Black Swan star/Harvard graduate Natalie Portman's January Vogue cover has just been released. And it's been swiftly pointed out that the new cover looks almost identical to Portman's May, 2002 Vogue cover. Only, you know, worse.
Among the similarities: both covers feature Portman wearing pale-pink pleated dresses (2002's was by Prada, 2011's by J. Mendel), in both, Portman poses against light, hazy backgrounds, and both covers share a very similar composition. Adding to the sameness is the fact that the type on both covers is red and black.
So Vogue's styling has officially been stagnant for almost nine years. Good to know! Portman must have been dying of déjà vu when the magazine showed her its cover look.
January's re-tread cover is actually the 29-year-old actress's fourth time on the front of American Vogue to date. She also had covers in February, 2002, and in March, 2006, when she was promoting V for Vendetta. To the best of my recollection, none of the three Vogue profiles of Portman that have been published has yet mentioned "A Simple Method To Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar," the high-school science paper she co-authored, which was published in The Journal Of Chemical Education, or her Erdős number. (It's five, Vogue.) But maybe they're saving that for January.
The biggest difference between the 2002 cover and the 2011 cover, however, is the Photoshopping. I'm sure Portman was 'shopped in 2002, but the new cover has that overworked look, like the image has been subjected to so many manipulations and adjustments that it no longer resembles its ostensible subject. And whereas in 2002, Portman's face is expressive and her pose is dynamic, in 2011, she looks kind of sleepy, and like she's timidly resting her limp hand against her chest. Who picks these photos? What planet are they from? I simply cannot believe this is the best shot Vogue and Peter Lindbergh could get of Natalie freaking Portman.