Writing for the New York Times , fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman posts this headline: Vanity Fair's September Cover Sells Something. And Not Only What It Says: Michelle Williams, Louis Vuitton and the aesthetics of brand synergy.
For starters, writes Friedman, the imagery of a makeup free, minimal and unadorned Williams is confrontational in its own way, reflecting the aesthetic of Vanity Fair's new editor Radhika Jones. The cover is a pivot away from Vanity Fair's prior days "kind of arch celebrity-meets-intellect fantasy."
Williams sendsa new message: "This is me. Here's what I think. Deal with it."
The photographer Collier Schorr, who took the picture, has built a career out of exploring the mixing of ideas of gender and identity. But there's more to the story, writes Friedman. Is it pure coincidence . . . a moment of serendipity?
Michelle Williams is an official brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton, and she wear Vuitton on the cover. In reality, Williams generally wears Louis Vuitton at the Oscars, the Met Gala and other "big eyeball events." After all, says Friedman, "That's usually part of the deal."
Coincidentally, or not, Ms. Schorr is the current campaign photographer for Louis Vuitton, and her signature imprint is clearly visible on the cover. Should we agree, then, that the September 2018 cover of Vanity Fair is effectively . . . a Louis Vuitton ad.
Pure coincidence says Vanity Fair -- and that may well be the case. When Schorr was booked in May, the magazine had no idea she had shot the Vuitton ad campaign. In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Schorr was the rare photographer who challenged the fashion industry to take responsibility for its own actions.
In the case of Louis Vuitton, they were also looking for a fresh photographer with Bruce Weber also mired down in accusations of abuse by more than a dozen men interviewed in a New York Times investigation.
The intersection of fashion stars was just "a happy coincidence", according to a Louis Vuitton spokeswoman. The end.