Diana d’Orville featured in Vogue – ‘Sogni d’Oro’ silk imperial kimono.
VOGUE EDITOR EDWARD ENNINFUL’S NOTE
December marks my one-year anniversary at this magazine, and so I cannot help but reflect on what an extraordinary year 2018 has been – for the world at large, of course, but also for the fashion industry, and for me and my team here at Vogue. In more than a quarter of a century working as an editor and stylist, I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced such a breakneck 12 months, when so many of the old rules that once defined the way we operated have been called into question and, in many cases, been thoroughly – and thankfully! – debunked.
It really has been incredible. When I think back to this moment last year, when, having returned to London after several years in New York, I was putting the finishing touches to my first issue as Vogue’s newly arrived editor-in-chief, there were so many questions running through my head. The first was: would people buy a fashion magazine with a black model on the cover in the same numbers that they would if she were white? The prevailing industry wisdom was so steadfast on this front – people believed you couldn’t do it without taking a hit on sales, with the implication being that women of colour were somehow not what people wanted to see. So I took a deep breath and settled on the mixed-race British model Adwoa Aboah as my first cover star.
The response? Phenomenal. In the months since, I’m pleased to say we’ve shone our cover spotlight on a glorious spectrum of talent – from brand-new model Fran Summers, 19, to media titan Oprah Winfrey, 64 – and many of the highest-selling issues have celebrated what the industry now likes to call “diversity”. Obviously, this has not happened in a vacuum. If Vogue has changed, it is because the world has. But I am pleased and proud of how, in these times of fast-moving evolution, the magazine has done what it always should: lead.
Despite some of the all too obvious stresses, these are exciting times. Naturally, some days it can feel like the noise of the modern age – be it the ceaseless stream of trends to digest on Instagram or opinions on Twitter, to say nothing of the unsettling reality of the 24-hour news cycle – is too much. But with uncertainty comes potential for things to get better. I had only been in the job a few weeks when the #metoo sexual harassment scandal rocked my industry and others. Condé Nast, our publisher, was quick to act, bringing in a new code of conduct, and while this story will not be going away any time soon, I have begun to see a positive sea change permeate many areas of the way we go about creating the magazine: respect is fundamental, body image matters, sexuality is no longer rigid, and age is never about a simple number. Politics, we have all discovered, is as much about your identity as it is about your party (probably more so).
Of course, at the centre of everything we do here is fashion. The adage “Buy nothing until you buy Vogue” holds as true today as it ever has. And fashion imagery is proving as important as ever – to make us dream, to transport us to other worlds, and to reshape the one we’re in. I am very proud of our world-leading fashion editors, who have not only revolutionised the casting process, but worked with the most celebrated photographers in the business to tell the stories of our times, whether their themes are Brexit, body size or a timeless celebration of beauty.
And so, for this month’s cover, it seemed only right to assemble a cast of exciting faces who will shape the next stage of the journey – be they current catwalk queen Adut Akech, sparkling new models Saffron Vadher and Primrose Archer, or industry legend Stella Tennant in a glorious cover image I chose to mark 25 years to the month since her first appearance within these pages (fittingly, both were photographed by Steven Meisel). Meanwhile, my mission here at Vogue is to keep asking important questions. If this year has taught us anything, it is that we can always do better. When I look ahead to 2019, I want to make sure that we continue to try to foster our new and emboldening idea of what being “elite” means: whether it is based on unique talent, beauty, intellect or style, a person can be celebrated no matter where they come from.
Yes, there is plenty more to be done – but oh, what a year it has been. I’m excited for the next one.
Find Vogue’s issue online here