Note: This article is Part 2 of 2 opinion pieces covering Kim Kardashian and Vogue. Part 1 can be viewed here.
It seems that fashion magazines cannot get a break when it comes to controversial covers, or maybe they just cannot get it right — Vogue’s April cover is no exception. The cover, featuring Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, received varying comments from the magazine’s followers. While I personally think Kimye definitely does not deserve to be on April’s cover, Vogue’s cover choice was a clever business move to keep up with America’s materialized culture.
When I first picked up the issue, I was quite enraged to see Kardashian, who I believe has little talent and low credibility in the fashion world. Although I am a loyal Vogue subscriber, I planned to avoid reading April’s cover story. Looking closely into the matter, however, reveals a more entrepreneurial edge that some could easily overlook.
While Kardashian has made her fair share of sightings on the Worst Dressed List, she has taken America by storm for some unclear reason. Now, paired with one of the most revered rappers of our time, the two possess a level of fame that is currently unsurpassed. From her start in a scandalous sex tape to the birth of her baby North West, Kardashian is a bestseller, and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour picked up on that right away.
Wintour defends her choice for the cover in the editor’s letter: “Part of the pleasure of editing Vogue, one that lies in a long tradition of this magazine, is being able to feature 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.”
This takes us back to the very meaning of the word vogue. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, vogue is a prominent place in popular favor or fashion, or a course or period of success or distinction in this connection.
Although Vogue began as a fashion magazine, it changed after Wintour took over as editor-in-chief by beginning to place celebrities on the cover instead of traditional models. This simple move revolutionized the industry and symbolically expanded the realm of Vogue’s content to include not only the current fashions, but also the current culture. This mirrors the true meaning of vogue more closely — while magazines have been said to shape our culture, the door obviously swings both ways.
Now on every newsstand in the country, the issue is more a showcase of Wintour’s business skills. While Kimye’s cover is completely inappropriate in terms of elegance and fashion, it shows a celebrity couple that represents years of America’s materialized culture. When society can influence whom it sees on its magazines, empowerment should be felt. However, when society demands Kimye, a cultural makeover should be implemented.
Sure, it is an absolute shame to place this couple on what countless people, myself included, refer to as a fashion bible, but when that holy book must boost sales by succumbing to the superficiality society provides, a bigger issue is uncovered.
David Bologna is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.