Vogue‘s editor-in-chief is speaking out about recent criticism the magazine has faced. On Tuesday’s episode of The New York Times‘ podcast Sway, host Kara Swisher read a statement from Anna Wintour about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ February Vogue cover. The podcast also includes an audio interview with Wintour, which was recorded prior to the cover controversy.
Vogue was criticized after releasing the print cover of its latest issue, which featured the vice president-elect in a black jacket and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. A source close to Harris previously told ET that the outlet and the vice president-elect’s team had previously agreed that a photo of Harris in a blue suit with a gold backdrop would be the cover, though Harris’ camp never asked for photo approval.
“Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover 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,” Wintour says in her statement. “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.”
Anna Wintour attends the Prabal Gurung fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at the Rainbow Room on Feb. 11, 2020.
“There was no formal agreement about what the choice of the cover would be. 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,” the editor-in-chief continues. “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.”
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/W5BQPTH7AUpic.twitter.com/OCFvVqTlOk
Wintour’s statement echoed what a source close to Vogue previously told ET, noting that the magazine’s approach to working with Harris and her team was to capture her as a leader and as a person, and as she was most comfortable.
The source said they collaborated closely on all creative decisions, including that she would dress and style herself for the shoot, and both looks were selected by the Harris team. According to the source, Vogue selected the image for the print cover that they felt captured her optimism, personality and authenticity.
In a statement amid the controversy, Vogue said that it thought “the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris’s authentic, approachable nature — which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration.”
“To respond to the seriousness of this moment in history, and the role she has to play leading our country forward, we’re celebrating both images of her as covers digitally,” Vogue added.
ET’s source close to Harris, meanwhile, noted that the two teams had been in touch constantly throughout the process, and at no point did Vogue tell Harris’ team they were switching the cover.
“In this moment where the country is so divided, where we need serious leaders, the blue and gold shot represents that,” the source said. “That would never have been approved, and Harris’ team is extremely disappointed.”
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