Over the weekend, Vogue officially announced that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the February 2021 cover star. However, the unveiling of the new magazine cover didn’t go down as well as Vogue may have hoped.
Harris’ photoshoot quickly earned criticism from onlookers online. Now, Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has finally responded to the comments the photoshoot has received.
Over the years, Vogue‘s covers have sparked some controversy. Last year, Harry Styles appeared on the magazine’s cover wearing a dress. The styling choice and photoshoot eventually caused a rift between fans and onlookers that Styles himself subtly addressed.
Now, it looks like Vogue has a new controversy on its hands. On Jan. 10, Vogue unveiled its February 2021 cover which features Kamala Harris. Harris can be seen wearing her Converse, which went viral last year, along with a black pantsuit and white shirt. An alternate cover shows Harris in a powder blue pantsuit with a golden backdrop behind her.
Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris is our February cover star!
Making history was the first step. Now Harris has an even more monumental task: to help heal a fractured America—and lead it out of crisis. Read the full profile: https://t.co/W5BQPTH7AU pic.twitter.com/OCFvVqTlOk
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) January 10, 2021
Although many are excited to see the Vice President-elect appear on the cover, the photoshoot quickly earned criticism. For the most part, onlookers are critiquing the photoshoot’s lighting and overall styling.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Harris and her team initially agreed that the image of her in the blue suit would be the official cover. However, Harris’ team reportedly never asked for photo approval from Vogue.
Some argue that the image of Harris in the black pantsuit should have never been a contender for the cover of Vogue. Meanwhile, others think the photoshoot is a slight to the Vice President-elect.
The most powerful woman in America, who is also the most photogenic, and you put up this garbage image? There is no way this was done on accident. WE. SEE. YOU. VOGUE.
— preising (@preising) January 10, 2021
The left cover is shit. How did you go to press with a photo that isn’t even correctly exposed let alone well composed?
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) January 11, 2021
The only MVP Kamala Harris Vogue cover I acknowledge is.. pic.twitter.com/q7mT2JT632
— Danyelle Little ✨ (@TheCubicleChick) January 10, 2021
I hope Vogue is using the pic of Kamala in the blue suit. Even to my untrained eye the picture w her in her chucks looks like it wasn’t professionally taken. Look at the wrinkles in the pink fabric background. The lighting is off & her pose looks unnatural it’s not Vogue material
— GRTSeeker (@Grtseeker) January 10, 2021
Kamala Harris hasn’t shared her Vogue cover and I find that…interesting.
— Danielle Prescod (@danielleprescod) January 12, 2021
— Ms. B🐝 (@FirstLadyBe) January 10, 2021
i wanna know how comfortable it must be to be disconnected enough from reality to think the vogue kamala harris cover is cool
— dom (@entrancewound) January 11, 2021
The Vogue cover of VP-Elect Kamala Harris is beyond sloppy. But it’s a fashion magazine and has zero impact on her brilliance, radiance and power.
— Duriya Farooqui (@DuriyaFarooqui) January 10, 2021
@voguemagazine should be ashamed Kamala Harris’ first cover. This cover is sloppy and everything about it looks like, ‘let’s hurry up and get this done.’ When I saw it in one of my HBCU groups, I thought it was one of those fake edits you find on an app in the app store.#Vogue
— HiHater (@hater_hi) January 10, 2021
Now, Anna Wintour has responded to the criticism. During a recent episode of Sway, a New York Times podcast, host Kara Swisher read a formal statement from Wintour. The Editor-in-Chief says that Vogue, in no way, was trying to “diminish” Harris and her recent victory. If anything, Vogue was trying to celebrate the historic win.
“Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover,” she says. “And I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory. We want nothing but to celebrate Vice President-elect Harris’ amazing victory and the important moment this is in America’s history, and particularly for women of color all over the world.”
Wintour goes on to say that Vogue made the final decision on what the cover would be. At the time, the publication believed both images showed different sides to Harris – one being more professional and the other more laid back.
“There was no formal agreement about what the choice of the cover would be,” Wintour continues. “When the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the vice president-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in, which we were in the midst, as we still are, of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute. We felt to reflect this tragic moment and global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible and approachable and real, really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign and everything they’re trying to, and I’m sure will, achieve.”
According to Entertainment Tonight, both Vogue and Harris’ team were in constant contact throughout the process. However, at no point did Vogue say the cover was being changed.