2012 Covers of the Year

Naysayers be damned, print thrived in 2012 with a wealth of inventiveness pushing our favorite magazines to new levels of creativity. Take a look back at the year that was in covers, from the provocative to the innovative and simply beautiful – these were the fashion covers that made a visual impact this year. Be sure to tell us your favorite covers of 2012 in the comments!

W Magazine March 2012 Cover
Steven Klein – Photographer | Edward Enninful– Fashion Editor | Paul Hanlon – Hair Stylist | Val Garland – Makeup Artist | Jack Flanagan – Set Designer | Marian Newman – Manicurist

There were so many incredible Kate covers this year, but this was by far the most original. Depending on how you look at it Kate Moss is a sinner or a saint and for March’s W she played both roles for Steven Klein in covers that showcased that classic Kate versatility. Klein’s status as fashion’s reigning provocateur still stands and it is always pleasant to see a real art piece offered up as a cover.

Vogue Italia April 2012 Cover
Steven Meisel– Photographer | Panos Yiapanis – Fashion Editor/Stylist | Guido Palau – Hair Stylist | Pat McGrath – Makeup Artist | Mary Howard – Set Designer | Jin Soon Choi – Manicurist

Of all the Vogue Italia covers this year, April’s issue with its foreboding masks and air of mystery was the most unique. Some loved, some hated it, but on the newsstand everyone could agree that those masks made for one compelling image, especially when contrasted with the fold out of bored, prom-goers.

V Magazine Winter 2012 Cover
Jean Paul Goude – Photographer | Scarlett Johansson – Actor | Christian McCulloch – Makeup

Celebrity photography doesn’t have to be boring! Jean Paul Goude takes the typically staid actress cover-shot and gives it a Hitchcock twist with Scarlett Johansson providing the Janet Leigh scream in this one of a kind cover. On a newsstand filled with vacant faces and bored smiles this definitely stood out.

I-D Magazine Spring 2012 Covers
Chen Man – Photographer | Lucia Liu – Stylist | Terry Barber – Makeup | Li Zheng – Model

There are always A LOT of striking i-D covers to choose from, so it is often difficult to choose the very best of the bunch. That said, Chen Man’s arresting images of Li Zheng, Meng Lu and Quncuo on the Spring issue were absolute eye-candy. Forget celebrities, forget supermodels, this is all about amazing styling, beautiful photography and that signature wink!

Love Magazine Special Edition F/W 2012 Covers
Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott – Photographers | Katie Grand – Fashion Editor | Malgosia Bela – Model

LOVE’s special edition covers are proof that the dream team of Mert and Marcus & Katie Grand still know how to turn it out better than anyone else. These beauties were only available for a select few, so anyone lucky enough to snag Malgosia’s skull shot, or Saskia’s painted face on their issue has their hands on a real collectors item.

i-D S/S 12 Covers by Daniele & Iango
Daniele Duella and Iango Henzi – Photographers | Luigi Murenu – Hair Stylist | Patti Wilson – Fashion Editor | Stephane Marais – Makeup | Urban Productions – Casting

Nothing beats a refined, well-composed, perfectly lit image of a pristine beauty and for spring Daniele & Iango offered up multiple i-D covers that held to those timeless ideals.

Dazed & Confused November Cover 2012
Jeff Bark – Photographer | Robbie Spencer – Fashion Stylist | Duffy – Hair Stylist | Lisa Houghton – Makeup | Noah Shelley for AM Casting – Casting | Iris Apfel – Model

The term fashion icon gets thrown around a lot, but if anyone truly qualifies it is the one and only Iris Apfel. Dazed payed fitting tribute to the legendary New Yorker with this stunning cover by Jeff Bark. Clad in Comme des Garcons and looking more avant grade than ever, Iris showed all the newbies on the block just what cool is.

W Magazine July 2012 Cover
Steven Meisel – Photographer | Edward Enninful – Fashion Editor | Oribe – Hair Sylist | Pat McGrath – Makeup | Anthony Palermo – Hair Colorist | Jin Soon Choi – Manicurist | Karlie Kloss – Model

The millennial supermodels have arrived and W‘s July issue introduced them to a whole new audience, bumping the usual celebs off the cover and providing readers with a glossy glimpse at two of fashion’s biggest stars. Meisel’s larger than life images of Karlie and Joan are pure elegance.

