Rattling with Nurofen, I ventured outside this morning – for the first time in a week – to gather oranges, the October issue of Vogue, and a gargantuan bar of Dairy Milk. I have the flu, you see* – not a sudden case of agoraphobia – and these artefacts are vital to my recovery.
Yes, even the chocolate.
Seeing Adele on the cover – a young Sophia Loren, incarnate – I smiled. Witty and gifted with a voice to rouse every and all emotion, it is a percipient celebration for Vogue to make. In this woman, after all, we have a valid female icon to remind that beauty can come in body and song – not simply the bones of a model.
Returned home to the quiet company of my death bed, I looked again. More closely, this time.
The portrait of Adele is beautiful in print, but it is – and let’s not coat this with sugar – predictable, even a little patronising, to be offered another head shot/decapitation in which her body is obliterated from view. A large, curled tendril of incarnadine hair goes further, seemingly positioned to obscure her lower face, and – well, what exactly? – the potential shadow of a double chin?
The strapline ‘Adoring Adele’ should perhaps then, more accurately, read Adoring ‘Some of’ Adele.
It is timely and commercial for Vogue to feature Adele, because – from the music to her laugh, surely the dirtiest this side of a Carry On film – there is, indeed, much to adore. Through her, there was opportunity to do something genuinely democratic – to celebrate and garland a new body silhouette.
So why the cynical effort to dismember and reduce everything that Adele, literally, embodies?
Use the woman. Use all of her, or do not use her at all.
* ‘Tis true. I have the flu. In summer. My immune system is that good.