Anna Wintour and Vogue: From Class to Trash

A few hours ago, the Internet blew up with images of Anne Lebowitz’s cover for Vogue of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Sometimes, buzz, controversy, and internet discussion help a brand. Well, not sometimes- most of the time. But this is not one of those cases. Women aspire to be on the cover of Vogue, or be like a woman on the cover of Vogue. It’s not just about outer ward expressions of beauty, it is about the attainment of an inner quality of beauty and grace. It had been considered the gold standard until this moment in time.

Why? Because what Kim Kardashian represents is an exact betrayal of the very qualities that Anna Wintour has built over years. She has broken the “agreement” with her readership much as Madonna did in the 90s when she brought out her “Sex Book.” In that age, Madonna was trying to create a greater edge with her images, and barely skirting the edge of porn she thought was a way to shock her audience and people’s perceptions. While this was in some ways effective, she broke her contract with her audience- instead of being alluring, desirable, she became vulgar and needy. It took her until “Ray of Light” to find her inner way again in a fashion her audience could re-embrace her for… barely!

Anna Wintour faces a very similar crisis soon. The prestige that was the Vogue cover will now have its very value called into question. And the very genius of taste-making that has defined her career and her stewardship of Vogue, will most likely suffer a crisis of confidence.

The bottom line, will this cover sell? This is one of those exceptional cases where even if it does, it could do more harm than good to the once storied brand. It is the equivalent to Forbes putting Kris Jenner on their cover with the headline, ‘Keeping that Pimp Hand Strong.’

Think about it. Vogue just became for the first time since the early 1980’s, a parody of itself writ large.  

Anna Wintour said, “I’m always looking for a cover subject that reflects the magazine, an interest in fashion, in culture, in society. We’re trying to bring the world into the pages of Vogue.” But with Kim and Kanye on the cover? Vogue just went from CLASS to TRASH.

*Photo credit from Cosmopolitan Magazine.