Vogue’s September cover features honest-to-God models on the cover: shocking?


The news broke a few days ago and all of the fashion blogs were in a tizzy: Vogue’s September Issue this year was going to feature honest-to-God models on the cover. And here you go. The main cover is of Joan Smalls, Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss. Then the cover folds out to include (in order): Arizona Muse, Edie Campbell, Imaan Hammam, Fei Fei Sun, Vanessa Axente, and Andreea Diaconu. Here are some details about the cover:

[They] have officially been dubbed “The Instagirls.” All savvy on social media, they’re building their own brands and single-handedly catapulting themselves to this generation’s version of supermodel status. Shot by Mario Testino for the September issue of Vogue, they’re the models of the moment wearing the clothes of the season.

[From Vogue]

Cara is very active on Instagram, as is Karlie. But I wasn’t aware of most of the others’ social media profiles, probably because I’ve never heard of some of these women. I’m not a hardcore model-follower, but am I the only one who has a big question mark over her head when hearing the names “Vanessa Axente, and Andreea Diaconu”? WHO?

Here’s a video released by Vogue. It’s interesting seeing some of these girls in motion. Arizona Muse is kind of snooze and I still don’t understand why Cara is a thing. But you know who is really charming in motion? Karlie Kloss! Her snort-laugh is hilarious when Cara is making fun of her and she’s really cute here in general.

Here’s the full cover (click to enlarge):


Photos courtesy of Mario Testino/Vogue.

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96 Responses to “Vogue’s September cover features honest-to-God models on the cover: shocking?”

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  1. eliza says:

    It would be great IF Vogue returned to being a fashion magazine instead of a celebrity ass kissing magazine. Putting actual models on the cover is a right step in that direction. Now to actually start writing interesting fashion articles again and non-celebrity fashion editorials would be fantastic.

    I will even overlook Cara Delawhatever being on the cover because she is a model. Hallelujah!

    • Abbott says:

      Agree. Wintour is trying to make up ground for going bargain bin with *that* cover.

    • Brin says:

      Much better than the “alternative” cover.

      • TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

        While we can complain about the models, the styling and their look, at least they are models and not “personalities” at least their models – if we could only go back to the 80s and 90s when fashion truly was fashion.

    • Josefa says:

      Same here. Karlie and Cara are big pile of EW but I’ll take it over any other cheap unphotogenic celeb for the simple fact they are models. And 1/3 of the cover is Joan Smalls, who I adore even if she made my self steem levels drop to the ground. Her beauty is just criminal.

    • JennySerenity says:

      I am SO celebrating and doing a happy dance right now! I remember the days when I received my new Vogue in the mail (subscription has been cancelled for a decade, thanks, Wintour) and couldn’t *wait* to see which model would be on the cover. Linda, Christy, Kate or Naomi? So much better than putting the celeb or personality of the moment a the cover of a fashion mag. I swore I’d never buy a copy of Vogue again after Lena Dunham and Kimye got covers. However, I will be picking up a copy today while shopping. *hangs head in shame*

      Models- actually on the cover of Vogue again?? Will wonders never cease?

      • Fue McCormick says:

        Vogue used to be a great mag but I think people only buy it now because of the “Vogue” name. When Kimye ended up on the cover that put it into a negative number for me.
        It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the inside of the mag but I remember at one point the photos were so “artsy” that you couldn’t even make out what the apparel looked like.
        Elle’s a much better mag and Wintour probably knows it.

    • homegrrrl says:

      I don’t know…I was hoping “the young and the chest-less” was in it’s last season in the soap opera fashion world. I guess some dreams die with a thud. I would rather see celebs (no reality stars, they don’t count) because they have more real body parts, tho’ they get airbrushed longer and smoother. Model bodies en masse are my personal pet peeve, so this cover gets a big sigh whatever.

  2. Hawkeye says:

    Just me or do these girls all look basically the same?

    • in_theory says:

      It’s not just you. I look at these models now, and the next time I see them I won’t recognise them.

    • lamamu says:

      +1 Does it count as a diverse photo if everyone looks the same regardless of skin color, ethnicity, etc? Just seems so homogenized.

    • Reece says:

      I was just about to post the same thing!
      The difference between today and the SMs of the past is I could distinguish them. I could point to Christy. I could point to Cindy, Naomi, Linda. These girls look like carbon copies. The only one I can pick out is Cara and really that’s because Kaiser calls her”Angry Baby”, now all I see is Angry Baby, even in the video.

      That said it is nice to see actual models in a fashion mag.

