Fashion

For Vogue World, A Look Back On Vogue’s Legacy

Acielle/StyleDuMonde

The authority in fashion began as a weekly gazette over a century ago. Now it’s 130 years strong with 28 global editions.

There’s no doubt about it—Vogue’s 130th-anniversary celebration is as robust as the magazine’s legacy. Enter Vogue World, a one-of-a-kind event on September 12, commemorating the title’s long history of uplifting global talent in fashion, beauty, and culture.

Festivities include a runway fashion show featuring Vogue’s favorite looks from fall/winter 2022 collections (to be streamed live), as well as a street fair with newsstands and curated limited-edition items. Attended by fashion’s top designers, models, and personalities, it’s set in the heart of New York during Fashion Week, honoring the city as much as the magazine’s legacy. In an appearance on CBS days prior to the event, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour said, “I think this will be a real symbol about how New York fashion is back, how New York City is back and anything that we at Vogue and Condé Nast can do to support that is so important to us.” 

While the magazine has been in fashion’s pantheon for over a century with a global reach that now includes a diverse array of audiences, it actually began as a weekly gazette for the elite. Created for New York City’s high society by American businessman Arthur Baldwin Turnure in 1892, the title captivated audiences immediately. Among its fans was Mitzi Newhouse, who loved the magazine so much that her husband, Samuel I. Newhouse, acquired its publisher Condé Nast for her in 1959 as an anniversary gift.

Decades later, in 1988, Wintour shifted the publication’s long-standing house codes as the newly-appointed editrix from British Vogue. She began to feature Hollywood stars on her covers, a radical move back then, and she even, as Business of Fashion put it, “[took] the title’s fashion pages out of the studio and onto the street.” She dared to envision something never-been-done before, and her first cover was a striking proposition to this new Vogue. It was of model Michaela Bercu on the street, donning minimal makeup and an embellished Christian Lacroix sweater paired with low-slung denim jeans.

That was but the beginning of a new era for the magazine. Under Wintour’s guidance, Vogue would continue on to criticize, disrupt, and reimagine the status quo. What’s changed since is a more inclusive, global-forward approach, as enabled by the title’s 28 international editions—an ecosystem of teams redefining fashion. Recent editions like Vogue Scandinavia, Singapore, and most recently, Philippines, tap into rapidly-growing markets of critical individuals interested in the multifaceted layers that make up fashion, beauty, and culture.

Ultimately, Vogue is thrusted forward by the increasingly analytical individuals of our ever-evolving society. Understanding its readers and recognizing its responsibility as an authority, Vogue launched Vogue Values in 2019. It is a statement of principles signed by all editors-in-chief; a promise to uphold the values of diversity, responsibility, and respect for individuals, communities, and for our natural environment.

Presently, the magazine is a far cry from what it was from when it launched in 1892. Its inaugural cover was an illustration of a debutante surrounded by a cloud of flowers and butterflies, as if stepping out of the haze and into the world. It’s a picture of beauty, delicateness, and most of all, innocence.

But time has allowed the title to become more attentive to the larger contexts that surround and inform the way we dress, and the way we live. Take it from British Vogue’s July 2020 cover story on workers in the front lines, or US Vogue’s special July 2022 digital cover featuring Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska.

Such are markers of the magazine’s storied history, a testament to its strides as both a publication and global authority. They’re a reminder that in the Vogue World, there is much room for exploration, reinvention, and growth. And there is room for everyone, especially you.

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