Every once in a while something happens in the fashion world that really gets the office buzzing. G-chat arguments commence, staffers discuss in line on Bagel Friday, and our Twitter feeds get clogged. This time around, that something is Kim Kardashian's rumored Vogue cover. Now, to be fair, La Wintour herself hasn't actually confirmed that the reality star is getting the coveted spot, but it's hard to ignore that it's a major possibility and it seems that Grace C. has weighed in.
Regardless of our collective feelings about Kardashian, we could all agree that her cover would mark a major departure for the fashion bible. Whether that change is positive or negative? Well, we couldn't quite decide. So, we're going to leave it up to you. Our editorial team weighed in to give their two cents on the matter, so let us know who you agree with. One thing's for sure, though: Kanye West gets the last laugh.
Seija Rankin, associate news editor: "It's no secret that I'm the resident Kim Kardashian lover at Refinery29. I won't bore everyone with my reasons why I get such a kick out of her, but I just do. But, for some reason or another, I really didn't react at all when I heard that she was getting a Vogue cover. I honestly didn't even think twice about it, and didn't even consider the controversy until my coworkers started debating it. But, I think that's the point — to me, there's not necessarily a hard-and-fast rule about who should get Vogue covers. Kim is pretty, stylish — especially now after her fierce post-baby, au naturel makeover — and successful, just like all of the mag's cover girls.
Sure, she's a reality star, but it's time for Vogue to get down off its high horse anyway. Just because you got your start a certain way doesn't mean that your current life choices or fashion choices are any less meaningful. She's a fashionable woman about to be married to a very fascinating man who I'm sure has a lot of things to say about her perspective on life. I can't wait to read the final product."
Lexi Nisita, news editor: "I don't really have very strong feelings about Kim Kardashian, and I don't subscribe to Vogue (though I certainly respect its importance in media). I am interested to see what Vogue will do with this controversial cover star, and how Anna Wintour will recognize her presence in real estate shared by Michelle Obama, but I am not viscerally angry nor do I think this is morally wrong. More than anything, my feeling is this: Who are we, the people, to complain?
We brought this upon ourselves. Yes, Kim Kardashian has done a lot to perpetuate her own fame, but so have a million other no-names who don't get Vogue covers or thousands of articles written about them on a weekly basis. Ultimately, readers — engaged, click-happy people on the Internet that a publication like Vogue is rightfully angling to go after, as any sensible magazine is bound to do these days — have proven time and time again that Kim Kardashian is a name that attracts major attention. People complain that she gets media attention, but the truth is, especially when it comes to mainstream celebrities, who gets covered and how much is heavily dependent on what readers want.
In this case, actions speak louder than words. Comments may be brutal, but ultimately, the readership on a story about Kim Kardashian speaks volumes. Perhaps the issue, then, is that people expect "better" from Vogue. To that, I can only respond that Vogue no longer has that luxury when there are so many potential newsstand dollars to be gained. When it comes to a business that is meant to make money above all, we can only expect so much from our heroes, and when we constantly punish them for publishing the kind of cover stars we claim to want and reward competitors for publishing the stars we purport to loathe, well, this is the only logical outcome."
Gabriel Bell, staff writer: "It may be interesting to talk about Kim Kardashian (as a cultural phenomenon). It may be interesting to look at Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian, however, is not an interesting person in and of herself. She has no discernible talent or skill and never says anything worth reporting or repeating. Moreover, she is, let's face it, a woman who first became famous thanks to a purposefully 'leaked' sex tape. That is to say, she will do anything for fame, except be worthy of it. She represents a crass and cynical mode of consumerism that is only one inch divided from pornography, Paris Hilton, and Bratz Dolls. The fact that her fiancé has to argue for her, has to convince people she belongs on the cover just underscores how much she doesn't."
Connie Wang, style director: "As a person who cares so, so, so little about reality show stars, I have no negative or positive feelings whatsoever about Kim Kardashian appearing on Vogue. For whatever means or reasons she's become so famous, Kim Kardashian has a really compelling story to tell, as far as fashion is concerned. Her (bandage dress) rags to (Max Mara coat) riches fashion story is a fascinating one to have followed, and it's applicable to a lot of women who're looking to dress more sophisticated. But Vogue should be honest and just include Kanye on the cover, too. We all know that he's the one who picked out those Givenchy shark lock boots (and everything else that she's wearing these days)."
Photographed by Sara Kerens.
Christene Barberich, editor-in-chief: "I feel conflicted about it. On the one hand, I think Vogue is sort of the last bastion of true, old-school sophistication, and I'm not sure what it says about such a fashion institution to feature the world's biggest reality star on its cover. On the other hand, I think Kim is inarguably beautiful and obviously insanely relevant for myriad reasons. If they do decide to do it, it would be a huge statement, both about her and the direction of Vogue."
Hayden Manders, news assistant: "To be honest, I'm all for it. It'd be more controversial for Vogue to put a model on the cover than Kim K. (Sure, the two Kates have made the cover, but those two have transcended the supermodel status to superstar.) Kim is a celebrity. She's an American icon whether we like it it or not. Many might disapprove of her 'career' or how she made a name for herself, but she's done it. (And, honestly, we're all to blame for her fame, too. We keep consuming her.) So, why not? Why not put a woman on the cover who we've all — voluntarily — put on some pedestal above ourselves? It's a success story for the digital, voyeuristic, 'reality' age we live in.
Bobby Schuessler, fashion writer: "Why shouldn't Kim K grace the fashion bible? She's no doubt beautiful (seriously — look at her face and then dispute me) and, to be quite honest, she's sort of killing it in the style department. Who cares if that's thanks to Mr. West. Whether we want to admit it or not, Kim K. is just as relevant as any other recent Vogue star — Lena, Cate, and so on — so, she deserves the primo spot just as much as them. Plus, don't tell me you wouldn't pick up a copy to see what she looks like and whether or not she's airbrushed like crazy or not. Kim K. for the win."
Neha Gandhi, executive editor, features: "It wouldn't be the worst thing, if Kim Kardashian were on the cover of Vogue. This isn't sacred ground. It's not the highest tribute to exceptional, ground-breaking style. It's the cover of a mainstream fashion magazine. In the business of selling magazines. And ultimately, Kim is a woman who's beautiful and will look good dressed up and shot in soft focus on the cover. She's a woman who's savvy and has transformed her 15 minutes of fame into a business (something that is always worth celebrating). She's a woman whose celebrity will sell magazines.
And really, what's so wrong with selling something that your consumers want? To be honest, this feels like a step forward for a conservative, old-school title that's previously been a little afraid to take risks and to innovate. Maybe this is the first in a series of steps toward running that publication like a revenue-generating business that speaks to and reflects the world we live in. And whether you like it or not, Kim Kardashian, much like Kate Upton did at the time of her Vogue cover, represents the changing notion of celebrity in this world."
Leeann Duggan, fashion features editor: "Sure, Kim K. should be on the cover. Why all the preciousness about who appears on Vogue covers all of a sudden? Mainstream actresses have been promoting their popcorn flicks via Vogue for years. You can bet when Marley and Me Part Deux is released, we'll be treated to another Jennifer Aniston cover and hagiography about her toned arms. Pop stars like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Katy "cupcake boobs" Perry aren't exactly models of decorous restraint, either, but they've all been deemed Vogue-worthy. I pride myself on knowing as little about the Kardashians as possible, but let's be honest: the real heads aren't reading Vogue for the celeb stories, anyway. We're flipping straight past those to get to the latest sumptuous McDean spread, Andre Leon Talley's bonkers social calendar, or crazypants diet article."