The January 2011 issue of Russian Vogue is out, the first under new EIC Viktoria Davydova, and fans of the mag are already in an uproar about the direction she's taking it.
To start, Davydova's chosen an unconventional, not to mention controversial, covergirl in Alina Kabaeva. She's not a model and she's not exactly a celebrity. She is a decorated rhythmic gymnast (she took home the gold at the 2004 Olympics), but she is better known as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rumored mistress. Two years ago, when Putin was still President and still married to wife Ludmilla (as he still is today), stories circulated in the press that Putin was to marry Kabaeva. To stoke the fire a bit, the headline between Kabaeva's legs translates to "Her Main Victory," a Russian reader tells us.
Davydova came from Tatler, where celeb covers are de rigeur (Jennifer Lopez is currently on the cover of Russian Tatler), so that she put a non-model on the cover is not much of a surprise.
But after years under the talented direction of Aliona Doletskaya, who is rumored to be headed to POP after resigning from Vogue Russia, to say that fans are disappointed with Davydova and her first cover for the mag would be a gross understatement. It doesn't help that Kabaeva is wearing the same gold Balmain dress that has already seen countless covers. Five pages of comments have already amassed over at the online forum The Fashion Spot bemoaning the new Russian Vogue.
Some highlights? "This is such a bad cover again for Vogue Russia. Where is the creativity in this cover? Where is high-fashion? Where in this cover, can you see the glamour of Russian women? This cover looks like an overrated reprinted cover of Marie Claire US or Glamour US. And don't get me started with the dress and the text layout," one commenter wrote. "What a downgrade, I am completely shocked and disappointed," wrote another, "what on earth were they thinking about when they picked this shot? Everything is just wrong about this cover and why Alina? I am so angry, I don't even want to buy the magazine this month." Another just simply wrote "RIP Vogue Russia." Ouch.
To illustrate the decline in cover quality since Doletskaya's departure, our Russian tipster sent in this handy comparison guide.