I must say that I am a person who loves clothes and shoes, and who loves to shop. However, I do not spend much time looking at fashion magazines, except for the magical time in late summer when the fall fashion collections are shown in magazines around the world. Once a year, just around this time, I will actually buy copies of magazines for my own, making a special effort to find Vogue’s September issue. I discovered the September issue in 2005 when a friend gave me her copy when she was done with it. Ever since then it has been a special late summer treat for me to bring home a copy of the weighty magazine and spend a day looking at the glossy advertisements, wishing I could take the infamous advice of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, and be thin enough to wear everything in the magazine, and rich enough to afford it.
Vogue’s September issue has reached a special fame after the documentary movie The September Issue was released in 2009. The movie follows the evolution of Vogue’s biggest issue to date, the 2007 September issue, from the points of view of Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, and fashion editor Grace Coddington. Since the debut of the movie it seems that more people are aware of the late summer and early autumn magazines that feature the newest fashions. However, September 2007 looks paltry in comparison to Vogue’s September 2012, coming in at a record 916 pages (2007 was 840 pages), featuring fashionista Lady Gaga on the cover. Besides the fall fashion collections this issue also celebrates being in business (en vogue, shall we say?) for 120 years. Many women can remember their grandmothers and their great-grandmothers reading Vogue, although its evolution as a fashion magazine has been years in the making. In September 1892 the first issue was released as a weekly society pamphlet, which slowly evolved into a fashion magazine. By the time editor Diana Vreeland took creative control of the magazine in the 1960s Vogue was known as the place for viewing the latest fashions. Under Vreeland’s editorship the magazine began running articles and features based on current events of the day, including the sexual revolution and the hippie movement. Models and fashion photographers became famous when featured in Vogue, and trends flourished after being featured in the magazine. To this day, Vogue is still the first place to look for fashion ideas, fashion advice, fashion trends, anything fashion!
Obviously, there is a lot to be said for finding your own voice of fashion. Magazines are simply the starting point. (I think is one of the reasons I don’t buy them year round is that I like to find my own style!) They do offer a great way to get new ideas of how to wear clothes in your head, although most of us will never have the funds to go the lengths the magazines seem to push us. However, sometimes just finding a new color in an ad to search for when you buy clothes can be inspiring.
I look forward to this time of year when the days start getting cooler, and the sun looks a little darker, and I look through Vogue’s September issue and dream of designer dresses. It’s a fun escape to imagine wearing the very latest clothes in exotic locations. If I happen to pick up a little fashion advice, a new thought for what shoes to look for, or what shade of nail polish is available along the way, so much the better.
Check out Vogue back issues at the library, and take a peek at the September issue 2012 (which will not be available to check out until the next issue is out). Click here to see what branches carry it. If you’re interested in the documentary The September Issue, click here.
The library also offers some great books on fashion. Here’s a short list to get you started:
TheThoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant
Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen
The Style Checklist: Ultimate Wardrobe Essentials for Youby Lloyd Boston
100Years of Fashion by Cally Blackman
Style Book: Fashionable Inspirations by Elizabeth Walker
If you're interested in learning more about the women who helped make Vogue the powerhouse that it is today check out these biographies:
Front Row: Anna Wintour, The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor-in-Chief by Jerry Oppenheimer
Diana Vreeland by Eleanor Dwight