Gisele in Vogue April And The Whole Shebang

I believe it was around the end of February where I read somewhere that a "model" was going to grace the cover of the fashion bible. Quite frankly, I was skeptical at first, a working model has not grace the cover of Vogue for a while and the legitimacy of the source where I got the info from seemed dubious. But I was still hopeful, Ms. Wintour has historically favored celebrities over models to grace the cover of her magazine since the 80's, this has certainly been a winning formula, evident by the ever growing financial and commercial success of the magazine and the adaptation of its competitors (if any). Moreover, I had the least expectation that Gisele Bundchen was going to be anointed cover girl, well to be honest, not really. This woman has just scored her whooping 11th cover, being her first in the 1999 July issue shot by Steven Meisel and most recently the controversial photograph along with NBA player Lebron James for the same issue a year ago.

If you remember well this covered raised some eyebrows and dropped some jaws everywhere. It was popularly compared by the media to the King Kong film released in 1933 directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Taking into account the history of America including slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, it would only seemed fair that an overpowering, beast-like, athletic black man grabbing a delicate, radiant, caucasian woman (in this case from Brazilian descent) while exuding an intense feign facial expression was going to be later compared to something of such scale, but in a way, it revealed two things for me. The fact that the fashion industry, Vogue in this case has such influence over society and over the American community in general, when such highly respected print publication and one of the oldest fashion magazines in the nation publishes these type of products the media panics or in some other cases rejoices, but if lesser known magazines put something as controversial as this, then nobody cares, this just exemplifies the magnitude and importance of Vogue. I also believe that cover indirectly revealed the unresolved issues we still see here in America, it sadly depicted the prejudiced and somewhat racist community I unfortunately have to be part of, though we have a black man sitting at the helm of the White House. The only good thing I could add, I guess, is the fact that fashion is often described as a reflection of society and the times we live in, and I feel like that cover just did that, whether it has a positive or negative connotation, it sort of served as a window for folks to wake up (smell the coffee) and come to terms with the reality of the situation.

Moreover, I knew Gisele was dating Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback (I had to look that up, I know it's sad, my knowledge of football is very minimal, so don't judge me) but I was not necessarily expected for her to end up knocked up, since her body is such a pivotal part of her job and for some reason I felt like Gisele would be one of those my-figure-is-not-going-to-be-deformed-by-a-bump type of models, or supermodels I should say, not implying she hates children (just like Largerfel I read somewhere) or she may never plan of being a hot mommy, since it would put her career on a hiatus, but I'm glad she's not like that and embraces this true blessing of what a being a  mother is.

Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier; Styled by Tonne Goodman

The whole Vogue team flew down to some remote beach in Costa Rica, and this served as the backdrop for this shoot. I love this type of setting since it fit really well with the story and the subject at hand. Now that I learned that Gisele is an "eco-activist" it just adds more emphasis on the reason why this location was chosen as backdrop. Patrick Demarchelier did such a fantastic job as usual, he always gets amazing shots no matter the location or model, he's just amazing, and Tonne's styling was equally pleasing. At first I had no idea who Gisele was wearing on the cover so I had to peep at the credits. There it says that she's wearing Stella McCartney head to toe, the hoop earrings are from Noir Jewelry and the bracelets are Slane & Slane. I had mixed feelings when I saw the cover, I thought it wasn't glamourous enough, but then it made sense that this was the April "Shape Up" issue not the September one. Nonetheless, the cover looks hot, her hair slightly blowing against the wind and the pose and the clothes do justice so I'm happy.

