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Edited by on March 15 2011 at 9:12 AM

Awful? Boring? A waste of precious ad space? Ever since images of the cover leaked last week, I was less than enthused; I may have said something to the effect of Anna Wintour was rolling over in her grave.

Regardless of the fact that the Wintour’s Bone is more or less alive, I’m almost always disappointed with every American Vogue cover…the last exception being Natalie Portman‘s stunner three issues and an unexpected baby ago. However, the editorials are usually better since they don’t have to sell the entire magazine.

This shoot was photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz who, let’s be honest, has been treading water for the past 10-15 years. Once prolific, her work comes off stale or a bit cartoonish nowadays and Rihanna’s resemblance to Jessica Rabbit certainly doesn’t help matters.

Sure, Rihanna’s a beautiful girl, but instead of playing up that beauty her face is obscured in nearly every picture; by her hair on the cover, or by her head being tilted back, or by that terrible maroon shag wig someone clearly needs to get fired for.

Simply put, this spread could have been a lot better, especially when Rihanna gives fairly good editorial. This is Vogue, for Coddington‘s sakes. The arbiter of all that is good and stylish and unattainable. And these photos don’t even belong in Marie Claire….

This is tiptoeing dangerously into Cosmo territory.

Photos: Fashion Bomb Daily

Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at fashionindie.com