How we pick the fashion for FLARE's cover

Photo by Anthea Simms

One of the most challenging – and often frustrating, fussy and exhilarating – processes we go through every month is organizing our covers. Deciding on the best model or celebrity is always a time-consuming process but doesn’t end once she signs on. A big part of a successful cover is what our subject will wear.

Our first clothing consideration is the subject herself. What is she known for? An actress who dazzles on the red carpet – that would be our upcoming December cover. Or is she a fashion lover who enjoys trying different things? That was Rachelle Lefevre who starred on our January 2010 cover. Is she a top model who wears high fashion to perfection? Good examples would include Canadian model Alana Zimmer who wore designs by Proenza Schouler on our June cover, and Dutch supermodel Doutzen Kroes who wears Prada on our September cover.

September is the most important issue of the year for any fashion magazine. At FLARE, the cover in particular has to make a major fashion statement. The clothing featured has to be cover worthy and news worthy. After the fall international runway shows wrapped up, Elizabeth Cabral, Flare’s Fashion Director, and I discussed the key shows and key messages. This season we both agreed that collections including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Miu Miu, Burberry Prorsum, Celine and Nina Ricci all set fall’s pace and featured top looks with cover potential.

What gives an outfit cover potential? A vivid eye-catching colour is always a plus but we like black or white too as it makes cover lines easy to read. A slim fitting silhouette also helps – a voluminous dress, cape or bulky coat usually overwhelms a subject. Tone-on-tone texture (such as ruching or sequins) always adds interest – and in the reverse, too much colour contrasting texture (such as embroidery or lace) can be distracting. A print will work as long as it’s not too busy. Cover lines get lost in big florals or high contrast stripes. A black and white graphic pattern will work though as long it’s not too much.

When we confirmed our September cover shoot with Doutzen Kroes, picking the fashion was easy. She has a glorious figure – perfect for fall’s focus on curvy bodies. She was one of the ‘star’ models in the Prada show so we saw how amazing she looked in the clothes. For a cover though, we nixed the Prada show’s beehive hair and knit hair band in favour of classic sexy waves. Great jewelry from Toronto-based Carole Tannebaum Vintage Collection completed the look. I knew which shot would make our all-important September cover once I saw the early snaps – sent to me via iPhone from our New York cover shoot. Gorgeous!

I’ll be back again next week. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter.