So that escalated quickly. One minute we were all gasping at Anna Wintour’s decision to put Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on the cover of the April edition of Vogue. The next, we’ve got bilious backlash, musings about the downfall of Vogue magazine and Billy Bush asking whether this is going to mean the ouster of Wintour.
Upon closer reflection, while it’s not the ideal public response, the duo are living up to the #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple hashtag written at the bottom of the page. This situation, in many ways, is good for Vogue. And in some other ways, will mean nothing much in a few weeks.
Kim Kardashian had a sex tape and is a reality TV celebrity. Kanye West, while one of the most talented musicians working today, is polarizing. So there was definitely going to be a vocal reaction. And that may have been what the EIC was banking on. Vogue can only be noteworthy when it does noteworthy things. She made waves when she started putting celebrities on the cover rather than sticking with supermodels. In the end, that worked out very well.
And speaking of, we have this mostly accurate list outlining the actresses that didn’t cause much of a stir when they appeared on the cover (some multiple times) but somehow they “deserved” a cover more than Kimye. Really? Kate Bosworth? Kimye have pop culture relevance, something that a mass market fashion magazine also must have, even when it’s one as high brow as Vogue.
Perhaps Kim and Kanye’s biggest offense is being tacky. First Ladies like Michelle Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have graced the cover. They didn’t have to ask for one the way Kanye did. And they don’t have the background that Kim has.
Whatever you want to say about them, this is a win for Kimye. He has fashion aspirations, they both love the spotlight and there’s validation for them. The question is whether they’re bringing down the Vogue brand. “There’s a disconnect between these two brands—they’re not synchronistic—and people can feel it,” Liz Dennery Sanders, founder of SheBrand, told The Daily Beast.
While Wintour and the magazine have to be mindful of the brand, they can’t be so cautious that they become stale. If there’s only one “type” of Vogue cover model, the magazine runs the risk of becoming disconnected from the audience it hopes and needs to gain. Sure, some people might cancel their subscription (goodbye Sarah Michelle Geller), but many more are paying attention and could very well subscribe. Either way, we’ll be talking about the May issue in a few weeks.
This whole situation taps into what’s happening now in entertainment, the calls for diversity in fashion, the idea that you don’t have to be a super-thin celebrity to be on the cover of a magazine, and the excess that — let’s be honest — anyone who’s using Vogue as a catalogue or fashion guide clearly appreciates. So maybe there’s some synchronicity after all.