    • Asra says:

      Haha that’s what exactly I was thinking. Thanks for reconfirmation on my confused thoughts.

    • Linn says:

      They all have the typical “model-look” but I wouldn’t say that they all look the same.

    • Esmom says:

      Not just you. They look bizarrely homogenous.

      • Camille (The Original) says:

        +1000. The only 2 with any charisma are Joan and Cara. The rest, meh and who?

    • Jen2 says:

      Thank you. I had to blink a couple of times. Glad to see a model of color on the actual cover instead of just the fold out, but they all have the exact same expression and they all look rather blank and bland. Kind of creepy really.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:

      They look homogenous ( ibelieve it is the good word)

    • Delta Juliet says:

      Phew! Glad you said it because almost all of those girls look interchangeable to me.

    • LizLemonGotMarried says:

      I think the styling is driving some of this feeling as well. The eyeliner, the brows, the hair, the head positioning, the dresses…it’s a deliberate feeling of each model echoing the one beside her.

    • Dena says:

      I did a double take. They all look exactly alike to the extend that I thought a few were twins or triplets. Even the “ethnic” models blend into the sameness of all of the other models.

      D*mn but I hope the editors of Vogue did a cognitive double take when they o’kd the final shot.

    • MaiGirl says:

      Nope. I was so happy to see some women of color, but they do all basically have the same face with mild variations.

    • Josephine says:

      The hair is similar, as is the make-up, but if you actually look at the girls, their features vary (except for the nose – they all have that little pert nose). Some have large eyes, some don’t, some have full lips, some thin, some have generous brows, others don’t. I think they are purposefully made-up to look similar, but if they were styled differently, you could see some individuality.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Mainstream fashion is becoming so one note.
      I was looking through the September issue of Instyle, and allllllll of the ads had the same style:

      Heavy Dark Brows & Cheekbone Contouring (just like this cover)

      It just makes it all kind of boring, knowing that they have group think. It seems no one is courageous enough to step outside of the predetermined checklist for each season.

    • sigh((s)) says:

      Yep, they sure do, even the ethnic models. The only one who is even remotely memorable looking is Cara. What happened to the models who had an interesting look or a hook that you would remember? So blah!

  3. GiGi says:

    It’s weird how they’ve done all their faces the same. It makes them appear identical in that bottom photo – which is just strange.

    • T.C. says:

      They literally all look alike regardless of skin and hair color. There is nothing distinct or special about any one of them. OK at least the have pretty eyes but I don’t think supermodel when I see these girls. I think basic/common/average pretty girl on the street. These girls will never be as great as the supermodels of the past 40 years.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:


    • Chris says:

      Imagine *my* feelings then!
      I have very green eyes, and have never even met another green-eyed gal, let alone seen one in a magazine. (We are witches, of course!)

    • sigh((s)) says:

      I’ll be your witch sister. I get lots of complements on my eyes. I’m sure you probably do as well.
      Edit- so I had to look up eye color percentages, and you’re right, green is rare. Only 2% in the world! Maybe we are witches…

  4. Sabrina says:

    It’s great to see models on the cover of Vogue although I do think they probably could have found far more recognisable names & faces. I have only heard of five of the models myself; to me most of the well known models today seem to be from Victoria’s Secret.

    • Nibbi says:

      i think you’ve got a point. vogue is pushing really hard to find the new supermodels and make them a “thing”, but in fact all the world’s most famous beautiful and sexy models are known thru VS… i mean, a supermodel is basically a model everyone has heard of, right ?

  5. FLORC says:

    Several of these models look like they could be sisters.
    All gorgeous though.

  6. Gretchen says:

    I don’t really get why Karlie Kloss is a thing, she has the most forgettable face. I would have liked to have seen a bit more diversity in the lineup, not just for social justice reasons but also because dang, that full photo is just. so. dull.

    • Esmom says:

      I think fashion models like Karlie are often less about conventional facial beauty (not that she’s not beautiful, just maybe not conventionally so) than about how they wear the fashions they are highlighting.

      • Gretchen says:

        I get the “blank slate” look for runways, but for the cover of Vogue? With such dull looking models they could have at last done something interesting with the makeup or styling, this image (IMO) just looks so budget and boring.

    • Chris says:

      Good old Fashion only made her a thing once she lost weight…..she used to be in sub-Vogue magazine shoots, then became superskinny and made Vogue and the main catwalks.
      This lot are fine if they want to appeal to very young fans…..but Lord, remember the great Peter Lindbergh 1990 covers of the real Supers? None of them resorted to gurning and sticking out their tongues as a trademark, and they made you feel fashion might be aimed at the over 18s, unlike now.

      • TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

        Yes, nothing today will match those covers – and how exuberant they were; look at the iconic photo of linda, Christy and Naomi in the bathtub in Paris in 1990 taken, I believe, by Sly stallone – that’s fashion.

    • Gistine says:

      I agree. I think she’s famous more for her legs than her face.

    • Franklymydear1 says:

      I think it mainly has to do with her being a versatile model than her face.

  7. Lucky Charm says:

    I’ve only heard of a few, the others I have no clue who they are. I agree, I hope they do go back to putting models on the cover and actual fashion articles inside. Perhaps we’re finally reached the bottom of the barrel due to all these ridiculous reality celebrities & are finally moving back to sensible. One can only hope.

  8. Talie says:

    It’s not as good as the 2004 cover — probably because the girls are more disposable overall. But yeah, not all of these models are big on social, they are just Anna-approved.

  9. OTHER RENEE says:

    They all look the same because that’s what is required of today’s models. Abnormally skinny frame, bony face, no curves. Put Robin Lawley on the cover and THEN I’ll be impressed and buy the magazine. She’s gorgeous and memorable.

  10. K says:

    Love Joan Smalls! One of my faves.

  11. mia girl says:

    Who styled this? The group photo looks like a Gap ad for a line New Year’s Dresses.

    It’s like… boring x bland = no one stands out.

    Why didn’t they allow each of these “brand-building supermodels of this generation” to show any of their personality/individuality?

  12. We Are All Made of Stars says:

    Oh, come now. Entertainment people might get the September cover 60% of the time, but models still do get the cover and have gotten it within memory. It is a fashion magazine, and they do need to reinforce their image as such every now and again.

  13. lower-case deb says:

    though they are each rather fetching individually, i can’t help but think that everyone looked like they shared the same photoshopper.

  14. Ellie66 says:

    Stepford Models…

  15. QQ says:

    Joan Smalls is just so divine!

  16. megs283 says:

    OMG. If only these eyebrows were popular when I was in middle school…I feel like I need years of therapy to get over my early-90s eyebrow angst.

  17. Gilmore says:

    Joan smalls is so gorgeous it makes me sick. what are her secrets? does she have to sacrifice someone to get this good looking? I just want to know!

    Also, Karlie’s a cutie too. I wish it was just Karlie and Joan bc they’re the only model girls I enjoy these days.

  18. Hannah says:

    Love the shade: “this generation’s version of supermodel status”

    Not quite supermodels…just this generations wannabe version of supermodels.

  19. bns says:

    Some of the comments in here are silly. You guys need to let the 90s go. Joan Smalls, Karlie Kloss, and Fei Fei Sun are three of the biggest models in fashion. I’m glad they’re finally on the cover.

    • Chris says:

      Sure, it’s only fashion, and as you say, these are its current queens.
      But I think it’s legitimate to look back with admiration on the golden age of the Supers, when a new hairdo for Linda was big news! Glamour, that’s the thing, and I don’t think any of the current posse can carry that off at all. The teen-vibe is too strong, I think (I know they aren’t that young)
      (But I’m way older than most here, and Vogue’s not selling clothes to me.)

    • sigh((s)) says:

      I think the issue is more that today’s models are completely interchangeable. The 90’s models all had very extraordinary looks. I’m not really into models at all, so I don’t understand why you would want all your models to look exactly the same. That doesn’t imply “super” to me.

  20. M.A.F. says:

    Good for them for putting models back on their cover. However, the “heroin chic” craze of the 1990s turned a lot of people off, myself included. The Supermodels from the 80s looked like real women. The ladies now look as if they are barely out of puberty let alone able to hold their head up due to the lack of muscle.

  21. AlmondJoy says:

    I’ve become obsessed with Joan Smalls! She’s gorg

  22. Miss D says:

    Cara has many followers on Instagram, but I doubt those other models have many followers so I don’t know why they are “The Instagirls”.
    The problem is this part: ‘this generation’s version of supermodel status.’ Supermodel status? Who? Cara, Joan and Karlie or ALL THOSE girls (full cover)? I don’t even know some of these girls (Andreea Diaconu, Vanessa Axente, etc.) They are not supermodel.
    Vogue is a joke now.

  23. K.B. says:

    Here for Joan Smalls, even if she does party with Kartrashians. The other two can GTFO (especially Karlie Kloss. How sad is your life when you’re Single White Female-ing Taylor Swift?).

  24. lucy says:

    Ooooo, Wintour threw me a bone after all these years of requesting cover models. Thanks, AW, for that. It’s not up to snuff, but it’s a start.

