Vogue UK has decided to celebrate its 100th Anniversary with a cover so lifeless, a doctor would solemnly tell its loved ones, “The best we can do is make it comfortable… it’s just a matter of time.”
A magazine known for being a glamorous sumptuous feast of fashion decided that one hundred years was long enough and went full-on dull duchess.
Vogue UK made a point to note, “Having participated in choosing not only the clothes worn in the shoot and the locations used as a backdrop, but also the photographer who captured the images, the Duchess was pleased with the resulting feeling of informality in the final shots.”
In other words, it’s not Vogue’s fault. Kate decided to go all Jecca Craig on the cover on her own.
This isn’t the first time Kate has sartorially referenced her romantic rival. Back in August 2005, Kate wore an outfit similar to her Vogue cover to the Gatcombe Park Festival.
That was a few months after Prince William dumped Kate for “more space” which quickly took the form of Jecca.
Many were surprised Kate had decided to do Vogue UK since five years ago several magazines were clamoring to feature the royal bride with Anna Wintour of Vogue US vigorously campaigning to have the duchess on the US cover, reportedly involving photographer Mario Testino in her crusade without success. At the time a Palace aide noted, “Both William and Kate feel it would be wrong for Kate to promote herself as a fashion or style icon. That’s not what they are about and they take their royal duties far too seriously to, in one sense, trivialize them.”
Apparently Kate finally realized no one is buying her as someone who takes her duties seriously so she might as well pose for Vogue, but in the drabbest clothing possible so no one could accuse her of trying to be a style icon.
Of course, British royals on the cover of Vogue UK is nothing new.
Kate’s the first one, though, daring enough to embrace the bland sterility of a back-to-school clothing sale circular in the Sunday paper. One editor quoted in The Daily Beast noted, “I think it’s an atrocious cover—especially for one that should be celebrating a momentous anniversary. 100 years of Vogue—a magazine that has published some of greatest, most groundbreaking photography and they use a bland Kay’s catalogue image.”
The Vogue shoot was said to be a collaboration between the magazine and The National Portrait Gallery of which Kate is Royal Patron. Two of the photos from the shoot taken by photographer Josh Olins were hung as part of the gallery’s Vogue 100: A Century of Style. This screen grab from The Guardian comes from an article entitled Kate’s Vogue shots shouldn’t be in a gallery. They’re not art.
Reaction to the Indiana Jecca look was not positive overall, with fans taking to The Royal Family’s Facebook page to note that Kate looks very unKate:
Although perhaps the real issue was that the photographer captured Kate’s essence a little too well.
Others found the shoot itself in poor taste or inappropriate.
Comments in the Daily Mail criticized Kate not having the time for her duties but plenty to spare for a photo shoot.
On Twitter, royal correspondents and photographers were also critical of the photos.
Kate’s Vogue hit the stands on Tuesday. The rest of the photos are as equally uninspired, shot in January against a barren beige backdrop in Norfolk selected by Kate.
Kate’s vision was for the spread to reflect her “private existence”, just not with her usual jeggings paired with one of her numerous black and white striped shirts or solid jumpers she normally wears, instead opting to protect her sartorial privacy by wearing an equally bland collection of contrived casual country clothing.
Glamorous gowns and jewels set against the neutral winter country setting would have made for visually interesting photographs with the juxtaposition of elements representing the dual nature of Kate’s life. Had Kate been wary of an overt display of opulence because of the criticism she’s faced over her pampered taxpayer-funded luxury lifestyle in a time of austerity, she could have still incorporated elements that would reflect more of who she is as a person or how her life has changed since joining the royal family five years ago. One word Kate seems fond of lately is “surreal”. Perhaps the media attention makes Kate feels like she exists in a sort Wonderland which could have been subtly referenced by her wearing a simple light blue dress with a black hair band while she sipped tea or sat at a table with cards in front of her. Beyond a bicycle, there are no props in these photos to even indicate what she does with the vast majority of her time which is spent out of the public eye. No camera hanging from a strap around her neck to represent her interest in photography, no children’s toys casually left on the lawn to hint at her identity as a mother, with the exception of Lupo in one photo, there are no other signs of life, not even smoke coming from a distant chimney to suggest a family which waits for her indoors. It’s just simply a generically pretty airbrushed Kate, wearing entirely forgettable clothing in a beigely barren winter landscape.
The only possible hint at Kate’s personal interests is a curiously included shot in the magazine which caused a bit of social media buzz as people wondered if they were really seeing what they thought they were.
Emily Andrews noted the picture was too blurry to positively ID what exactly was going on with the back of Kate’s jeans. The picture is pretty fuzzy, but this is the area in question:
Has Kate included a partial moon in her Vogue spread to show her cheeky side or is it perhaps something completely innocuous like a scarf tied around her waist with a pattern resembling butt cleavage?