When I think of Gisele Bundchen, the first image on my mind is not of a mother, but as Joan Juliet Buck describes her as "a towering amazon queen". I perfectly picture her in a Dior show stomping the the catwalk and making her presence felt, in a cover of any top glossy magazine, in a Versace ad who she recently was featured on exuding a image of mysterious sultry, or even now riding a horse on the shores of some beach in Costa Rica. It's this women that the world has grown to see her as, and that's where the majority of her success originates. Therefore, I would completely understand if anybody is experiencing difficulty to assimilate the fact that she now has a baby named Benjamin, and it's her own. I love what Vogue did with this story. Patrick photographed her when her belly was protrudent and clearly visible, wearing the most ethereal, translucent, delicate dress I ever seen on a pregnant woman (see above). Then a few months later he photographed her in some booty Prada shorts, or an Alexander Wang skirt and some skimpy top on a beach. One other picture I love is the one where she's caressing Benjamin while she's tenderly looking at him. This is just such a beautiful picture, I can clearly see it in a diaper's ad (hint hint Pampers?)

I mean I just love the juxtaposition, I don't see Vogue is trying to influence their female readers to get pregnant and go to some beach and start taking horse backriding lesson, but this just seems to be a great manifestation of womanhood and maternity. Now below check out the behind the scenes from the shoot and a few words from Vogue contributing editor Joan Juliet Buck. My favorite quote:

"She has a really strong spirit, Gisele, and she was letting me in and I would just become a sponge and just absorbs whatever there was for me to absorb"

As I was flipping through the contributor's page I noticed and unusual picture. There was (see below) of one of my favorite fashion insiders Teri Agins sporting a fro, the picture was taken in Chicago back in 1977 (When I saw the date, it sort of made me realize how long this women has been part of the industry and I obviously respect that, mmmhmmm...I hope I get there once) . For this issue Ms. Agins talks about how Vogue and Marsha Hunt (described by her as "the embodiment of black beauty, a sassy sister, whose hair seemed so effortless and natural") inspired her to proudly wear her natural hair, "But what began as merely a trendy hairdo gradually stirred a new sense of pride in me. I know fully understood why my mother, a first-grade teacher, insisted on displaying brown-skinned Santas on her bulletin boards at Christmas. Just like the black Santa, the Afro made me value my blackness in a positive new light." She then adds, "When the January 1, 1969, issue of Vogue arrived, I finally found an arresting centerpiece for the Wall--an image that I could truly relate to. It was a black-and-white photograph of Marsha Hunt, a fetching young black woman with a beach ball of frizzy hair" - "Every day I picked and patted my Afro, inspired by Marsha's reflection in the vanity mirror." It's not only great to see fashion solely related to clothes, as most people see it as, but also to hair, and how fashion can become a positive factor on one's life, which at the end of the day it's what suppose to be, inspire and bring the best qualities out of people.

As I read on, it was great knowing that just like me, Ms. Agins was inspired by Vogue's pages, "The fact that Vogue devoted four pages to the revolutionary image of Marsha Hunt was a very big deal", "seeing Vogue zero in on this new hairdo meant that the Natural was certifiably groovy." As most of you know by now the 2010 Spring/Summer Louis Vuitton show featured models, mostly white, in humongous, cheeky fros, which Ms. Agins says, "It was cool, modern, take on the vintage do." I loved how this collection played homage to such iconic hairdo, aside from the clothes, which were great, and don't get me started on the bags, I thought the hair that season influenced a bevy of designers not only in Paris, but Milan and New York as well. As most of the attendees and online viewers that day watching the show, Ms. Agins "felt a rush and recognition as I flashed back to Marsha Hunt. " She finally ends by saying, "[Marsha Hunt's] hair first delighted me simply as fashion. Later it would instill in an entire generation of women a new sense of style, and the freedom to be."

Vogue has one of the strongest editorials in the biz, and this issue doesn't disappoint. I love "Float On" shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Pigott, featuring one of my favs and top model Liya Kebede, and styled by Edward Enninful. The first word that popped into my head was "Barbie", the hair just reminded me of that black one with long puffy straight hair and pretty eyes (I don't think I'm gay enough to say I played with Barbies, but I obviously know how one looks like, just saying). I adored all these billowy dresses (I can certainty point one by Marc Jacobs) paired with structured jackets and this lovely white brogues, such a smart choice. I mean he really nailed it this time.

