Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Vogue – The magazine and its covers (A short history)

Vogue Magazine, known as Fashion’s Bible is celebrating its past. For its 120th Anniversary, last year the Fashion Magazine with the contribution of Vogue contributor Dodie Kazanijian and international editor Hamish Bowles launched a book – Vogue: The Covers, compiling the magazine’s famous covers through the years. The book begins with the illustrated covers from the magazine’s debut in December 1892 till date, capturing the evolution of fashion, art, photography, culture and even sports. It is very interesting to see how editors used to hire illustrators in the early days to show a new trend or silhouette, which can be either be in art deco, painting, graphics or a sketch.
Founded by Arthur Baldwin Turnere in 1892, Vogue started as a weekly publication for high society New Yorkers. The early covers of Vogue depicted features of well polished young women known as Gibson girls, named after the illustrator who created the look. The first cover of Vogue was published on 17’December 1892.
In 1909 publishing house Condé Nast bought Vogue and took it to a wider market. In 1932, the first colour photo cover was published by legendry photographer Edward Steichen.
For the October 1945 issue, the magazine’s cover was a painting of blue skies. This was because the war in Europe and Far East had come to an end in September and the magazine was not prepared with a suitable cover for the issue. To depict the end of war, James de Holden-Stone, the magazine’s art director hurriedly painted blue skies to denote a new beginning of peace.
Spring is all about colours; however June 1950’s Vogue UK Edition broke all the norms and instead chose to go with “The Black and White idea”.
60’s saw a complete transformation in the world of fashion. The Vogue covers of 60’s clearly mirrors the change in socio economic conditions. This was a time when fashion broke all the boundaries and focused on sexual liberation and contemporary fashion. All most all the covers had headpieces like Berets, turbans, pillboxes & cloches.
The year 1988 is  known as first of its kind for the magazine.
August 1988 was the first time that the magazine’s cover graced an image of a black model – Naomi Campbell. In the beginning the magazine had refused to place Naomi or any black model on its cover. It is said that Naomi’s mentor and legendry designer Yves Saint Laurent threatened Vogue that he will withdraw all his advertisements from the publication if they don’t place Naomi on its cover. That was indeed a turning point for Naomi and Vogue.
Anna Wintour joined US Vogue in the year 1988. Anna gave an instant facelift to Vogue covers. Before Anna joined US Vogue, the covers usually used to have the head shots of the models which was becoming repetitive and in a way or other boring and identical. Anna’s first cover for American Vogue was for November 1988 , which revolutionised the very meaning of fashion thus bringing in a fresh perspective, She used an image which was never intended to be the cover. The cover saw an Israeli model, Micaela Bercu with the frame covering most of her body, wearing a top by Christian Lacroix and jeans. This was indeed a celebration of fashion in totality.
The centenary issue of Vogue which was published in the year 1992 is the best seller till date in the magazine’s history. The magazine celebrated its 100 years by featuring the supermodels that had graced the covers of vogue.
The September issue of Vogue is the most awaited edition worldwide. In fact a documentary was also made for the September 2007 issue of the magazine called – The September issue. With 840 pages & the cover graced by beautiful Sienna Miller, this was one of the biggest issues ever in the history of Vogue.
This year Vogue is celebrating 120th Anniversary of style and the magazine chose to feature Lady Gaga on its cover. With 916 pages, the September 2012 issue is going to be the biggest issue of Vogue.
Vogue is not just another fashion magazine; it is a fashion bible that encapsulates the history of fashion in totality thus becoming a way of life.

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(Image Courtesy - Vogue.com)

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