From left to right we’ve got whoever the fuck these people are, Daria Werbowy, Natalia Vodianova, Gisele Bundchen, Isabeli Fontana, Karolina Kurkova, Liya Kebede, Hana Soukupova, Gemma Ward, and Karen Elson. (AP Photo/Courtesy Vogue, Steven Meisel)
September approacheth! The all-important ninth month of the year, the introduction to the fall fashion season, when Vogue annually releases their most important issue ever, with all its concomitant power to make or break fashionistas everywhere. And now, here it is: the cover image for their much-anticipated September 2004 issue, and, hold on a minute and put away your excitement stick, because there are fucking models on the cover. Quelle surprise! I, personally, was at least hoping for a shake-up of sorts, maybe some Vanity Fair-esque “celebrities”, but, alas, photographer Steven Meisel is notoriously stronger behind the camera when dealing with your everyday stellar-looking pretty faces than those who are famous for being famous.
Thankfully, we can bear verbal witness to Master Meisel in action due to the release of these exclusive, in-no-way-fictionalized on-set transcripts from the magazine’s cover shoot. All 25 inches thereof.
“Daria, darling, move left more…more…more. Don’t you worry about being obscured by the barcode. I hardly know who you are anyway, but you’re lucky to be on the cover in any form, and we absolutely need to fit more of Gisele in the shot here. Yes, of course. Ms. Bundchen is our star! Yes, my angel. This is the September issue…a triple-gatefold, honies, and there are nine of you, and as I’m sure you’re well aware, you calculus-laden vixens, you, we need an evenly divisible increment of nine, or three ladies per panel. Believe me, if I could chop one of you in half and do a two-paneled 4.5er, I would. But it’s Lancome’s mathematics, ladies! And, if anything, I’m quite nearly positive that Lancome is the guy who discovered the constant ratio of a circle’s radius to its circumference. How many times does pi go into a triple gatefold September cover, I wonder?
And stylists! Stylists! Snap to attention. I need more pink! Rich, vibrant pink! Reds, reds, pinks, whites. Layer gorgeously, ladies, layer it. Shades of pink abound. Bathe in its glorious glow. Wrap yourselves, honies, wrap yourselves. Let these gowns absorb you, cherish you, encapsulate you…And stay on the tape line. Focus, ladies, focus. Gisele, put your mobile away. You can call that little man of yours when you are not on my clock. On, I say, as opposed to over, which is what he is.
Who is that colored woman? Liya? Get her out of the first panel. This is Vogue, not National Geographic. OK, I’m sorry, you’re right. Sorry. Ha ha, I joke! But I am serious nonetheless. This is September, after all, when I am most prone to racist humor. But you ladies knew that already. Now, move her. No, Karolina, you’re in the second panel. No, no, scoot over. Your agency and I agreed to this. I don’t care what she told you. No, I DO NOT CARE about Sports Illustrated. I swear, honey, you need to look more passionate as you clutch Isabeli’s arm. It’s passion, that’s all. Keywords: Desire. Sensuality. Fabric. Threadbare. Discomfit. Petulant. Oblique. Garage. I would hope that each of you can simply clutch a goddamned arm for a few minutes, and continue to look gloriously still and inanimate in the process. I’m a modern-day Vermeer.
Good gracious, where is Karen? Number nine? Anyone? Todd, go check her dressing room. Right now. Go, go, go. Gogogogogogo! Oh, she’s still at Bing’s pad, huh…Goddamn that rascal, I’ve had more of my shoots befouled by that man, directly or indirectly, than Gregory Crewdson’s got issues with his F-stop! Ha, ha, ha! A little joke. September is also the month when I feel free to “dis” my photographic peers, because, yes, I am shooting Vogue magazine. All right, then, we’ll put her in afterwards. How I abhor working digitally, but it’s got to be done.
My, how you lot infuriate me. I’m Steven fucking Meisel, and I’m almost of the mind to subject you to a delicious Meisel-brand ass-raping, but alas, I’ve got another E! network taping to attend at 3 o’clock this afternoon. Bon-bon!”