Review: Vogue Paris November 2011

If ever there was a cover that screamed “Parisienne”, this is it! When I think about French beauty, I see women with flawless skin, red lipstick and seemingly little else. Arizona Muse looks natural and pretty. In my opinion, this is Emmanuelle Alt’s best cover thus far, and perfectly fitting for November’s beauty special issue.

The advertising has been slimmed down to pre-Emmanuelle era and that can only be a good thing, plus the advertisers are considerably more refined but that’s just me being a snob! I’ve said it before so apologies for the repetition but Olivier Lalanne’s extended agenda section is really cool. Appealing to those with varying interests from fashion, architecture, art and music, Vogue Paris opens itself up to the cultural types as well, which can only be good for sales and for those of use who want to know more.

Making a break from the recent trend of using images from previous issues, the Beauté section is fresh and relevant to today’s reader; focusing on the art of flawless skin, non-invasive wrinkle treatments and highlighting make-up products. Given that we live in a time where there is so much pressure to not only look good, but to look young, and so many woman sadly going down the expensive and dangerous route of cosmetic surgery, I say bravo to Théodora Aspart for this editorial. Famed beauty writer Lili Barbery-Coulon keeps the beauty baton alight with a one-page feature on luxury perfumes starting at 150€. Well, Christmas isn’t far off, is it? As I’m leaving Paris in a couple of months, I’ve been thinking often about what I’m learnt/discovered here and Emmanuelle Courrèges ‘Plantes médicinales’ is the perfect example: focusing not only on organic products, but mainly on skincare derived from plants. Pretty much everything I use from shampoo to face wash to body oils is plant-based, and I am grateful to France for that introduction. I’m helping myself and the planet. As someone who strongly believes that beauty isn’t just about what you look like, it’s about who you are, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article on meditation and the positive effects it can have. Though Isabeli Fontana, who stars in the editorial, need not worry.

Miss Vogue’s ‘De brut en blanc’ is pretty. Very American and really pretty. Photographed in the US by Claudia Knoepfel and Stefan Indlekofer, the model’s hair takes us back the Farrah Fawcett era and boy do we love it! She looks casually beautiful though why she’s wearing the same cowgirl boots throughout is beyond me.

For the Christian Louboutin fans among you, Francis Dorléans give an in-depth account of the man himself. Personally, I’m not a fan of his shoes. Yes they look sexy as hell but I’m still mad about the money I spent on two pairs, which I can only wear for 40 minutes max. His shoes are so uncomfortable. Yes, I want a refund!!

As with the Agenda section, the last few months has seen an increase in the more cultural sections – cinéma and livres (books) – much to this reader’s delight. I’m not going to lie, my French reading hasn’t quite made it from glossy mags to hardcore literature, but the suggestions are varied and often include material published in various languages.

It takes a lot of work to ruin a Chanel suit but Emmanuelle has done just that in the opening image of ‘Haute Couture’, a bold and energetic editorial photographed by Inez & Vinoodh. We heart Sergio Rossi, really we do, but those boots with that suit. I think not. As the editorial goes, the images become brassier though I wouldn’t complain if the embroidered Valentino gown ended up in my wardrobe. I’m curious about what others think because it seems as though Emmanuelle went through the couture collections and chose the ugliest designs she could find. That said, I like the striking, tribal-like image of the Dior dress.

To say that I’m not a fan of Terry Richardson is an understatement. I was rather surprised by his collaboration with stylist Marie Chaix, in which we see Vogue Paris regular Natasha Poly roaming around Harlem. The contrast between the rough backdrop and Natasha’s poised self makes turning each page a complete delight. Natasha decked out in Donna Karen whilst using a telephone box or “phone booth” as my cousins across the Atlantic call it is my favourite. What do you think?

In keeping with the beauty theme, Arizona Muse, Alessandra Ambrosio, Natasha Poly, Isabeli Fontana, Karolina Kurkova and Hanaa Ben Abdesslem take on a different make-up styles, each from a renowned brand, as we question which appeals most to us in ‘Cover Girls’. Very well done indeed.