    It is nice that the clothes are highlighted, rather than some awkwardly posed overexposed celebrity. However, a cover needs some pizzazz and intensity. Since the clothes and the cluttered mass of text over them — not the models’ expressions and not the photography or overall design — are the focus here, it looks more like an inside spread on the outside cover. Mia Girl (above) called it when she said, “The group photo looks like a Gap ad for a line New Year’s Dresses.” So true.

    Quality, not quantity, Anna. 3 run-of-the-mill faces do not make up for the lack of 1 fabulous look. And, a picture tells 1,000 words.

  25. Assila says:

    i don’t buy the argument thant these girls have hasseled to the vogue cover: i have a galaxy phone and it came with an app called flipboard where if you “flip” accross the headlines you always see vogue (the magazine on line) advertising the latest instagrams shot by models….i don’t search for them on instagram but they are trying to make them a thing….

  26. Lacey says:

    9 bridesmaids. Vogue is really sliding.

    • Lempicka says:

      Ha! Was about to post the exact same comment! Is it a rule that the higher the number of people in a pic the less you have to model?!
      goofy family group pic – model edition.

  27. mytbean says:

    Where’s the like button?


  28. aenflex says:

    Just about anyone can look really beautiful with make up, styling and especially photoshop. These girls here are not in league with the super models of the recent past, IMO. Christensen and Turlington, Evangelista – these women are some of the most authenitcally beautiful to me.

  29. Blythe says:

    I swear, if I see another person comment about how today’s models can’t be compared to Naomi, Christy, Linda, Stephanie, and whomever else, I’ll flip a table. Models like Lara, Joan, Gisele, Liu, etc., are all FANTASTIC models. Give them some credit.

    • Dawn says:

      ITA. To me every era have their go to girls if you will.

    • bns says:


    • Chris says:

      Fair enough, Blythe, mea maxima culpa.
      I guess one thing the Supers had, that can never be repeated is…..being the first real Supers! The phenomenon fed itself. A new type of photographer emerged from Bailey’s shadow. The excesses of Versace, the un-tailoring of Armani, skintight Alaia and Bodymap…..so much was new in the 80s, those girls represented a hell of a lot more than today’s models have to, hence their legend.
      None of it dismisses today’s models really, though I must say there was less moody pouting back then and a good deal more smiling!

    • AlmondJoy says:

      LOL Blythe, I have to agree. We will never get back the magic of those supermodels, but we have some pretty awesome ladies right now. They deserve credit as well. And I bet that during the era of Naomi, Christy, etc., there were many complaining that they missed the magic of the generation of models prior to them!

      To be fair though, pretty much every comment section is filled with repetitive comments. Have you ever seen a Kim K thread? Same thing over and over and over again lol it never fails.

      • Chris says:

        Almondjoy always brings a ray of sunlight…

        I reckon what bores me about these girls (by comparison, not per se) is the vibe dictated by stylists and photographers…..principally it comprises gawky teenager sulks, extreme skinniness (forced, if not their natural build) and the fact that fashion itself is subsumed by reworkings, random mixings, Choupette’s latest torn tweed’n’pearls…..Vogue’s no longer such an unmissable event I guess.
        There are indeed some very good models, and we still have Kate Moss bestriding the decades like a Colossus!
        Don’t mind me, just a cranky old middle-ager. 😉

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Lol!! Chris you’re so sweet! And you’re not cranky, you just have more memories than the rest of us 😊 I didn’t start paying attention to models until I was in my late teens, but that was the late 90s/early 2000s. So truthfully, I don’t have much to compare the models of today to.

      • Chris says:

        Lovely Almond
        True….when the Supers erupted, tantamount to a chart-topping pop group, we already had fab icons to look back on: Shrimpton, Twiggy, Verushka, Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin, and the many moonfaced Biba girls; but I think it was the *astonishing* onslaught of a tight but varied group of beauties, dressed by visionary designers working at a hedonistic, excessive time……if you didn’t fancy Versace, you could still be ostentatious by stealth and flaunt your Armani.
        Blimey, I never thought I’d look back on the 80s with anything but horror……maybe Vogue helped us keep the faith!

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Chris, you know your stuff!! Im am running off to Google to learn more about these beauties! Of course I know Twiggy and Jerry Hall, but I’m not sure if I’ve seen the others. You’ve peaked my interest!

        Sidenote: I love your use of the word blimey! I need to incorporate it into my every day lingo. Always looking for new words! Where are you from?

