{iStyle} Making Vogue in Vogue Again

By: Jenn Ortiz, {iStyle} Editor


Recently, there have been whisperings about a revamp going on at Vogue. After less than stellar ad sales (the bread and butter of any magazine) for the years biggest issue, it’s evident that not all is well at the Conde Nast crown jewel. According to the revamp rumor, Vogue will be focusing on new models, new photographers, and unpredictability. From what I’ve been seeing, everyone seems to agree that it’s a start. Fashionista asked its readers what they would do if they could change the magazine.

So, I asked myself: How would I change Vogue?

Make the cover compelling. Enough with the celebrity covers already! Ms. Wintour learned the power of placing celebrities on the cover early on in her career. Actually, she taught the publishing industry that trick. The problem is that celebrities are everywhere. There is no novelty or originality in it. Can I just tell you how happy I was to see Christy Turlington on the cover  of the age issue this month? She had a purpose on that cover! The Michelle Obama cover? Well of course that was going to sell! Yes, in her own way, she is a celebrity. However, more importantly,  she’s easy to relate to, fashionable, opinionated, and fascinating. People just wanted to know what she had to show and say; so they bought the magazine. If the personality of the “cover model” isn’t outstanding, then the personality of the issue conveyed on the cover should make me want to buy the magazine. Let’s not put celebrities or models on the cover for the sake of filling in the cover.

Anna Wintour’s first cover showed a gorgeous fresh-faced model with cheap jeans and a $10,000 Christian Lacroix embellished sweater. She has said that this was her favorite cover. Perhaps, Ms. Wintour should do a side-by-side comparison of that cover and the horrible Gwyneth Paltrow cover. The best-selling cover to date? Michelle Obama.

Pick unique models. The supers had big personality, and still do. So sorry, but as gorgeous as she is, Jourdan Dunn is not Naomi Campbell. She needs to continue to grow; Vogue has the ability to really shape their models. (No pun intended. I’m not just talking about figure-wise.) And what is this crap about Doutzen Kroes’ thighs being too big? The girl is gorgeous! Lara Stone? Now that’s a woman with edge. Anyone who can be so blunt as to say that other models usually just “wish they had tits like hers” is good in my book. At least give us a variety. Speaking of Jourdan, she’s pregnant. I would like to see all these recently pregnant models in Vogue.

New talent. These day’s I’m seeing more new and interesting designers on Susie Bubble, Fashionista, and Refinery 29 than I am in Vogue. Where are all the new and exciting designers? Not many of them in Vogue, that’s for sure.

Simplify. Vogue can be incredibly cluttered, which can make it hard to read. And, sometimes the covers are just a tad too “informative.” If you’ve never actually read the writing in Vogue, it’s actually quite interesting. It’s not as vapid as other mags; on the contrary, Vogue’s written content is intelligent and unique. It’s just easy to miss the pages with writing, and when you do find them, it can be hard to focus on due to all the clutter! I’d consider doing a tad more editing.

Screw society. We get it, Vogue is full of fashionable socialites who run in an exclusive circle. Can you stop rubbing that in everyone’s face in every written piece? I’d love to see more stylish ladies and gents who are from all different levels of society. Take a tip from Scott Schuman and show all sides of fashion. It’s inspiring.

Keep the expensive clothes. I would not change the high fashion aspect of Vogue. I read a few comments on how Vogue should stop featuring such expensive clothing. I think that would be a horrible mistake. Too many magazines already focus on more inexpensive fashion. Vogue is “the fashion bible.” To be that, you’ve got to show us the best of the best. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a range of prices, especially if there was a broader variety of fashionable people, not just socialites and models.

More iconic, illusive, intriguing and inspiring. I feel like Vogue has gotten exceptionally predictable and stale. What I’ve always appreciated about Vogue is that it was a magazine that inspired. It made me think, beyond what I was used to seeing. It made me want to try something different and daring. I want that again! Vogue has had the ability to turn what many of us would consider a silly subject like brooches, dresses with arms, or socks into an interesting story. I haven’t seen much of that from Vogue in 2009.

Again, there is too much time being spent on celebrities in Vogue. We don’t need to see the same interview that every other magazine will publish because an actress has a movie coming out soon. Sure, if an actress has evolved since her last interview and isn’t doing a bunch in the month before or after with other magazines, then perhaps I wouldn’t mind. Otherwise, please refrain. Instead, let’s see more about the designers. I always find hearing about the people designing the clothes makes the brand more personal to me. Most designers have big personality, so why not take advantage and put some focus on them. Let’s see more about the illusive people in fashion, art, and the literary world. Give us something we haven’t seen yet and that we might not see elsewhere.

As far as being iconic, Anna is doing a good job for herself. But, for the magazine? Not anymore. Wintour has had an incredible career. She’s innovative, but I think that she is struggling to stay ahead in a world that has begun to change at increasing speeds. In my opinion, international versions of Vogue are far more interesting in their covers and editorial. Italian Vogue has repeatedly had fashionistas everywhere going mad to get a copy or a sneak peak at upcoming covers. Example: Vogue Italia’s 2008 all black edition. By all black, we mean the models, not the clothes. This year, the black issue returned with a tribute to the first ever black barbie (and it also pays tribute to a vintage Vogue cover, a lesser known fact.) French Vogue did an all Lara Stone issue. So, where is US Vogue’s groundbreaking issue?

