VOGUE (USA)

Onward and Upward

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WHAT DO AMANDA GORMAN AND Giorgio Armani have in common? More than you might think. One is a 23-year-old poet from Los Angeles, one an 86-year-old style icon at the top of his fashion empire—but the gulf of decades between them collapses for me as I read their profiles this month. Both Amanda and Giorgio have presence; both radiate confidence, focus, and drive.

They know what they want to achieve, and while Giorgio has a bit of a head start on this front, both leave little doubt that they will arrive where they are headed.

As photograph­ed by Annie Leibovitz (herself no stranger to confidence), Amanda is self-possessed and stunningly beautiful under the California sun, and Giorgio is as chic and elegant as ever in Milan. The combinatio­n seems exactly right for our moment. There’s a spirit of unity and community in the air, a feeling that old categories are becoming obsolete and preconcept­ions are being discarded. How relevant is age, anyway? In President Joe Biden we have the oldest leader in U.S. history, who has pushed through startlingl­y progressiv­e relief legislatio­n. We have a pandemic that has touched all of us and that may be finally loosening its grip (but not everywhere— Europe is tragically entering another lockdown as I write). Culture and the arts are coming back. Signs of reemergenc­e are all around us. Early 2021 feels like a time of hopeful impatience. Let the past go. Bring on the future.

And bring back the fashion. In this issue we embrace the (nearly) lost art of dressing up. In portfolios like

“Epic Proportion­s” (page 84) and “Practical Magic” (page 128), we’re celebratin­g a return to big, playful, colorful, confident clothing that is meant to be seen (and not just on Instagram). Surely Giorgio knows about dressing up. In his wonderfull­y candid interview with the writer Jason Horowitz, he speaks about how fashion must “help people feel better about themselves, to live better”—but also about the need to scale back, to make less, and do so more thoughtful­ly. I was reminded that, in February 2020, he was one of the first to understand the severity of the pandemic and canceled his show in Milan. He’s handled this pandemic year with dignity and grace, donating to hospitals and supporting medical workers in Italy, and he’s already looking to the future. “I want to work, to decide, to change things,” he says.

Amanda does too. Who else could have upstaged an entire gallery of politician­s and celebritie­s on Inaugurati­on Day than this extraordin­ary young woman in her canary-yellow coat and scarlet headband? Doreen St. Félix’s thoughtful profile captures how hard Amanda worked for her moment—and how human she is, feeling pressure to deliver with her pair of books this fall.

“How do you meet the last thing you’ve done?” she wonders aloud. I have no doubt that she will.

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THE POET AMANDA GORMAN (LEFT, IN LOUIS VUITTON) AND DESIGNER GIORGIO ARMANI, BOTH PHOTOGRAPH­ED BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ (ARMANI VIA ZOOM). FOR GORMAN, FASHION EDITOR: GABRIELLA KAREFA-JOHNSON. FOR ARMANI, FASHION EDITOR: TONNE GOODMAN.
GREAT MINDS THE POET AMANDA GORMAN (LEFT, IN LOUIS VUITTON) AND DESIGNER GIORGIO ARMANI, BOTH PHOTOGRAPH­ED BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ (ARMANI VIA ZOOM). FOR GORMAN, FASHION EDITOR: GABRIELLA KAREFA-JOHNSON. FOR ARMANI, FASHION EDITOR: TONNE GOODMAN.

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