Vogue Magazine's Iconic Legacy: A Journey Through 129 Years

Categories: FashionMagazine


Vogue was first published in 1892 and ever since has reflected the rules of the fashion world. Vogue means 'fashion prevailing at any given time', which is why Vogue it such a good name for the magazine. It talks about the ins and outs of the fashion world and is under the arm of any chic fashion conscious chick. My first impressions of the front cover were optimistic. The cover was bright and colourful. The magazine presented itself as expensive and up-to-date.

The magazine was preparing itself for the summer

I saw that the magazine was preparing itself for the summer and that it was aimed at women who want it all, whether or not they can afford it. I could see that the editors of Vogue have tried hard to aim the magazine to suit their target reader; very wealthy, fashion conscious, celebrity watching women. However anybody can buy the magazine, the readers may be from all areas of British society.

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The design and layout: the front cover has (r)Vogue written at the top of the page in luminous orange large font that is easy to read, and stands out.

To the left is the month and price in pounds. It is white and approximately font size 12. The editors display the price like that deliberately so that you are not put off by it and are drawn to the magazine by the articles and the pictures, not value for money. Directly diagonal to the price is the barcode, which also explains the small price label.

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Many shops that you can buy this from have a code reader so typing in the price is unnecessary.

This could also indicate that the shops selling it are not usually sweet shops and independent newspaper vendors but high street retail stores with a lot of business with the magazine and ones like it. This shows the magazine is aimed at the more expensive shops that the Vogue team wants their magazine in. They want to show that their magazine is up market and fashionable by selling it in the up market fashionable shops. Two of the sell lines are luminous orange and three are bright white. They are pushed into the corners of the page and act like a frame for the model.

"The Fiennes line, its Joe's time"

I feel that this accentuates her well. The colours alternate white, orange, white and the font size and style remains the same whereas in other magazines the font styles differ to draw the reader in. The picture of the model is used as the audience magnet in Vogue. The sell lines are thought out and put together well. There is no alliteration or rhyming in the sell lines except for one. The line "The Fiennes line, its Joe's time" is a witty pun on the saying 'the fine line' because this article is about the famous actor Joseph Fiennes and it fits in with his popularity at the moment.

The other text is very misleading because when you read the sell lines on the cover you expect them all to be informative articles but in Vogue three of the sell lines come under "Vogues Eye View" showing you the best outfits of the month with the cost and information this appears in most lifestyle magazines but is never usually advertised on the front cover. The articles are blatantly about fashion by the way they are written. No other magazine would lay down "The New Rules of Sophistication" because they are not as highly regarded as Vogue and have not been around as long to witness sophistication at its highest and lowest points.

"Go figure the waist returns"

The text "Go figure the waist returns" tells me that the waist is back and the figure is more defined than ever. Vogue keeps a check on all the fashions and has done for a long time. They know that the waist is not just 'coming' but 'coming back' from its unfashionable era while other fashions came and went. This is not a magazine where true-life stories are needed to sell it. Vogue appeals to readers because of the glamour factor not because 'someone's half brothers step sister ate theirs cousins wife's second pie bald hamster'.

In all of the sell lines there is a bold statement not giving the reader any information about the articles just a small pun or statement such as " GO FIGURE" and "All change". After this is the article information summing up the preceding statement. The bold writing of the sell lines makes a loud statement telling what you need to buy and what is in fashion this season. All the sell lines except one talk about clothes, which is appropriate for a fashion magazine although not necessary as fashion is about more than just clothes as this magazine is trying to tell you.

The sell lines didn't affect me in anyway when I was buying the magazine. I knew what I wanted to buy when I went to the shop and I didn't look at the sell lines until I got the magazine home. However, when I buy other magazines I always look at then sell lines to see which one is best value for money. The model is portrayed in a sexy, seductive way not to attract men to the magazine but to attract women by the idea that if they buy the make-up, clothes and accessories they can look like the 'picture perfect' model on the cover.

