Marie Claire South Africa Explains Its Phony Kate Middleton Cover

Yesterday we stumbled upon this bizarre cover of Marie Claire South Africa, featuring a Photoshopped version of Kate Middleton to show her wearing clothes made by local designers. It’s since caused quite a stir, so now the magazine has released a statement to explain their choice of (digitally rendered) cover girl.

Here is an excerpt from the statement, posted on the magazine’s website, which pretty much says it all:

Marie Claire sure knows how to get people thinking. Our newest cover, featuring a hyper-real, fan art tribute to Kate Middleton, has been dubbed a ‘bad Photoshop'; a way of faking it till you make it.

However, the cover is neither of those things. The ‘model’ was our sub, her face, an illustration, and the designer proudly South African. Harking back to the first, illustrated magazine covers, this unusual combination has drawn mixed reactions. As Marie Claire South African editor Aspasia Karras said, ‘We wanted to recreate the classic fashion magazine covers of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s where illustrations were used to pay creative tribute to icons of the day.’

The daring use of art — especially hyper-real art — has incited one of the first discussions about a local magazine cover in a wider forum. Karras explains, ‘There is no more internationally iconic woman than Kate at the moment and we wanted to celebrate her through a series of illustrations whilst bringing her to South Africa on a much desired state visit,’ she continues, ‘Call it wishful thinking with the added bonus of presenting her in South African designer outfits. She has an immediate impact on fashion sales in the UK and we wanted to rub some of that magic dust off onto our own designers. The whole thing is a fun fantasy, challenging perceptions playfully.'”

They bring up a fair point about drawings being used for covers in the past (and on the bright side, they didn’t make her look like this.) That said, the drawings of years gone by were clearly artist’s interpretations, not someone’s exact likeness facilitated by the use of Photoshop. In other words: no one would mistake a drawing for the real Kate Middleton. And as the Duchess has a policy of not posing for magazine covers, putting her on one that she didn’t pose for at all strikes us as less than respectful of her wishes.

Clearly this is a very large grey area that needs to be addressed — do you think magazines should be allowed to use someone’s likeness without their permission? Discuss!

[Marie Claire South Africa]

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