Vogue’s Stale Supermodel September Issue Fails to Impress – by Lieba Nesis

Photo credit: Vogue Magazine

Vogue’s September cover, the most coveted of the year, which was highlighted in its 2009 documentary “The September Issue,” takes a cheesy turn with its “groundbreaking” story on Linda, Cindy, Christy, and Naomi entitled “The Iconic Supers.” In cringe-worthy reverence, the article uses the pathetic moniker “The Supers,” a term I was unfamiliar with.

For those who don’t know who this foursome is, which judging by their modest social media following is 90 percent of the millennials, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell are the protagonists of this syrupy, superficial, and vapid article. The cover has all four appearing as sexy as Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who styled them in her own image, wearing dour faces and even more morose attire – I guess her ideal woman is the one she views in the mirror each morning.

Photoshopped to the max with visages and silhouettes slighter and tighter than in their 90s peak, their floor-length black dresses with matching sky-high heels scream Italian funeral. I guess showing your ankles after 50 is a major fashion faux pas in Wintour’s book.

The only thing more depressing and contradictory than an altered cover celebrating older women is the actual article with its perfunctory assessment of these women’s impact on the fashion world – the bottom line is their primary accomplishment was making a lot of money while strutting numerous runways and even Vogue can’t fudge that.

Unfortunately, we are left with a boringly fawning article that doesn’t scratch the surface or delve into anything substantive. Worse is the glaring obfuscation that glosses over Campbell’s controversial history of angry and abusive behavior towards her assistants – portraying her as Mother Teresa is off base.

The article even forgot to mention why the supermodel era ended. Could it be because one of the “Supers” (Linda Evangelista) said in Vogue 1990, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day?” Could Vogue’s lazy, young, and underpaid staff be unfamiliar with this quote?

Other corny quotes from the article include an introduction that praises them for “not balking at wearing massive shoulder pads, pastel mini suits, skinny ties, and pointy pumps” – these women are heroic. There is more sycophantic blather as the article resumes with, “These are Supers, and they can own any look, gamely sing along to a soundtrack by Madonna and Lauper, and catch the light to create shapes that don’t actually accord with their actual bodies” – watch out Houdini you have some “super competition.”

I will spare you the boring and hyperbolic aphorisms that litter this dull article to introduce the 4-part documentary, “The Super Models,” which will air on Apple TV on September 20th. I wonder what Apple promised Vogue in return for this puff piece. The article calls their work ethic “utterly bananas” – perhaps it’s referring to Campbell’s habitual lateness and disrespect or Evangelista’s unrepentant insouciance.

It even dares to compare this not-so-Fabulous Four to the Beatles, saying that both “bewitched the culture and rewrote the game for an industry”- far-fetched indeed. I am not even sure why these Supers were whittled to four when Claudia Schiffer, Karen Mulder, and Yasmeen Ghauri were equally famous – but hey, they are not in the documentary.

According to Vogue’s author Sally Singer in the 90s, they were plastered on the walls of bedrooms and hair salons globally – is this Farrah Fawcett or the Supers? They left people “breathless” with their rock star moves and “authenticity,” which included “selfless acts” such as Linda visiting Galliano while in treatment for drug use and Naomi talking Marc Jacobs into attending rehab – sounds like some calculated career moves. “We survived, Grunge,” the insipid Evangelista declares! The “Supers” we learn were largely unscathed by the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment – they are superhuman!

Turlington disingenuously declares she is doing this for closure since this “was such a blip in her life”- yet there are numerous upcoming books and movies she is participating in. And she does have a “nepo” baby Grace Burns ready to make her modeling debut akin to Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber who has already made it.

The rest of the anodyne article is not worth repeating but might be a good night-time read. A quick synopsis – Naomi is heralded as a groundbreaker who always pushed for more money and access, while Crawford is praised for being discrete and never overexposed, unlike her neighbors in Calabasas.

Despite Wintour throwing the Calabasas residing Kardashians under the proverbial Vogue bus, let’s not forget her 2014 Vogue article where she praised Kim as a “cultural provocateur” and “phenomenon” with “strength of character” and “enough guts to place herself in the world Spotlight” – does anyone have a paper bag, please?

Wintour lauding these ladies might be a concerted effort to cover her own controversial history of ageism and elitism, none of which this phony snoozefest remedies.

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Lieba Nesis

My love of fashion, writing and photography were something that always dominated my lifestyle however it wasn't until I was approached by the editor of Lookonline that I realized I could utilize these three skills in combination.

1 Comment
  1. Couldn’t agree more with each point made by Ms. Nesis. Vapid and meaningless — all of this. But then again, so is Vogue and has been for years and years now. I don’t suspect it will end its march toward mediocrity any time soon — not until she-who-will-not-be-named is finally gone.

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