I don't know if I can pull one of these off, since I guess I would look like a mix of a black version of Marc back in the 90's and a slutty secretary or perverted librarian, so that's out of the question, but at least they are nice to look at. Love the ad, and the lipssss (hence slutty) mmmhm, enough said.

I never heard of this lovely black beauty before named Shala Monroque, but if anyone can pull off a Rodarte dress, with a Prada turban and sandals with a Hermes bag, then she's on my style icons list, but seriously, she's hot, and not need to mention of her beautiful chocolate skin.

I believe it would only seem fair that the most influential fashion magazine would feature at least an article after Mcqueen's passing. As I was flipping through the pages I stopped here, and I thought "he's actually kinda hot" I mean, Alexander Mcqueen was sexy, I love the color of his eyes and the whole macho facade he got going on. I'm in love with this picture at the right taken by Steven Klein, one can just sort of feel the internal pain coming from his eyes, his lips look rather relaxed by his face to me looked tense. There is not a question in my mind that he was periodically dealing with unresolved issues with himself and society in general that ultimately led to his unfortunate death. I wished he'd sought out professional help and reach out to people that were capable to lift him up. Now there is nothing we can do, but celebrate his work. His body, mind and soul are gone, but his spirit lives with us.

Before tearing that picture on the right and pining it up on my Wall, I had to read the amazingly well worded Hamish Bowles' article on Mcqueen. First of all, I must note that Bowles is one of the best writers Vogue has, his sentences and paragraphs just flow so seamlessly, and his word choice is part of his genius, I mean I wish one day my writing would be as eloquent as his. But to sort of makes things a little different, I would list my highlights from the article:

Mcqueen was fat and drank beer, when meeting Alexander Mcqueen for the first time in London back in 1992, Bowles says "I was unprepared for the vision before me. Beer-bellied, snaggletoothed, foul-mouthed, his jeans slung low around his hips, he seemed every inch the cockney thug, and had I encountered him on a dark street or, let's face it, in broad daylight in this faintly insalubrious part of town, my stomach might have clenched and my pace quickened." HILARIOUS!!!, I mean some of the people I see from time to time in Washington DC, look sort of like this, but let's be honest here, like Hamish, if I found myself in a dark alley with a clutch of these, I would start running the other direction like Usain Bolt, probably not as fast as him, but you get the idea.

Mcqueen was a bad boy, "The sketches on the wall indicated a febrile imagination, and the sewing machine in the middle of the room pointed to his own technical skills; Mcqueen had apprenticed with a Savile Row tailor, where he famously chalked obscenities in the linings of Prince Charles's jackets." I can use imagine the Prince team's reaction when they found out those words chalked on the lining, priceless.

Mcqueen was rude, Mr. Bowles was assigned to run a story by Vogue on the hottest London designers back then, unlike the other designers he chose, Mcqueen was not as experienced as his other fellow designers, but Hamish included him for a group portrait because of his "shinning promise". However, things did not go as planned, "On the appointed day, however, he didn't show, and when I finally heard from him he told me with winning honesty that he didn't like being photographed, didn't approve of the company he was to have been photographed with, and anyway couldn't give a flying fuck for American Vogue." I paused, astonished thought; Did he just said the f-word??? and in top of that; Did Vogue just printed this???. This could have been easily a very detrimental turn for Mcqueen's career. A designer's relationship with editors and buyers are pivotal, even more with American Vogue, who has launch the careers of several designers. So for Mr. Mcqueen to say such hateful words was tasteless and out of line. I guess the effect was much more minimal back then since Mcqueen was just one of many up-and-comers, but if that would've happen now, the backlash and boycott the media could  create could potentially entice the end of Mcqueen's career.

