Sunday, February 15, 2009

My First Lady Covers Vogue: A Critique

I was/am in a funky mood. I shoulda gone to church but I didn't for silly reasons and now I'm regretting it. Hopefully the smoke will clear soon (real soon) and I can get back to being happy. I'm about to get into some Proverbs right after I finish this post. That always helps me put things in perspective. Hopefully blogging, especially about my First Lady, will be theraputic too.

Despite my funky mood, I did manage to find pleasure in reading the March 2009 Vogue cover story. Admitedly, I have been anticipating it's arrival for weeks now, ever since I learned that Michelle Obama was going to grace the cover. So I picked it up yesterday. What do ya think?



First and formost, Vogue sure isn't suffering in the ad department by the look (and weight) of this issue. The older East Indian woman at the NYC Penn Station store where I purchased my copy went out of her way to tell me how many people are buying the issue and it literally just hit newsstands this week. Very telling. But NYC is another universe. I wonder how it will sell in the Bible Belt and Middle America...

I like, but don't love, the cover. I think Michelle looks good but there are a couple of post-production things I'm not too thrilled with. However, her arms look fantastic and the fuschia shift dress works on her and for the seated shot. There is also a spread of Michelle writing wearing a J.Crew ensemble that I really like because she looks comfortable and at ease and the colors work for her complexion. Don't care for the opening spread of her on the phone though.

I don't want to give too much anyway as I realize most of you might not have read the piece yet. I will say that I think Andre Leon Talley did a good job. While the article did leave me wanting a little more (but maybe that's because I already know so much more about her than the average Vogue reader). At the end of the day, Vogue is a fashion pub. Still, I think Talley was able to get some real jewels in and I've shared a few of my faves below:

Michelle on growing up in a modest, working class community:
"We like to joke that the South Side of Chicago is our Kennebunkport. We learned in our household that there was nothing you couldn't talk about and that you found humor in even the toughest times."
Don't know where Kennebunkport is or what it represents? Don't worry, I had to Google it myself. It's an upscale town in Maine where many of the world's wealthiest go to "summer". I love that Michelle doesn't come from money and wasn't even involved in most of the things middle/upper class Black folks are supposed to participate in (no Jack & Jill meetings for her or Craig as kids, no Link galas for her mother Ms. Marian, no vacations in Sag Harbor) yet she still became our country's first Black First Lady.

Talley on his first meeting with Michelle:
"I first met Mrs. Obama at an impromptu dinner at Oprah Winfrey's house in Santa Barabra, CA, on the eve of the divine Ms.O's Legends Ball in 2005. I was seated between the then Senator Barack Obama's wife and Tina Turner. Do I remember what Michelle was wearing? Not at all. What I do remember was how informed she was on so many topics."
For those of you who are wondering why everything this woman wears sells out in hours and why she's being lauded as a style icon when you think she usually looks mediocre at best, reread the above quote from Talley. Hopefully, you'll start to get it soon.

Oprah on Michelle:
"Michelle Obama is a full-blown, grown-up woman. An authentically empowered real woman who looks and feels like a modern woman in the 21st century, allowing us to see the best of ourselves in her."
Point blank, this is just a dang good quote. And it is making me feel a whole lot better about the current growing pains I'm having.

Talley on the Whistle Tour:
"As we rolled along, I thought of my own journey. How many among the crowds gathered to watch us pass were like me--an African-American who grew up in the Jim Crow South, whose father drove a taxi, whose uncle Lewis was a barber, whose grandmother was a maid her entire life--and turned their eyes to the Obamas not just with hope but with recognition?
Wow.

Other highlights in this issue are the feature story on Melinda Gates which I haven't finished reading but I look forward to doing so because she seems to be a real grown-up woman too. I was not too thrilled with Liya's fashion well story, Desert Fox. Don't get me wrong, Liya looks as gorgeous as ever. But how cliche is it to use an African model in yet another safari inspired story in 2009? After taking a real life safari last year in South Africa I'm really annoyed by it. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Wintour's editor's letter. I appreciate when an EIC takes the time to share their genuine thoughts and feelings with their readers. Here's a snippet:

"There is no doubt that we live in the toughest and most trying of times: wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza; a global economic recession of historic proportions; and a planet whose physical and biological health grows more imperiled by the day. These are the facts, and we are forced to face them whether we like it or not. However, there is another fact that bears mentioning: We are resourceful and resislient people who have survived far worse. (Couldn't help but to think about my maternal Grandma here.) As I talk to fellow members of the business and fashion communities, it seems that we can too readily succumb to doom, gloom and fatalism. I'm not a Pollyanna. But it is critical that we not exchange one bubble (euphoric consumerism) for another (funeral pessimism). The truth is we are blessed as ever with drive, talent, and practical, proactive measure can be taken to improve our lot."
Way to go Anna!

Did you read the March 2009 Vogue yet? Please share your thoughts about the cover story or any other article in the issue.

2 comments:

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I have received my issue yet. It takes a while to get overseas but I got chills from the quotes you featured.

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