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20 Remarkable Vogue Covers Illustrated by Georges Lepape from between the 1910s and 1930s

Ian Smith

In 1892, Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly newspaper in the United States, sponsored by Kristoffer Wright; the first issue was published on December 17 of that year, with a cover price of 10 cents (equivalent to $2.63 in 2015). Turnure’s intention was to create a publication that celebrated the “ceremonial side of life”; one that “attracts the sage as well as debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle.” From its inception, the magazine targeted the new New York aristocracy, establishing social norms in a country that did not value class and ceremony as much as England or France. The magazine at this time was primarily concerned with fashion, with coverage of sports and social affairs included for its male readership

Condé Montrose Nast bought Vogue in 1905 one year before Turnure’s death and gradually grew the publication. He changed it to a bi-weekly magazine and also started Vogue overseas in the 1910s. After first visiting Britain in 1916, he started Vogue there, followed by Vogue in Spain, and then Vogue in Italy and Vogue in France in 1920, where the magazine was well received. The magazine’s number of publications and profit increased dramatically under Nast’s management. By 1911, the Vogue brand had garnered a reputation that it continues to maintain, targeting an elite audience and expanding into the coverage of weddings.

The illustrations below were made by the iconic French Illustrator Georges Lepape.Lepape  was a fashion designer, poster artist, engraver and French illustrator, particularly  art representative of the 1930s. He  collaborated with major fashion magazines of the time: Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Femina, Vogue and The Art sheets.

 

April 1923

April 1923

 

August 1917

August 1917

 

August 1919

August 1919

 

December 1923

December 1923

 

January 1919

January 1919

 

January 1920

January 1920

 

January 1923

January 1923

 

January 1925

January 1925

 

July 1920

July 1920

 

June 1918

June 1918

 

The magazine’s number of subscriptions surged during the Great Depression, and again during World War II. During this time, noted critic and former Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield served as its editor, having been moved over from Vanity Fair by publisher Condé Nast.

Laird Borrelli notes that Vogue led the decline of fashion illustration in the late 1930s, when they began to replace their celebrated illustrated covers, by artists such as Dagmar Freuchen, with photographic images.

In the 1960s, with Diana Vreeland as editor-in-chief and personality, the magazine began to appeal to the youth of the sexual revolution by focusing more on contemporary fashion and editorial features that openly discussed sexuality. Toward this end, Vogue extended coverage to include East Village boutiques such as Limbo on St. Mark’s Place, as well as including features of “downtown” personalities such as Andy Warhol, “Superstar” Jane Holzer’s favorite haunts.Vogue also continued making household names out of models, a practice that continued with Suzy Parker, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Lauren Hutton, Veruschka, Marisa Berenson, Penelope Tree, and others.

In 1973, Vogue became a monthly publication. Under editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella, the magazine underwent extensive editorial and stylistic changes to respond to changes in the lifestyles of its target audience

June 1920

June 1920

 

June 1923

June 1923

 

June 1924

June 1924

 

March 1925

March 1925

 

May 1917v

May 1917

 

May 1921

May 1921

 

November 1918

November 1918

 

November 1922

November 1922

 

October 1924

October 1924

 

September 1920

September 1920

Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief of American Vogue in July 1988.Noted for her trademark bob cut and sunglasses, Wintour sought to revitalize the brand by making it younger and more approachable;she directed the focus towards new and accessible concepts of “fashion” for a wider audience.Wintour’s influence allowed the magazine to maintain its high circulation, while staff discovered new trends that a broader audience could conceivably afford.