The End Of One British Vogue Era — & The Beginning Of The Next

A magazine's September issue is always the most anticipated — typically, it offers the most pages, ones that are packed with an edit of next season's trends, directional shoots, celebrity features, exclusive stories, and, of course, the best advertisers. But for British Vogue, the September 2017 issue — unveiled Wednesday and out Friday — is particularly special: It marks the last ever issue from former editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman, who left the glossy in June after 25 years at the helm.
To celebrate "fashion's past, present, and future," Vogue veterans and supermodels Kate Moss (who was recently named a contributing editor by newly-minted editor-in-chief Edward Enninful) and Stella Tennant are joined by Nora Attal and Jean and Edie Campbell for the Mario Testino-lensed cover. While Moroccan-born Attal (who you may recognize from the J.W. Anderson x Uniqlo campaign) makes her British Vogue cover debut, this marks Moss' — wait for it — 33rd cover.
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It makes sense that Shulman's last issue would reflect on her quarter-of-a-century career with a cover that features a range of models both established and emergent. But perhaps it also reaffirms her narrow vision for a magazine that has been distinctly unrepresentative for far too long; in 2012, she claimed: "In a society where the mass of the consumers are white and where, on the whole, mainstream ideas sell, it's unlikely there will be a huge rise in the number of leading black models."
Sure, this cover may feature one Moroccan model, but it's 2017 — aren't we sick to death of seeing white willowy women on the front of the magazine? Of all the British Vogue covers this year, including Alexa Chung, Gigi Hadid, Amber Valletta, and Kate Moss (again), there has been next to no diversity, bar the February issue which featured Egyptian/Moroccan model Imaan Hammam on a shared cover with Taylor Hill and Anna Ewers. And remember: Just two years ago, Jourdan Dunn graced the front of the February 2015 issue and was the first black model to have a solo cover in 12 years.
Quite frankly, the appointment of Edward Enninful, who has long challenged the industry with directional, compelling imagery and a genuine, unapologetic promotion of diversity, is long overdue. While focus today might be on Shulman's swan song, August 1 marked Enninful's first official day as editor-in-chief; his first magazine will be the December issue. And with that, the world anticipates British Vogue will undergo a transformation.

Day One !!! Thank you @stellamccartney for the Major balloons xoxo

A post shared by Edward Enninful, OBE (@edward_enninful) on

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While Enninful has championed diversity and inclusivity throughout his career — which will undoubtedly open British Vogue to a considerably wider audience — his close-knit circle of A-list friends, which includes Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, Katy Perry, and Adwoa Aboah, will provide the magazine with unparalleled access to the biggest names in the world. Condé Nast International chairman and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse referred to Enninful as "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist," adding that "by virtue of his talent and experience, [he] is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue."
Enninful has hand-picked an impressive team from across the industry to help him bring these plans to fruition. Beyond Moss, Naomi Campbell, and film director Steve McQueen joining as contributing editors, legendary fashion and creative director and Grace Coddington has also been named a contributor. He's also carefully selected hires from some of the industry's edgier, more directional titles — like Anders Christian Madsen from i-D and Olivia Singer from AnOther — who will certainly shake things up. Beyond staffing updates, the magazine launched on Snapchat Discover, suggesting he's keen to reengage British Vogue with a more millennial audience.
On Tuesday, Enninful said in a statement: "I grew up reading British Vogue – I am so honored and humbled to be taking up the mantle of editor...I realize I am stepping into the shoes of a hugely respected editor in the shape of Alexandra Shulman, someone who has chosen to leave at the top of their game with a legacy of 25 years of success...British Vogue is a great magazine with a legacy of creativity and innovation. I look forward to continuing to produce an exciting beautiful magazine for its readers."
Forget the September issue; there are just three months until the most anticipated magazine of the year is revealed. And with the credentials, commitment, and contacts Enninful has under his belt, there's no doubt British Vogue will become the aspirational, representative, informative, and industry-leading title it should be.
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