The Fifth Annual September Vogue Liveblog

Good morning! Welcome to the fifth annual liveblog of the September issue of Vogue. Five years! 

The rules: I have not opened this issue, nor have I read any blog posts/articles/embittered rants about its content. I will, however, admit to watching Racked try to smash snack foods with this sucker. It’s heavy! The liveblog goes in chronological order; refresh the page to see the latest updates.

Oh, and one more thing. As I mentioned in the video, I will be tweeting during the day using the hashtag #vogueliveblog, and I would love for you to use that hashtag too! As a small token of my gratitude for all of you out there reading along with me, I’ll be giving The September Issue on DVD to three randomly selected people who tweet a link to this site and the hashtag between 10 a.m. today and 5 p.m. Eastern on Friday. (This is not a sponsored giveaway, just me spending my own money to send three lucky people a movie. US and Canada only, sorry.) Remember, your tweet must include both a link–you can use–and the hashtag #vogueliveblog to be eligible to win.  [Contest now closed, winners declared.] Thanks for being here!

Now let’s get going.


10:03 a.m.

Kate Moss on the cover–she looks lovely, but that’s to be expected, isn’t it? Not so fond of using Vogue as a wedding album, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see the actual photos.

10:05 a.m.

Also, can we talk about the banner in the upper left-hand corner? @Coutortured mentioned this on Twitter, and I think she’s right: what’s the connection between Glee and the fashion industry? Is there really any overlap between Gleeks and the kind of people Nuclear Wintour surrounds herself with? Now there’s a Venn diagram I’d like to see.

10:07 a.m.

How did it take me seven minutes to open the magazine? First up: a Ralph Lauren Romance ad. It’s the fragrance for women who like horse-riding, guitar-playing sensitive dudes.

10:08 a.m.

Fuzzy swim caps in the Prada ad. Not appealing. Marion Cotillard is perfection in the Dior ad. The model in Ralph Lauren is wearing a fur-trimmed coat, lots of necklaces, and a very odd expression. 

10:10 a.m.

More usual suspects: Gucci. Lancome skincare–it has a percentage in the product name, so it must be scientific and therefore effective! Fendi, whose bags are for artists, apparently. Dolce & Gabbana, with stars and music notes all over their clothes. For those who want the juniors’ section look, but have a lot more money to burn!

10:13 a.m.

Six pages of Chanel ads. Their model clearly doesn’t have eyeballs, as they aren’t visible in any of these photos.

10:14 a.m. 

That stupid “doll lash” mascara ad AGAIN. I am seriously burning with hate for this stuff. Can we not aspire to look like inanimate objects, please?

10:15 a.m.

Ads, ads, ads. I want everything in the Burberry ads. (I don’t believe in putting things “out into the universe,” but can’t hurt to try, right?) YSL has houndstooth. Bottega Veneta. Freaky, freaky Helena Bonham Carter for Marc Jacobs. Does this inspire you to buy high-end clothing?


10:19 a.m.

The ad for Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde is probably the first of his ads that I don’t find repulsive, but then, it isn’t starring him. Good work, Tom!

10:20 a.m.

Donna Karan, Michael Kors, OdlR: reliably awesome. I covet. Then Clarins, Yurman, etc. 

10:22 a.m. 

Hark! What is this is I see? The table of contents! I feel like a sailor spotting dry land.

10:23 a.m. 

(Is that overdramatic? Yeah, that’s overdramatic. I withdraw the comment.)

10:27 a.m.

So, what have we got? A 9/11 memoir (naturally), a 94-year-old “art impresario and sexual dynamo,” and this sentence:

Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis takes to Africa for Dasha Zhukova’s thirtieth birthday

10:30 a.m.

Back to ads! Dior fragrance (fold-out but no scent strip), MaxMara, and DKNY, which features a model in glasses. This gives bespectacled me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. In non-Vogue news, my cat would like to play.  

10:32 a.m.

Bally would like you to tease your hair high.

10:33 a.m.

UGH, this stupid Gap fold-out ad that’s been everywhere lately. “This isn’t supposed to be here.” Yes, how very odd to find a clothing design studio in the fashion district! OMG, there isn’t a buzzer! Someone brought their dog into the studio. It’s soooo edgy and crazy. “Each hang tag tells a story”? Really, what the story is that? The Tale of the Dull Mass-Produced Denim

10:35 a.m.

Lest that last paragraph made it sound like I only wear bespoke designer denim, I’ll confess: I own Old Navy sweetheart-cut jeans. And I’m fine with it! I don’t object to mass-produced mall store fashion, I just object to trying to make it sound like it’s some rare, artisan-produced resource.

10:37 a.m.

Nine West ads with Karen Elson: she’s lovely, the clothes look like Burning Man costumes.

