VOGUE, the magazine


VOGUE, the history

The first issue of Vogue saw the light in 1892 in America.

The name Vogue means “style” in French.

Vogue is an American fashion and lifestyle magazine made up of many components including fashion, beauty, culture, living, and runway. Vogue began as a weekly newspaper in 1892 in the United States, before becoming a monthly publication years later.

In 1892, Arthur Baldwin Turnure, an American business man, founded Vogue as a weekly newspaper in the United States, sponsored by Kristoffer Wright. 

First VOGUE cover, 1982

The first issue was published on December 17 of that year, with a cover price of 10 cents (equivalent to $2.67 in 2017). Turnure’s intention was to create a publication that celebrated the “ceremonial side of life“, one that “attracts the sage as well as debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle.” 

From its inception, the magazine targeted the new New York upper class. Vogue glamorously “recount[ed] their habits, their leisure activities, their social gatherings, the places they frequented, and the clothing they wore…and everyone who wanted to look like them and enter their exclusive circle.”

Vogue | November 1894-the year Annie Londonderry set off around the world.

In 1909 the magazine was acquired by Conde Naste Publishers. The magazine’s volume became thicker and its main focus was turned on women. Naturally, the price was raised as well.

Condé Montrose Nast purchased Vogue one year before Turnure’s death and gradually grew the publication. He changed it to a unisex magazine and started Vogue overseas in the 1910s. Under Nast, the magazine soon shifted its focus to women, and in turn the price was soon raised. The magazine’s number of publications and profit increased dramatically under Nast‘s management. By 1911, the Vogue brand had garnered a reputation that it continues to maintain, targeting an elite audience and expanding into the coverage of weddings. 

In 1916, when the First World War made impossible Vogue deliveries to the Old World, the printing was started in England. This decision proved to be successful and in 1922 the first issue of French Vogue was released.

French Vogue cover magazine – April 1922

In 1932, the American Vogue for the first time ever had placed a color photography on its cover (earlier it was exclusively given for drawings). The photograph was taken by photographer Edward Steichen and portrays a woman swimmer holding a beach ball in the air. Since that time the World’s best photographers – Irwin Penn and Guy Burden, Richard Avedon and Norman Parkinson, Helmut Newton and Peter Lindberg – became Vogue’s contributors.

July, 1932 Edward Steichen’s image of a swimmer holding a beach ball aloft is the first color photo used on a Vogue cover. Edward Steichen/Vogue/Condé Nast

It’s not just hemlines that make headlines at Vogue. For 125 years now, the magazine has been registering both sartorial and societal shifts, changes charted across glossy pages and covers. And for many years, the iconic Vogue cover featured colorful “storytelling” pictures by leading illustrators that romanced “the woman of leisure” as she followed the sun, hit the slopes, and lived for the night.


Condé Nast was responsible for introducing color printing and the “two-page spread.” He greatly impacted the magazine and turned it into a “successful business” and the women’s magazine we recognize today and greatly increased the sales volumes until his death in 1942.

Condé Montrose Nast (March 26, 1873 – September 19, 1942)


In the 1960s, with Diana Vreeland as editor-in-chief and personality, the magazine began to appeal to the youth of the sexual revolution by focusing more on contemporary fashion and editorial features that openly discussed sexuality.

Diana Vreeland (1979) by Horst P. Horst.

In 1973, Vogue became a monthly publication. Under editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella, the magazine underwent extensive editorial and stylistic changes to respond to changes in the lifestyles of its target audience.[12] Mirabella states that she was chosen to change Vogue because “women weren’t interested in reading about or buying clothes that served no purpose in their changing lives.” [13] She was selected to make the magazine appeal to “the free, working, “liberated” woman of the seventies.[13] She changed the magazine by adding text with interviews, arts coverage, and serious health pieces. When that type of stylistic change fell out of favor in the 1980s, Mirabella was brutally fired. Her take on it: “For a magazine devoted to style, this was not a very stylish way of telling me.

Grace Mirabella’s book

In July 1988, after Vogue had begun to lose ground to three-year-old upstart ElleAnna Wintour was named editor-in-chief. Noted for her trademark bob cut and sunglasses, Wintour sought to revitalize the brand by making it younger and more approachable.

Anna Wintour

She directed the focus towards new and accessible concepts of fashion for a wider audience. Wintour‘s influence allowed the magazine to maintain its high circulation, while staff discovered new trends that a broader audience could conceivably afford. For example, the inaugural cover of the magazine under Wintour‘s editorship featured a three-quarter-length photograph of Michaela Bercu, an Israeli model, wearing a bejeweled Christian Lacroix jacket and a pair of jeans, a departure from her predecessors’ tendency to portray a woman’s face alone.

November 1988, the first issue under Anna Wintour’s leadership

Throughout her reign at Vogue, Wintour accomplished her goals to revitalize the magazine and managed to produce some very large editions of the magazine. In fact, the “September 2004 edition, clocked in at 832 pages, the most ever for a monthly magazine.” Wintour continues to be American Vogues editor-in-chief to this day.

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Although she has had great impact on the magazine, throughout her career, Wintour has been pinned as being cold and difficult to work with. In an article on Biography.com, Wintour admits that she is “very driven by what [she does],” and has said “I am certainly very competitive. I like people who represent the best at what they do, and if that turns you into a perfectionist then maybe I am.”


Vogue was described by book critic Caroline Weber in a December 2006 edition of The New York Times as “the world’s most influential fashion magazine“. The publication claims to reach 11 million readers in the US and 12.5 million internationally. 


Sources: wikipedia, VOGUE.com, condenast.ru, Pinterest












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