July's American Vogue features fashion great Peter Lindbergh's first spread for the publication in 18 years. Lindbergh shot Natalia Vodianova and Ewan McGregor acting out family scenes in a setting that's part Mad Men and part A Single Man.
The '60s themed fake family is a fashion mag mainstay, and Natalia has been acting the love interest in Vogue for years, alongside everyone from Diddy to her own hubby, Justin Portman.
But we think Lindbergh's spread is decidedly different from the rest--click through to find out why.
The first image in the editorial, titled "Magnificent Obsession," shows Vodianova and McGregor walking two frolicking dogs in a spacious lawn.
Whereas most Vogue images nowadays seem extremely contrived and Photoshop-ed beyond recognition (no one is safe, even Marion Cotillard), this shot has a vivacity that seems somewhat real. There's a certain warmth given by the big evergreen trees in the background and the rocks littering the field, as though the moment was captured by a friend.
Right from the start, Lindbergh's vision is apparent: To create a loving environment where chemistry comes first.
This next image is decidedly more Vogue. It's so easy to picture Anna Wintour singling out this shot of girls motionless on a swing, lest the wind mess their petticoats.
The composition is basically symmetrical and the styling is verbatim Prada. We still feel a little giddy at the sight of Ewan McGregor's three piece suit, however.
Worry plagues our protagonists in the third image, but thankfully wrinkles don't exist in Vogue. McGregor and Vodianova looks stunning as a duo, and Lindbergh's photo seeks to capture an emotionalism that Vogue often neglects.
Even if they have airbrushed out all the fretting, it's the insinuation of anxiety that makes this image captivating.
Perhaps the source of worry was Vodianova's new man-friend, the waiter, or maybe just pre-event anxiety over what to wear?
Either way, this image isn't over the top anything, styling or scene. It, again, relies on the conveyance of an emotion, this time happiness, to the viewer.
We love Vodianova's Hipsters Have to Pee pose, and we think it's impossible not to fall for her charming smile.
The drama continues to unfold. Vodianova's courting her lurer, perhaps? The children play unknowing in the background, while Mommy takes a call, teddy bear loose in her arms, from another.
A shadowy figure is in the extreme foreground, lurking, watching the family scene. Foreboding is not something we can recall in Vogue and we're beyond thrilled with Lindbergh's portrayal of a less than perfect atmosphere.
Alcoholism. Depression. Vogue? This fallen family is divided by the space between them, kids absent, Mom and Dad flopped at varying sides of the kitchen.
This image feels horribly American, in the clichéd sense of a wealthy family fallen from grace into turmoil. Vodianova hunches awkwardly, while McGregor clutches his drink; the scene is dramatic with just the touch of humanity that Vogue needs.
And now, abandonment. Vodianova dashes with the couple's kids, who strangely can only wear matching outfits for a reason unbeknownst to us. The flash in the door behind the figures gives it a paparazzi spin, as though Vodianova's dashing in the night was snapped up by a pesky photog.
The photo betrays the mother's trust, a parallel to the failed relationship? Or maybe we're reading too deeply.... The burnt orange palette is a nice touch for a '60s Fall wardrobe.
Scandalous. Somehow Vodianova has found herself at the bank with a Birkin full of cash.
The caption for this photo reads, "A respectable suit even Pat Nixon could love opens to reveal sinful satin lingerie. (Like a good housewife, c. 1963, blossoming to reveal her hidden sexuality and ambition after reading The Feminine Mystique.)" We really have nothing to add to that.
A new woman, alone, on the street, in a loose suit, Vodianova embodies liberation in this image. She walks on an unglamorous street, a Honda parked in the background, glancing away from the viewer, uncertain.
The narrative of this story has really become a statement on a woman's place in the world, if the world was 1963. Still, portraying emotion is a new direction for Vogue, so we'll pat them on the back for that.
Fast forward to 1984, and Vodianova has found herself a new beau.
He drives a vintage car, even though there's an SUV in the background. She's still got her first lady hairdo, because she's classy, but hip enough to ditch her suits for cigarette pants and a leopard print bag. A great last image, this shot is funny, if not intentionally, because it evokes an antiquated cliché.
By the end of this editorial, we look back with love over the kitschy family drama, and outdated stance on the new woman, because one thing we'd never expect from Vogue is emotion and humor.
We got a little of both. Great work Mr. Lindbergh; we hope Vogue brings you back for September!