A sparkling month for fashion magazine covers

It is one thing not judging a book by its cover, but when it comes to fashion magazines, the image that stares back at you from the newsstand is pretty persuasive. Here is how the October issues stack up.

Harper's Bazaar

Harpers Bazaar is an interesting place to start, considering this is its first issue under the new simple title of Bazaar. To emphasise the point, they’ve embellished the word with glittering Swarovski crystals.

This is a sizeable investment considering that its circulation more than hits the 100,000 mark. It might sound outlandish, and in economic terms, it certainly is, but somehow this bling works.

Perhaps it is because the sparkles have been strewn over a geeky looking model rather than across the face of a flashy celebrity. The contrast is clever.


Shot by photographer Alexi Hay, who is more at home on the noticeably edgier pages of i-D magazine, Bazaar is making a fashionable point about where it is heading.

Not content with its old stuffy connotations, Bazaar clearly wants a cooler calibre of reader. It will be interesting to see whether it reverts to its Elizabeth Hurley covers any time soon.


Vogue, in contrast, has taken the classic route. Using a winning triumvirate of Mario Testino behind the lens, Keira Knightley staring back at him and sequinned Chanel, this one can’t fail to sell. Knightley looks mysterious, but somehow still accessible, which is easier said than done in magazine-cover terms.

It is a gorgeous image, but it doesn’t exactly blaze fashion trails. With an ever-cooler Bazaar hot on its heels, Vogue needs to keep things fresh and innovative.

Like Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle know that celebrities sell. With the help of Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton respectively, these two have gone for almost identical cover images: both luminaries are looking super sultry against a plain white background. Even the typefaces are a similar shade of red.

Marie Claire


Marie Claire probably has the edge in terms of reader connection because Jolie’s picture looks more real. Unfortunately, the furious retouching on Paris has left her slightly Madame Tussaud-like, but then there is something to be said for perfect skin.

Celebrities aside, what I most like about this Elle cover is the banner about 500 pages of autumn shopping – irresistible to any girl bored of her summer sandals.

My favourite cover of the month is an amalgamation of everything hence discussed. It is Vanity Fair, and it boasts a barely dressed Nicole Kidman (6).

Vanity Fair

Wearing a sailor’s cap, an unbuttoned shirt and some well-placed gold anchor necklaces, this cover will appeal to more than just the Navy.

Looking like a throwback from a Nineties’ Jean Paul Gautier advert is one thing, but if you bear in mind that the feature inside contains sensitive stories about her miscarriages and failed engagements, it proves the image might look nice, but a magazine cover is still a deceiving creature.

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