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History of Vogue

Page history last edited by Whitley Ables 13 years, 6 months ago

How Vogue Began...                                                  

     The first phase of Vogue Magazine was the development of its culture of fashion. On December 17, 1892 Vogue was born. It was released as a weekly gazette by creator Arthur Baldwin Turnure. Turnure was credentialed member of society in New York and released the magazine with aim towards representing the lifestyles of this upper class. In Turnure’s words Vogue was to be “in the highest degree an aristocracy founded in reason and developed in natural order…The ceremonial side of life attracts the sage as well as the debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle” (Johnson 2). The first issue contained not only fashion articles, but also reviews of recent books, drama, music, art and articles on etiquette and the proper way to behave in social gatherings. Vogue had a huge advantage over many other of its competition of its time. Turnure’s social connections to those such as the Vanderbelts and the Whitneys allowed readers to see into their homes and the interiors of their parties. In simple words, “Vogue was born with a silver spoon its mouth” (Johnson 2).




A New Birth for Vogue (Nast in Power)


     The second birth of Vogue’s Publication came in 1909. Conde’ Montrose Nast, a lawyer with ten years of experience at Collier’s Weekly, bought Vogue. Although the magazine had been neglected for some years, it had managed to stay alive with an annual revenue of $100,000. Nast had the goal of turner this fashion magazine, which already had such a fantastic following into one of the most influential and powerful fashion magazines ever. “More than merely a symbol of glamour and frivolity, Vogue became a publishing icon with a lasting impact on journalism and on culture in general” (Johnson 2).

In the ladder years of the eighteenth century, Vogue set the standard for social contact and was read mostly by those who considered themselves part of New York’s elite. It was also read by those who strove to join this elite group. During this time period, the magazine aimed to entertain both men and women.

     Once Nast took over the magazine, its page count rose from just thirty, to over hundred pages per issue. Also, several new departments were added to the magazine to focus solely on women. During this time of the early 1900’s, the magazine was filled with society news. Unlike many of its competitors at this time, Vogue did not publish any fiction within its articles. Nast was afraid that including fiction within his magazine would attract a more “mainstream” audience. He strove to keep the magazine for more elite readers.




Nast's Improvements and New Ideas


     In March of 1911, Nast attempted to make Vogue international. After several failed attempts, Nast was finally successful. By 1930, two overseas editions of Vogue were being sold. Vogue had begun to take over internationally due the work that Nast started 20 years earlier.


     As the image and power of Vogue Magazine continued to develop, Nast found it important to create covers which repetitively used the letter “V”. During the early 1900’s Vogue had began taking such a strong influence on fashion within America that no headlines were needed. “The artists were able to convey through images alone, without headlines, the latest intelligence from the fashion front” (Johnson 40).



Vogue Breaks Through in Fashion Photography


     Vogue helped introduce the idea of fashion photography. “A fashion photograph is not a photograph of a dress; it is a photograph of a woman” (Johnson 56). Some of the first photographs to appear in Vogue were of high society women in large hats and glamorous gowns. Nast felt the magazine needed a new style of photography. He decided that the magazine modeling needed to be done by actresses, who were “capable of more practiced poses” (Johnson 59). The greatest date to mark of fashion photography history is January 15, 1913. The first photograph taken by Baron Adolphe de Meyer was taken of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, daughter of Cornelius Vanderbelt. The picture was slightly unfocused and created a whole new look for fashion editing. Nast soon hired Meyer to exclusively work for Vogue. This photograph began a history segment of fashion photography. “Soon it became a certificate of elegance for a Newport aristocrat or a Broadway star to have her portrait, signed by de Meyer, in Vogue” (Johnson 60).



New Leadership for Vogue


     In May of 1942, Nast settled his legacy leaving his magazine to Iva Sergei Voidato-Patcevitch, a forty year old woman who had been in charge of the magazines operations. Not long before this a great new amount of power had been left to the editor and chief. Patcevitch, unlike Nast allowed a great deal of freedom within the editorial decisions of the magazine. Another new power of authority was hired in around this time. His name was Liberman and he held the privilege of working the art design department. With these two in power, many changes were made. One of great importance, at the time, the removing of hand lettering. Liberman introduced a bold typeface into the magazine. Liberman worked throughout the 1950’s to bring a new intellect and type of photography to the magazine.


     In the late 1950’s Liberman began uses a new type of fashion photography. It focused on the attitudes of the models and used new backdrops, such as the city streets. This new style kept every thing real. There were hardly any preparations whatsoever. In 1963, another spread was shot with the intent to reveal fashion as an illusion. Models were photographed within Paris’s was museum. Models were placed with wax figures and in mirrored rooms. The decade that featured these two changes in photographic style are marked as the decade that revamped the style of Vogue.




Decades of Vogue


     By the late 1960’s Vogue began taking on the voices of the people. Its covers and spreads clearly reflected the changes occurring in society and in fashion. An article was featured surrounding the death of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. Vogue was later influenced by the first lady of fashion, Jacqueline Kennedy. The new styles of this time upheld the ‘Youth” as its focus. With this new fashion rising, the magazine took on a less glamorous looking, featuring jeans, T-shirts, and the recently born miniskirt. Another voice influencing the look of the magazine at this time was the Beatles. They brought the “English look” to the American magazine.



     In the 1970’s the magazine began to bring amount controversy with its new nude images. “Fashion is more than propaganda of couturiers, department stores, makeup firms, or even fashion editors. These efforts to get woman to buy more clothes and make up are also a responsibility of immobilizing fantasy, of useless delights…fashion is an acute moralizing of the erotic” (Johnson 209). The magazine’s photographers felt that fashion was not only about what one was wearing, but about the body itself.


     During the 1980’s, Vogue began a new decade of scandal by filling its magazine with sexually charged images. Photographer Helmut Newton was at the forefront of these images. From the beginning his pictures were loaded with sensuality. He combined the categories of fashion, nude, and portrait into his own style of photography. “Newton’s images created a scandal” (Johnson 234).


     By the end of the 1990’s there was a great amount of focus on advertising within the magazine. The markets had recently recovered from the financial shakeout of the mid-nineties and Tom Ford took over Gucci, creating a new awaking of the look and feel of “stealth wealth”. The nineties were marked with the words “luxury” and “brand”. Once again, designers were stars and collections and accessories were discussed by spectators.


Wintour Takes Control and Continues Vogue's Legacy

     At the end of the millennium, a new era of power began at Vogue. Anna Wintour, current editor and chief of Vogue, took over. She quickly hired creative director, Grace Coddington and began making changes. One major change she brought about was removing the head shots from the covers. She wanted to feature the model’s entire body in order to show the clothes she was wearing. She brought about a new look of originality and aimed to make the magazine inspiring and educational. She also made a commitment to show clothes at various price points. This dramatically changed the image that Vogue was only for the “elite”. She also decided to open up the doors of the environments of the shoots. She wanted to include more outdoor shoots and models in motion. Wintour aimed for the pages to tell stories more than just be photographs. The most dramatic phase of Wintour’s reign at Vogue has been the coming and going of the supermodel. The models not only show the clothes of the magazine, but become the faces of cosmetic brands and fragrances. Though they may live in an alternate and superficial world, they represent commerce, sexuality, and aesthetics. Anna is still the editor and chief of Vogue and is continuing to work hard maintain the elegance and power of the Vogue legacy.




Vogue Magazine


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