Numero August 2012 Cover
Nick Thornton Jones and Warren du Preez – Photographers | Franck Benhamou – Fashion Editor | Martin Cullen – Hair Stylist | Fredrik Stambro – Makeup | Steph Pollard & Stephanie Keevers – Set Designers | Trish Lomax – Manicurist | Anne Vyalitsyna – Model

Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones make full use of Anne V’s sumptuous beauty and that unforgettable dress in this gorgeous Numero cover image; the subtle floral overlay works perfectly with the ruffles of that black Lanvin. The word fantasie scrawled on the cover is the perfect summation of why this image works.

CR Fashion Book Issue No. 1
Bruce Weber  – Photographer | Carine Roitfeld  – Fashion Editor/Stylist | Didier Malige – Hair Stylist | Regine Thorre – Makeup Artist | Tom Criswell for Mary Howard Studio  – Set Designer | Stephen Gan – Creative Director

Swimsuit model turned editorial force, Kate Upton had many covers this year, but the one that captured her at her most natural and effortless was Bruce Weber’s CR Fashion Book image. As easily the most anticipated cover of the entire year, the mag managed to capture its theme of rebirth in a way that was truly beautiful. Audrey Harrelson’s adorable cover on the flip side was another real treat.

Pop Magazine S/S 2012 Cover
Daniel Sannwald (Paris: Management + Artists, New York: Management + Artists) – Photographer | Tamara Rothstein – Fashion Editor | Tina Outen – Hair Stylist | JJaneen Witherspoon – Makeup | Xavier Poultney – Artist | Angus Munro for AM Casting – Casting | Joan Smalls – Model

Photographers often like to play up Joan Smalls’ sophisticated beauty, so it is always fun to see when someone goes in a different direction and creates something wholly original featuring Joan. Sannwald’s kinetic shots provide an artistic take on the year’s premiere beauty.

  1. Another cover for me of Vogue Italia was the August issue, it was simple but beautifully made in terms of setting and imagery

  2. “Asian beauties”? “Asia” incorporates about a quarter of the globe. Why don’t these girls deserve to have their names stated like the “Caucasian” models? This kind of orientalism belongs in the nineteenth century. Get with it!

  3. I go for i-D S/S 12 Covers by Daniele & Iango.

    I-D always do go jobs on cover even with one eye opens:)

  4. I enjoyed Dazed & Confused April 2012; best use of Givenchy worn by Grimes and shot by Hedi Slimane.

  5. ladyoflettuce, the i-D cover model Li Zheng is named in the post along with the team of the story.

    Apologies if the term ‘Asian beauties’ offends you. The names of the three girls on the Chen Man i-D covers are listed now instead.

  6. Such a fantastic article, I love to see an exciting, stimulating front cover- especially in a publishing world where we are so inundated by images selling a famous face (celebrity) alone.

  7. really loving Kate Moss on W, Joan Smalls on POP, and, surprisingly I also really really like Kate Upton’s cover.

  8. You can’t see me stifling a yawn. Most of the cover images are undistinguished, if not downright boring. Kate Moss with no eye makeup and dark red lips? Hideous styling.

  9. Joan Smalls (Vogue Australia – May)
    Eniko Mihalik (Numero – February)
    Isabeli (Schon -October)
    Naomi (Bazaar Russia – October)
    Naomi & Kate (Interview Russia – December)
    Natasha Poly (Vogue Turkey – November)
    Linda Evangelista (Vogue Russia – December)
    Bianca Balti – (Vogue Beaute Japan)
    Gwyneth Paltrow (US Bazaar-March)

    Amongst so many other gorgeous covers..

  10. When I think of big covers which made an impact I think of Joan’s March Vogue Italia cover as well as her Vogue Australia cover, Naomi and Kate’s Interview cover, Kate Upton VI cover (because NO ONE saw it coming)… All in all, it was a year full of surprises for the covers

  11. I think Gisele’s Vogue Paris cover is trully iconic and should have been included in this list.

  12. 2012 Covers of the Year!

    Lara Stone ( Vogue Turkey – April B&W)
    Naomi & Kate (Interview Russia – December)
    Keira Knightly ( interview april 2012 )
    Kate Moss ( vogue paris september 2012 )
    Joan Smalls ( vogue italia march 2012 )
    Joan Smalls ( vogue turkey december 2012 )
    Mackenzie Drazan ,Vanessa Axente( vogue italia july 2012)
    Natasha Poly (Vogue Turkey – September)

  13. Yes!!! Definitely Lara’s Vogue Turkey cover is trully iconic and should have been included in this list.

  14. Maria, not wild about the carbon but hey- XO.

    Jasmine Tookes (Lurve No.6 – September)
    Katie Nescher (Vogue Deutschland – Oktober)
    And the entire I-D set for sure.

  15. That Kate Moss photo looks 10 years old. She looks nothing like that today.

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