“Is nothing sacred?” That’s the rhetorical question heard around the world when legions of Vogue US readers saw the glossy’s April cover, featuring none other than Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
The news broke Twitter almost immediately, with thousands decrying the cover as the long awaited death knell of high fashion as we know it. One would be hard-pressed to say that rumors have finally come to rest, seeing as how most of the talk surrounding any Kim K cover has come solely from Kamp Kimye.
Until today, Vogue has stayed tight-lipped, letting Kanye West proceed in his typical meretricious fashion, with specified take-down that included the cultural dismissal of both our first lady Michelle Obama (whom, according to Kanye, could never pull as many Instagram likes as Kim K, and is thus irrelevant) and Vogue’s very own February cover, featuring Lena Dunham.
For two months, those in the ‘high fashion’ sphere stayed dubious. There’s no actual way that Anna Wintour, the single most powerful person in the entire multi-billion dollar fashion industry, would actually cave to the demands of the world’s most reviled l’enfant terrible, right?
Before you get any ideas, Ms. Wintour addresses the topic head-first in the issue’s accompanying Editor’s Letter. “As for the cover, my opinion is that it is both charming and touching, and it was, I should add, entirely our idea to do it,” she states. “You may have read that Kanye begged me to put his fiancée on Vogue’s cover. He did nothing of the sort. The gossip might make better reading, but the simple fact of the matter is that it isn’t true.”
On the one hand, it seems pretty haughty of the masses to question not only fashion’s High Priestess, but one of the most brilliant stalwarts in publishing history on these matters. Ms. Wintour was not without her naysayers when Vogue switched from models to celebrity-laden covers, a publishing tactic that changed the fashion, publishing, music and film industries in one fell swoop.
And yet, the question remains: How did this happen? Is Ms. Wintour not the woman who personally banned Kim K from attending the Met Gala in 2012, forcing Kanye to attend dateless? Sure, she conceded the following year, but when Kim’s mother Kris Jenner begged to attend, did Wintour not famously announce “One Kardashian is enough!”
From banned to cover story? The Anna Wintour of 2012 would tweet with dismay as well. From where the masses stand, it looks like in two years’ time, Kanye West has taken America’s most beloved Ice Queen and chipped away until he was left with the glistening sculpture of an obsequious BFF made in his own image.
Motives and pulled strings aside, Vogue Magazine is a juggernaut market brand. When Wintour switched to celebrity covers, she was expanding the magazine’s mass cultural reach. That’s always been the intention. Can anyone deny that hashtag at the bottom center of the cover, which declares Kim and Kanye to be #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple? The answer is simply: no.
“There’s barely a strand of the modern media that the Kardashian Wests haven’t been able to master, and for good reason,” Wintour writes in her Editor’s Letter.
“Kanye is an amazing performer and cultural provocateur, while Kim, through her strength of character, has created a place for herself in the glare of the world’s spotlight, and it takes real guts to do that.” Point taken.
But that’s not what Wintour was touting out two years ago.
Still, one thing is for sure. This topsy-turvy, to-and-fro dance between Wintour and Kimye comes to a highly-publicized and polarizing conclusion. Many will buy the magazine when it hits stands on March 31, while others will take to MS Paint, Courtney Love-style, in the search for Anna Wintour’s backbone.
Photo via Vogue