04/05/2011 05:50 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2011

The Face of Fashion

Fashion is a conflicting art. On the surface it is unreasonable and bombastic. It is ten-inch McQueen stilettos and waitlists for Hermès Birkin bags. It is a reason for spending an entire paycheck on Chanel riding boots as well as not sleeping all night thinking about that perfect dress you found at a random boutique in the city. It is crazy. And yet, it is reality.

Fashion is a reflection of truth. Beneath the surface it is honest and effortless. Today that candor has resulted in celebrities rather than models being used on magazine covers. And while more traditional fashion aficionados argue that celebrities are too ubiquitous and commercial for the avant-garde world of fashion, magazine editors cannot argue with the sales numbers generated by celebrity covers. Thus the ensuing dilemma: who is the face of fashion?

From the birth of the "Power Girls" to the golden age of supermodels, these paragons of beauty have held a defining place in fashion history. Nonetheless, to turn a blind eye to the other artistic contributions made to magazine covers over the years is a travesty. The drawings of Erte exemplify the use of art deco in fashion during the early twentieth century. Louise Dahl-Wolfe's patriotic photographs for Harper's Bazaar bring the nationalism of World War II back to life. Richard Avedon even found a muse in a movie star, as portrayed in his photographs of Audrey Hepburn. The brilliance of these covers, however, is not the person depicted but rather in the significance of what they express and portray through fashion.

Today fashion continues to be an honest glimpse of society through a lens of imaginary perfection. Whether it is Kate Moss on the cover of W, Lady Gaga on the runway for Mugler, or you and your sisters in the streets of New York, it is the message conveyed through the outfit worn that defines the true face of fashion.

By: Meg Gallagher, Boutique Week Guest Blogger

Photo courtesy of Boutique Week