December's Vogue: History in the Making | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

December’s Vogue: History in the Making

Hannah O'Reilly reviews the all-new Vogue with new editor Edward Enniful at the helm

To read an issue of Vogue is, and always has been, an experience. From the glossy cover through to the final page we are greeted with enough fashion advice, celebrity input and cultural comments to keep us going until the next edition, from the most knowledgeable of the fashion world. In the first issue since the departure of Alexandra Shulman and her 25-year stint at the position of editor, standards are high and a lot is expected; Edward Enniful, however, delivers in every way possible. Enniful has been in the industry for quite some time, posing as the editor of i-D magazine at just 18, and is bringing something new to British Vogue.

Over the years, Vogue hasn’t been a stranger to criticism: it’s been argued that there is an extreme lack of diversity in Vogue, with Naomi Campbell calling out Alexandra Shulman in a Twitter post reflecting the all-white staff photo of British Vogue in August. The new editor promises to change this - “My Vogue is about being inclusive,” said Enniful in an interview with the BBC. “It is about diversity—showing different women, different body shapes, different races, different classes [and] tackling gender.” This is a recurring theme in Enniful's work, seen also in the latest edition of the Pirelli calendar which he has curated, featuring an all-black cast of models, actresses, music artists and other public figures, along with the 'Black Issue' of Vogue Italia, selling so successfully that the magazine had to print an additional 60,000 copies.

Whilst keeping in touch with the classic cover style, Enniful is transgressive and ground-breaking in his topics

The cover is gloriously sophisticated, perfectly designed to be reminiscent of the older, classic issues with the plain background and portrait-style photograph – and on closer inspection, it appears to be an ode to the January 1971 issue of Vogue Italia, featuring similar stand-out makeup as shown on Adwoa Aboah, the striking red lip and blue eye makeup enticing and bold.

Whilst keeping in touch with the classic cover style, Enniful is transgressive and ground-breaking in his topics. There is a noticeable absence of the usual fashion-based subtitles on the cover, and it instead boasts many a big name in the fashion and music world, from Skepta to Jourdan Dunn, and even literary figures – Salman Rushdie also gets a mention.

There is focus on social mobility and overcoming one's working class background

There is a great range of articles in this issue, focusing on Great Britain and identity, with beauty advice from one of Britain's best MUA's, Pat McGrath, author Zadie Smith commenting on 'the majesty of the Queen's touch', and a highly entertaining and informative interview of Sadiq Khan conducted by the one and only Naomi Campbell. From an entirely un-patriotic person, it stirs a sense of love for my country to read about Cara Delevingne and Twiggy's favourite memories of Britain and what makes it so great.

A lavish article on Annabel's club in London is the glimpse into the life of the rich and famous that we always expect from a magazine such as Vogue, but additionally there is focus on social mobility and overcoming one's working class background, proving that it is not only racial diversity Enniful wished to add to the issue – the 'Back to My Roots' feature is an obvious nod to this, discussing John Galliano's humble beginnings in South East London.

Adwoa Aboah is a feminist activist and the founder of Gurls Talk, a platform for girls to talk about anything from sex to friendships that might be worrying them

With so much new and innovative material, it creates speculation as to whether or not there is enough on what and what not to wear, but by including a wider variety of article genre it doesn’t mean December’s Vogue is lacking in outfit advice whatsoever. There are still plenty of current fashion ideas – coloured leather, the sheer trend and the best ways to do check, from tartan to hounds tooth.

Including figures like Adwoa Aboah on the cover is so important – she’s a feminist activist and the founder of Gurls Talk, a platform for girls to talk about anything from sex to friendships that might be worrying them. Gwendoline Christie's article was particularly invigorating, commenting on her character in Star Wars and her androgynous look - "The opportunity to portray a female character who has an alternative, non-sexualised way of being was enormously appealing." It could be seen as somewhat unorthodox to include a woman discussing how looks are not the most important factor in a fashion magazine, but I see it as a welcome steer in the direction we need to take in terms of how we regard our worth as women.

This issue is a spectacle to behold, with such a wide variety of article content and featured famous icons

As well as this, we have columns dedicated to some of the country’s favourite faces in fashion – the final page named 'What Would Kate Moss Do?' feels like the perfect end to an issue on British identity. This issue is a spectacle to behold, with such a wide variety of article content and featured famous icons. It feels like real history in the making, with Enniful being the first black male editor of the magazine ever, to be looked upon as a milestone in Vogue's history in an era of change.



Published

19th November 2017 at 1:15 pm



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