    • T.C. says:


      You don’t have to compare these girls to models of the past to see that the look pretty basic and bland. Looking at that cover is like looking at toasted white bread. Even the models of color look basic. I can walk down the street and see prettier girls that’s essentially the point we are trying to make.

      Most actresses currently working look a thousand times better than these girls maybe that’s why they have replaced models on magazine covers. Maybe with better makeup, and hairstyling they have looked better in other magazine spreads. I don’t follow fashion so this is my first introduction to these girls and I am unimpressed.

  30. Dancinnancy says:

    You are supposed to forget their faces and only see the clothes.

    Love this cover.

    I’m still annoyed at Julia on InStyle. What a waste.

  31. Hissyfit says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t include Chanel Iman in the cover. She used to be one of the IT girls along with Karlie and Cara.

  32. roxy750 says:

    Does anyone read these magazines anymore? I mean really I did in my teens a little but that was like in the 90’s. Who still has models? I think it’s time to know better and move on from this. These overpaid snobs who hire and promote “underfed models wearing clothes only wealthy people wear or nobody really wears but them” days are over. I don’t get it. It’s 2014!

  33. Nobuhle z...(is my name twisting your tongue ?) says:

    Some of the comments are just downright silly…KK may not be a stunner facially, but if you watch fashion shows every season or so, you’ll get to see her walk, IMHO the most memorable (has anyone seen that jean paul gaultier show where she ‘vogued’ ? S/S 14?). Anyways, Cara – blah, Joan – SLAY ! Hey, where’s Aymeline Valade, Sigrid Agren and Josephine something ?

  34. Francis says:

    Yeah Models!
    Bring back more Models on Vogue,

  35. caroline bingley says:

    I can’t believed I watched that entire video. Someone needs to put me down.

  36. Nibbi says:

    boring. flat. bored. boring.
    i mean models are really just there to show clothes, right ? so maybe that’s good.
    but that video was beyond charmless. i want those three minutes back.
    seriously, the models of the 90s … that was just a thing that happened. it can’t be purposely reinvented. these chicks have got nothing on the glamazons of the past

  37. BadAssCompass says:

    so thick eyebrows are a thing now, this will be fun (except for Angry Baby). I really wished they did something more visually diverse, seriously, more than half of these girls possess similar features and that shoot and styling is like something out of a catalogue. Super-boredom.

  38. strawberrylover says:

    Ok, this is for all the people who think there are no models right now who can hold a candle to the supermodels of the ’90s and for those who think models are just supposed to be personality-less clothes hangers.

    I don’t think we can ever go back to the 1950s-era of personality-less models. Not after the 90s supermodels. And the truth is, there ARE models who are sensual, strong and have amazing presence right now. The fashion industry and Vogue just CHOOSE not to showcase them bc they are run by misogynists/people with horrible self-loathing issues (Karl Lagerfeld).

    Take this cover: The “Instagirls”? Ok, if you’re going to do a cover on models who are doing great on social media, then why are the following models not featured?….

    – Candice Swanepoel, who got the VS fantasy bra last year, gets 100K responses on most of her Instagram pics. I LOVE looking at her Instagram because she showcases beauty not in just how she looks, but also in other women and beauty in nature. Her take on sensuality also makes me feel sensual and free, not inadequate, which I find is what the best models to be able to do.
    – Miranda Kerr’s a bit too twee for me, but she has a very fresh, flower-like beauty. Her appeal is undeniable.
    – Bar Refaeli gets 50K responses for most of hers Instagram pics and she’s been glowing and looking great lately!! She hasn’t been promoted by the industry nearly as much as Cara Delevingne, yet people still follow her every move.

    Clearly, people have a real hunger for sensuality and womanliness in fashion. Vogue and the industry are just willfully blind.

  39. KGV says:

    I may be in the minority, but I find my eyes are always drawn to Cara in pictures. I find her look the opposite of homogenic (heterogenous?) .. her eyes are so striking!! She is however definitely on something in that video, ha.

  40. Mel says:

    Meh… in this day and age internet-fuelled celebrity is so easy to achieve that it’s practically a badge of honour NOT to be an internet celebrity. And I am not kidding.

  41. Nina says:

    Karlie looks like Diane Lane

  42. lis says:

    Baby Evangelista next to Karlie. Anyone?

  43. rudy says:

    Perhaps they all look similar because the cover was photoshopped.

    In the video, their personalities come out more.

    For some reason, I like Cara. She cracks me up. Just doesn’t seem to take this all very seriously which I love.

  44. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    Okay…went to the shot of all the models…a bunch of them look like clones! How dull.