Edward Enninful is shaking things up.
From a pure make-up standpoint this cover is industry gold. It is the encouragement and celebration of FASHION make-up that Vogue covers of late have been missing. Pat McGrath is the artist responsible for this 1970’s meets Studio 54 look, a bold, colourful move away from the commercial no-make-up covers. Thank you Pat McGrath, for invigorating my industry. A make-up dominant cover is a breath of fresh air for what was becoming a very safe, samey commercial outfit. Vogue is first and foremost about fashion so this cover looks and feels much more on par with Vogue Italia, the undisputed coolest of Vogue magazines. Rather interestingly, Enninful was a contributing editor to Italian Vogue in the 1990’s. Hopefully this can only bode well.
Here are the last 6 British Vogue covers:
On the other hand, grumblings of concern have been expressed… why is that guy from One Direction, named at the top and Kate Moss at the bottom? This is deliberate and duly noted. Sure, Zayn Malik is a creative personality often praised for taking control of his work, but in the grand scheme of things, is he really appropriate as the first name on the new British Vogue cover? From Enninful’s words, the message is clear:
“My Vogue is about being inclusive,”
“It is about diversity – showing different women, different body shapes, different races, different classes [and] tackling gender.”
Thank you Edward. As a 5 ft 5 woman with curves, I am already relieved and excited that an industry I work in, no longer exclusively represents very thin girls. A departure away from these characteristics in fashion is still considered to be alternative, making a token point and more offensively, low budget. I am yet to work with a short, curvy, black model. I’m sure they exist, but not in my time of going to press events, booking models, producing shoots and doing make-up…
What Edward has not expressed so explicitly, but is apparent from the names listed on this cover… British Vogue is making a nod to the younger generation. In very much the same way Rankin supports emerging talent with his publication, Hunger Magazine. I like this a lot, especially since I helped with a recent Hunger editorial. I digress! Very importantly, the first half of names listed on the new British Vogue cover run in age order: 24, 25, 39, 42, 47, 47, 50. Youth first. It feels fresh and Enninful may be taking queues from his days at ID, pushing the envelope for newness with an anti-establishment feel.
Will this transcend to all parts of Vogue?
The British magazine is known for working with likes of David Bailey, Mario Testino and Nick Knight on a rinse and repeat cycle. Industry tittle tattle about the predictable nature of these photography dinosaurs leads way to the assertion that their 3rd or 4th assistant can take the same shot, often with much greater knowledge about the technical set up. On the other hand, the confidence required to shoot a Vogue cover lends itself to much more experienced talent.
Young unassuming underdogs are my personal favourites to work with, these talented whippersnappers who rise to the top with skill and good nature alone… case in point being genius Isamaya Ffrench, a make-up artist who at the age of 25 had several Vogue covers under her belt and is Beauty Editor of ID magazine. Young photographers conversely, are rarely given the opportunity and I hope Enninful’s clear support for younger talent extends across the whole British industry. It needs it.
Enninful has kicked out many of the old guard, notably Sloane Rangers like Lucinda Chambers in a mass departure known amusingly as “Vrexit”. Fair enough! Edward wants new blood and a non-institutionalised viewpoint on fashion, one that isn’t exclusively white and posh. My home of Parsons Green is the least fashion-forward place ever… it’s lovely but not cool. Encumbered with footballer’s wives Celine bags and gawky brogues, there is nothing cool about the Sloane Ranger female. Appearances matter in fashion, just like fitness matters in sport. An office full of these similar looking and speaking people who have worked at Vogue forever, are hardly representative of British fashion culture. They are no longer relevant. It is also understandable that the machine required to publish a dense magazine each month, previously steered so well by Alexandra Shulman a lady without ego or showmanship, needs to be efficient. This huge shake-up will create its own teething problems. With baited breath and bedazzled eyes, I am apprehensive to watch the new British Vogue develop.
Thankfully, make-up takes centre stage on British Vogue’s brand new cover, glistening (quite literally) amongst the political and deeper messages of inclusion, embellished upon the face of this new era for British Fashion.