Sometimes one of the benefits of being a big publication is that you can nab big stars. Not just of the cover-girl kind, but leading male actors as has become something of a micro-trend amidst the pages of Vogue. The more craggy-faced and serious the actor, the more cinematic the quality they lend to the shoot. Pit them against a leading lady and voila! its like a blockbuster film cut down to a few pages.
The latest recruit is Michael Fassbender. Could you ask for better, what with that falconine nose and brooding frown, not to mention a string of acclaimed films under his belt? But nice as Craig McDean’s shoot is, Fassbender gets squandered. For a man who’s been Jane Eyre’s Rochester, an angry X-Men anti-hero and a tortured sex addict, all played with gritty emotion, drama isn’t really asking a lot. It’s part of the job.
But instead of dramatic narrative we get Modern Times, in which “the utilitarian city wardrobe gets an artistic reimagining (and a dash of 1920s utopia)”. A fairly specific and potentially complex styling agenda, but of course one that Grace Coddington pulls off with such ease that you’re left saying, Aha! So that’s what modernist utilitarianism with a dash of 20s utopia looks like! D’uh. And somehow it seems obvious that you should have know that all along.
As much as the setting and the styling fit the bill, though, it still seems a waste of talent to leave Fassbender sidelined to a few images. Of course his presence in those is, none the less, stong.
You can view the full shoot from Vogue US’ May 2012 issue, starring Natalia Vodianova and Michael Fassbender, at the gallery above.