September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerWith a slender 27 pages of fashion editorial, this September's Allure doesn't break any records (not that my shoulders didn't appreciate the reprieve; lugging these monstrous issues on the subway sucks). After the jump, I parse the modeling in the baby of the fall ladymag litter: Julia Stegner almost falls off a cliff, Raquel Zimmerman lends her face to floury powder and brick-red blush, and Ingune Butane channels Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface.


September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSIs it just me or does Raquel Zimmerman's makeup look caked on? I think Raquel has noticed. I think this makes Raquel unhappy.
September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSEditors love this shot. Where the model allows food to approach her mouth area, but displays no other sign of an appetite. Such beautiful restraint, Ms. Z!
September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSWhereas in every other picture, Raquel could be that lovely secretary your Mom had in the 1980s, frizzy perm, ill-fitting rayon turtlenecks and all, in this one shot she's suddenly vamping it up in evening wear and wanting to show us her tits. Strange. And have you noticed her rainbow of manicures? Budget 20 minutes in the chair for every hue (in addition to this page's basic red, I count gold, nude, hot pink, and dead skin taupe.)
September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSThis isn't an editorial, it's just an illustration for Allure's helpful beauty story about how everyone could probably do with a peel, and you should totally forget that whole off-putting Samantha-on-SATC thing. But I'd like to say, having posed for illustrations like this, that standing stock still with goop on your face is never fun. The cream is drying uncomfortably on your skin, it always takes forever for the assistants to light it, and getting the shot depends on such an infinite range of minutae — move the brush 1/8" to the left, now down, no, back over a tad, okay now open your mouth, no, less open, somebody fix her eyebrow now, okay the hair thing I said, yeah, it's in the way again — that it can be downright maddening. Which is ironic, because this shot is always for a beauty story, and beauty stories are supposed to be about zen and centredness and the feminine transcendent! But what really sucks is the images are so servicey and decontextualized that they are worthless for your modeling portfolio. Also: Now I'm pretty sure I "need" a peel. Thanks for nothing, Allure.
September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSThe essence of successful modeling can sometimes be the model's ability to melt so completely into one picture that you don't recognize her in the next. It took me a minute to even see that it was Inguna Butane here; this is a good start.
September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSAnd here's her masterstroke. Without resorting to goofy expressions or gimmicks, purely by playing the angles of her face, Inguna so transforms within this series that at first I thought the edit had two models. Seriously. Look back real quick. Are you even sure it's the same person? Latvians. So spooky.
September Allure: I Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge, Julia StegnerSJulia Stegner is bravely standing in 5" heels on the edge of a cliff in Maine. For fashion. As the photographer said in his contributor's note, "We were lucky the wind cooperated." Lucky, indeed! Now that's dedication to the craft.