Marie Claire sure knows how to get people thinking. Our newest cover, featuring a hyper-real, fan art tribute to Kate Middleton, has been dubbed a ‘bad Photoshop’; a way of faking it till you make it.

However, the cover is neither of those things. The ‘model’ was our sub, her face, an illustration, and the designer proudly South African. Harking back to the first, illustrated magazine covers, this unusual combination has drawn mixed reactions. As Marie Claire South African editor Aspasia Karras said, ‘We wanted to recreate the classic fashion magazine covers of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s where illustrations were used to pay creative tribute to icons of the day.’

The daring use of art – especially hyper-real art – has incited one of the first discussions about a local magazine cover in a wider forum. Karras explains, ‘There is no more internationally iconic woman than Kate at the moment and we wanted to celebrate her through a series of illustrations whilst bringing her to South Africa on a much desired state visit,’ she continues, ‘Call it wishful thinking with the added bonus of presenting her in South African designer outfits. She has an immediate impact on fashion sales in the UK and we wanted to rub some of that magic dust off onto our own designers. The whole thing is a fun fantasy, challenging perceptions playfully.’

There are articles about it in The Telegraph, E! News, Huffington Post, The Frisky, The Examiner, and Fashionista, to name a few. The cover has also made it onto sites in Qatar, Australia, Malaysia, Russia (we think) , and Italy.

Karras has been discussing the matter with the curious and the belligerent on Twitter since the cover was launched on our website last week. Mail&Guardian online columnist Verashni Pillay tweeted, ‘Eish. Not sure how I feel about July’s Marie Claire cover: Kate Middleton’s face on a model in SA design.’ Mistakenly irked that Marie Claire doesn’t feature South Africans on our cover (our June issue featured Terry Pheto), Karras and Pillay have decided to expand the discussion over the 140 character limit on Twitter and have a coffee instead.

Join in the debate by tweeting your opinion with the hashtag #MCKate.