A Thing Called Vogue

The world of American fashion is a complex one. For any outsider, it’s easy to forget that there can be something cooler than Vogue. Ever since Madonna crooned about what it means to appear ‘on the cover of a fashion magazine’ the world has never looked back – to countless women being a devotee meant it changed how people look at them, because they go from a housewife to a woman in control, self-assured, stylish and capable of changing the world, in their own special way. Going from one controversial arc to another, I feel damaged the publication in the ‘60s.

Vogue in the mid-twenties
Vogue in the mid-twenties

It covered a sexual revolution post-war in America that obviously was very new to European ears, even though Vogue is an American fashion magazine. Contemporary fashion came to the fore and now it was cool to talk about sex because obviously it was no longer about hiding in the shadows of powders, foundations, or you know, hiding stories about antics in brothels. No, when there is a sexual revolution, it is all of a sudden fancy-fun to talk about all of that openly. After a point of time, it became okay to be young, accessible and out-of-place in atypical American society, which liked to keep it’s conservative outlooks pronounced wherein the resurgence of Vogue.

A conservative society, no matter how you look at it will only consider this world a pain, prudish and meaningless. They’ve all gone through revolutions, some even made their name on the back of it, so why the desire to speak about sex from laundry corridors, like this scandalous story is so hot and unbelievable, ladies forgot their work yet again? But that is the power of being open. Of being forever young and nonchalant. Fashion in Vogue means that it isn’t always on the subject of couture. It’s also about fashion that is feasible for the working-class, for people who have tight purse-strings. The raciness comes channelled through a stream of elegance, which is hard work to pull off for many fashionistas but this is distinctively Vogue.

It teaches women to be confident about fashion, about their face, about their bodies, about their pair of bejewelled high heels. When a woman is out on the milk-run, she needs to know where is her pair of keys, just so she an dash out the door and run the errands. But that doesn’t mean that she has to dress in slacks, no – she could just turn a pair of grey trousers and a crisp white shirt into the most fashionable item to wear, while running errands. This isn’t a world where you learn how to avoid being fashionably late, how to avoid being in a position where your manicure/pedicure/hair-curling goes out the window, and gets replaced by looking boring and drab, stuck in a typically basic 9-to-5 worklook. In this world, it is always the nail-polish, the lip gloss that comes first, because looking good is always a priority.

Numerous sources, such as newspaper articles, elusive documentaries, goss, commentaries have heralded the fashion publication as being the most influential in the world. The September issue of Vogue particularly is the highlight of NYFW.  Vogue has addressed cultural stories, such as plus sizes, conservative dressing for women from the Gulf, has co-hosted cultural exhibits in co-operation with the Met Ball, since 1971. But what is interesting to see is the mental hoopla surrounding it. Why take out just one fashion magazine and label it the most powerful publication force for fashion in America?

Off-late, the magazine has been venturing towards covering fashion with a strict sound, although it still does celebrity covers, interesting interviews, and all. But perhaps what’s alarming is the increased number of ad pages for it – in the publishing world that is never a good sign. When you do not have content, you should find it. You should not settle for ad pages, to act as a filler content. Perhaps Vogue needs to be inspired more because sometimes it is so lost on content. Men’s fashion, inspiring women to be confident about their bodies, projecting a great perspective on feminism, fashion and beauty seems to have given over to increased ad pages – that’s what practically killed a spinoff, overseen by Wintour = Men’s Vogue. What sensationalised Vogue was that it wasn’t very artsy and fashionable, in the sense that it did not speak about concepts the average American do not spend pondering over a cup of low-fat yoghurt. No, this was very interesting fashion for real women.

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