Growing up and til this day, Vogue is more than just a mere fashion magazine to me and by that I don’t just mean the American Vogue. I felt like every country’s Vogue publication brought with it its own strength to the table. It was an institution in my eyes. US Vogue with the admirable Ms Wintour at the helm was influential and covered the politics, Alexandra Schulman’s British edition always made me feel like I was accepted for who I am and pushed me to love myself more than I do, French Vogue celebrated high fashion it its entirety with breathtaking styling in every editorial spread whilst Franca Sozzani (also one o my favourite people in fashion) made Italian Vogue provocative, sparking conversations making sure that readers don’t just peruse the pages, but instead, open up their minds and make them think.
The fashion aspect of it all was one thing, of course. The styling, photography, art direction, editorials that told me a story 5000 words could not. Through Vogue I discovered the dreamy photographs of Annie Leibovitz, the eerie fantasy-like imagery by Tim Walker, the wonderful magical makeup artistry of Pat McGrath, the styling of Carolyn Cerf de Dudzeele and of course, the many, many brilliant writers that penned down the articles accompanying the fantastic images. I know plenty of girls who are ‘obsessed’ with Vogue and tear out their favourite editorials and yet because of the lengthy articles and thickness of the issues, they don’t exactly read it cover to cover. But for me, the articles was what set Vogue apart from every other magazine. Vogue didn’t teach me the ‘Top 5 Things Guys Think About’ or tell me that I needed to ‘Get Hot Now‘ . Just as well since as a 13 year old schoolgirl, I knew that if I wanted to know those things I simply need to flip open an issue of CosmoGirl or Seventeen. But I wanted to know what the world was talking about, I was hungry to know what the adults were discussing at dinner parties and somehow I knew that when I grow up, I wanted to be the woman in Vogue, I wanted to be a part of it and it only makes sense that in order to someday grow up and achieve that, it would serve me well to read every article in Vogue and learn all I could.
What came out of it was love for words. I loved how the articles in Vogue brought out a bevy of emotions in me whether it be happiness, joy, wonderment,envy and everything else in between. The articles within Vogue was what made me defend it whenever someone calls it just another fashion magazine, or says it’s ‘all filled with thin girls and rich people’ . I have had to defend Vogue many times because some people just don’t bother to look beyond the shopping guides and price tags. Could I afford anything in the magazine? Of course not. But it wasn’t about what I could get at the stores, it was about what Vogue itself gave me. It gave me the drive to continuously work hard, the motivation to push myself and become the best me I could be and it made me resourceful as I read the jewelry guide and then trawl vintage markets for the similar brooches without the heavy price tag. Vogue made me dream and then pushed me out the door to work on that dream. The articles in Vogue gave the magazine real substance as it touches on politics, the economy, social issues and they were written in a way that made it feel I was getting it all from an older, more sophisticated well-travelled, well-read girlfriend .
Which is why when I saw that cover of Kim and Kanye on the most recent issue of US Vogue, literally my heart broke into a million pieces. I felt a disappointment I didn’t think any magazine could evoke. No doubt, I was flat out angry and confused. US Vogue was the publication that put Michelle Obama on the cover that one time. How did it go from the first lady to this? All biases aside, I understand and respect that both Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have made a name for themselves and have a strong, loyal following. West’s music, while I am not into it (and I still hold a grudge over the Taylor incident) , has sold a gajillion records I’m sure. And Kim’s marketing and PR team have done an astounding job in terms of getting her name everywhere and of course, the woman works hard for her money, with countless clothing lines and all the appearances she makes. But surely plastering your name on every product does not warrant a Vogue cover? After Lena Dunham, a writer / producer / actor with the instant hit show ‘ GIRLS’ covers the previous issue, putting a couple who is known for their less than admirable antics seem like an obvious downgrade. That music video Kimye did was cringe-worthy and West’s continuous comments on how they are both better than everyone else, showing lack of humility couldn’t possibly serenade well with the readers of Vogue. I wouldn’t want my 13 year old self to pick up this issue and think she should just be a celebutante, because hey, that apparently warrants a Vogue cover now.
There have been covers where I don’t particularly agree with but understood why it was published. Taylor Swift, for example. Bless her heart, if anything I am an obsessive fan of hers. But when her Vogue cover was announced, I wasn’t sure if it would sell very well considering Vogue readers may be a bit older and not in her fanbase. However, Swift was and is a record-breaking female performer surpassing even Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. That success is reason enough. Then there was Kirsten Stewart and no, I am definitely not a fan but I respected the choice. After all, Stewart was part of a movie franchise that proved to be a major success, and out of the Twilight saga, Stewart has been able to transition seamlessly into a slew of other films such as On the Road and the one film where she played Joan Jett. So all is well. As a reader, I don’t have to like every Vogue cover girl. I simply need to understand the justification behind it for myself. Of course its great to read why the magazine chose the person on the cover, but covers need to sell themselves before I even open it and while Ms Wintour writes in her editor’s letter applauding Kardashian/West ‘s influence on modern media…it just isn’t enough for me. There are plenty of people who are doing incredibly well in the modern media, with personal achievements to back it all up.
If you ask me, I was honestly hoping it was Lupita Nyong’o who would grace the cover instead. She is of the moment, current (Wintour did say that Vogue features ‘those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it.’ ) , has a ground-breaking, thought-provoking film under her belt, won her first Oscar fresh out of Yale Drama School, and is the darling of the fashion world , evidenced by her Miu Miu contract and the amazing designers who have dressed her for awards season.
And to be honest, I’d rather Kendall Jenner on the cover than Kimye. Kendall has made a name for herself as a bona-fide fashion model, climbing her way up from modelling for Forever 21 and designer prom dresses to walking for the likes of Marc Jacobs and covering Paris Fashion Week. Is she a supermodel? Of course not (yet.) But she is fresh, keen and with that face, only time (and endless hard work and air miles) will tell how far she’ll go. And paired with her already established fanbase and connections in the entertainment industry, I say the future looks bright if she stays on the right track.
On a more positive note (yes it’s very important to me that all my posts on this blog focus on the positive rather than the negative) , I have been buying a copy of British Vogue every month since I have been here in England and I must say that it never fails to amuse, delight, and educate me. Every choice of cover girl is an inspiration and I particularly enjoyed the look inside Calgary Avansino’s life in the last issue. I just picked up my copy for April and already I dying to read the article on the women of Lars von Trier’s film. It was only a few days ago that I caught the film Nymphomania, and of course it made me think of how these women approach the film and how Lars himself envisions them. So to open a copy of Vogue and read about it, makes me feel kind of awesome that hey, maybe Vogue thinks the way I do (hahahhahahahha yes that sounded a lot less hilarious in my head!) . Very current, indeed.
Oh here’s a hilarious take on the whole Kimye cover that’ll make you laugh out loud !