hothouse flowers and wilted efforts

It was so nice to see the beginnings of spring flowering in the pages of this month's American Vogue -

I love the Marc Jacobs dresses (that was a collection, whether you loved or hated it, that's going to be all over the place starting next year), and while the whole shoot wasn't quite as incredible as the previous few years' December editorials (The Wizard of Oz last year, Alice in Wonderland in 2003), it was still nice after the heavy wrapping and gloom of the fall collections. The lush bed of leaves they laid on also makes a nice reference to the rustly volume of their dresses.

Vogue made a theme of out of flowers for the whole issue, and the feature on Irving Penn's upcoming exhibition "In Flower" came as a particularly delightful early Christmas present.

But otherwise, the whole issue was not all that interesting. The rest of the "Garden of Delights" editorial (shot by Steven Meisel) was average -

I mean, compared to this last December -

And this in December 2003 -

It's pretty tough for anyone to top the Alice in Wonderland feature, but that's no excuse for something as silly as the so-called Peter Beard-inspired editorial - those looked like my vacation shots.

And the cover photo of Nicole Kidman was ghastly - she looked more dead to me than anything else - and the interview was more of the usual Kidman-isms about how ethereal and pale she was, and what a honking laugh she had. (I'm not putting the photo here because it's just horrible.)

I don't get the choice of photo for the cover - there were so many beautiful shots of Ms Kidman inside.

I think Vogue always has this problem of choosing the "safe" option for the cover, because they want something kind of conventional looking that won't turn mainstream readers off. November's issue with Cate Blanchett on the cover was just alright -

But the photos inside were so gorgeous -

I guess such a men-in-stuffy-suits decision isn't a big deal from a magazine that capitalises on its mass appeal, but still, sometimes a little variation in the monotony is nice. This remains one of my favourite covers -

There were lots I liked in the December issue - the "Nostalgia" piece by Janine di Giovanni, the feature on Smythson - but overall, it was a bit of a disappointment. It was as if this year, they had other things on their mind.

Elsewhere, W's "Undercover"editorial for their December issue was a nice (if predictable) 80s/futuristic spin on the new looks -

The spring collections for 2007 weren't particularly interesting, but that's what editors are for isn't it? Sift through all the mundane, tired nonsense, and show us the truly fresh. I don't really want to see another ruffled YSL gown by Stefano Pilati -

Hopefully with the new year comes new effort.
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