So, it was with some caution that we approached the release of Lena Dunham's first cover portfolio for Vogue. We knew the images would be heavily retouched — and, indeed, we were right. Her face, skin, and body have certainly been nipped, tucked, and smoothed. Probably, these photos received more attention and work than, say, Claire Danes (except when her leg went missing). But, beyond that? Well, we were actually quite impressed with the shoot.
Hit the next page to read more, then check out the full feature over on Vogue!
What we have here is a very original, quirky, odd, conceptual photo series courtesy of Annie Leibovitz. It's probably the most natural approach we can expect from Vogue regarding a star who champions a raw, unretouched image. Granted, she looks a bit...stiff. Some of Dunham's humor, her liveliness, seems to have been suppressed here in favor of a still-life aesthetic. We're not sure if that's a result of said Photoshopping, or just a lingering reticence on Vogue's part to really commit to a less glossed-over version of reality (even if this cover girl happens to have unfinished, lovable sloppiness as a primary personality trait). There is messiness here, it's just a little bit too perfectly staged to be believable. That awkward balance is best illustrated by the cover — she's doing a characteristically awkward gesture, but her face and even her blouse (which is actually a pretty amazing number from the Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2014 collection) give the photo the performative feel of a clown or a mime.
Still, this feels like a step in the right direction, moving toward featuring Lena in a way that is authentic, honest, and genuinely interesting. “I love clothes that have eccentricity and wit to them,” Dunham explains in the interview. Those are adjectives that embody everything both Lena and Hannah Horvath are (and aim to be) at their best. And, certainly, the Vogue team has chosen to, for the most part, honor that, rather than put her in totally out-of-character ensembles. Granted, these are much, much more glamourous looks than anything either the woman or her character has worn before, but this is Vogue, after all. We've essentially received the best of both worlds, within reason. A Vogue-ification of Lena Dunham should be glossy and pretty, but also quirky and weird — and maybe involve birds perching on people's heads.
Actually, this feature looks like it could have come straight out of Hanna Horvath's dream diary. A slightly more whimsical, optimistic version of the world, but still burdened by, say, the grayness of a Williamsburg block or the bored, layabout life of the chronically underemployed. Oh, and of course, Adam naked in the bath.
Read the interview and see the full spread of photos on Vogue.com — it's worth it, trust us.
More on the Girls girl:
Lena Dunham's Writing Technique (Hint: Procrastination)
Lena Dunham Calls Out R. Kelly, Gets Attacked For It
What Lena Wants From Girls Season 3