Kate Upton's February 2014 V Magazine Cover is Racy, But Doesn't It Have to Be

Kate Upton's love of nudity is being documented yet again, hitting newsstands this month in the form of one provocative V magazine shoot. V magazine's February 2014 issue cover featuring Kate Upton could easily be mistaken for Playboy, thanks to a peekaboo shot of the Sports Illustrated model accompanied by the title, "Why Can't Kate Upton Keep Her Clothes On?".

Set for publication on January 16, the V cover treads the line between suggestive and just plain lewd, thanks to a cover flap that allows the reader to view Upton in a fetching jeans and button down ensemble, or clad only in her underwear. However, the feature's title gives voice to a significant concern regarding Upton and her voluptuous figure: Is the model's constant nudity a vote of confidence for curvy women, or does it diminish the message by distracting the public with a gratuitous display of skin?

Upton's meteoric rise to fame is notoriously connected to her fondness for exhibitionism. From performing the Cat Daddy dance clad in a bikini to the flirtatious, storied "Teach Me How to Dougie" YouTube video, Upton's enviable figure has become an undeniable social media sensation. While other willowy models are content to parade around in voluminous couture, Upton flaunts her curves at every turn, from her racy Sports Illustrated spreads to body conscious fashions at red carpet events. 


The dual cover is a new level for the model, however, leaving the publication's readers to dress or undress Upton at will. Stephen Gan, the magazine's editor, explained the impetus behind the daring cover choice to WWD, saying:

It has always intrigued me, as I'm sure it has to most readers, how someone gets embraced by the general public for taking their clothes off and loved by the fashion world for keeping them on.

Stylist Nicola Formichetti and photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin certainly knew what they were doing when they placed a nearly nude Upton on the cover of V, but the effect is nevertheless devaluing a woman who would look just as stunning in an oversized sweater and boyfriend jeans.

Upton has acknowledged that the decision to appear sans clothing is very much her own, and one with which she is largely comfortable; however, the model has also been quite vocal about the drawbacks to her reputation for baring (almost) all. Chief among these is the absurd assertion that Upton's curvy frame is unhealthy or overweight. Upton's response to the slights was tactful; she spoke to Vogue about the disparaging comments for the magazine's 2013 cover story called "The Kate Upton Effect: Everyone's Favorite Bombshell," saying:

You sit there and you're like, 'Is there something wrong with me?' The things that they're rejecting are things I can't change… I feel confident with myself, and if that inspires other women to feel confident with their bodies, great.

Upton's self-possessed attitude regarding her shape is a step in the right direction for bringing curves back into fashion, but her inclination to disrobe constantly may undermine the strength of her convictions. For a confident, curvaceous model like Upton, the emphasis should be placed on her poise and celebration of her healthier proportions, instead of on the vast amount of skin on display. 

Must Reads