The all-important September issues of two major fashion “bibles,” namely Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, recently unveiled their covers online and inside pages to much ado. Vogue announced that their cover girl is none other than diva Beyonce while Bazaar went with pop princess Katy Perry. While Katy looks lovely in a Saint Laurent gown as part of the Carine Roitfeld and Jean Paul Goude “Icons” shoot, her cover was completely upstaged by the later release of some nude pictures. No, the naked images were not of Perry but of 57-year-old Sharon Stone whose black & white photos are safely tucked away inside the magazine.
Photos: Mark Abrahams
Either by accident or design, both periodicals manage to demonstrate and hang out for public consumption, two of the most important issues in America today: Racism and Ageism. Beyonce, 33, is in her third turn on Vogue’s cover. She also marks a three-peat of the appearance of a black woman on the cover of the September issue, having been preceded by Naomi Campbell and Halle Berry. The Mario Testino photo features “Just B And the Art of Global Domination” in a $12,000 Marc Jacobs dress with a wet wavy head, similar to her visage at this year’s “Drunk In Love” Grammy’s.
Inside the magazine she wears looks by Givenchy, Atelier Versace and Stella McCartney, and shows off her well-known and well-documented assets. Unfortunately, there is really nothing new to see here. We all know about the “shape shifting virtuoso,” her “fierceness” and her ability to wear couture. My initial response is that this cover is a phoned in snooze fest. I found it very predictable and anticlimactic that Queen Bey, who is #21 on Forbes 2015 Most Powerful Women was featured completely in character exactly the way we expect to see her. Some critics say it’s all about the “undone” hair and owning that, but, I’m not buying…Beyonce could have appeared on the cover bald and she’d still be Beyonce. Incidentally, Vogue’s Anna Wintour ranks #28 on the Forbes list as the highest ranking woman in the media sector.
By contrast, HB’s inside edition of Sharon Stone is a little startling, a little “Wha?” Although we are a nation somewhat desensitized to nudity at this point (Thanks Kim et al) we haven’t seen Stone completely naked since July 1990 Playboy and no one remembers that because it was before her breakout role in “Basic Instinct.” Ironically, she mentioned then that she had posed nude to go against type and show that she could do sexy when at her own admission “no one thought I was sexy.” Stone, IRL is no less a drama queen than the dazzling Ginger McKenna, the character she played in “Casino,” the role for which she received a 1996 Oscar nomination. For that momentous occasion, Stone is famous for having grabbed a charcoal gray Gap turtleneck from her closet at the last minute to accompany her Valentino trumpet skirt; an outfit which has gone down in the annals of history as one of the All time best looks and an early example of the now ubiquitous trend for mixing high-low.
|Sharon Stone in a $22 Gap turtleneck for the Oscars|
The woman known for the onscreen leg cross heard round the world, also made headlines for her troubled personal life including two marriages and divorces; lost custody of one adopted son, and adoption of two other children. In 2001 she suffered an aneurysm and subsequent brain hemorrhage which left her numb in one leg, unable to read and with a stutter. Having faced all of this, not only to survive but to fight her way back to Hollywood; not to mention that she looks eerily like a woman in her mid 30s (she admits to some facial fillers and she’s never been through a pregnancy) it’s really no wonder that posing nude, save a Bulgari snake necklace, is all in a day’s work. HB claims that she even ate a brownie off the craft services table right before the shoot — now that’s bravery with a capital B! For those who cry foul by way of Photoshop, yes, I’m sure it was retouched, as is any image in a magazine, but if you look at her red carpet photos, her body is basically the same.
In the accompanying interview, Stone, who plays the Veep (move over JLD) and executive produces the upcoming TNT show “Agent X,” complains of not being able to snag a date, adding that interested fellas should contact Harper’s Bazaar. Subsequently, Bazaar’s Executive Director and fashion journalist Laura Brown tweeted this: I am fielding calls from gentlemen who want to date Sharon Stone. Typical Friday.
Stone, who admits she tries to flirt, can now blame her brazen outspokenness on her physical ordeal saying “I have brain damage, deal with it.” Beyonce’s biggest known challenging experience to date? Yes, she had a miscarriage which is sad but unfortunately pretty common, and who can forget the Met Ball after-party elevator incident? That had to be trying as well as whatever underlying tension she deals with on a regular basis between Solange and husband Jay Z. And while Sharon Stone will never know what it’s like to be a black woman, Beyonce will, God willing, one day know what it’s like to be an older woman here in America. At that point, perhaps we’ll see another side to her besides Sasha Fierce.