Mcqueen worked with amazing talents, "His loyal team--including stylist Katy England, design assistant Sarah Burton, visionary show producer Sam Gainsbury, set designers Simon Costin and later Joseph Bennett, and collaborators including master milliner Phillip Treacy--worked with him through the night to realize his fantasies, creating magic often with no money." The idea that a designer alone manages to do everything is so naive. It would be impossible for Karl to produce, make, direct and design a whole Chanel collection all by himself. Chanel is such a colossal brand, that it requires hundreds of people to run it, headed by Karl, of course, but if he ever attempted to take such tasks for any of his shows, I guess he'll suffer from a heart attack, no seriously. The same applies to Mcqueen, though his brand is not as big as Chanel, his shows are very theatrical and beautifully elaborated. As Mcqueen told Vogue in 1997, "I don't see any point in the audience leaving the show with no emotion"--"with my shows, you do get the energy, buzz, and excitement you'd get in a rock concert." Then Hamish adds, "his collections transported us into magical and often disturbing world." Indeed, there are several instances where I thought I was watching a Marcus Nispel movie. At time it's spooky but it's so good, you have to watch.

Mcqueen loves women, not sexually though, in 1997 he told Vogue, "I want to empower women" to shut down allegations of misogyny back then, "I want people to be afraid of women I dress." There is no question about that.

Oliver Theyskens admires him, "When I was at school, he was the one, always pushing the limits of expression." I can name a few people who would've love to go to school with him, including me.

Mcqueen had similarities with Balenciaga, Mr. Bowles notes, "As I would later discover, he could, like Cristobal Balenciaga, take his shears to a piece of fabric and, cutting directly into it, using instinct rather than a pattern piece, create a perfect garment." Ok, so how many designers do you know who can do that???

Hamish Bowles actually likes Mcqueen, "He was a concentrated fireball of raw talent and ambition who struck me as a maverick in the Charles James mold--brilliant, passionate, compelling, feral." He then adds, "Lee Alexander Mcqueen was an artist himself, with an artist's ability to inspire and provoke, who has bequeathed a monumental body of work that is a wondrous testament to the passion and courage of his convictions."

To finish things in a much more positive note, this accessories editorial titled "Dipping Below" looked very fresh and it sort of makes me want to be there in the pool, enjoying my day. It was shot by Raymond Meier, and styled by Lawren Howell, which I knew little about her, but now I see the level of her talent. All these sandals look great and I won't be surprised if any women out there who loves fashion would take any of them to be part of her shoe collection. But I personally like the first two sandals; the double ankle straps Lanvin with gold chain and red toe strap that retails for $888 and the one next to it, the plastic Prada with crystal embellishment strap and velcro closure, retailing for $990.

I can't believe this post has taken me three days to wrap up, it looks pretty intensive and dope to me. Since I love Vogue so much, I would post this monthly regarding each particular issue. The magazine inspires me, so I hope this blog inspires you in some way. Feel free to feel you comments below.

Photos: fashiongonerouge.com


Corve said...

I am officially apart of your family. I got my first Vogue as a present. I am still excited about it. For the past three days I have been going through the pages. I love the Gisele piece, and the main photoshoot. I will continue to buy this magazine and a men's magazine after this. I watched September weeks ago and fell in love with Anna Wintour. Love her to death. I use to go gaga over Beyonce but I now go gaga over Wintour. I like her leadership style and it works for the industry and her. Her influence is so huge I am baffled.

Now I can understand your pieces cuz I came in your world. Yeah.

Jimmy De La Cruz said...

Aw thank you Corve, I'm glad you feel that way. I'm always flattered when I hear things like this, the fashion industry is a very welcoming industry and embraces different backgrounds. Anna is one of my icons, not just in fashion but life in general for countless reasons. I'm also delighted to hear that you found a new liking to her. Now we're two. I do have a picture of her on my sidebar if you haven't notice.

You came into my world. Yay!