British Vogue has come under fire for its latest cover which readers have criticised as ‘disappointing’.
With the appointment of Edward Enninful as editor-in-chief last year, it was hoped that the style bible would offer more diversity within its pages – something it became known for lacking under the reign of Alexandra Shulman’s 25-year editorship.
And, while Enninful – the first black, male and openly gay editor of the magazine – made waves with his debut cover in December by featuring model and activist Adwoa Aboah, it seems the Shulman-esque way of doing things might not be completely over.
On Wednesday afternoon, British Vogue announced its third “Hollywood special February issue” on Instagram with a cover that features actresses Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie alongside a list of mostly white names dubbed as “Hollywood’s New Era.”
But as if that wasn’t bad enough, it was a seemingly tone deaf cover line which really caused the cover to become a topic of conversation.
Referring to an article in the magazine, the predominantly white line-up came head-to-head with a statement that read in all caps, “Why we need to talk about race.”
Now, after unveiling a cover of yet more, white celebrities, some are beginning to question just how diverse the #NewVogue era really is.
“The new issue of British Vogue…we started off so strong and now we’re back to white women and chiffon,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Another added, “Fashion will never, ever ever ever ever ever ever ever change! Ever! It’s the way the system was built: on white supremacy! Any resemblance of change is lip service, ‘quick hit fix’ to appease the public — ‘look at us, we’re part of the movement’.”
The backlash comes after Enninful claimed his Vogue was all “about being inclusive”.
But apart from his debut issue, each subsequent cover has featured the faces of cis, slender, white and privileged personalities.
Last month it was Taylor Swift, and now for his third venture Enninful juxtaposes an issue that wants to discuss race with Kidman and Robbie. Progress? Perhaps not.
But, while this surely could have been the perfect opportunity for the magazine to recognise more diverse Hollywood stars, there is still hope that Enninful will deliver on his promise to transform British Vogue into a more dynamic and directional publication.
The February issue of British Vogue goes on sale on Friday 5th January.