That Vogue print cover featuring Kamala Harris caused quite the stir after it leaked on January 9 — people found it lazy, underwhelming, and certainly not on par with the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American to be elected vice president of the United States. Following the mixed reaction, Vogue is turning the public’s preferred digital-only cover into a piece of print history, too. “In celebration of this historic moment, we will be publishing a limited number of special edition Inauguration Day issues, featuring Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” Vogue wrote in an Instagram caption alongside the announcement.
At the beginning of January, an image of the print cover, shot by photographer Tyler Mitchell, was leaked online. Many people on social media found it disappointing, calling the image a “washed-out mess,” disrespectful, and “ridiculous.” The image showed Harris in a black blazer by Donald Deal, black pants, and her signature worn-in Converse sneakers. Behind her a pink and green backdrop, which was a nod to Harris’ Howard University sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.
You blew it. Disrespected our new VP. It’s really not cool. The light blue suit cover is so much more appropriate. I love Kamala and how cute she looks in the chuck Taylor’s, but it’s not appropriate for our new VP at this moment in our history. Shame on Vogue.
— Vaughan Meyer (@vaumey) January 12, 2021
The digital cover, also shot by Mitchell, began circulating online the next day. In contrast to the print cover, this one showed the Vice President-elect in a more presidential light, with her wearing a light blue Michael Kors suit, an American flag pinned to her lapel. According to Vogue, both looks were self-styled. But while the outfit featured on the print cover was selected by Harris, the photo itself was not — or at least it wasn’t the one her team selected as their choice for the cover. Rather, as reported by the Associated Press, it was the digital cover shot that was supposed to be the February 2021 cover — full stop. If her team had gotten its wish, as Refinery29 writer Kathleen Newman-Bremang stated in her initial coverage of the leak, “the discourse would probably have been very different.”
Shortly after the leaked artwork went viral, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour shared a statement with The New York Times, stating that it was not her intention to “diminish the importance of the Vice President-elect’s incredible victory.” Wintour also confirmed that the digital cover image was the one agreed upon by both Harris’ team and the Vogue team, though Vogue later opted to use the more casual cover, instead.
Now, at least for a limited time, Vogue is taking back that decision. Starting Tuesday, the printed Inauguration Day issue, which features the photo of Harris in her blue Michael Kors suit, will be available for purchase in the U.S. for $7.99 via Vogue’s website. Be on the correct side of history and order a copy.
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