Vogue is a world fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 23 national and regional editions by Condé Nast. Vogue means “style” in French.In 1892, Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States, sponsored by Kristoffer Wright; the first issue was published on December 17 of that year. Turnure’s intention was to create a publication that celebrated the “ceremonial side of life”; one that “attracts the sage as well as debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle. From its inception, the magazine targeted the new New York aristocracy, establishing social norms in a country that did not value class and ceremony as much as England or France. The magazine at this time was primarily concerned with fashion, with coverage of sports and social affairs included for its male readership.
Condé Montrose Nast bought Vogue in 1905 one year before Turnure’s death and gradually grew the publication. He changed it to a bi-weekly magazine and also started Vogue overseas in the 1910s. After first visiting Britain in 1916, he started Vogue there, followed by Spain, and then Italy and France in 1920, where the magazine was well received.
Laird Borrelli notes that Vogue led the decline of fashion illustration in the late 1930s, when they began to replace their celebrated illustrated covers, by artists such as Dagmar Freuchen, with photographic images.
In the 1960s, with Diana Vreeland as editor-in-chief and personality, the magazine began to appeal to the youth of the sexual revolution by focusing more on contemporary fashion and editorial features that openly discussed sexuality.
In 1973, Vogue became a monthly publication. Under editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella, the magazine underwent extensive editorial and stylistic changes to respond to changes in the lifestyles of its target audience.
Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief of American Vogue in July 1988. Noted for her trademark bob cut and sunglasses, Wintour sought to revitalize the brand by making it younger and more approachable; she directed the focus towards new and accessible concepts of “fashion” for a wider audience. Wintour’s influence allowed the magazine to maintain its high circulation, while staff discovered new trends that a broader audience could conceivably afford. For example, the inaugural cover of the magazine under Wintour’s editorship featured a three-quarter-length photograph of Michaela Bercu, an Israeli super model, wearing a bejeweled Christian Lacroix jacket and a pair of jeans, a departure from her predecessors’ tendency to portray a woman’s face alone; according to the Times, this gave “greater importance to both her clothing and her body”. As fashion editor, Grace Coddington wrote in her memoirs, the cover “endorsed a democratic new high/low attitude to dressing, added some youthful but sophisticated raciness, and garnished it with a dash of confident energy and drive that implied getting somewhere fast. It was quintessential Anna.” Wintour continues to be American Vogue‘s editor-in-chief to this day.
As of October 2013, the average print circulation of Vogue is 11.3 million, while the website’s average monthly online audience is 1.6 million. The median reader’s age is 37.9, while the gender split of the readership is 87% female and 13% male.
Vogue was described by book critic Caroline Weber in a December 2006 edition of The New York Times as “the world’s most influential fashion magazine“. The publication claims to reach 11 million readers in the US and 12.5 million internationally. Furthermore, Wintour was described as one of the most powerful figures in fashion.