Remember when Nicki Minaj sat next to Anna Wintour at the Carolina Herrera show? Well, she was actually flanked by two Condé editors that day. To her right was W editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi and apparently that’s who we should have had our eye on in terms of cover speculation. It makes a lot more sense, actually. As I’m sure you remember, last year’s cover girl for the Art Issue was a very naked (and very criticized) Kim Kardashian.
Minaj graces one of two November issue covers–the other, which was revealed yesterday, features relatively unknown Chinese model Sui He shot by Max Vadukul in collaboration with Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. For Minaj’scover story, Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli and stylist Edward Enniful transformed the hip hop star into some of the most famous courtesans in history: the Marquise de Montespan, Comtesse du Barry, Madame de Pompadour, and Madame Rimsky-Korsakov. He tells the magazine,
My idea was to reproduce four iconic portraits of some of the most fascinating females of the past in a series starring an American pop-culture role model. We tried to re-create those original portraits using similar furniture, props, and clothing, à la Visconti. Luckily enough, the result came out as surreal as it could be, just as I wished.
Surreal is definitely the right word to describe these. Click through to see all four portraits and read the full interview with Vezzoli here.