So today we got to see the first British Vogue cover with Edward Enninful at the helm of the British fashion bible. It’s been seven long months since Alexandra Shulman was replaced by Enninful and we’ve waited for a show-stopping December issue cover and what it might bring in terms of Enninful’s direction. Well now that wait is over as the cover of the hotly anticipated December issue has been revealed.
Featuring feminist activist Adwoa Aboah shot by Steven Meisel the cover is definitely striking and if it sends home one message to readers it’s that Enninful looks set to tackle the issue of diversity in British Vogue. The cover look is a hark back to the Vogue covers of 1975, everything from the makeup to the styling is deliciously retro and whilst the shot is great, I’m still kind of sat over here like “meh” but I’m not sure why.
I guess with Enninful’s spark and energy I expected more of an impact, something politically charged but maybe I’m getting too ahead of myself, this is after all his opening address. Whilst I loved Alexandra Shulman heading up Vogue, the magazine was restricted, limited and almost a shadow of its former self. I met Shulman twice and interviewed her once, she had important political views that at the time just didn’t fit with Bristish Vogue,Condé Nast Britain, or the readership – which has dropped significantly in the last four years. Retrospectively I can see how it was considered a bit of a car crash, from the ‘All White’ staff, to the lack of diversity between the pages, and the ridiculous amount of adverts and ‘placed editorial’ that as Influencers we’re called to account for.
Enninful has arrived in a new era, not just owing to his shake up of editorial staff, or the bizarre appointment of Naomi Campbell and Kate moss as Contributing Fashion Features Editors. But because the landscape is more politically charged, British Vogue is positioned to embrace a switch from pure fashion, to politics, activism, the feminist movement and diversity – during Shulman’s directorship British Vogue featured no black cover model between Naomi Campbell in 2002 through to Jourdan Dunn in 2014. That’s 12 years of misrepresentation in the fashion industry for black and mixed race man and women.
The full list of Staffers at Vogue hasn’t yet been announced but when the magazine hits news stands this Friday we’re expecting a long Editor’s letter from Enninful and a staff photo introducing the Class of 2018. Shulman was heavily criticised for her “All White Vogue” team in the days following her announcement to step down from the position of Vogue Editor, could we be about to see a whole new look for the magazine and the team behind it?
We’ve seen Condé Nast Britain implement the first stages of it’s Digital Priority strategy cutting other print publications to bi-annual circulation and some to online only. With a decline in print sales and a move to digital only content for the likes of Teen Vogue, could we be looking at the last surviving glossy monthly? There’s no trend forecasting, no tantalising hooks or clickbait equivalents on the cover of the December issue, just a simple list of celebrities featured in the pages of this brand new, old magazine that we put on a pedestal. Over to you Enninful….