HBD Anna + Vogue's Most Controversial Covers
Today marks the 65th birthday of fashion deity and immortal queen of Vogue, Anna Wintour. Wintour has been reigning editor in chief of the fashion bible since 1988, weathering season upon season of the ever-shifting world of fashion trends. But her rule has not come without its fair share of controversies regarding her choices in cover models. Some of these backlashes were utterly beyond her control, and some don’t even make that much sense, but it is a testament to the queenly strength of Wintour that she continues to rule supreme over us mere fashion mortals. So to celebrate her birth and continued tenure in a rather unorthodox way, we’ve taken a look back through some of the biggest cover controversies that she and her magazine have had to endure.
5. Kimye: If Anna had a nickel for every hateful, obscene comment in retaliation of her choice to put the #worldsmostpopularcouple on the cover of the April 2014 issue, then she would be able to buy the Empire State Building and rename it the Tower of Vogue. The general fashion loving public was simply outraged at the decision to put Kimye in their wedding best on the cover, citing them as ‘too low’ or ‘beneath’ the standards of Vogue. So intense was this backlash that it is STILL being talked about over half a year later. Frankly, we don’t think Anna is in the wrong, and any fan of Kanye West knows that he is one fashionable studmuffin, if he might lack some of the social niceties of more refined A-Listers.
4. Adele: The soulful diva’s appearance on the March 2012 issue of Vogue was indeed a gorgeous spread, but many were quick to cry foul play. It is thought that this particular cover underwent some extreme airbrushing and posed her in a corset belt in order to tone down Adele’s less than tiny size. It didn’t help that when the magazine hit stands, fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld bluntly stated that she was a “little too fat.” He naturally apologized, but it drew a firestorm from the singer’s fanbase (i.e. the entire planet). Anna may have approved the cover, but we feel certain she didn’t do any Photoshopping herself, the girl doesn’t even have an iPhone.
3. Jourdan Dunn: Gorgeous model (and BFF of Cara Delevingne) was shown on the cover of Teen Vogue’s November 2009 issue with Chanel Iman, and both looked just flawless at the ripe old age of 19. Unbeknownst to those in charge of the cover shoot, Dunn was in fact pregnant during the entire shoot, and subsequently the cover, a fact that was only learned after publication. Good old fashioned wholesome America was aghast at Teen Vogue ‘promoting’ teenage pregnancy, yet Vogue refused to pull the cover, stating that teenage pregnancy is a serious issue that warrants awareness for it’s readership. Anna’s not really in charge of Teen Vogue, but there is no way that she escaped this controversy scot free, nevertheless, we think that those at Vogue were entirely in the right.
2. Michaela Bercu: This cover from the November 1988 issue was the very first issue Anna Wintour published as editor in chief of the magazine, and it certainly made heads turn. The cover seems almost banal by today’s standards-a young model adorned in a bejeweled crucifix sweater with some low cut jeans, but it caused a stir upon publication. Vogue until this time had been a very high class affair, and people were simply shocked to see gasp denim on the cover of such an illustrious couture guide (it was in fact the material’s first appearance on the magazine). It’s safe to say that Anna survived this crisis, as she has held the same job for almost 30 years since.
1. LeBron James & Giselle Bundchen: April 2008. The issue of Vogue that nearly completely tarnished the reputation of the entire magazine. Looking back on it now it is seemingly innocuous; a cover featuring one of America’s most iconic basketball players throwing down with one of the most gorgeous models in the world. But immediately upon its publication it drew criticism for its racial insensibility. Many compared it’s visual composition to the memorable images of King Kong, until it was later placed side by side with a racially charged propaganda poster from WWI that does indeed bear some striking similarities. 2008 was also the year that Anna was chosen as the number one fashion faux pas of the year by Time magazine, so it is a near miracle that she emerged, and has continued to rule the fashion throne.