Friday, 29 April 2011

Always a celebrity...rarely a model.

     Today Catherine Middleton became a princess but, ever since the announcement of her engagement, she has been an A-list celebrity, gracing the covers of newspapers and magazines alike, on a daily basis.
     Celebrities sell - everyone knows it. They have mighty legions of don't-disrespect-my-idol-or-i'll-dunk you fans. Even the less aggresive of us can be swooned into paying £2-6 to read an in depth-interview of someone we admire. Whether it is teenage-idol Justin Beiber, Duchess-of-Cambridge Catherine Middleton or mother-monster Lady GaGa, we take an unashamed interest in their lives; they're fabulous.

      Yet, with models that instant recognition is only beheld by fashion fanatics. You, like me, may think that Freja Beha Erichsen is one of the most beautiful people ever to have existed but your average person has no idea who she is: Freja Beha who? - Is that some sort of Bodyshop product? They will have seen her in nothing but Georg Jensen, looking luxurious in Louis Vuitton and hitting the high-street in H&M but they will not know her name, she's just a model - they do not care but they do care about celebrities.

     Anna Wintour herself, is renowned for being the first magazine editor to truly understand the effect a celebrity cover can have on sales. From talk-show hosts to actresses she has placed them all on Vogue's front cover, with the result that the U.S. edition now has a monthly circulation of 1.2 million copies. Moreover, Anna Wintour herself is now a celebrity in her own right - The September Issue, her talent, her bob. People pay to read what she has to say, just as much as they do, to hear the latest anecdotes of Reese Witherspoon and Rihanna.

     The British edition itself, dabbles between models and celebrities alike, but in order to maintain sales, it endlessly promotes its cover models until they have earned some sort of celebrity-like status amongst Vogue readers. Lara Stone and Freja Beha Erichsen would not be so well-known, without their constant editorials, within editions that feature the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Cheryl Cole on their covers. 
     The only Vogue magazine, which appears not to have been lured into the attraction of a celebrity cover is 'Vogue Italia', which amongst the more commercial editions of Vogue, remains the bible of high-fashion. It never compromises its high-quality for popularity; the shoots are always impressive and extreme and the covers unbelievably eye-catching. 
     However, it suffers because of it. Although, Italy has a much smaller population than that of America, its circulation is only 145,000. The U.K. has a population similar to that of Italy, but our Vogue has a circulation of 220,000, and whilst, I wish I could say that it is due to better writing, it is due to the celebrity covers. People are lured in by an in-depth interview with their idols, sadly an intriguing image isn't enough. 
      Thus, as lovers of fashion, whilst we enjoy the more commercial editions of Vogue, I challenge us to buy and browse through the likes of Vogue Italia more often, because it is all about the fashion and, quite frankly, what else do we need?


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