Opinion is divided on the subject of who should grace magazine covers – celebrities or supermodels. The celebrity-on-covers trend is attributed to La Wintour, who started putting celebrities and actresses on covers in the 90s. It does work very well as they have their own fanbase and are instantly recognisable but I much prefer seeing supermodels on covers. To me, supermodel covers are always stronger with a high impact – they know how to command the camera’s attention. Also, they are generally more neutral than celebrities, who have supporters as well as haters and have their private lives aired out in public. I think supermodels are a bit more untouchable and unattainable; isn’t that what fashion magazines are sort of supposed to be? A fantasy land where ethereal Amazonian creatures frolic in Balmain, couture and Lanvin, rather than a calculated platform for an actress to push her film while the magazine hopes for boosted circulation figures.
I’ve been quietly rooting for the widespread return of supers on covers for a while and I think the Emmanuelle Alt is on the same team – I may be a tad optimistic but her first two covers at the helm of Vogue Paris have starred two of the most successful models in the world. The April 2011 cover featured Gisele in a pretty, sheer lace D&G dress shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. I was quite surprised when I first saw this cover, I expected more rock ‘n’ roll attitude from Alt but it was a sweet cover, perfect for Spring. I don’t think many celebrities could pull off the outfit with such aplomb or create such an assertive, confident pose.
The second cover features Kate Moss shot by Mert & Marcus. Dramatically different to the previous cover, this one seems to be more Alt – strong, sexy and provocative. I think Armani Prive was an unusual choice as were the hands but as an overall image it works. Again, I think that a celebrity would struggle to draw the reader in with their expression alone. Both of these covers are creating something beautiful but slightly out of reach, which I think is what a cover should be. It should be intriguing and pull you in..something that celebrity covers just don’t do for me.