Vogue was founded as a weekly publication by
Arthur Baldwin Turnure in 1892. When he died in 1909,
Condé Nast picked it up and slowly began growing the publication.
The first change Nast made was that Vogue appeared every two
weeks instead of weekly. Nast also went overseas in the early 1910s.
He first went to Britain, and started a Vogue there, and it went well.
Then he went to Spain, however that was a failure. Lastly, Nast took
Vogue to France, and that was a huge success. The magazine’s
number of publications and profit increased dramatically
under Nast. The magazine’s number of subscriptions
surged during the Depression, and again during World War II.
In the 1960s, with Diana Vreeland as editor-in-chief and personality,
the magazine began to appeal to the youth of the sexual
revolution by focusing more on contemporary fashion
and editorial features openly discussing sexuality.
Vogue also continued making household names out
of models, a practice that continued with Suzy Parker,
Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Lauren Hutton, Veruschka,
Marisa Berenson, Penelope Tree, and others.
In 1973, Vogue became a monthly publication. Under editor-in-chief
Grace Mirabella, the magazine underwent extensive editorial and
stylistic changes to respond to changes in the lifestyles of its target audience.
The current editor-in-chief of American Vogue is Anna Wintour, noted for her
trademark bob and her practice of wearing sunglasses indoors. Since taking over in 1988,
Wintour has worked to protect the magazine’s high status and reputation
among fashion publications. In order to do so, she has made the magazine focus on
new and more accessible ideas of “fashion” for a wider audience. This allowed
Wintour to keep a high circulation while discovering new trends that a broader audience
could conceivably afford. For example, the inaugural cover of the magazine
under Wintour’s editorship featured a three-quarter-length photograph of Israeli super
model Michaela Bercu wearing a bejeweled Christian Lacroix jacket and a pair
of jeans, departing from her predecessors’ tendency to portray a woman’s face alone,
which, according to the Times’, gave “greater importance to both her clothing and her body.
This image also promoted a new form of chic by combining jeans with haute couture.
Wintour’s debut cover brokered a class-mass rapprochement that informs modern
fashion to this day.
“Wintour’s Vogue also welcomes new and young talent.
Wintour’s presence at fashion shows is often taken by fashion
insiders as an indicator of the designer’s profile within the industry.
In 2003, she joined the Council of Fashion Designers of America in
creating a fund that provides money and guidance to at least two
emerging designers each year. This has built loyalty among the emerging
new star designers, and helped preserve the magazine’s dominant
position of influence through what Time called her own “considerable
influence over American fashion. Runway shows don’t start until she
arrives. Designers succeed because she anoints them.
Trends are created or crippled on her command.”
The contrast of Wintour’s vision with
that of her predecessor has been noted as
striking by observers, both critics and defenders.
Amanda Fortini, fashion and style contributor to Slate
argues that her policy has been beneficial for Vogue:
[W]hen Wintour was appointed head of Vogue, Grace Mirabellahad been editor in chief for 17 years, and the magazine had growncomplacent, coasting along in what one journalist derisively called“its beige years.” Beige was the color Mirabella had used to paintover the red walls in Diana Vreeland’s office, and the metaphorwas apt: The magazine had become boring. Among Condé Nastexecutives, there was worry that the grand dame of fashionpublications was losing ground to upstart Elle, which in justthree years had reached a paid circulation of 851,000 toVogue ‘s stagnant 1.2 million. And so Condé Nast publisherSi Newhouse brought in the 38-year-old Wintour—who,through editor in chief positions at British Vogueand House & Garden, had become known not onlyfor her cutting-edge visual sense but also for herability to radically revamp a magazine—to shake things up.
Vogue was described by book critic Caroline Weber in The New York Times in December 2006 as “the world’s most
influential fashion magazine”: Vogue is most famous as a presenter of images of high fashion and high society, but it
also publishes writings on art, culture, politics, and ideas. It has also helped to enshrine the fashion model as celebrity.
