Wow! The Queen of Fashion Mags is a centenarian. Who would have thought that the failing U.S. society newspaper called Vogue, a 24 page weekly that Conde Montrose Nast bought in 1909, would become the legendary publication it is today! I admit that I am not a regular reader of the magazine, usually only picking up the Autumn/Winter issue each year. I tend to look through the website more often. But from time to time a special issue comes out that I have to have and this was one of them.
The 100th anniversary issue is filled with the magazine’s history as told by the people who worked for or with Vogue; staff, designers, artists, photographers, models, writers, you name them. There is also a wonderful piece by the founder’s great grand-daughter Flo Phillips, about the man behind the magazine. Interestingly, British Vogue came about because of restrictions on shipping between the U.S. and Great Britain during WW1. Sales of Vogue were good in the U.K. at that time and Mr Nast was keen to see the magazine continue sell well here, war or no war. So the U.K. version of Vogue or “Brogue” as Mr Nast called it, was founded in London. The first issue of British Vogue was published on September 15, 1916.
Its amazing to think how much things have changed since then. When the magazine began, women still didn’t have the right to vote, Europe was enduring the horror that was World War 1 and the standard of living we take for granted today could only have been dreamt of.
It is easy to denigrate publications like Vogue and write them off as glossy fantasies, full of people and things that the average woman can barely relate to, let alone afford. The 100th anniversary issue is definitely glossy, but it is also a wonderful historical trip back through a part of human history. And if just for that reason alone, its well worth reading.