The Talented Miss Mulligan

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

Carey Mulligan by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue US October 2010

This is actually my favorite Vogue US issue in a good long while.  Although American Vogue has an excellent team of Grace Coddington, John Powers, Patrick Demarchelier, Hadley Freeman and many others helmed by Anna Wintour, it often falls short of the mark.  While they always have an impressively thick September issue, it’s generally a matter of quality vs. quantity at that point.  For once, Vogue has managed to intrigue me with their cover choice (the ever lovely young wonder Carey Mulligan) and has not tried to shove commercialism down my throat.  They have moved from their standard fare of editorials for this issue.  Peter Lindbergh  is probably partly the reason for this improvement; it’s his first cover for them in 20 years.  Not to mention, this is Creative Director Grace Coddington’s rare work with an actress.  She usually focuses more on the clothes and how they look in front of the camera rather than work with a celebrity.  This was shot near Peter’s vacation home in the South of France in Arles.  And Carey’s in Parisian haute couture.

Peter Lindbergh is special; he is probably one of the last great photographers today.  Moreover, he does not deal in digital photography.  There is no photoshop, and he shoots exclusively in old school film cameras.  And yet, he has this lovely timeless romantic aesthetic that many photographers strive to emulate but fall short of the mark.  He has found a natural subject in Carey Mulligan.  She does not try too hard, and she does not “model” the clothes.  She simply is herself in front of the camera while doing the haute couture justice.  For once, I feel that this is actually about the couture and not the actress wearing it.  The shot above features a Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci tulle dress with embroidered silk-chiffon lace and beaded corset.  Riccardo Tisci’s meticulous alabaster beading on a corset has drawn comparison to the coveted porcelain of Nymphenburg.  I give you all the details about this one particular dress because I want people to admire it for the work of art it is.  And every single piece featured in Carey’s editorial is of the same caliber–whether that is the Dior Haute Couture iris-purple hand-painted satin organza and tulle gown or the Valentino Haute Couture silk organza dress.  Peter and Grace should be proud of themselves for this one.

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