Dec. 17, 1982, can officially be considered as the day when “the world’s most influential fashion magazine” saw the light of the day. Created by Arthur Turnure for the New York aristocracy, the magazine was meant as a guide for wealthy people and reported on society, fashion and lifestyle.
Since its very first edition, it was clear that Vogue was not just an ordinary magazine but a first-class publication, standing out because of its respectfulness and professionalism.
Today, Vogue maintains its reputation as the most famous and respectable fashion magazine with millions of reliable fans. It now has multiple issues printed not only in the US but in 21 other countries, including Japan, Italy, Russia and Turkey, with each having its own style, heroes and target audience.
Out of all the Vogue magazines, we decided to choose five in order to grasp what Vogue embodies today not only in the US but in other nations as well.
Country: United States
First issue: 1892
Current editor-in-chief: Anna Wintour
The number one Vogue on our list is none other than Vogue America. Nowadays, it is more associated with its famous, or more infamous, editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.
For the general public, she is most famous for being the inspiration behind the character of Miranda Priestly in the sensational movie, “The Devil Wears Prada,” as well as the book the movie is based off of by Lauren Weisberger, who got the information from working as one Wintour’s assistants.
When Wintour took over in 1988, the focus of American Vogue became directed towards a wider audience. More emphasis was put on affordable fashion and a younger, more upbeat character. Thanks to Wintour, Vogue shifted from being boring and losing its readership, into a fashion phenomenon that shook things up in the fashion world.
Vogue attends almost all fashion events, along with many major lifestyle and red carpet events. American Vogue is always rebranding and staying up to date with the times and mainstream tendencies.
However, the more success you have, the more people are ready to judge you. American Vogue has lived through numerous scandals, with most of them connected to its covers and political lines.
Nevertheless, American Vogue is still thriving and under the guidance of Wintour, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
First issue: 1920
Current editor-in-chief: Emmanuelle Alt
Paris has always been considered the center of fashion not only in the Europe, but throughout the world, the same can be said for Vogue France. The French edition was first published in 1920 and by 1968 it had become the leading magazine for fashion photography.
From the 1960s until the 2000s, French Vogue has had its ups and downs. With its success in photography, mainly thanks to Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, the magazine was the first to realize the importance of the “image.” However, by the 1980s, French Vogue had lost its charm and turned into just another French fashion magazine. It was even reported that in 1994, the magazine was close to being shut down.
The turning point came in 2001 when the legendary Carine Roitfeld took the reins of the magazine into her own hands. Her aim was to completely restore the magazine and to bring back its French identity. This revitalization also coincided with the rise of many young designers in French fashion houses which really helped bring some much needed inspiration.
French Vogue stands out because of its unique covers, sexuality and humor, as well as its French writing staff. Compared to American Vogue, the French version instead focuses on the elitist audience and rarely promotes mass brands and fashion for everyone.
Some critics claim that when you think of French Vogue, you often only think about never ending articles about the magazine staff and particularly Roitfeld and her daughter.
The Guardian notes that, “what distinguishes French Vogue is its natural assumption that the reader must have heard of these beautiful people already…the implication is that that’s our misfortune, and the editors aren’t about to busy themselves helping us out.” But despite all of this criticism, Vogue Paris’s current editor-in-chief does not want to make any changes and will continue to include nudity and sexuality in its issues.
First issue: 1964
Current editor-in-chief: Franca Sozzani
Reading Vogue Italia means that you truly understand fashion and go beyond its simple images; and instead go deep into the art. Vogue Italia cannot be compared to any other fashion magazines: it is full of meaningful content and extraordinary ideas. Milan’s world domination in the fashion world has definitely been contributed by Italian Vogue.
With Franca Sozzani, its current editor-in-chief, the magazine seems to have chosen the right direction. Vogue Italia is not only called the “top fashion magazine in the world,” but also the least commercial edition of Vogue.
Its success comes from responding to the times and demands of society, for example one of the most successful editions came when Italian Vogue dedicated the whole magazine solely to black women.
Sozzani decided to take this step to argue that there is still racism in the industry. That issue became the highest selling Vogue in history, and even had to be reprinted due to its high demand. Overall, Vogue Italia is considered one of the most successful magazines in this era.
First issue: 1998
Current editor-in-chief: Victoria Davydova
In 1998, the first edition of Vogue Russia was published under the management of editor-in-chief, Aliona Doletskaya. Initially, it was meant to incorporate Western fashion elements and to create a completely new Vogue with Russian fashion and a Russian soul.
Unlike Vogue France, Vogue Russia hires both local and foreign writers to contribute to the magazine. The Russian edition is known for its covers that stand out by their creative identity and close-up shots. Also, almost every month the magazine publishes material that was used in other international Vogue magazines.
The editors write for the modern Russian woman who has to be stylish and know everything about the latest modern tendencies. That’s why this magazine continues to be a highly respective fashion magazine in Russia and is considered to be the main style guide for its target audience.
After Doletskaya left Vogue in 2010, Victoria Davydova took control. Her aim was to maintain the high reputation of Vogue. For those who become easily tired of Vogue editions in their own counties, Vogue Russia may be a good choice if you are looking for something different and new.
First issue: 2005
Current editor-in-chief: Angelica Cheung
Circulation: 1.6 million
The legendary photographer Mario Testino once said that “Vogue China is the most important Vogue.” For some Western audiences, these words may seem to be too strong; however, after counting the profit and audience of Vogue China, it does not look overestimated anymore.
One of the most successful Vogue magazines in the world, this edition has made a profit every year since its launch ten years ago. Its invariable editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung has become a recognizable figure at every fashion show in all four major fashion capitals. Likewise, many advertisers and fashion designers compete to appear in Vogue China.
Despite the tremendous inflow of European and American culture, the magazine continues to balance international and local content. For example, the magazine often produces covers with Chinese celebrities and Chinese supermodels.
Since Vogue China has such a high profit and a large readership, we are talking 1.6 million per each edition, it can afford to invite the most famous photographers and create every cover a masterpiece.
Often compared to other Vogue editions, the Chinese edition often uses lighter colors which really embodies the true Chinese style.
Vogue has really grown as a magazine and is now recognized all over the world as the place to go for fashion information and inspiration. Each country has their own version, with their own interpretation of fashion.