Coming to the end of 2020 has shown hardships for all this year. This includes for the popular fashion magazine Vogue. Yet, in this time of reflection, Vogue has pulled itself together with the times we’re in today. In doing so, the magazine has been working for the better by breaking its own cover barriers.

Looking back in June, Condé Nast executives like Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Bon Appétit’s Adam Rapoport faced challenging times in the hot seat of bad press exposure. The earlier months were and continue a time of discussion and protest for racial concerns. They have also led towards opportunity to achieve equal fairness amongst all. In this, an investigation by The New York Times explored the environment by those who worked within the Vogue atmosphere. This led to an email by Wintour stating, “Undoubtedly, I have made mistakes along the way, and if any mistakes were made at Vogue under my watch, they are mine to own and remedy and I am committed to doing the work.” Unlike Wintour, Rapoport resigned from his position as editor-in-chief with Bon Appétit now run by the notable Dawn Davis.

Printing a Way Forward for the Better

In light of all this news, Vogue has been making ways to expand from its days as The Devil Wears Prada into a more inclusive relationship with readers. In a report this week, Wintour, who is already the head executive of Vogue and Artistic Director and Global Content Advisor of Condé Nast, achieved another position to add to her impressive resume. She now will oversee all brands in the United States and international editions of Condé Nast titles. In this position, she serves as Chief Content Officer, bringing the media publication’s operations into a unified prospective.

As Condé Nast’s created media empire remains open to change and refinement, Vogue itself is working on similar matters. Not only did their December issue feature the first male solo with Harry Styles. But he also was rocking an Autumn/Winter 2020 Gucci dress. The choice of cover star and styling of the shoot may have caused surrounded controversy by the fashion choices but is it different from past fashion moments?

Fashion’s Past Gender Clothing, Colors, and Rules

After all, the history of fashion would show you some riveting style choices. Taking a peek into the past will reveal the style and colors of the way of dress that were unique. Look at color for instance and you might think pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Yet, it wasn’t always this way.

Author Jo B. Paoletti, in the book Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, shares how there was a time these colors were opposite in distinguishing boys and girls. Centuries back it was common for men to wear pink and women to wear blue. It was generally thought pink linked to the color red and displayed a sense of strength, the color of fire, and perceived passion. In contrast, blue was often associated with the Virgin Mary and was considered more dainty and soft. Color choices of clothing and gender-related style would not be more directly split until shortly after World War II. After the war, men were returning home and fashion began to take-off again. Somehow during this, the style of clothing changed and resulted in femininity overtaking pink and men to blue.

Leading Men’s Style and Cover Stars

The color of clothing would not be the only thing associated with a unique difference. The way style was portrayed would also see a historical change. Think about the late 1960s and 1970s music. This was a time when younger people were rebelling and new music was taking over the airwaves. A time when rockstars like The Rolling Stones, frontman Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Elton John, and Queen’s, Freddie Mercury took upon stage presences like no other.

The choice of clothing on Vogue’s cover and in other appearances by Harry Styles shows a sense of self that not only creates attention but proves to be unique to him. Styles, is the first solo male to be featured on Vogue but the 10th man overall. The first male to share a cover was Richard Gere, in 1992 with his then-wife, supermodel Cindy Crawford. Next was George Clooney with other famous model, Gisele Bündchen in 2000. Then sometime later Bündchen graced the cover again in 2008 with LeBron James, as the first black man. A cover that received some criticism for the style of poses featured, which were taken with a varying opinion by many people.  

Other males on the cover include Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte in 2012 with fellow Olympians soccer star Hope Solo and tennis champion Serena Williams. Next was Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West in 2014. Ben Stiller and Penélope Cruz in 2016 as well as Gigi Hadid and Olympian Ashton Eaton later on in August 2016. New mom, Hadid was also featured a year later with baby daddy Zayn Malik in 2017. Lastly, before Harry Styles was Justin Bieber with wife Hailey Baldwin in 2019.

Vogue’s Hit Cover for the New Year

In part of this, there is much more to share. The incoming January issue to start the new year for Vogue has four different stars to grace the covers. Each cover model was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and features actress Frances McDormand, singer Rosalía, tennis star Naomi Osaka, and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser.

The cover star, Paloma— wearing a Michael Kors Collection dress, has made an important feat not only as a model gracing Vogue but continuing to make awareness being a role model to other girls who may be plus-size. After all, size should not define your beauty.


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Paloma Elsesser is the third plus-size model to be featured in Vogue. An incredible feat considering the magazine has been running for well over 100+ years. The first plus-size model to be featured was Ashley Graham in 2017 with seven other models together. She also appeared on the cover pregnant in December 2019. Following her was singer Lizzo who appeared on her first cover in October of this year.


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In her Vogue article, Elsesser states her cover’s importance, “When a size 14 person like myself says no to doing a show, they may not put anyone larger in that show—therefore that sample doesn’t go into the editorial season; other girls my size don’t get shot in looks that aren’t lingerie or a jacket; there’s a whole cycle happening. My participation isn’t just about me.”

Elsesser makes it clear that she is here to break barriers not only for herself but for the future of women and beauty standards. The times we live in today are changing and the idea of what’s considered beautiful should not be judged by a subset of rules. Like the color of clothing and it’s relation to gender has shown, so-called “rules” change.

The coming new year will shed light on what else Vogue and its industry decides to lead with as the center of beauty and fashion alter with changing prospectives.