The battle for the biggest cover star is a well-known issue in magazine land. Lady Gaga for US Vogue's September issue is up against Katy Perry for US Elle, par exemple, but surely the ultimate cover coup is Kate Middleton. So three whoops for South Africa Marie Claire who have THE DOC HERSELF! gracing their glossy cover.
But wait a photoshopping minute! You beady lot will know the Duchess has never worn orangey ANIMAL PRINT (God forbid) and her flicky hair has NEVER looked so strangely ashen brown. Yep, when MC's editors were faced with the dilemma of snagging Kate for their cover — a feat that even the almighty Anna Wintour has (tried and) failed to do — what could be easier than plonking K-Middy's face a-top another body?
You've gotta admire that creativity, right? Right? Well, it's caused an interweb meltdown since the images emerged yesterday. Just like politics and arts magazine The New Republic, who replaced Kate's dazzling smile with rotting teeth, Marie Claire has been accused of courting controversy to sell more issues. GASP. What's more, the cover cheekily suggests that the actual Kate had struck a pose for the issue, despite insisting that she will not been seen simply as a clothes horse. The headline reads 'Fashion's new royal icon wears SA's best local designs' - oop - but craftily includes an asterisk: 'Of course she doesn't. But she should.' At least they're honest.
Justifying Explaining the cover, Marie Claire Editor Aspasia Karrass told The Telegraph: 'We were so inspired by her fairytale wedding and her life as a modern-day princess, which is why we elected Kate Middleton as our cover star for the August issue. The cover is actually a hyper-real illustration of Kate, meant to be a fan art tribute to fashion's new royal icon.' Hmm, with these 'hyper-real illustrations', does a celebrity ever have to pose for a cover again?
Inside the issue, five local illustrators dress Kate up in their finest garb because, let's be honest, it's unlikely they'll be benefitting from the Kate Effect otherwise. The wrap-around multi-print dress on the cover comes courtesy of Clive Rundle, the laser-cut see-through dress she wears for a jolly train ride (as you do) is by Gavin Rajah, the baby doll dress with Peter Pan collar is from Abigail Betz while the leopard print gown is a Marianne Fassler number. Why she's got a ginormous duck posed on her hand, we haven't the foggiest.
So are the mock-ups art or outrage? Do tell us your verdict. On the plus side: the shoot has steamed over those shots of a honeymooning Kate and Wills... so every cloud.