She is pictured from head to hips wearing a very colourful 50's style skirt covered in pink and purple flowers and delicate black writing. She displays a bare midriff with silver belly-button bar. She wears a stretchy very short vest top that copies the shape of a bra. Her arms are bare and she is wearing deep red lipstick and goldie, very slightly green eye shadow with her mouth parted. Her head is tilted to the left nearly touching her shoulder and her hair is spread out in an elegant flyaway fashion.

She is a worldwide famous model working for many different designers in many different places; she is invited to all the parties and is friends with the 'crime de la crime' of the "A list" celebrities. The density of information on the cover is very low compared to magazines such as 'Elle' and 'Cosmopolitan', which both usually have about 7-9, sell lines on the front, Vogue has a very small amount because it does not need sell lines to sell the magazine. It is known worldwide and the name and model on the front is enough promotion for people to buy it.

The more successful a magazine becomes the less it needs to advertise itself. The magazine is aimed at a very varied audience with different social classes and ages starting at about 16. Many older people still continue to buy Vogue because they have grown up with it as an adult and it brings back memories from eras before. People still like the glamour that's comes in the package with buying the magazine. It does not generally appeal to younger readers because of the style, thickness and price of the magazine and because the content does not cater for their needs.

Vogue is aimed at an upper class working group

Vogue is aimed at an upper - middle class working group, where the audience needs a break from their everyday lives. Vogue gives them the opportunity to escape from this because it is very different from most lifestyle magazines focusing on the workingwomen of today. Most of the issues in lifestyle magazines are negative health and body problems, social problems, and sex trouble. Vogue lets the reader escape from the everyday troubles. All the articles and adverts are based on a different world and way of life without getting too gossipy.

Everyone likes to hear about celebrity life a but Vogue goes one step better and talks about how you can become like one of these by saying and doing the right things. They are the equivalent of a finishing school giving you all the secret tips on how to pull off being a faux celebrity without getting caught. There are a range of different people buying the magazine because some of the audience have the money to buy the 'must haves' in the magazine and intermingle with the stars and their way of life.

The other people but the magazine to give them the opportunity to indirectly experience the life of an 'A' list celebrity. There are not many genres used in Vogue. There are no interactive features such as letters from the readers or problem pages because it is not necessary in a fashion magazine where all the space is taken up promoting all the different labels in one way or another. Interactive features would also detract from the elegant image that Vogue portrays.

All the articles telling what you need to buy this season

The reader buys Vogue to be told things by the editorial team not the other way round. There also doesn't seem to be any narrative. All the articles are either interviews or informative features telling what you need to buy this season. The first article when I open the magazine is on page 29 it is called IN VOGUE and takes over five double sided pages this article 'rounds up the places to go, people to see and things to do in April' in other words telling you what you need to do to be 'in' Vogue.

It also informs you about the style conscious parents 'demanding good design for their offspring'. This is a very busy article surrounded by pictures of models at fashion shows, clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture, film stills, sculptures and art. These lure you into buying the products and 'must haves'. All the pictures are labelled with description, price, where to buy so the whole article is an advert from the start. The interviews with the celebrities are not as busy as the other articles.

The sections in the magazine is about books

One of the sections in the magazine is about books and Vogue has asked a retired boxer Kate Sekules about how she got started in the ring and why she chose to box. The whole aim of the article is to interest you in the book without writing a review on it. This happens a lot in Vogue. Instead of a review they interview the person in question about their book or new business venture. Vogue is very dependent on adverts. The magazine would not exist without the adverts. There are more genres in the adverts than there are genres surrounding the articles.

For example a Donna Karen advert spread over 4 pages shows two models in a very humid far eastern country, it appears that the female model is on holiday trying to relax in the heat on a boat whereas the man is in a market trying to find her. They are both world famous people the man is Jeremy Irons and the woman is Milla Jovovich so this could also be a spoof on a still of a film these adverts tell stories that help draw the reader into the fantasy world of fashion. There are many types of adverts in Vogue these cater for many different things and for many different labels.

Sex and famous models

Many of the adverts include sex and famous models when plugging the product. Every article is broken up by adverts and you some articles even share their page with an advert. Adverts are everywhere in Vogue even the articles are covered in them. There are subtle plugs in every sentence such as name dropping as if an old friend and describing the exact details of a designers new collection in an off hand fashion. For example the snip profile of Phillip Treacy on page 178: "Everyone loves beautiful things," declares Phillip Treacy, surveying his new collection for Marks and Spencer's Autograph range.