Vogue is widely published; today, it is published in 18 countries and one region.
As Wintour came to personify the magazine’s image, she and Vogue
drew critics. Wintour’s one-time assistant at the magazine, Lauren Weisberger,
wrote a roman à clef entitled The Devil Wears Prada. Published in 2003,
the novel became a bestseller and was adapted as a highly successful,
Academy Award-nominated film in 2006. The central character resembled
Weisberger, and her boss was a powerful editor-in-chief of a fictionalized
version of Vogue. The novel portrays a magazine ruled by “the Antichrist
and her coterie of fashionistas, who exist on cigarettes, Diet Dr. Pepper,
and mixed green salads”, according to a review in the New York Times.
The editor is described by Weisberger as being “an empty, shallow,
bitter woman who has tons and tons of gorgeous clothes and not much else”.
The success of both the novel and the film brought new attention
from a wide global audience to the power and glamour of the
magazine, and the industry it continues to lead.
In 2007, Vogue drew criticism from the anti-smoking group,
“Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids”, for carrying tobacco advertisements
in the magazine. The group claims that volunteers sent the magazine
more than 8,000 protest e-mails or faxes regarding the ads.
The group also claimed that in response, they received
scribbled notes faxed back on letters that had been
addressed to editor Anna Wintour stating,
“Will you stop? You’re killing trees!”
A spokesperson for Condé Nast released an
official statement saying that, “‘Vogue’
does carry tobacco advertising.
Beyond that we have no
Vogue Hommes International is an international men’s fashion
magazine based in Paris, France, and L’uomo Vogue is the Italian
men’s version. Other Italian versions of Vogue include Vogue Casa
and Bambini Vogue.
Until 1961, Vogue was also the publisher of Vogue Patterns, a home sewing
pattern company. It was sold to Butterick Publishing which also licensed the
Vogue name. In 2007 an Arabic edition of Vogue was rejected by Condé Nast International.
October 2007 saw the launch of Vogue India. Vogue Turkey was launched in March 2010.
Vogue has also created a global initiative, “Fashion’s Night Out” in order to help
boost the economy by bringing together fashionistas to support the cause of full price retails.
Cities across the globe participate to put on fabulous in
store events and promotions.
In 2009, the feature-length documentary The September Issue was
released; it was an inside view of the production of the record-breaking
September 2007 issue of U.S. Vogue, directed by R. J. Cutler. The film
was shot over eight months as editor-in-chief Anna Wintour prepared the issue.
It included at times testy exchanges between Wintour and her creative director
Grace Coddington. The issue became the largest ever published; over 5 pounds in
weight and 840 pages in length, a world record for a monthly magazine.
Since 2007, the feminist fashion blog Glossed Over has liveblogged
the September issue of Vogue, commenting on
its content, photos, and ads.
The following individuals have served as editor-in-chief of Vogue:
Country Editor-in-Chief Start year End year United States Josephine Redding 1892 1901 Marie Harrison 1901 1914 Edna Woolman Chase 1914 1951 Jessica Daves 1952 1963 Diana Vreeland 1963 1971 Grace Mirabella 1971 1988 Anna Wintour 1988 present United Kingdom Elspeth Champcommunal 1916 1922 Dorothy Todd 1923 1926 Alison Settle 1926 1934 Elizabeth Penrose 1934 1940 Audrey Withers 1940 1961 Ailsa Garland 1961 1965 Beatrix Miller 1965 1984 Anna Wintour 1985 1987 Liz Tilberis 1988 1992 Alexandra Shulman 1992 present France Cosette Vogel 1922 1927 Main Bocher 1927 1929 Michel de Brunhoff 1929 1954 Edmonde Charles-Roux 1954 1966 Francine Crescent 1968 1987 Colombe Pringle 1987 1994 Joan Juliet Buck 1994 2001 Carine Roitfeld 2001 2011 Emmanuelle Alt 2011 Present Russia Aliona Doletskaya 1998 2010 Victoria Davydova 2010 present