Elle made some surprising choices for its March issue, starting with its cover star: Dakota Johnson, the 24-year-old star of the upcoming film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey and daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. It’s eyebrow-raising mainly because the actress and former model has only a few small film roles and a season-long TV gig under her belt. Of course, buzz has been building around the Fifty Shades movie since it was announced, but it doesn’t even come out for an entire year.
“At Elle, we love to feature women who are taking risks and putting themselves out there,” said Robbie Myers, Elle’s editor-in-chief, in a statement. “Dakota was really open and candid in her interview and has a great mix of confidence, humility and humor.”
Indeed, of her willingness to strip down and do those awkward sex scenes, she told the magazine, “I don’t have any problem doing anything. The secret is I have no shame.”
Something else we thought was odd: Johnson is wearing a dress by John Galliano on the cover (shot by Carter Smith) — not the designer, but the brand, which was taken over by Bill Gaytten after Galliano was fired by LVMH. It’s a label that we rarely, if ever, see in major fashion glossies, let alone on the cover. This is especially strange because March is a fashion magazine’s second-most important issue of the year, in which advertisers invest a lot of money. It’s to spring fashion what the September issue is to fall — you tend to see the biggest stars in a season’s most prominent and memorable looks.
We can’t help but wonder if the magazine had a hard time getting major brands to lend key pieces — that several other magazines were most likely competing for — to a relative unknown starring in a movie based on an erotic novel. If Love had trouble getting designers to loan clothes for Miley freaking Cyrus, then it seems possible, right?
That said, Johnson looks cute, and seems smart and funny, and we could see her becoming a fashion darling as she promotes the film over the next year. Hey, maybe we’ll even see her at fashion week.
Click through to see more images from her spread.