To celebrate 100 years since Vogue was first published in Britain, the National Portrait Gallery will be showing over 280 prints from the magazine’s enviable archive this month.
The array of models that have fronted the magazine reads like a who’s who. But a century ago, Vogue was attracting other great names from the arts, including Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra.
Naturally, Kate Moss tops the list with the most appearances in the magazine, having debuted on the cover in 1993 and going on to appear on another 35 issues.
The first real person to appear on the cover – up until then the magazine had used illustrations – was American model and actress Suzy Parker in 1958.
And it wasn’t just the clothes horses that were the stars. Vogue’s covers also showcase the work of celebrated photographers such as Norman Parkinson, David Bailey, Mario Testino, Tim Walker, Nick Knight and Corinne Day. A Vogue commission was proof that you’d well and truly arrived.
However, it’s not just a dalliance into another escapist illusion. Vogue also reflects what was going on in the real world, with covers such as one taken in 1941 during the Blitz with the caption “Fashion is Indestructible”.
Since then, the likes of Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, Celia Hammond, Veruschka, Audrey Hepburn and even Princess Anne have turned up on the cover.
By the eighties though, it was Princess Diana who was threatening Kate and the supers (Naomi, Christy, Claudia et al) for cover supremacy.
Nowadays, you’re just as likely to find Taylor Swift and Nigella Lawson alongside Cara Delevingne on the front of the magazine.
Even Razorlight singer Johnny Borrell has made it on the cover. Granted, that was with Natalia Vodianova as a bonus, otherwise Vogue may as well have nailed that issue to the shelves.
Vogue 100: A Century of Style runs at London’s National Portrait Gallery from February 11 – May 22, sponsored by Leon Max. A book is published to coincide.
Loaded freelance reporter Ian Wade writes about music and TV for newspapers and websites. He is also a music publicist. Follow him on Twitter at @WadeyWade