‘Plus que parfaites’ focuses on what we do to achieve the “perfect” face and body as well as New York based specialist should you wish to have some work done. As I’ve said before, I’m totally against having cosmetic surgery myself but if I wasn’t, the bruised face in the accompanying image would change my views.

Unlike previous Vogue Paris issues under the new editorial team, November’s issue finishes just as strongly as it started with Kate Winslet and a very good interesting interview with Versace’s Donatella. Given this month’s focus on beauty, I find it fitting that Donatella should make an appearance. No offence intended but the woman has clearly had so much surgery it’s hard to even imagine what looked like 20 years ago. When her brother tragically died, everybody thought she would fail. She proved them wrong and now with a (hideous) collection for H&M, the brand continues to rise. It’s so saddening that she has done this to herself. Of course, when you’re surrounded by spring chickens (do non-British people use this term as well?) with flawless faces and perfect figures, it must be hard to age, but it can be done. If ever there is a reason not to have cosmetic surgery, this is it. The perfect antidote to this tragic case can be found in the form of literary icon Joan Didion, and what a contrast! Turn the page and there she is: head cupped in her hands, pushing her beautiful face to the forefront, wrinkles et al. What a photograph! What a message!

Lara Stone romps around Central Paris looking her normal flawless self and yes, I am jealous!! The magazine ends with a fun 10-page ‘reportage’ of Vogue Fashion Night. If you weren’t there, you need to see this!

With the exception of “Never Mind” – Emmanuelle Alt’s editorial featuring Natasha Poly and Sasha Pivovora, which I’m not even going to feature because it is mind-numbingly boring, this is the strongest issue yet and if it continues next month, I will consider renewing my subscription. Not only is the issue full of pretty, fun and cultural things, it also appeals to those of us who like to use our brains. Like many Vogue Paris regular readers, I was pleasantly surprised to see Arizona on the cover – a welcome change. I’m bored of Natasha, Isabeli and Sasha and hope that Vogue Paris will start to vary the models they use to keep us interested, and to shake things up a wee bit. Slightly off topic but I’ve noticed that Vogue Paris has stopped putting their models in those ugly, long claw-type nails. Hallelujah!!


  1. Madeleine Gallay 26 October 2011 / 17:44

    Love you reviews, so carefully considered.

    Paris Vogue is trying … I suppose.

    Something is not yelling this is really fierce though.

    Grave reservations.

    • Milla 26 October 2011 / 21:13

      You’re a tough audience Madeleine, even tougher than me! I hear what you’re saying and the reality is that it will never be a good as it was. However, it is a massive improvement and far closer to the Vogue Paris we know and love that the initial crap EA put out. Give it a go!

  2. LatteLisa 26 October 2011 / 19:24

    I’ve been waiting for a long time (you skipped October)! Love your review. I think I’ll maybe give this issue a chance and buy it, seems very interesting.

    Leaving Paris?!! Did I miss something?

    • Milla 26 October 2011 / 21:12

      I ran out of time and when I finally sat down to write it, November’s issue showed up. I’m so crazy busy these days that I don’t even have time to read my favourite blogs. I recommend this issue – I like what they’re saying about beauty and the fashion is good as well.

      Oui, I’m leaving Paris probably the first week of January. I’m so excited!!

      • LatteLisa 28 October 2011 / 15:16

        I have the magazine in my hands, bought it today and I got the best cup of latte I’ve ever tasted in my life. Seriously!

        I’m glad I decided to give this issue a chance, it’s pretty solid. You weren’t kidding with the mind-numbingly boring ‘Never mind’! What the hell was that all about? ‘Haute Couture’ did nothing for me but I really liked the Harlem editorial. It has an angel in Harlem vibe, I at least started humming that song in my mind. I’m going to make an effort to read the Joan Didion piece, it’ll take some dictionary use but I’ll do it, haha.

        OK, I’ll interrogate you in Antwerp about that moving thing! Be prepared!

        • Milla 2 November 2011 / 18:30

          So so happy you liked the issue. You’re right about an angel in Harlem. Did you see Donatella? I feel bad for that woman.

          Email to follow re Antwerpen.

  3. Kate 28 October 2011 / 01:27

    “As someone who strongly believes that beauty isn’t just about what you look like, it’s about who you are…”

    YES! I agree, Milla.

