Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Portrait in Two Vogues

Beyoncé continues her quest to rule the free world, gracing not only American Vogue but it's saucy, Franca Sozzani-helmed cousin, Vogue Italia.

Now, class, this is an excellent opportunity to analyze the cultural and aesthetic differences that exist between the two couture monthlies. And there will be a test afterwards so pay attention.

First Vogue:

Nothing controversial or radical about it, just a wide-hipped diva surrounded by munchkins (p.s. those little brats are stealing your thunder, Mrs. Carter) reflecting the new culturally-inclusive image of America, baring a bit of back and asymmetrically akimbo-ing in Bottega Veneta.

The shoot seeks to appeal to a mature, if not necessarily older woman who may be able to purchase these clothes, but if she can't, she can always throw on a cocktail dress, recruit the neighborhood kids and feel like a star as her curiously effete son snaps away on the disposable.

Vogue sells its own fantasy of fashion and celebrity, it always has, it's just that the fantasy has been diluted to accomodate everyone, not just the gays. (Sigh.)

And then there's Vogue Italia:

Note the warm hues, the influence of Renaissance painting in B's posing and the blonde wig--for once not ripped off Etta James senile head--all suggesting fantasy, art and, most importantly, high fashion.

Whereas Vogue has become more a lifestyle mag, seemingly abandoning its high fashion credibility, Vogue Italia and the other Vogues around the world focus more intently on the clothes, which is probably why models don't grace the covers on this side of the pond.

Few people know Coco Rocha, but by now, everyone knows (and kind of hates, admit it) Beyoncé.

Sure it could be argues that La Wintour should put more effort in marketing models, but the 90s are over and celebrity sells. But as long as Vogue remains international and we have our single-letter, oversized bibles, we'll survive.

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