Prada, Prada Everywhere

The devil made them do it? You may have heard the buzz over the overexposed fall/winter 2015 (ugly) bowed, bejeweled and A-lined Prada dress that’s made the circuit of the September issues. Here’s the rundown. In round 1: the bow shouldered pink version initially appeared on Rita Ora on July’s Marie Claire and on Lily Donaldson on Elle UK’s August cover. By September the tall gloves featured on the runway accompanying the dress were off however the dress was still going strong. Round 2: Vogue Japan is covered by Katy Perry in a pink, plunging neck version of “Miuccia goes to prom circa 1960” while Rosie Huntington-Whiteley fronts Harper’s Bazaar UK in the powder blue iteration. Wait! We’re not done: Town & Country has a special fall fashion issue featuring Kirsten Dunst feeling “blue;” a tweedy version of the dress is featured on Jessica Alba’s Allure September cover while the bow embellished shoulder dress in pale gray and yellow appears on Natasha Poly’s Russian Glamour cover.

Legend has it that Gigi Hadid was also photographed for the cover of W Magazine, in the very same frock, however they managed to pull it in favor of a Dolce & Gabbana fur coat. Marie Claire and InStyle each feature a glimpse at the dress inside their pages. According to Page Six , the Prada rep responsible for flinging the dress in all directions, editorially speaking, has left the building yet miraculously landed on his or her feet at another undisclosed fashion house.

The Striped Dress that Roared

While the occurrence of the same designer let alone la meme robe reaching multiple magazine covers is rare, it is not completely without precedent. Another even more memorable Prada dress has the distinction of having been plucked for no less than six magazine covers. Perhaps you remember this 2012 striped orange, fuchsia and brown tank dress with the bottom flounce? Among the covers you can find several notables including Amanda Seyfried (Elle), Zooey Deschanel (Canada’s Flare Magazine), Gwen Stefani (Elle UK), and Claudia Schiffer (Harper’s Bazaar UK). The covers appeared from April through July, and it is surprising that none were stopped in their striped tracks. The dress was seen on Hailee Steinfeld in a full-length version at the SAG Awards and was featured in the pages of multiple magazines including Singapore Harper’s Bazaar as early as February 2011. By the time I attended an August 2012 wedding at which a guest wore the uber popular dress I felt like I had seen a ghost.

2010 Miu Miu August Editions

Previously Miuccia Prada had caused a sensation and racked up views when the August 2010 editions of W, ElleUK and British Vogue all featured different colors of an appliquéd Miu Miu dress. Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen wore the tangerine patch pocketed number for UK Vogue, Mendes sported the same version for W, while UK Elle featured a dressier lilac lace version.

Spring 2011 Gucci Dress

While it may seem like these cover complexities only happen with Ms. Prada, there are a few examples with other design houses. The metallic, feathered Gucci that closed the Spring 2011 show ended up on Naomi Campbell (Vogue Japan in June) and Beyonce on March’s L’Officiel.

Vogue Editors Think Alike?

Another incidence arose in spring 2011, as Emmanuelle Alt made her Paris Vogue editorial debut with Gisele Bundchen on the periodical’s cover. Gisele appears in a sheer, white peekaboo Dolce & Gabbana dress which became déjà vu on Vogue Deutsch’s April cover. Both of these covers were late to the white dress party as Vogue Espana featured the romantic frock on its February cover. This begs the question of whether this was somehow done on purpose—how do you not know what other editions of your own magazine are doing as far as cover fashion?

What do these cover dresses have in common other than, for whatever reason, they manage to speak to multiple magazine editors? Did they embody a mood, make a statement or succeed in capturing an evanescent fashion zeitgeist? Did they photograph well or fit the cover model best? Was political influence brought to bear? Who knows how these things happen but it is indeed shocking in these digital days with our culture of spying, hacking and general looking over your shoulder. What of the drone that recently landed at the U.S. Open? Had it perhaps been a test missile sent to keep a watchful eye on a certain oft seen, tennis obsessed Conde Nast editor?

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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