British Vogue editor bows out with 40 ‘legendary women’ cover

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AFP

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Feb 9, 2024

The pathbreaking editor of British Vogue Edward Enninful on Friday said 40 “legendary women” ranging from Serena Williams to Miley Cyrus had gathered to grace the cover of his last issue of the fashion bible.

Edward Enninful – DR

Enninful took over at British Vogue in 2017, becoming the magazine’s first male, first black and first gay editor, and vowed to reinvigorate it with a new focus on diversity and inclusion.

Enninful writes in his final edition that “non-white cover stars had been viewed for so long as commercial nonstarters (this magazine had been a key offender, in fact)”. “How ridiculous, I thought. And so it proved,” he added.

He said he searched out his past collaborators — including Laverne Cox, Vogue’s first trans cover star — after realising that “no one woman could or should encapsulate these past few years for the magazine.”

The 40 cover stars — each of whom has individually graced the cover of Vogue during Enninful’s tenure — were drawn from the worlds of film, television, fashion and sport. They include tennis player Serena Williams, actress Jane Fonda, chat show host Oprah Winfrey and singer Dua Lipa.

Nineties supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Iman all feature along with two mother and daughter pairs — Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber and Kate and Lila Moss.

Among those representing the younger generation are models Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid and the plus-size Paloma Elsesser, singer Miley Cyrus and actress Jodie Comer.

Unseen visible

Model Adwoa Aboah, who appeared on the cover of Enninful’s debut edition in 2017, also features.

“What we needed was a group, to lean into the power of the collective to bring to life what I hope has been a daring, disruptive and evolutionary period in Vogue’s history,” Enninful said.

He said he held his breath for weeks before the shoot. “Would 40 of the most booked and blessed women on earth actually make it to one studio in New York on one day in December to take one image together?”

The shot, by photographer Steven Meisel, is the largest number of women ever photographed together for a Vogue cover.

Campbell praised her friend Enninful for his groundbreaking editorship. “He’s shown us fashion is more than clothing, it’s a powerful tool for social change,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper. “He has transformed the fashion industry’s thinking and modus operandi which was long overdue… He made the unseen visible,” she added.

Enninful, who has edited 76 editions of Vogue, is due to take up a new advisory role at the magazine’s publisher Conde Nast.

His last edition is due to hit newsstands on Tuesday.

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