The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS -

It is 125 years since the first is­sue of Vogue graced the news­stands. But it would take 30 years be­fore the first pho­to­graph ap­peared on the cover. The July 1, 1932 is­sue fea­tured a shot of a girl in a red bathing suit hold­ing a beach ball over her head.

Be­fore that the mag­a­zine had re­lied on such stel­lar il­lus­tra­tors as Lepape and Carl Erick­son to pro­vide cover images, but, as Dodie Kazan­jian points out in her in­tro­duc­tion to a new book of Vogue cov­ers, that pho­to­graph, taken by Ed­ward Ste­ichen, “sounded the death knell of painted il­lus­tra­tion”.

Soon, pho­tog­ra­phers such as Ste­ichen, Ce­cil Beaton and, here, Horst P Horst com­man­deered the Vogue cover.

In­deed, there’s an ar­gu­ment to be made that the best Vogue pho­to­graphic cov­ers are those that date from the 1930s to the 1950s, when cover lines were sparse and the pho­to­graph was given plenty of room to breathe. Cer­tainly those were the decades of the con­cept cover.

In the 21st cen­tury, and for some time be­fore, the Vogue cover has been the do­main of the celebrity (whether that be Adele or Rihanna or Michelle Obama) and the su­per­model (Kate Moss has racked up 31 cov­ers for Bri­tish Vogue since 1993, in­clud­ing the Septem­ber 2017 is­sue). But maybe that’s what we want now.

“Vogue cov­ers still talk to us about our­selves and the world we live in,” sug­gests Kazan­jian.

Strike a pose!

Taken from Vogue: the Cov­ers by Dodie Kazan­jian, pub­lished by Abrams, priced £45

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