Recently, my dad returned home from his trip to France with a copy of the June/July issue of Vogue Paris. I was so excited to read it and ripped the plastic cover off. I opened it up, flipping vigorously through, searching for the Kate Moss spread. (Kate Moss is by far my favorite model. A lot of people think she is overrated, but I think she is brilliant!) Upon finding it, I realized I couldn’t read the article. Why? Because it was all in French and obviously my extensive knowledge of Spanish didn’t help in the least bit. I could pick out words here and there, but they were words like “cocktail” and “couture.” Discouraged, I gave up and hunted my mom down, who speaks French fluently. I made her sit with me for an hour and read me the articles instead.
Paging through the magazine itself, I realized how shocking different Vogue Paris and the American version are. And to be frankly honest, I liked the Paris version much better. I am not saying that Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of Vogue US, does not do proper job or lacks creativity. Instead, I find the Paris Vogue much more refreshing.
I feel that, for one, the photography is more interesting and exotic than the American Vogue. One reason, I think, is because there is more of a variety in photographers in the Parisian Vogue. In the American Vogue, a lot of spreads are done by Peter Lindbergh, Norma Jean Roy (a personal favorite), Anna Leibovitz, and others. Although they are talented photographers, they are used too frequently in the fashion realm, especially in the United States. Their work is very noticeably different, yet still portrays the same style when used in the magazine. Even though there was a slight overlap in some of the photographers, it was exciting seeing the work of others.
Another very surprising difference was the appearance of the models. Compared to the models used in American photoshoots, the girls in the Parisian Vogue had a much edgier and raw look. The women were not flawless. It appeared as if the models were not screened for the stereotypical image of beauty; each girl possessed an imperfection that made them intriguing to look at and strikingly beautiful. Also, famous models like Jessica Stam and Chanel Iman were not plastered over every page.
I think the most curious difference was the lack of celebrity appearance in the magazine. Apart from the occasion perfume or clothing ad, there were not that many Hollywood celebrities featured in the magazine. Instead, the articles and photoshoots centered around true fashion. This extenuated the clothing, not the model. Instead of looking at a photograph and thinking, “Wow, Scarlett Johansson looks amazing!” you thought, “Wow, I really like how this piece follows the nature curves of the body! And those shoes are hot!” The model and clothing worked more together than I feel in the American Vogue.
To go along with the celebrity theme, it was funny to see that on the Paris Vogue, no celebrity names were on the cover. Not even Kate Moss’s, who was featured on this month’s issue! On each of my American Vogues, at least three celebrity names were dropped.
Needless to say, both magazines are exquisite in their depth of knowledge and photography. However, the American coverage of fashion seems to be water-downed for the dumb American public. But if you are looking for a pure substance of cutting-edge fashion, I would highly recommend Carine Roitfeld’s Vogue Paris instead. Personally, I am immediately going to start taking French classes so I can read Vogue Paris!
DISCLAIMER: These views are that of Alexander’s Eyes and do not in any way reflect Vogue Paris or Vogue US.