Vogue fin de siecle

French expression “fin de siecle” is typically used to refer to the end of XIX century in France and all western Europe. The term is also used to emphasize the end of an era. It has a negative connotation and propagates the belief that civilization led to decadence and degeneration in the field of art. It seems that beginning of XXI century is having a similar influence on magazines like Vogue – a symbol of beauty and class, no matter the period. Each cover was presenting a perfect graphical combination of  models (symbols of beauty, special in its elegance) and photographer’s work (showingits unique style). Simirarly about content. It was a pleasure to go through articles and photo sessions you could have found there. Then, around 15 years ago something went wrong. I don’t know… is it a competition, wrongly chosen artistic director, marketing people having too much power?

The change is devastating. Now the cover looks like a kitsch Christmas tree. A picture of a popular actress or a singer (usually created by mass media), no matter how she/he looks and what she/he wears. Even a choice of photographer is worrying. A photo is usually dull, being only a background for the text, not even accenting a beauty and uniqueness of a person portrayed. The most terrifying fact is that Vogue looks exactly as any other fashion magazine and its every previous cover looks the same.  That gives impression the photographer has no time or concept to show a person in an interesting form. Why then hire such photographer? I understand popular magazines that we see hundreds of them now. But Vogue, at least they should run for a quality. Maybe it is something else. Maybe it means that in the era of digital photography there are no more good photographers…

Going back to Vogue magazine. Terrible model, terrible photographer, but then why clothes and stylization is so bad. It is a fashion magazine, supposed to identify trends and make at least this element worth to notice. But this is not the worst thing yet. The whole cover is filled with text, captions, titles: Sarah Jessica Parker fame and family – page 96. Fall in love with a personal trainer – page 57. Family and curves of Rihanna. Romantic odyssey to Egipt. How is that different than dozens of other lifestyle magazines? Why buy this one if it looks exactly the same. Just beacouse of different title? Is some era over? Are the class and style over? Will we never see again a beautiful image of a classy woman wearing an elegant dress that makes us “wow” with  just simple “Vogue” above it? It would stand out on the shelf. Of course, it would not be a magazine for everyone. But it should NOT be.

A few years ago I have bought a box with postcards “Vogue – 100 iconic covers”. I am going through that from time to time, and notice it every time, how it has lost its iconic value. Take into account that these are 100 best ones… also those recent. I am worry about the future…


  1. Włodek
    27 December 2017 / 9:47 pm

    I nie można powiedzieć, że starsze pokolenie ciągle narzeka. Po prostu świat degraduję…

    • admin
      2 January 2018 / 9:25 am

      tak samo uwazam. kiedys bylo wiecej miejsca na wyobraznie. teraz jest wyscig.

  2. 28 December 2017 / 12:55 pm
    • admin
      2 January 2018 / 9:28 am

      Quite true. Those last three covers are much better than what is now. I have to check what is this Vogue Suggestions, I have found on two last pictures.

      • 3 January 2018 / 12:56 pm

        That seems to be a supplement from Vogue Italia.

  3. 28 December 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I simply can’t agree more with as for the present state of “photography” presented in Vogue. However I find it a problem much older than just last 15 years.
    In 1980s Vogue was just the same photoMcDonald as now. The times of Vogue of high aestetic standards are very long gone and the main problem is that all the world still use this PSDisasters as good photography landmarks.

    • admin
      2 January 2018 / 9:26 am

      hopefuly it will change back one day. when people realize they produce rubbish.

  4. Dom
    15 September 2018 / 7:58 pm

    Here’s where Camille Pagalia nails it down.
    Short story : magazines are now cash strapped due to onslaught of the internet so they let the computers do the layout and can’t afford really outstanding photographers

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