US Vogue has attained mastery of the editorial recycle – each month they find new ways to do the same old thing. After successful editorials based around the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, the Vogue team yet again cashes in on Annie Leibovitz’s ability to create cinematic atmosphere within still images. This time around Leibovitz and co tackle Romeo and Juliet and the resulting rehash is equal parts glorious and redundant. With the graceful Coco Rocha as Juliet and ballet star cum fashion darling, Roberto Bolle as Romeo, the inspiration is decidedly Prokofiev in nature. Hints of Franco Zeffirelli can be found but those seeking anything verging on the fiery chemistry between Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting will be sorely disappointed – Vogue’s version of Shakespeare is decidedly chaste. For star crossed lovers Rocha and Bolle seem strangely aloof, excepting their final repose.
Lack of chemistry is only part of the problem. Both Bolle and Rocha are known for their agility yet only one image truly capitalizes on this fact. The shot of Bolle leaping through the air as he stabs Tybalt stands out as a singular moment of true excitement. Which is not to say that the pictures are unappealing. On the contrary, the beauty of the styling (perfectly in theme – the most ethereal RTW with splashes of couture) and the subjects is not to be underestimated. While the formula is repetitive it still works on some levels. There is an inherent joy that comes with the familiar and seeing a favorite story as an editorial is a treat. If only said story were interpreted in a manner less routine. With a thousand different ways to interpret Shakespeare’s masterpiece it seems slightly unoriginal to choose the most obvious one.