Performance, fashion and diversity take center stage at Vogue World

Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, is pictured. Via Wikimedia Commons

Anna Wintour is one of the biggest names in the fashion industry. Wintour has led Vogue as its editor in chief since 1988 and in her 30-year reign has revolutionized the fashion industry. Whether it be putting together the iconic September issue or turning the Met Gala into the global fashion event it has become known as today, Wintour’s influence has been undeniable and shows no signs of stopping. Wintour’s latest endeavor, Vogue World, is yet another example of her success and abilities in altering the fashion industry. 

Vogue World, which was held on Sept. 12 during New York Fashion Week, was a combination of fashion show and street fair. Taking over West 13th Street, Vogue World drew inspiration from the city of New York and established an event that brought together influencers, fashion elites, critics and countless celebrities. Vogue World was unlike any other show that occurred during New York Fashion Week, as it was not simply a fashion show, but a commercial, entertainment event, with pop-ups from brands like Moncler and Coach. 

Wintour has a reputation for being cold, traditional and overall just unpleasant. Some have argued that she is out of touch and stuck in the past, which raises questions about her ability to continue to lead Vogue into the future. Vogue World is the perfect event to put to rest any doubts about Wintour’s leadership abilities as the event maintains the classic aspects of a typical fashion show while incorporating modern trends. 

The era of supermodels is over and the fashion industry has shifted to include more celebrities and influencers in their campaigns and events. Zendaya becoming the face of Valentino’s fall–winter 2022 campaign, Winona Ryder making her Marc Jacobs return for the J Marc shoulder bag campaign and Timothée Chalamet being the first man to appear solo on the cover of British Vogue are all recent examples of celebrities, specifically entertainers, taking over the fashion world. In the past, supermodels might have graced these covers or participated in these campaigns, but that era is over. 

Wintour leaned into the idea of entertainers being the new fashion icons at Vogue World with numerous recognizable faces walking the carpet, or street in this case. Opening with Serena Williams in a shimmering silver Balenciaga gown, the tone for the runway was set from the beginning. Other notable celebrities who walked the carpet include Brooklyn Beckham in Valentino, Jeremy O. Harris in Gucci, Kendall Jenner in Prada, Karlie Kloss in Rick Owens, Emily Ratajkowski in Miu Miu, Bella Hadid in Balenciaga, Gigi Hadid in Maison Margiela and Lil Nas X in Coach. 

It is wrong to call Vogue World a fashion show — it was a spectacle, a performance. With various models dancing in the street and running around, Vogue World was not your typical stiff, monotone show. Every model, every celebrity and every dancer who walked for the show brought their individuality and allowed their personality to shine through, making it a more inviting, exciting show. With dozens of designers, unlike a typical show hosted by a fashion house who only showcases their brand, Vogue World saw a variety of unique outfits and styles. It is impossible to count the number of brands featured in the show, from Banana Republic to Hermès, which is what made Vogue World such an exciting event to watch.  

The fashion world and Vogue specifically do not have a history of embracing diversity. Back in 2020, amid a rise in conversations surrounding Black Lives Matter, Wintour acknowledged the harm Vogue has caused in the past and took “full responsibility” for the “hurtful or intolerant” content published by the magazine, as well as the publication’s treatment of Black staff members and failure to uplift Black designers. In bringing together models and celebrities from diverse backgrounds, Vogue World shows Wintour and Vogue’s commitment to moving forward and attempting to be a more welcoming, diverse space for designers, models and others in the industry.

Fashion is an industry that is forever changing and evolving, and yet for the last 30 years, there has been one constant — Anna Wintour and Vogue. Vogue World is yet another example of Wintour’s skillful leadership and forward-thinking mindset that has enabled Vogue to be one of the most important fashion publications in the world. Vogue World was a beautiful collaboration between designers, models, celebrities, the press and Vogue itself. Though there is no word yet if Vogue World will make a return next year, one can only hope this is not a one-time event. The industry needs more events like Vogue World.

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