Ever since news of the 14 Inez and Vinoodh covers was leaked to the world the V55 has been a coveted commodity. With the magazine on newsstands now the time has come to see if hype and reality equal each other. Though the new V contains a few cant miss required reading elements it appears to be a mix of the necessary and the formulaic. Far from being an inditement this could be viewed as a testament to V’s continued editorial excellence – over the past year V has built a it’s own new guard including photographers Sebastian Faena, Inez and Vinoodh and Mert and Marcus. The trio tend to pop up in almost every issue lately and the ‘if it aint broke don’t fix it’ school of thought could very well apply. Four of the most exciting photographers right now all in one issue – what could be wrong with that?

The answer is of course not much – the editorial content is original but there are moments when one wishes V would push the envelope further. Beautiful, the Inez and Vinoodh story featuring the multiple cover girls, really amounts to the same pictures on the covers only without text. The portraits are elegant and it’s nice to get a little blurb on each girl (Sunniva Stordahl in particular comes across well – Masters in molecular biology AND trained rhythmic gymnast no less) but there could have been slightly more – two different pictures perhaps, like the memorable Before and After editorial.

This desire for more runs throughout the whole issue – every editorial while good leaves you wanting for just a little bit in addition. Sex, Sun and Stam gives us only two pictures of the ingenue, The Eniko Story is a stunning black and white tribute to the rising star but one can’t help wanting to see that angelic face in full color. The only time a need for less surfaces is in the case of the Tyra Banks’ appearance in the Faena I Called Her Mahogany edit. Tyra’s plastic posing nearly ruins an otherwise appealing concept. The dynamic Sessilee Lopez outfoxes and outfierces her in every photograph. That said, how can the tale of Mahogany even be told without a representation of Anthony Perkins’ delightfully deranged Sean McAvoy?

Psuedo-supermodels aside there is a great deal to enjoy within this issue. Standouts include Chanel Iman on Ice, which pits the waifish Iman against the natural beauty of Iceland. The Will Davidson story is something new indeed for both V and Chanel.