Celebrating 100 years of Vogue
By Anna Konen and Sophie Dehn
Vogue; the Piet De Resistance of fashion publications. The famed magazine will commemorate its 130th anniversary this September against the glamourous backdrop of New York Fashion Week. We are looking back to salute Vogue as it enters its momentous 130th year by showcasing its history, famous covers, most influential editors, and more. We may praise New York socialite Arthur Baldwin Turnure for founding the classic magazine. Vogue, however, was not always focused on fashion. In fact, it was first published as a high society journal that described the New York social scene, manners, and high society traditions. Conde Montrose Nast, the creator of Condé Nast Publications, eventually purchased the magazine in 1909 after it had grown to become a favorite of readers across New York. This publishing house still publishes the magazine now. It was this transition of leadership that helped transform the magazine into what we know and love today.
Vogue has made history for many reasons, one of which is their quintessential September Issue, which highlights New York Fashion Week and many of the iconic autumn and winter pieces to be on the lookout for. In September of 2007, Vogue broke the record for their longest issue when they published an 840-page issue, they then went on to surpass their own record and published a 916-page issue in 2012. These two issues featured avant-garde designs that viewers ate up, clamoring for more even 800 pages later.
Early on, Vogue figured out how to keep readers interested and rushing to newsstands for the next issue of the magazine. How did they achieve this? By paying equal attention to the magazine’s cover and inside content. Being featured on the cover of the iconic magazine became the top accolade in the world of fashion. Simply said, if you are the cover story of Vogue, you have made it.
Each month fashion enthusiasts around the world ask the same question; who will grace the cover this month? Every month Vogue delivers a new groundbreaking, boundary-pushing, and history-making cover. From 1932, when Vogue was one of the first magazines ever to publish their cover fully in color, to 2021 when the first female Vice President graced the front of the magazine, Vogue puts readers on the edge of their seats waiting to see who will have the honor of being the next cover model.
In a time when Vogue covers were all about Artistry and less about the outfit a model was wearing, the “Eyes of the Model” cover was innovative. The April 1954 cover was a masterpiece that combined two different artistic mediums; photography and drawings. This piece was released during a time when many magazine covers only had drawings, to combine the two was unheard of in the industry. The model’s eyes entice the readers in, and it is hard to resist breaking the issue open to see what more is in store.
Fastforward 20 years and Vogue used their influence to make yet another important statement. In August of 1974, Beverly Johnson was the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue. Although it took 80 years for the magazine to feature a person of color, this was a monumental moment for the fashion industry. In a time of racism and unrest, Vogue showed people everywhere that black is beautiful and should be celebrated too. Johnson used this newfound influence to fight against racial injustices. However, we cannot deny the fact that the fashion world even more than 50 years after this issue was published, still has a long way to go when it comes to racism within the industry.
The history-making covers did not stop there. In November of 1992, the centennial anniversary year of Vogue, Richard Gere and then wife Cindy Crawford appeared together, making Gere the first man to be on the cover of American Vogue. In a magazine aimed towards women, this issue was wildly successful for two reasons. The first being that Cindy Crawford was the biggest supermodel of her time, and second, the couples sex appeal was undeniable. Two things that helped these issues fly off the shelves, everyone woman wanted to look like Crawford, and every man wanted to be with Crawford, making Gere’s position a desirable one. They were the “It Couple” of the 90s, so it was only appropriate these two donned the cover together.