What Makes Vogue Such an Iconic Magazine?

Vogue magazine, founded in 1892 by Arthur Turnure, is the world’s most influential fashion publication.

How did a publication like this get so well-known and well-known around the world? Vogue’s original concept was not to celebrate high fashion; instead, it celebrated the ceremonial side of life, with sections for literature and art. It covered both men’s and women’s social events and sports.

At Vogue, it’s not just the hemlines that make the news. For the past 125 years, the journal has documented sociological and sartorial trends through glossy covers and pages.

For many years, the famous Vogue cover featured vibrant storytelling illustrations by top illustrators that romanced the woman of leisure as she hit the slopes, followed the sun, and lived for the night. Vogue shifted gears once fashion photography was recognized as an art form in the mid-1930s, greeting readers with stylized portraits of professional models and real-life beauty, eventually showcasing actors like Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, and Lupita Nyong’o, as well as entertainers like Beyoncé (with her enduring style), Cher, and Rihanna.

It is currently entirely for women, as there is no sports section, literature, or social affairs; it is solely about fashion. It has obtained the title of the world’s number one “fashion bible” since Anna Wintour became editor in chief.

But what makes Vogue such a well-known publication? Continue reading to find out.

The History of Vogue

American Vogue cover of the May 1917 issue

On December 17, 1892, Arthur Baldwin Turnure released the first issue of a new journal devoted to the ceremonial side of life and aimed towards sages, debutantes, men of affairs, and the belle. Vogue has covered and impacted fashion, high society, and culture since its founding in the Gilded Age.

The Industrial Revolution and the corporation’s growth had heaped previously unfathomable levels of riches upon a small but prominent segment of American society by the late nineteenth century. Families like the Astors and Vanderbilts had the time and resources to hold lavish parties, construct luxurious residences, and stock their wardrobes with the finest items. As a result, their social activities piqued the curiosity of both their peers and the less-affluent but ambitious middle classes.

Turnure decided to develop a magazine dedicated to this lifestyle, dubbing it a magnetic wielding force, because he saw unlimited opportunities for running commentary and occasional rebuke. The first issue featured a black-and-white portrait of a debutante on the cover. Early Vogue issues featured significant coverage of “the 400,” a group of affluent socialites named after the Astors’ ballroom’s alleged capacity.

Publisher Condé Nast purchased Vogue in 1905, and it was changed to focus nearly solely on women and fashion and the first of its worldwide editions (there are now more than 20).

Mr. Nast was also responsible for the successful launch of Vogue in the United Kingdom. He also raised the magazine’s number of publications and income. 

Previously, all magazines featured the model’s face alone on their covers. All of that changed when Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, showcased a model’s three-quarter length. As a result, it established a trend in which the body and garments take precedence over the face.

Anna Wintour attending Paris Fashion Week 2019

It also ushered in a new look by fusing jeans and haute couture. The principal character in the Oscar-nominated film “The Devil Wears Prada” is based on Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor in the United States, who is regarded as a fashion icon like Heidi Klum in her own right.

The 2007 issue of Vogue in the United States is thought to be the largest ever published, possibly setting a global record. The 840-page Vogue issue weighed more than 5 pounds. Vogue was heavily chastised in 2008 for their cover photo, which featured Gisele Bundchen and basketball sensation LeBron James in a posture that was eerily similar to King Kong taking off Fay Wray.

Since then, the magazine has remained popular and current, covering the work of world-famous photographers, models, and authors regularly.

What Makes Vogue Iconic?


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Vogue, an iconic American fashion and lifestyle magazine, began as a monthly high-society newspaper for New York City’s social elite, covering news of high society traditions, local social scene, social etiquette, and reviews of plays, novels, and music. Condé Nast Publications founder Condé Montrose Nast purchased Vogue in 1909 and developed it into a women’s fashion magazine focusing on poise, beauty, and etiquette.

Vogue quickly established a reputation for excellent editorial quality and distinctive photography. Nast hired the best photographers and illustrators of the time, who created covers for the magazine that was both new and refined at the same time.

Vogue, for example, was among the first magazines to print a color photograph on its cover in 1932. The magazine changed the image of female models in the 1960s, discarding shapely proportions in favor of slim, gender-neutral shapes. The first African American model was featured on the cover of Vogue in August 1974.

Anna Wintour became the editor of Vogue in 1988, and she quickly altered the magazine’s covers by emphasizing the woman’s body rather than simply her face and by commonly utilizing Hollywood actresses rather than traditional fashion models, igniting an international trend. In the United States, Wintour founded Men’s Vogue (2005–08) and Teen Vogue (2003). Together with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), she co-founded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2003, which provided financial assistance and business coaching to the “next generation” of American fashion designers.

The September Edition, a film documentary about developing the magazine’s career-high 840-page September 2007 issue, was released to critical acclaim in 2009. Later that year, during the global financial crisis, Vogue established Fashion’s Night Out, a combined global movement encouraging people to patronize international merchants and designers; the now annual event was the largest shopping event in history.


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Vogue has been a global success, with special and regular editions produced worldwide. One of the most well-known fashion publications globally, it has had a significant impact on the fashion magazine industry’s development and influences present fashion trends. Vogue was dubbed “high fashion’s bible” by The New York Times in 2009.

Vogue is a publication that was created to stand out. Vogue continues to challenge boundaries and establish the criteria for what a sophisticated magazine should be, from its early high society days of etiquette guidelines and socialite gossip to its current push for diversity in the models it publishes. Vogue will continue to be renowned as a legendary force in the fashion business, with iconic photos, unrivaled statistics, and an impact that reaches into the internet arena.