"Why should only a few people be able to afford them? " If any more plugs were inserted into this article we'd be charged copy right for reading the names off the paper. All the pictures whether they are of catwalk, clothes or accessories have the name of the designer in the top left hand corner. It is very difficult to distinguish between adverts and ordinary articles because in Vogue they have promotional articles that look like features but are actually plugging a product.

For example on page 136 - 139 is an article about a bag designer called Lulu Guinness and it looks like a normal article explaining about Guinness's new project by in the header at the top of the page are the words ' Vogue promotion' meaning that the whole feature is an advert and not actually an article. It was set up in the style of an article but on closer inspection it wasn't. This is done so that you take time to read over the supposed article and register everything that is written, so that you can refer back to it when you are in the shop trying to remember the name of the product.

This is a very good way of remembering things subconsciously. It works on me. Adverts go hand in hand with a magazine such as Vogue because it is a very fictional magazine aimed at people who read it like a fantasy book. People who take time to look over the adverts and capture the thoughts of the photographer and the scene, read between the lines of the articles and ponder what it would be like if it was them wearing the clothes and living the life. The magazine is romantic escapism because of the way it is set out without the escapism the magazine would be a useless waste of tree.

The fantasy factor makes it what it is, unlike any other magazine; totally unique like that people who buy it want to be. Unique. The adverts are the illustrations of this book, set in a different world with beautiful people wearing wonderful treasures and living like kings and queens. Vogue is affected greatly by commercial interests. Without the adverts the magazine would not run and be half as successful as it is today. The whole image of Vogue being supported by the top designers gives the magazine it name and publicity.

There are 147 pages of articles and 315 pages of adverts.

The adverts split up the articles and interrupt mid sentence like illustrations do in a book. There are beauty and make up adverts with foundation perfect women looking pure but simple. In stark contrast clothing adverts with sultry almost pornographic models with thick kohl eyeliner wearing seductive barely there dresses. They have perfume adverts with the scent implanted in the page that when released stains the whole magazine with a sickly stench.

There is no trace of 'functional' women adverts such as 'Tampax', 'Always', 'Sure' deodorant and thrush treatment. Vogue women are far too sophisticated to be suffering from everyday problems. The only problems a she would have every day are 'what pair of shoes don't make my ankles look fat and would my five hundred and eighty nine pound Prada sunglasses with twenty four carat gold earrings clash with my brand new one thousand seven hundred and two pound virgin white Gucci suit?'


Vogue is a magazine with no apparent understanding of real life, which is why it appeals to the audience that it does. The editorial team at Vogue know that they have a mixed audience that they need to cater for. They know that not everyone has the money to splash out on the wonderful things featured in the magazine. If they were that rich they wouldn't need to buy the magazine in the first place. The editor tries to makes it appear as if they are only working for one set market, to impress the upper class yuppies that would hate to think that anyone else would be buying the magazine.

The magazine content is targeted at people who like a bit of glamour and sophistication. They know that Vogue is for people who want something a little different, like a book to fulfil their needs. People buy this magazine to admire the pictures of the models and adverts as well as to read up on the 'must haves' of the fashion world. Vogue is not designed to be your best friend or plaything it is your one-way ticket to glamour. Once you read it you are drawn into the world of fashion and when you put it down you can think of nothing else.

Vogue has been running since 1892 so they have learnt through trial and error what appeals to the audience and lead the way alongside the designers in the fashion world. Vogue is not a lifestyle magazine or a women's magazine. It is a piece of art everything to do with is glamorous and sophisticated no one can pull of a fashion magazine like Vogue does and that is why I hope that one day I will be gracing the pages of Vogue as fashion designer of the year in the near future.

Updated: Mar 22, 2023
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Vogue Magazine's Iconic Legacy: A Journey Through 129 Years. (2021, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/vogue-magazine-2585-new-essay

Vogue Magazine's Iconic Legacy: A Journey Through 129 Years essay
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