It’s been a major year for magazine covers. They ran the gamut from bold and controversial to compelling and classic. There were covers so stunning we couldn’t stop posting about them, and covers that flopped so badly that they became memes. But whether we loved or hated them, this year’s magazine covers kept us talking and for that reason alone, they deserve to make our top 20 list.

It’s no secret that controversy moved the needle; Kim Kardashian‘s infamous bare-bottomed Paper Magazine cover and Rihanna‘s topless turn on the cover of Lui are proof. Style risks also paid off on magazine covers. Jill Scott rocked a platinum blonde cut for Essence, Oprah wore a backless red gown on and Beyonce covered CR Fashion Book in a fashion-forward mask. But the most memorable covers featured stars we don’t see everyday: Dave Chapelle on the cover of GQ, Laverne Cox becoming the first transgender person to cover Time and Vogue marking a return to supermodel covers with Joan Smalls and company on their September issue. Here are 20 magazine covers that blew us away in 2014.

 

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