Um, what the hell is going on here? Putting aside the (now) kitschy Margaret Keane–esque factor, there is nothing fashionable nor French about this cover. You would have to dig deep into the normally stellar Vogue Paris archives to find a truly bad cover, but this, ahem, dog just fell into my lap when I was hunting for something slightly more chic. I mean, what is this? A sad pomeranian offering a posey of violets to a forlorn reader? And so cliché! (Parisians and their frou-frou puppies.) Of course I couldn’t stop here, and had to go and Google “ugliest Vogue cover,” and that’s how I found this lovely lady:
Quelle horreur! Even the poor model looks pained to wear that ridiculous costume—either that or she needs a lesson from Tyra on the definition of smeyes. She’s all, “I’m going to kill my agent when this is over! I’ll never grow my fucking eyebrows back!” The red-white-and-blue mess comes by way of British Vogue, January 1972. I love how the stylist combined the then-contemporary influence of Cabaret with infantile-nautical. But what do I know? It all comes back around, and we’ll probably all be carrying oversize lollipops and chasing hoops with a stick while dressed like this in 2013.
I could spend hours digging through tumblr and flickr files for the ugliest Vogue covers ever, but maybe you already have a few gems to share? If so, post ‘em in the comments below—I’d love to see whatever ugly you have to offer. In the meantime, take inspiration from this 2003 sang-froid Vogue Paris cover—is it an outtake? Okay, it isn’t the worst cover I’ve ever seen, but it could certainly be a contender for “most lackluster.”
Credits: Top: the kitschy illustration is by Lila de Nobili, an award-winning fashion illustrator who worked in Paris for years in the mid-20th century. Middle: I found this cover on flickr at Vintage Clara’s photostream. Bottom: Sophie Marceau smoking on the cover of Vogue Paris, 2003. Not sure of the month; can’t remember where I found it.