‘Vogue Italia’ Jumps on the Controversial Cover Bandwagon

Vogue Italia has run into a bit of controversy over the September cover, featuring the model Stella Tennant corseted and Photoshopped into a 13-inch waist. Who needs to breathe, eh? Am I right?

The magazine already ran into trouble earlier this month for a trend feature that referred to hoop earrings as “slave earrings” (it has apologized). Now the issue is whether this cover glorifies an unnatural and unhealthy female body image. The cover is meant to recognize Ethel Granger, who famously did have a 13-inch waist.

Vogue Italia joins Newsweek on the list of magazines that are generating buzz with some recent controversial covers.

An issue that we discussed yesterday on the Morning Media Menu and has been discussed at a number of media outlets — whether Tina Brown’s string of controversial covers is a positive for Newsweek. Business Insider says yes. Adweek says no. Forbes says it doesn’t matter because the newsstand sales are just a small part of the magazine’s revenue and ad sales are more important.

But the cover is the face of the magazine; the packaging on a product. Was Newsweek‘s packaging in line with  its brand when it published those computer-generated image of Princess Diana? Probably not.

Vogue Italia is pushing readers and onlookers to ask questions of taste and art with this cover, something that is appropriate for that magazine. When I first saw the photo, I didn’t think it was saying a 13-inch waist is the standard for beauty. I’ve seen other recent pictures of Stella Tennant where she clearly doesn’t have a waist that tiny. Perhaps this magazine and others should be give a bit of credit (just a smidgen) for finally waking up to older models. Tennant is in her early 40s and is the mother of four children.

Rather, the magazine is doing its fashion thing (said in the voice of Iman) and doing it well. The photo is lovely.