Vogue’s infamous editor-in-chief Anna Wintour stepped into the fray Wednesday, defending the magazine’s decision to use a more casual photo of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — a photo some labeled “disrespectful” — on its cover rather than a more professional-looking one.
As The Daily Wire reported last week, “Harris and her team are at odds with the high-fashion magazine’s editorial team over their decision to select a casual photo of the vice president-elect for their next magazine cover instead of a more formal photo that they feel casts Harris in a better, more professional light.”
“[A]ccording to a source familiar with the publication plans, this is not the cover that the Vice President-elect’s team expected,” journalist Yashar Ali added on social media. “In the cover that they expected, Vice President-elect Harris was wearing a powder blue suit. That was the cover that the Vice President-elect’s team and the Vogue team, including Anna Wintour, mutually agreed upon…which is standard for fashion magazines.”
Wintour told The New York Times that, despite Kamala Harris’ team’s apparent belief that a more formal photo would grace the cover of Vogue’s February issue, there was “no formal agreement” between Vogue’s editors and Harris’s team and that Vogue used its editorial direction when choosing the cover photo.
It was “was absolutely not our intention to in any way diminish the importance of the Vice President-elect’s incredible victory,” Wintour said.
Wintour then appealed to an overwhelming sense of ennui that accompanies the coronavirus pandemic as being partially responsible for their decision to feature Harris in a casual outfit and Converse sneakers.
“When the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the Vice President-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in,” Wintour said in her statement, according to CNN. “We are in the midst…of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute, and we felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible, and approachable, and really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign …”
Wintour insists, in her conversation with The New York Times, that Harris looks “fantastic,” regardless.
Vogue eventually caved to the criticism, however, and made the second cover, where Harris is wearing a powder-blue tailored suit and is shown in a powerful, arms-crossed pose in front of a background that looks vaguely like the Oval Office, the cover of its digital edition of the magazine. CNN also notes that there is “talk” of issuing a second edition of the magazine, with the powder-blue suit cover replacing the more casual photo.
The controversy, though, has done little to improve Wintour’s — and Vogue’s — reputation for featuring women of color. Both The New York Times and The Guardian recently dinged Wintour and Vogue for “racism,” pointing to claims that Wintour fostered a “racist” work environment and promoted a “thin, rich, and white” aesthetic to the detriment of people of color generally.
Wintour, of course, is hardly a conservative. She bundled so much for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns that she was rumored to be his choice as United States ambassador to the United Kingdom. That role eventually went to another.
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