The New Vogue Site Actually Surprised Us

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vogue-newPhoto: Courtesy of Vogue.

Since people started spending more time facing screens than actual printed pages, Vogue has represented the tenacity of the old guard. Vogue.com, while the recipient of a few prestigious digital accolades, was more about good looks than actual content. With slow updates, finicky slideshows, and stories that seemed to have been created with print, not digital, in mind, it was about time for a Vogue.com makeover. And, considering the magazine's history with makeovers (Oprah famously was forced to go on a diet for her 1998 cover shoot), we expected some drastic changes. We took a gander at the new site, which went live this morning — ahead of its rumored September launch date. Here's how the old guard is finally learning some new moves.

The Buzzfeedification Of Storytelling
With a continuous scroll, listicles, live-blogging, and gifs — seriously, there are gifs! — it's nice to know that someone, somewhere made the argument that less clicking and fewer formulaic headlines is the way to create an addicted audience. Maybe that someone also showed Anna Wintour "25 Things That Tall Girls Are Tired Of Hearing" and/or "Daredevil Records Terrifying Video From Top Of A Skyscraper While His Friends Enjoy A Banana." With an impressive site architecture and delightfully user-friendly design, reading Vogue.com is now a much more pleasant process than, say, trying to balance its September issue on your lap without crushing a femur.

Investment In Staff
At Condé Nast, web departments oftentimes receive smaller budgets, fewer resources, and operate with a much smaller staff than print divisions. While the Vogue print team still boasts an impressive head count, its new web department is swelling in size, too. WWD reports that Wintour is looking to build out a staff of around 20 people to focus just on the site.

Vogue Still Can't Hear You
You can share the content and embed videos, but you can't leave any comments — an interesting move from the magazine. The no-comment feature (which ostensibly creates a "safe space" for writers, advertisers, and editors) is the editorial equivalent to starting a conversation and immediately sticking your fingers in your ears. Commenting culture is hard to regulate, especially at household-name publications such as Vogue, but leaving feedback out completely sends a pretty strong message to readers: We see you, but we don't want to hear you.

The Weird Still Exists — But In A Very Vogue Way
Some may argue that there's a stark difference in the tone and structure of stories penned for print versus those aimed for web. But, judging from this explanation of Vogue's reimagined logo by artist Dustin Yellin, we can be confident that word salads will still happen for Vogue.com, too:
“I made this after I ate a large plate of fruit,” Yellin wrote. “The fruit colors corresponded to the paint colors in the tubes. The eating and the painting sort of switched places while I thought to myself, ‘Do I know how to spell Vogue? I had a friend underneath the table—he just happened to be there filming, while I ate. He filmed me eating the fruit. Then he filmed me squirting the fruit-colored paint. Now the crabs are scuttling all over the drawings I had made in the sand.”


And lest you miss it, those hand-drawn cats running across the header are by Grace Coddington. A Vogue easter egg? Here's to a new era...