Design & Style, Business

Evolving a Brand: A Look Back at Iconic Vogue Covers

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 20:22 min

Anna delves into the Vogue archives to discuss a number of her most famous, iconic, and memorable covers. She breaks down her decisions and how those decisions helped evolve the Vogue brand.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: People Want Change · Lead From the Heart · Keep Your Ear to the Ground · Let the Master Lead: Irving Penn and Nicole Kidman · Bring Others Into the Process · Trust Your Team · Vogue Has a Voice · Be Inspired · Don’t Get Stuck in Your Old Ways


ANNA WINTOUR: As a leader for your company, you will be tasked with making larger strategic creative choices that help evolve how the audience-- the public-- understand your brand. Your brand has to be at the core of all your creative decisions. What is it, what does it stand for, and how do you move it forward? I've picked out some covers to give you some insight on how I have made some larger decisions on behalf of Vogue over the past 30 years that has kept it as a leader in the publishing and the fashion industry. [MUSIC PLAYING] So this is my very first cover during my editorship at Vogue. It was of a wonderful young model called Michaela, whom is from Israel. And this was not actually photographed as a cover. So always remember to expect the unexpected and not always to be locked into your way of thinking. Sometimes surprises are best. This was a shot that was photographed for inside the magazine. It was at a time when Vogue was only showing iconic Richard Avedon cover pictures of models. Very tight cropped, big jewelry, big smile. And it was very much at a time when the belief was the girls always had to be looking directly at the camera. It was time to do something different. Otherwise, why was I there? So I think when you are making a big change, it's always important to remember that people expect change. They want change. They are looking for change. They may not know what it is but it's in the air. When this shoot came in, the whole shoot was absolutely enchanting and lovely and full of energy and very immediate in its attraction that I thought that this would make a great cover. And the powers that would be were a little bit surprised. The printers even questioned this picture. But it made a statement. It made a statement that it was a different time. We had a different view on fashion that we wanted to be much more accessible, much more free. It almost had an Instagram feel about it because it was shot in such a spontaneous way. And the eyes were not completely open. They were actually almost closed. She was wearing amazing, amazing couture T-shirt by Christian Lacroix with the cross embroidery and a pair of jeans from Gas. And we actually asked Gigi Hadid to mimic this cover because it has become such an iconic cover for fashion followers throughout the world. It was recently that we received a lovely letter from the model that we used on this cover, telling us about her-- her current state. And she is married. I think she has many children. She is a psychologist. But this remains for her, as well as for us, a landmark moment. [MUSIC PLAYING] So for my very first September issue, I had decided to put Naomi Campbell on the cover because to me she represented everything that was happening in fashion at that time. She was beautiful. She was fun. She loved fashion. She was every designer's favorite model. She was a girl of the moment to the n-th degree. And at that time, when you worked at Con...

About the Instructor

A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.

Explore the Class
Sign Up