In our piece about Elle’s Adut Akech August 2021 cover, I wondered if perhaps it was planned as an inside fashion spread with a short article, and got bumped into the cover spot because something fell through — and the Kendall Jenner situation here, the month’s second cover, does nothing to dissuade me from that. The angle is, “Kendall wears a bunch of stuff from the fall collections.” Seriously, THERE IS NO STORY. No words. Not even wrods. Just photos of Kendall “tossing out fashion’s rule book” and wearing a bunch of stuff from the fall collections. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me “tossing out fashion’s rule book” means “she’s using pants as a cardigan,” which does not happen in here. I guess she is going for unusual pairings, but these days, NONE of this is very unusual and fashion doesn’t even really have a rule book anymore, does it?

But in a larger sense: What is this? Why is this? Is it meant as a move back toward putting models on covers without needing there to be a central profile — the kind of thing the mags did in the ’90s? Or is this just a punt? Honestly, it bums me out for Adut Akech. Why even split the cover at all? Why not just give it to Adut alone? Is Kendall THAT interesting to anyone? Whitney Peak from Gossip Girl is mentioned right there on the cover, and she’d have been a great choice?!? My current theory, based on the names of the files: Kendall WAS the planned cover subject — she has a subscriber cover herein that Adut does not — but a) the story itself fell through after they did the shoot and so they couldn’t get any words to go with it, and so they added Adut because there either already was a short write-up or she was available to help them cobble one together; or b) they were going for ’90s minimalism and then second-guessed the decision at the last second. I don’t know. I could chew on this all day. I’m going to make a sandwich to chew on instead.

[Photographed by Zoey Grossman; the August 2021 issue of Elle is on newsstands July 27]