    I am excited to buy the Vogue Paris. I want to see those Terry Richardson photos you wrote about!

    • Milla 2 November 2011 / 18:32

      You will love the Terry Richardson piece – some great styling there.

      We’re all beautiful, right?

  4. Sarah 30 October 2011 / 06:43

    I can’t really comment on most of it given I’m not a fashion person and therefore know nothing about what you wrote. However, I did want to say that yes, people other than the Brits use “spring chicken” hahaha. Aussies use it and I think Canadians do as well-though perhaps it’s an older generation thing in those countries vs a wholly British thing. Though the Aussies are more British than they care to think hahaha.
    The cover is gorgeous though and so is that 2nd picture!

    • Milla 2 November 2011 / 18:25

      Thank you for being in the know! Last night I was talking with a friend and I said “… and Bob’s your uncle.” She was confused and thought I said “and I’m going to bob your uncle” as in do the deed with your uncle. It was so funny! Language is amazing, non?

      • Sarah 3 November 2011 / 00:19

        Bahahaha that is hysterical!! She must have been French non? Aussies definitely say that one as well, though I feel like Canucks would know it too :) Language is definitely an amazing, constantly surprising thing!

        • Milla 8 November 2011 / 18:13

          No but English isn’t her first language, and I think she is more comfy with American English. “Canucks” is so cute!

  5. Audrey 30 October 2011 / 20:35

    Hi Mila,

    Your writing is excellent and I enjoying reading them, especially your reviews on Vogue, Ha. But I’m done with the magazine, I bought the US September issue and the first 290 !!! pages are just full with advertising. I understand they can’t do without ads, but why they fill almost a third of the magazine with it. Your right about shooting pictures of the same models, boring indeed, because there so many other good looking models. What about Harpers Bazaar, it’s been a while since I bought myself a copy ?

    Have a good week Mila!

    • Milla 2 November 2011 / 18:21

      hello Audrey,

      I know what you mean – this is exactly how the VP September issue was (for the first time ever) and I so bored by the time I got to the content. Next month will be my last VP review as I start the new year with new magazine to review… Do you prefer to read online then? I love reading in the bath so magazine are ideal.

      Have a wonderful day!


      • Audrey 2 November 2011 / 19:10

        Hi Mila, I do love to read them in the weekend when I’m at home and most of the time in the kitchen with a nice cup of coffee. And yes me too, I just wan’t to hold a magazine in my hand. So now and then I read the magazine online, but it’s not the same. The same with books, have to hold them.
        Can’t wait for your next review!! and exciting about the reviews for next year on a new mag.

        • Milla 8 November 2011 / 18:15

          Hello Audrey – you’re so right, nothing beats a real magazine/book. I scan the news online, but i cherish those moments when I can read at home in the quiet, from the comfort of my sofa.

  6. sandy@oohlafroufrou 31 October 2011 / 15:23

    Milla, your reviews are always so wonderfully written, touching on not just generality but are always very indepth … looking forward to picking up the issue … and you’re right, the cover photo is beautifully classic!

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou
    This Week: “Grand Flirt”

    • Milla 2 November 2011 / 18:19

      Thanks Sandy. Vogue Paris should feature your girls on the cover, non?

  7. Cupcake 1 November 2011 / 11:29

    Well done Milla! I want to get my hands on “Plus que parfaites”! You are warming to Ms. Alt I see. Thank God the claws are gone, yuck!!
    Excellent review!

    • Milla 2 November 2011 / 18:18

      I can always rely on you to back me up on the claws view – those things are nasty!

      Really good issue Cupcake, you must get it!


      PS – merci ma belle!

  8. SomeKindOfStyle (@somekindofstyle) 4 November 2011 / 15:07

    love the images, really great and better editorials for sure! .. as well, still a long way to go, and follow these amazing footsteps of Carine ( just missed her over here in Berlin, pity! ) …

    wishing you the best sweets! and talk and perhaps meet some time soon! 😉


    • Milla 8 November 2011 / 15:04

      It’s really good quality but we ave to accept that Carine is gone, so it will sadly never be the same, but she’s on the right track.

      We will definitely meet!

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