March ShowcaseWelcome to our March showcase! This month we’re featuring a selection of original Vogue covers. From the time of its inception to the late 1930s, Vogue’s cover art was created as what’s known as ‘fashion illustration.’ Fashion illustration was quite popular at that time, and is characterized by its hand-drawn, graphic abstraction of fashionable new trends and concepts. Through the 1940s and beyond, Vogue moved away from fashion illustration and focused on emerging design trends in stylized and editorial photography.
The covers featured in this month’s showcase are some of the most stylistically significant examples of the various design periods in Vogue’s cover art. Whether you want to create a visual ode to a specific era in the history of the fashion industry, display the changes in such a dynamic industry over time, or simply show off some gorgeous Vogue magazine covers, the pieces in this collection can make it happen. They can conjure an instant infusion of color and class into any room, working as well as living room conversation pieces as they do bringing color and character in an office.
Vogue Magazine Original Cover – September 29, 1930
The September 29, 1930 cover is a prime example of Vogue’s use of fashion illustration through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This vintage Vogue cover art was created by noted fashion illustrator Eduardo Garcia Benito. As one of the most respected fashion illustrators of the time, Benito’s work graced the covers of two Condé Nast fashion magazines – Vogue and Vanity Fair.
The cover art of this issue features one of Benito’s more advanced works in fashion illustration. While his earlier work was very abstract, this piece blends abstraction with reality. The subject, setting, and background of this piece all feature a higher level of realism and detail than much of his other work, and he masterfully blends them all with his signature, abstract techniques.
This cover is perfectly matched for display with both of the other Vogue Magazine original covers in our collection that date from 1930. The September 15, 1930 cover balances well with the September 29, 1930 cover in terms of background and visual space, and the rare Vogue Magazine (Paris) September cover enhances the abstract elements in both of the others while using its contrast and colors to bring a dynamic excitement to the entire display.
Vogue Magazine Original Cover – June, 1966
While Vogue’s transition to photographic cover art marked a decline in the popularity of fashion illustration, the shift didn’t take place over night. Vogue’s June 1966 cover is a great example of this – with the personal stylization of fashion illustration meshing perfectly with unique photographic methods to create unique and innovative work.
On this cover, photographer Norman Parkinson’s style combines with design trends of the mid ‘60s. Parkinson aimed to move models out of the rigid atmospheres in artificially-lit studios, “unlock the model’s knees,” and capture unscripted, natural poses. The model’s movement, combined with her billowing and fashionably ‘60s outfit, as well as heavy color saturation, works to create gorgeous effects using shadows and contrast.
The June 1966 cover displays well with the June 1953 and June 1977 covers, making for a vibrant presentation that depicts the evolution of Vogue’s cover art across three decades. The June 1953 cover features design trends of the time, signifying Vogue’s move away from fashion illustration, while the June 1977 cover denotes a completion of Vogue’s transition to high-quality, editorial photography.
Vogue Magazine Original Cover – May, 2003
It is not necessarily the quality of any one aspect of the May 2003 cover design that makes it stand out. Instead, it is the combination of an editorial photo of a high-profile, model with a contemporary, chic look, and an overall layout of colors and typographic design, that gives this issue its unique tone and character.
Nick Knight, the cover’s designer, is renowned for his innovative creative works that often mean to challenge commonly held notions of beauty. Having worked on more than 36 Vogue covers in all, Knight’s portfolio – the subject of many exhibitions in a number of galleries, also includes work with a host of high-profile advertising campaigns.
This cover would work well in a display of other vibrant covers that utilize high-quality photography, rich colors, and unique layouts. For example, the May 2003 cover would look fantastic alongside the crisp images and energetic coloring of the March 1977 and January 1995 covers. In addition to using similar photographic techniques and colors, the combined angles of the models’ poses of form a lively display.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this brief look at our featured March collection, and we invite you to browse our complete selection of Vogue Magazine original covers. These covers all help to tell the story of not only the magazine, but also of our culture and its ideas concerning beauty, and of art. As such, it is only right that we regard them as the artwork they are, framed and proudly displayed.