what the table of contents (is it even called a table of contents in a magazine?) is for.

On the other hand, those white pages with titles running down give readers nothing so a guide to give a glimpse of what’s to come is appreciated, especially in such huge issue. What this section does is position Vogue’s September issue as a cultural guide–fashion included–to what the reader should be reading, visiting, buying, watching, etc. It’s contrived, it feels contrived but readers will be glad for the guide to the magazine.

The Best Wedding coverage of the issue is without a doubt “Love on the Adriatic” Fabiola Beracasa’s wedding. The weddings of Charlie Shaffer to Elizabeth Cordry and Novak Djokovic to Jelena Ristic are simply prelude to Beracasa’s wedding to Jason Beckman in Dubrovik. The photographs provided with the article feature scenery, famous guest in tantalizing frocks as well as two shots of the dress. My ipad edition allows me to zoom in on each photograph and thank God too because they are too tiny to peruse as is. The Ricardo Tisci fitting video is the perfect complement to the article because WOW! But the article fails to link to the video which is a disappointment and would absolutely heighten the digital reading experience.

The whole of Vogue’s issue looks like a reading assignment. There are books slightly fashion-tinged, fashion-folk memoirs, environmental activism, cookbook-memoirs and novels. It’s like back to school for the fashion obsessed. And it’s frankly refreshing to see this expansion of the fashion book. How many picture books with works can I display, collect, read? It’s much better to read a novel-shaped book that flows and gives good narrative.

I’m surprised Vogue.com hasn’t produced a slideshow with September’s Vogue-approved books. There’s this list, but it’s not in Vogue, so…. dismissed. (I mean how many books could I possibly read this season?–But not really: I’m dying to get my hands on Lena Dunham’s latest offering as well as Women in Clothes).

The Best Book coverage is Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, an excerpt of which appears following the Upfront section. The magazine does not include excerpts every month which is why when it does I happen to think: This one’s special! McEwan’s chapters are the second “article” a reader will see in the whole issue which is why I’m thinking Vogue is trying to elevate and smarten-up its readership: GO READ A BOOK!, it’s saying. And I’m into it.

Last year the September issue seemed to suffer from not enough trend coverage as well as a somber Daria editorial and too many too long articles. While Vogue is never one to delineate trends in the below-the-knee-skirts-are-in kind of way, this year’s issue clearly lets its readers know that streetstyle is in with articles like “Street Smarts”, “Name of the Game”, “Boys Meet Girl”, “Revolution Row”, “Kickin’ It” and “Shayne’s World”. Even “Veni Vidi Versus” has that streetstyle vibe.

I had an almost violent reaction against “Raw Talents” by Sarah Mower. It seems apart from the streetstyle articles but features decidedly wallet-friendlier clothes than what can only be described as high-end fashion. I think the last line “‘It’s been intense,’ Almeida says. ‘But we’re beginning to see that people really understand what we do.’” I couldn’t help thinking, I don’t know what you do, and I just read an article about you. Maybe Mower’s article is too short or could have done with more pictures. Maybe the whole destroyed denim and Galliano references just left me confused. In a series of good articles, this one feels like space filler. It is not effective.

The editorials in this issue are glorious, bright, and feel new as only the September issues produce. I really can’t point out a bad editorial though I can say that not having Caroline Trentini on the cover seems tragic as her contribution (“Belle Fleur” photographed by David Sims) to the issue is immense. I can point to “The Dance of Seduction” photographed by Mikael Jansson as the best. It was almost a shock to see how great every picture is. The clothing suits Chanel Iman to perfection and it’s hard to imagine anyone looking as good. Amazing job!

My Coup de Coeur of the issue is “Vogue in Paris”. It includes the contributions of various Vogue writers and placed the magazine in the historic context in which it belongs. They have a history of being iconic so why not invite the recent past into that history and gild Vogue even more? i loved hearing about different writer’s adventures with Vogue.

So how would I rate this issue? I would give it 5/5. While I find it hard to love the cover I can appreciate how the magazine made it a story in itself. The magazine is a great read. It plugs the reader into culture and the fashion to know about. The photographs make you dream and you get a lot of magazine for your money. Definitely an issue worth collecting for an overview of streetstyle and all the amazing editorials as well as the Ghesquiere article.  Buy it!