Great fashion writing doesn’t reduce everything to what is for sale, what’s hot and not. Great fashion writing looks at clothing and the uses of clothing with the same amount of cultural reverence we give a Lars von Trier movie or the U.S. Open, as something that exists, and it asks why it exists, and how it fits into its larger culture. Vogue can do this when they want, and can do it well, but it is often buried between hundreds of pages of Plum Sykes talking about how standing next to Rihanna makes her feel (“Rihanna looks brilliant, and so original, ‘Rhianna,’ I tell her, ‘I feel drab, frumpy. I feel mommy-ish and totally uncool in every fashion way possible.’ The intensity of these feelings increases with every second I spend with Rihanna.” Sadly, this story does not end with Rihanna confirming that yes, Plum Sykes is majorly basic, and then Rihanna gets into a hovercar with Drake and flies away, like my latest fan fiction. Instead Rihanna just gives her a leather jacket to try on). So let me say that no one cares how normcore makes you feel, if you would wear it or not wear it; it exists, and it matters, because the way we wear and use clothing always matters, as Kanye West knows better than anyone else; everything is exactly the same, indeed, and that there are ways we can look at clothing that do not have Vogue’s fingerprints on them.
Vogue will always be Vogue, but Vogue does not have to be Vogue, do you follow? The last three covers are right, the sign of a new Vogue. These last three covers show that the publication as a whole may have actually been wrong all along. This is a sign of Vogue’s own way of adapting, and changing, and recognizing that the model they’ve created for themselves is unsustainable and often grossly narrow-minded. I cannot be Vogue, you cannot be Vogue, and now Vogue can no longer keep up with Vogue’s standards—not if they want to keep their preferred spot at the front of newsstands. That is a good, positive thing, to acknowledge that no one can be just like Vogue. Vogue is dead, and Vogue should die, so long live Vogue.