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Nigella Lawson’s ‘makeup free’ Vogue cover

The April issue of British Vogue boasts the cover everyone in publishing wanted. Newly divorced and intact from the very public court hearing of the Grillo sisters, Nigella Lawson gives the magazine an exclusive interview and poses in an altogether different image from her celebrated “courtface” look, with an immaculately groomed, expertly painted-on brave visage.

Vogue April 2014 Cover with Nigella Lawson
Vogue’s April 2014 cover with Nigella Lawson. Photograph: Nathaniel Goldberg/Condé Nast

Vogue claims that the undeniably beautiful Lawson (its former food editor) is wearing no makeup in the shot, save for “some blusher and a little mascara”, which, while clearly nonsense (she is wearing lots, as are most celebrities posting “no makeup” shots), does sum up a different image for Lawson, who has always admitted to loving dramatic 60s siren makeup and big hair and of being terrified of being photographed without it.

No doubt we will hear endlessly about what this new softer, relaxed and somewhat disheveled look (the signature Chelsea blowdry is nowhere to be seen) may or may not signify for Lawson personally, who has opted for a dramatically different style at the beginning of what must be an entirely new life. But amateur psychoanalysis aside, it’s still an interesting decision by the magazine, if not by its subject (Vogue is forensic in its cover planning – Lawson is highly unlikely to have had a casting vote).

Nigella Lawson Vogue cover
Nigella Lawson poses for Vogue. Photograph: Nathaniel Goldberg/Condé Nast

While Lawson may have lost her court battle, she claims victory in the public war. The #TeamNigella Twitter hashtag that dominated the social networking site throughout the month of December (and David Cameron’s ill-advised backing of Lawson) represented the tip of the iceberg in terms of public support. In miserable circumstances, Nigella Lawson and her alleged wrongdoing were offered unlimited acceptance – warts and all. It’s smart, then, for Vogue editors to show us a more real, less steely image of the woman who seemingly is loved all the more for her flaws and open imperfection. While still looking fabulous, of course.

• This article was amended on 5 March 2014. An earlier version said incorrectly that David Cameron had tweeted the #TeamNigella Twitter hashtag.

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