Lisa Tant weighs in on the cover debate

Canadian models – Lisa Cant, Heather Marks, Daria Werbowy and Jessica Stam – were on my first fall season of covers when I started as editor-in-chief at FLARE six years ago. Those first four covers remain in my all-time top 10 Flare issues. Over the next few years though, the pendulum swung to celebrities. Since then we’ve featured A-listers from Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga to Julianne Moore and Keira Knightly on FLARE’s cover.

In the past year though, we’ve been featuring more and more models. Why? The time feels right – there’s a new brand of models who have larger-than-life personalities. They’re not shy or reluctant mannequins who prefer to just stick to the job and dash. Models such as Coco Rocha (April 2010 cover) and Alanna Zimmer (June 2010 cover) bring so much more to the shoot than just a pretty face. (We have two major models coming up for fall but I can’t tell you about them yet!)

Models bring the clothes to life in a fearless way that celebrities often can’t – or aren’t willing to. A celebrity is often limited by her public image and doesn’t have the confidence or awareness to play with fashion. She may only have a comfort level with a typical red carpet ensemble, for example, or is in the throes of changing her image (rocker to fashionista) and too nervous to try anything other than the most basic designs. And as one unnamed actress once told me after refusing to slip into a dress we loved – “a happy actress is a cooperative actress”. Got it.

That said, though, I still love the mix of famous faces. We choose our models based upon their current buzz factor. Dakota Fanning was a natural pick for August – she’s starring in the third installment of the hugely popular Twilight films. Plus, our cover was one of the sixteen year old’s first fashion magazine cover appearances. My all-time favourite FLARE cover (at the moment, anyway) is December 2009 with Lady Gaga. Her star had just started to rocket. We photographed her cover during New York Fashion Week after her headline-making appearance at Marc Jacobs’ show and after-party. The timing was brilliant. I was thrilled to notice a legion of pink-wigged fans at her Toronto concert a few weeks after our issue hit newsstands.

We’ll continue being innovative in picking our cover subjects. I’d love to know what you think. Model vs. celebrity? And who would you love to see on the cover of your next FLARE?

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