It's a truth universally acknowledged that September fashion magazine covers are the most important of the year. With fall just around the bend, September issues are packed to the brim with the newest trends. (They're also packed with advertisements, essential to a magazine's survival.)
And if there's one thing you can say about this year's September covers, it's that the good covers are great and the bad ones are truly horrible. Notably absent from the bunch are Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia, whose cover images have not surfaced yet, but are sure not to disappoint.
Click through to see the best and worst of September's covers!
1. Dazed & Confused
Dazed puts Dakota Fanning on its September cover, shot by Mark Segal. We’re glad to see a cover portrait that's not, sexy, typical, or strangely styled. This portrait relies on Dakota’s ability to captivate a viewer. Her loose hair and offset gaze are a nice counter to the forced cover shoots, and this image is rather reminiscent of a Ms. Sevigny, no?
2. Vogue Germany
Vogue Germany’s September cover brings to mind Vogue covers from the late eighties. With most mags going sixties this fall, we applaud Vogue Germany for giving us this kitschy, comedic image. Constance Jablonksi's wink is nothing but optimistic, as is the tagline, "Let's shop!" Overall it's a successful shot that combines eighties opulence with a bit of modernity.
3. Vogue China
Vogue China goes all out for its September Issue featuring Shu Pei, Liu Wen, Ming, Feifei, and Tao Okomoto in scarlet ensembles. Both covers are excellently styled and shot, and prove the power of models to sell magazines. We only wish American mags could put together such a star-studded, glamorous cast of models for their cover shoots.
4. Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair chose super icon Lady Gaga for their September Issue. It’s a great cover not only for its pop culture appeal, but because it depicts Lady Gaga in a new light. Naked, seemingly tattoo-less, and sedated, the rowdy pop star looks more like a lamb than a lion. We chose Vanity Fair as the best because they’re showing us an image we’ve never seen before.
Dansk's AW10 issue is all about modesty. The cover shot is very textural, between the model's bushy hair and her wool gray dress. It's stark and minimal, yes, but it's quietly beautiful, enough so to make us want to see what's inside.
6. Harper's Bazaar UK
The Brit counterpart to US Bazaar only needs half of Gisele’s perfect bone structure to sell a September issue. The new mom has the perfect stare, and while the lace top and plethora of bracelets isn’t my fave styling choice of September, it’s got a memorable, dramatic look, and frankly, we’d take Gisele in anything.
LOVE’s fourth Issue features Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Channeling a fifties era pin-up, the look is nothing new, but it’s done perfectly. And it’s perfectly on trend with the “curvy” trend this fall. (There's also an Alessandra cover, which we're doubly loving.)
8. Elle Sweden
Elle Sweden puts all their money on Frida Gustavsson, and we would, too. This special cover features Frida playing around in a collage of Elle’s standard September cover, also a solo image of Frida. We hope this one hits newsstands, since the image is cute, funny, and just the happy pick-me-up for fall.
9. Vogue Portugal
Vogue Portugal proclaims the return of sensuality and curves, a discordant thought with the image of twiggy Olga Sherer. The styling is extremely successful, especially with the motion in the shot, but Olga herself looks like a cross between Marlene Dietrich and tranny Marlene Dietrich. It’s a B+ cover, with bonus points given for using Sepia instead of full on black and white.
What would W do? It’s Stefano Tonchi’s first issue as EIC, and the pressure was on to create a successful cover. The logo has been italicized to give a more elegant feel, and Stefano has abandoned W’s traditional covergirls for a new take on "Young Hollywood." While the edgy styling of the actresses is a new take, the problem is that we barely recognize the girls. Kat Dennings is nearly unrecognizable in profile, and punky Emma Roberts and flowing-haired Zoe Kravitz are two looks we never thought we'd see. When it comes to shooting actresses, they need to look like stylized versions of themselves, not completely different people all together.
11. British Vogue
British Vogue and Kate Moss. They’re like peanut butter and jelly – It’s good, but it’s not. This is Kate and Brit Vogue’s millionth collaboration, and with every cover, the styling relies more on Kate’s fame than the cover appeal itself.
P.S. I always thought minimal chic was Jil Sander, not a military jacket, no pants, and heeled black leather ankle boots.
i-D pre-fall 2010 marks the mag’s 30th anniversary, so they went all out, or so they said. Sticking with icons Kate, Naomi, and Gaga, i-D tried to prove its legendary staying power in a shaky industry. But the black and white, individual shots are far less exciting than i-D’s typical covers. These images of Kate, Naomi, and Gaga are not new or captivating; we'd take Freja over these any day.
Flare puts pregnant and gorgeous Doutzen Kroes on its cover in AW10 Prada. We’re glad to see someone doing Prada without the beehives, but the rest of the styling and set are extremely basic, and leave us wanting more from mag and the angel.
14. Harper's Bazaar Australia
Harper’s Bazaar Australia takes a look verbatim from Vuitton; Elle MacPherson wearing the exact look she wore in the AW10 show. It’s nice, but it’s nothing new.
15. Elle UK
Elle UK features a pouty Emily Blunt in a lacy outfit. The lace comes across one-note, but has enough interest to encourage a shopper to purchase the mag. This image is just interesting enough to win our approval.
It’s Julia, Julia, Julia at Elle. A safe bet for magazine sales considering the Eat, Pray, Love frenzy that’s sure to ensue, but are three average-looking covers really necessary?
17. US Vogue
Sometimes I wonder what to do with US Vogue. So much potential, so few results. This issue was supposed to be iconic, Halle Berry being the first black woman on the September cover since 1989. But reusing Sienna Miller’s failed wig attempt from The September Issue on Halle Berry is generally a bad idea. Halle is famous for her short hair, and Vogue would be making an equally huge statement (fashion-wise at least) putting a woman with cropped hair on its cover. (Which we can't remember the last time that happened.) Also, the obvious photoshopping is always a negative.
Deutsch Magazine features Arlenis Sosa on its cover, looking like a body double for Marilyn Monroe. We love Arlenis, we love Deutsch, but the last thing we wanted is another Marilyn look-alike. We already have Lindsay Lohan and that’s too much in itself.
19. Harper's Bazaar
Jennifer Aniston does her best Babs impersonation in September’s Bazaar. If you’re going to do Barbra Streisand, get the real Barbra. Imitating other living celebrities is pointless and a bit creepy.