[Cover image from the LA Times Magazine, February edition]
I may be one of the only people in the world who hasn't read The Help, or seen the film (sorry, I've been too busy with books on anatomy, and raving about the amazing cinema experience that is The Artist), but I do know the star of its big screen adaptation and she looks amazing here. Instead of wearing an expensive weave or wig, as she does for films and premieres, Viola Davis is shown with her natural hair. It's great to see her not conforming to the Hollywood ideal of manageable straight (preferably blonde) hair that's been tweaked to within an inch of its life; her own short style looks great, and it really frames her face. Meanwhile that dress is brilliantly quirky - not one for the 9 to 5, but it's perfect for creating an edge on this shoot.
[Image from the LA Times online]
Aside from the empowering hair, this shoot is also about equally powerful clothing.The ruff collar on the left is so overtly theatrical and over the top, yet Viola manages to wear it, rather than letting it wear her. As for the outfit on the right, it's the kind of ensemble that wouldn't look out of place at Fashion Week. With the petticoat peeking out and the killer Hollywood sunglasses, this is a woman who deserves to be noticed.
[Original image from the LA Times online, customised by me]
The playful use of structural clothing and a monochromatic colour palette have really made this shoot for me. It could have easily been an exercise in showing the latest spring florals or kooky prints, but then it would have detracted from the strong poses and Viola's natural look, which seems anything but manufactured. This is a brilliant example of how to let your cover star do all the talking, and not just use her as a clothes horse, but to choose pieces that really suit her Oscar nominee status.