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The New Vogue Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old Vogue Italia

Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia

The Internet loves a good game of This Thing Looks Like That Thing. Today's players? Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Emmanuelle Alt, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, and Steven Meisel. The charge is that Alt, the recently-installed editor of Vogue Paris, ripped off her latest cover editorial from a 1989 Linda Evangelista spread shot by Meisel.

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Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia

Meisel's photos of Linda Evangelista are on the left; the new Vogue Paris spread is on the right. It's pretty obvious that Alt's model, Isabeli Fontana, has been styled and made up to look like Evangelista (or at least, to look as the famously versatile Evangelista appeared in 1989, when she had short, dark hair.) On the one hand, that's what fashion does: it takes inspiration from past imagery, whether we're talking art history, an old film, or another fashion photographer. (Clearly the designers whose wares are featured in the Vogue Paris spread have been supping from the same inspiration buffet, because all these crop-tops and bright colors are themselves a pretty perfect rendering of the late 80s/early 90s.) Not everybody who shoots a model against a white studio background is ripping off Richard Avedon.

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Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia

On the other hand: Fontana is even copying Evangelista's poses.

Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia

And the fact that there's a mattress shot in each spread puts this beyond the realm of coincidence.

Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia
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Emmanuelle Alt has had a rough time of things since being named Carine Roitfeld's successor at Vogue Paris in February. Roitfeld, who was roundly lionized within the industry for her love of controversial imagery and her willingness to piss off advertisers, is rumored to have been fired. (Supposedly, the feather that broke the camel's back was that sickeningly funny, or funnily sickening, spread with the child models wearing makeup and luxury goods. Prominent luxury brands are said to have balked at advertising in the issue.) Then there were those barely disguised blind items about Alt's alleged affair with one of her superiors at Condé Nast International. (When fashion people feud, they give it everything they've got.) Whatever the circumstances of Roitfeld's departure and her former deputy's appointment, the two women, once friends, are no longer speaking. Because of all this, Alt's been under more scrutiny than most people in her position would be.

Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia
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However, Roitfeld as an editor also had her blind spots. Need I mention the blackface spread? The persistent rumors that she took massive consulting fees from some of the same luxury brands her magazine covered? And the nature of fashion is that ideas, to a certain extent, get recycled. It's probable that if anyone went through Roitfeld's editorials with the same kind of critical attention that has so far been devoted to Alt's — or if the Internet had been around when Roitfeld stepped in following former editor Joan Juliet Buck's firing — that people would find examples in which Roitfeld's stories looked an awful lot like someone else's. (Because it's just this easy: here's a Roitfeld spread that looks a lot like an earlier Meisel story for Vogue Italia.)

Illustration for article titled The New iVogue/i Paris Looks A Lot Like The Old iVogue/i Italia
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Still, this is the kind of page-by-page repetitiveness that we'd expect of American Vogue; it's disappointing to see it in good old épater les bourgeois Vogue Paris, that supposed bastion of photographic libertinism and $3,000 handbags. The question of "originality" in fashion as a whole is vexed. Designers have little protection for their work in the U.S. (although they do in Europe), photographers have considerably more, in the form of copyright, stylists have almost none. About the best you can hope for is that, when ideas cycle back around, the people who have been made responsible for offering a new spin on them are possessed of enough native creativity and open-mindedness that they can do more than just re-shoot this year's dresses (that look like last year's dresses) in the exact same way as before.

Is Vogue Paris Copying Old Photoshoots? [Fashionising]

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DISCUSSION

Roitfeld, for all her sins—"All my girls are vewy skinny.. I told you, all the girl who work at French Vogue are vewy skinny and beautiful!"; also, self-proclaimed speed(ish) pills addict; also, majorly in bed with her advertisers, et caetera—had a kind of an innate rock & roll sensibility that propelled her to skirt the chees-o-rama of re-enacting Sophia Loren film stills from the early '60s. ...That seems to be an irresistible default cliche that "influential" editorials fall back upon whenever the urge to hit on something.. obvious strikes.

Under Roitfeld's tenure, French Vogue provided a nice contrast to both the U.S. Vogue & the vaunted Italian Vogue. She was.. cooler, I thought, than either of her counterparts at aforementioned sister pubs. (Although it must be said that I'm also a huge fan of Anna Wintour, and have been greatly amused by Carine's sly attempts to bite her rump with acidic remarks & one-up her at every turn..)

As for Alt.. I just don't know. She seems kinda cornball to me from the evidence presented thus far.

Jenna, a question for you, since I can't make out the small print in spread #5: Does the left pic actually say "La Perla" on it?! Is it in ad or sumethin'?! If not.. yikes!