Though Vogue US is known as much for its classicism as it is for it’s obsession with celebrity culture there are moments when it shakes off its Grace Kelly pretensions and dives into edgy territory. Not the habitual edgy portrayed monthly in its sister publication Vogue Paris or even the truly influential sort Vogue Italia specializes in – instead Vogue US enlists its resident Mr. Roboto, Steven Klein for editorials which build on a singular effective theme – the postmodern woman and her battle with artificiality. Klein’s work for Vogue often presents a series of models bronzed and shellacked into uniformity, pitted against a world that is both hyperreal and yet completely foreign. In his September 04 editorial Day Dreams, Klein casts Natalia Vodianova, Gemma Ward and Daria Werbowy as cybernetic housewives in a home that seems more human than any of its inhabitants. For The Total Lady, his 03 effort Klein’s girls are alongside actual robots.
This annual display of computerized wizardry continues in with the new September tome. The Self Reflection editorial is a series of chilly portraits of Vogue’s favorite girls. Some of the most sensually beautiful models of the moment – Isabeli Fontana, Catherine McNeil and Anna Maria Jagodzinska among them – are transformed into slick ice queens. Though they wear sleek gowns and barely there swimsuits there is something almost inhuman to their appeal. These aren’t the glamour girls were used to seeing – they’re, nouveau riche androids, well dressed, aloof and just a little frightening. For a publication frequently accused of being lodged in the past these forays into futurism are a welcome change of pace.