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Is Vogue going in the Wrong Direction?

Vogue: It’s a world renowned publication famed for launching the careers of many a supermodel and for introducing hordes of outlandish fashion trends to us meagre civilians, for whom the street is the closest we’ll ever get to a catwalk. But is Vogue taking a few Campbell-sized steps back by featuring Brit boy-band phenomenon One Direction in its December pop issue?

The magazine is no stranger to controversy with American Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour being at the centre of countless fashion cat fights over the years. From featuring a relatively unknown model on the cover of November 1988’s issue wearing a pair of $50 pair of faded jeans and a Christian Lacroix jumper worth $10,000, to giving celebrities instead of models the cover girls spots; American Vogue has ruffled some feathers in its time. Now it’s the turn of us Brits and Editor Alexandra Shulman. I think One Direction are cute as much as the next 22 year old clinging on to her former 18 year old self, but in Vogue – really? Whilst the boys symbolise all that is fun and cheeky about being a member of a boy band, they definitely don’t scream high fashion with their Nike Hi Tops and All Saints polo shirts.

As a loyal subscriber, to me Vogue is the epitome of everything a woman aspires to be. She longs to have legs like Rosie H-W or Coca Rocha, to afford the clothes, shoes and bags, and to be shot by Mario Testino whilst pregnant and not put the entire UK population off of ever having kids. It’s supposed to ooze high class and inaccessibility, and make us fawn over Hollywood superstars. If I wanted accessible I’d buy LOOK magazine. I want to see mysterious beauty starring enigmatic goddesses who I feel so far removed from that I’m simply mesmerized; I want a bare mannequin who I can pin my image of high fashion on; I want the mystery of the glamour (or not) behind the photo shoot to remain unknown. I don’t want pop idols or 5 boys in their Sunday best (I don’t know who they’re wearing in the shoot yet, as of time of writing the December issue has not been published). Black tuxedos and casually-coiffed hair or not, this sort of thing should be left to the professionals; Smash Hits and Heat magazine.

Whilst the One Direction boys will no doubt shift copies of the December issue, will they be shifting them to the right audience? Vogue is a publication that loses all sense of identity as soon as screaming 12 year old girls run to the local Spar throwing a copy on the counter along with a pack of skittles and a panda pop, to then get home and flood the page with tears of lust and rip off Demarchelier’s name at the bottom to stick on their wall shrine. No one rips up Demarchelier. Demarchelier being the world renowned fashion photographer who shot the boys for their British Vogue debut. You may know him from Devil Wears Prada fame when Meryl Streep’s character Miranda Priestly asks intern Andrea, played by Anne Hathway, ‘Did Dermarchelier confirm?’ After being the personal photographer of Princess Diana and receiving an honour from the French Minister of Culture for his work, I can’t help but feel disappointed about the uninspiring identity of his most recent subjects.

With cover stars over recent months including catwalk regular Arizona Muse and alluring Hollywood  icon Charlize Theron, the appearance of One Direction in the December issue feels a little absurd and out of place (and judging by their awkward poses they definitely look like fish out of water). As a devoted reader of the Condé Nast publication, I feel insulted to be presented with a bunch of teenage boys with no importance in the high fashion world staring back at me. When what I actually want is an off-the-wall account of Alexa Chung’s cameo in Blair Waldorf’s new fashion line unveiling on Gossip Girl this month. Young boys and fashion just don’t mix for me. It’s like asking for Boris Johnson’s view of the leather-on-leather trend this A/W; irrelevant.

I look to Vogue as something to aspire to have and be, and as a woman I definitely don’t aspire to look or dress à la One Direction, no matter how much the androgynous look is shoved down my throat. And it’s not a man thing. I have no such issue with interviews with male designers or photographers. I’m fully aware of Vogue’s desire to constantly keep up with the times, to shock, and to do things before any of the other fashion publications. I’m also conscious of their attempts to make the magazine more accessible, including more and more popular culture and real-life interviews as the years go on. But sadly I don’t agree this time. We have a myriad human interest, music and gossip magazines; it doesn’t have a place in Vogue. As a high fashion periodical their whole mantra manipulates the idea of being at the forefront of all emerging fashions, cultures and crazes; but this is one school-girl fad that can definitely be left in the playground.

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