Anna Wintour's First Covergirl Couldn't Fit Into Her Dress

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Anna Wintour\'s First Covergirl Couldn\'t Fit Into Her Dress
Anna Wintour’s name is now synonymous with icy couture and celebrity covered issues of Vogue, but she was not always so revered.

For her very first cover of Vogue, the printers asked if there had been a mistake when she sent them an image of a squinting, jeans-and-Christian Lacroix couture wearing Michaela Burcu that was a far cry from the hyper-perfect Vogue covers of yore. Apparently, Burcu had just returned from vacation and was a little softer around the middle than usual--so rather than try to cram her in to a matching skirt that didn't fit or cropping the picture, Wintour put her in low-rise jeans and let it happen.

It was the first appearance of jeans on the cover of the November 1988 issue of the mag, and it cemented Wintour’s place as an editor who was rarely ever wrong in a call. The cover generated a ton of buzz—as Anna said:

“Afterwards, in the way that these things can happen, people applied all sorts of interpretations: It was about mixing high and low, Michaela was pregnant, it was a religious statement. But none of these things was true. I had just looked at that picture and sensed the winds of change. And you can’t ask for more from a cover image than that.“

For Vogue’s 120-year anniversary, Anna’s Letter from the Editor was accompanied by a post and slideshow on Vogue.com of her favorite images from the book (most are from well before her reign, when fairly anonymous models were a backdrop for gowns and corsets).

It highlights the enormous change that’s happened in women’s fashion magazines since the70s and 80s—where as magazine covers used to be devoted to models, a shift (led by Wintour) in the late 80s and early 90s brought almost exclusively famous faces to the covers of the books. It proved to be a good business model, but one that might have contributed to the hard fall print magazines took in the past few years: while mega celebs can sell a lot of books, they also cost a ton of money to book.

Perhaps, as Fashionista posits, Anna is waxing nostalgic about an era she ended.
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