Better online content and presence. I’m not even going to spend much time on this one, because you probably already know how I feel. (Go read the first few iStyles if you don’t.) Just to summarize, Vogue needs to revamp their online presence. They need better blogs, a good facebook page, and a good twitter presence. Most of the pre-release hype that has centered around Vogue covers (US and International) has come from models leaking info about what they are shooting. Vogue needs to kick it up a notch and start leaking some info themselves. They need to start talking about the trends coming down the runway when everyone else does, otherwise we’ll all be bored by the time we hear it from them. Basically, Vogue needs to start talking about themselves and not just expect others to talk about them. That’s the sort of world we live in now.

I have to wonder, when was the last time Vogue really asked, “Who is the target customer?” Primary, secondary, tertiary? More important than anything, that is a question that needs to be ask. Who are they aiming for? I feel like Vogue has had an identity crisis and lost advertisers because it’s not focusing on what it wants to convey to its customers. Your target customer has to match your advertisers target, too. If you want a big variety of advertisers, you need to hold the attention of a variety of readers, which requires… can you guess? VARIETY. Now, can we get some of that, please?

–

Jenn Ortiz is a graduate of the University of Florida with degrees in History and Latin American Studies with hopes to pursue a PhD in Child Development. She believes there is beauty in everything around us; from the inside out, outside in. She currently runs {Bits of Beauty}, a place you just feel good about.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. I agree with you about this. I love Anna Wintour, heck I want to be the PR Anna Wintour one day – but Vogue has lost a lot of its luster recently.

    You know Vogue India actually still uses models and those models are the ones that they sent up for Miss Universe, Asia-Pacific and Miss World? So basically, before these women take the pageant, as many have done, they’ve appeared pre-famous on the cover of Vogue India.

    There was another set that came out recently I really enjoyed – it was “without makeup” – I want to say that was French Vogue? Or maybe another magazine. I don’t remember…but American Vogue has done nothing like these recently.

    Besides for Mrs. Obama, and a select few in between, I think Anna needs to go backwards to move forward and remind herself of what worked in the past instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

    By taking what worked in the past and applying it to contemporary standards, I don’t doubt she could come up with something really unique…quite easily in fact. As Mrs. Wintour has more than proven she could/has over the years.

  2. JennOrtiz says

    The no make-up covers were for French Elle. I read that Anna did this in Vogue, although I'm not sure it was for a cover, in the past. What worked for most of her career, which is putting celebrities on the cover, isn't going to work as much any more because the market is saturated with celebs.

  3. CiaoChessa says

    I am completely in agreement. The first thing I thought when I got my Vogue this month is the first thing that you said here…I was SO excited when I saw Christy Turlington-my FAVORITE-on the cover this month. the article was interesting and so relevant. I hope this is the start of new or at least reintroduced trend with mag covers. of course Vogue would be at the forefront. I'm so happy I came across your blog…

  4. I was thinking of the past in terms of non-celebs but back in the age of the
    supermodel.

    She could get creative and use the models she 'nurtures' for anothe purpose
    than in-magazine spreads.

  5. Happy to hear that Monica 🙂

    Hope you enjoy the rest the Little Pink Book too!

  6. JennOrtiz says

    I understood, but I think the problem is that for Anna (who pretty much pioneered the celeb on covers trend) the age of the supermodel wasn't about models. It was also about celebrity. At the Met ball this year, Anna was quoted as saying that models wouldn't dominate covers again until they were celebrities in their own right again. She thought of the supers as celebs. She needs to get out of the celeb (whether model, actress, or music artist) mind-frame and start looking for something fresh that can capture attention from the newstands.

    We shall wait and see (and hope) for palpable change!

  7. JennOrtiz says

    I'm happy you came across the LPB, too!

  8. I was thinking of the past in terms of non-celebs but back in the age of the
    supermodel.

    She could get creative and use the models she 'nurtures' for anothe purpose
    than in-magazine spreads.

  9. Happy to hear that Monica 🙂

    Hope you enjoy the rest the Little Pink Book too!

  10. I was thinking of the past in terms of non-celebs but back in the age of the
    supermodel.

    She could get creative and use the models she 'nurtures' for anothe purpose
    than in-magazine spreads.

  11. Happy to hear that Monica 🙂

    Hope you enjoy the rest the Little Pink Book too!

  12. Simplify is a huge point. It is crazy cluttered.

    But how can Vogue not screw society? It is the very audience the magazine was created for. Are we willing to accept a new system?

  13. I think they can keep the advertisements — but they need to maybe rethink
    HOW they present that.

    To me, that would be smart.

  14. I think they can keep the advertisements — but they need to maybe rethink
    HOW they present that.

    To me, that would be smart.

  15. Simplify is a huge point. It is crazy cluttered.

    But how can Vogue not screw society? It is the very audience the magazine was created for. Are we willing to accept a new system?

  16. I think they can keep the advertisements — but they need to maybe rethink

    HOW they present that.

    To me, that would be smart.