Truth be told, we thought we were being Punk’d. The uncharacteristic use of exclamation points. The hashtag to nowhere. The hover hands. It all pointed to Photoshop wizards with a twisted sense of humor. But it wasn’t an elaborate ruse come two weeks early — it was actually Anna Wintour losing her mind and finding her basest survival instincts.
We like to think of Vogue as being above the fray, but the state of media demanded its surrender. Fractured, niche-ified, beholden to millions of filter bubbles bobbing along in the surf — a singular concept of relevancy has gone the way of Nietzsche’s God. For a titan accustomed to reigning as the authority on what to wear and how to live, navigating such a landscape must be like trying to lace up Ann Demeulemeester boots without fingers.
So you could regard Vogue’s April issue as a reaction, however calculated it may have been. The very elements that date the #worldsmosttalkedaboutcover — out-of-context pound signs, Kate Upton, and KK themselves — function as markers of a specific moment in history in which even too-big-to-fail publications have to resort to the one thing guaranteed to unite us all: hatred for talentless hacks whose fame violently opposes everything we hold sacred about the meritocracy.
Nobody’s taking Wintour for a fool, though. Her stunt’s blowing up the Internet. It’s spawned parodies starring Kermit and Miss Piggy, Mama June and a bouquet of horrid dip-dyed flowers, Kris Jenner and a bikini, and designated Kimye spoofers James Franco and Seth Rogen. No one would have put in that much effort for snoozy Sandy or Katy “Wakey, Wakey” Perry. And no one would have (theoretically) hoarded copies to hawk on eBay in 2024, to feed through a paper shredder, or for the sole purpose of emptying the contents of their colons onto it.
For its audacity and desperation we’ll never forget Vogue April 2014. Sex tapes, belfies, falling circulation, broken
dreams machines — that was the world we lived in.
So tell us: Where were you when Kim and Kanye’s cover dropped?