10:38 a.m.

An ad for a skincare brand called Sunday Riley. What? Who? 

10:39 a.m.

Excuse me, I need a tissue to wipe the drool off my mouth. This Proenza Schouler bag in the Nordstrom ad? LOVE. (The rest of the multi-page ad? Meh.)

10:42 a.m.

More ads, and my cat continues to whine for attention. I don’t know why she can’t just check out this Andrew Marc ad with me.

10:43 a.m.

All the sleeves in the aforementioned Andrew Marc ad cover the models’ hands entirely. Ill-fitting clothes are so in for fall.

10:45 a.m.

The cat is now sleeping. In case you care.

10:46 a.m. 

Jones New York promises its blazer will work for everyone. Because, you know, a blazer that fits the different shapes of the five models in its ad will surely flatter the full range of human female bodies.

 10:47 a.m.

The Piperlime ad is a milestone: it includes the bazillionth (that’s an estimate) pair of ankle boots in this issue so far. Good news for ankle-boot manufacturers, bad news for anyone whose legs aren’t seven feet long.

10:49 a.m.

The table of contents continues! Life with Andre, Stella McCartney, and lots of rich-people things!

10:51 a.m.

There’s a six-page Calvin Klein ad, and the model is making the same face in each photo. Someone please make a GIF flipbook of this. 

10:52 a.m.

Today in things I didn’t know existed: a site called, sponsored by Michael Kors. 

10:55 a.m.

First ad for Fashion’s Night Out, starring a model named Arizona Muse. No word on whether that’s her real name. Anyway, this is important, serious stuff! FNO is meant to “promote local retail and celebrate the fashion industry.” You know, in case a whole magazine full of stuff to buy isn’t self-congratulatory enough for the fashion industry.

10:57 a.m.

Salvatore Ferragamo ad features a whole lot of houndstooth. It’s very reminiscent of 1990, but I can’t decide if that’s a good or a bad thing.

11:00 a.m.

One hour in. Where is the content? There is some, right? I’m not just reading 700-something pages of ads?

11:01 a.m.

Yes! Content. Well, the table of contents continues. 

11:02 a.m.

This is what awaits me on page 714 (should I live that long):

Plum Sykes learns Tom Ford’s Ten Beauty Commandments

Do they fight to the death? Because that’s pretty much the only way that article is going to leave me smiling.

11:03 a.m.

Note to attorneys representing Ford and Sykes: kidding!

11:04 a.m.

The models in the Valentino ad are blurry. Is fuzzy vision in for fall? Can I leave my glasses at home? 

11:09 a.m.

Sorry, lost focus for a second there. No pun intended. (See previous entry.) Escada: yum. It’s very subdued and elegant. When did that happen? I’m probably showing my age and total lack of fashion savvy here, but didn’t Escada used to be known for insanely bright colors and patterns? When I was a teen, Escada clothes reminded me of, like, casino wallpaper.

11:12 a.m.

Someone please explain the outfit in this Jimmy Choo ad to me.


11:14 a.m.

The Dooney & Bourke ad features a plain leather bag that retails for $385, presumably for all the teenagers who’ve now grown out of their heart-patterned D & B bags from five years ago.

11:15 a.m.

More contents! That’s four pages listing the contents, zero pages of actual content.

11:18 a.m.

You will NEVER guess what Vogue titled its Kate Moss wedding story. No, seriously. You’ll never guess. Ready? It’s called “Kiss Me, Kate.” Isn’t that original? I never would have expected that Vogue would co-opt the name of a well-known musical to title an article about a woman named Kate getting married. Now that’s the kind of vision and originality I’ve come to expect from this magazine!

11:19 a.m.


11:21 a.m.

Alert! I’ve been informed via Fritinancy’s very helpful comment (below) that Sunday Riley is, in fact, an actual human being, and she thinks very highly of her own products. That’s one question raised by this issue that is now mercifully put to rest. 

11:24 a.m.

Ad for Longchamp. Love the bags, hate the rich-sorority-girl stereotype that goes with them.

11:25 a.m.

Now suffering from ad fatigue. Via Spiga, Brahmin, True Religion. H & M is touting a $9.95 blouse in its ad, and that’s just awesome. (Though I do not want to imagine what that blouse is made of and who made it that it can be sold so cheaply. Wait! Didn’t I say earlier that I’m cool with mass-produced fashion? I am, but… Ethical/style/financial dilemma!)

11:27 a.m.

A promo for supplementary content on, which would be great HAD I SEEN ANY CONTENT AT ALL YET IN THIS ISSUE.

11:28 a.m.

Giant pages-long Hilfiger ad called “Home with the Hilfigers.” Looks like a Bret Easton Ellis book come to life, minus the brutal sex, graphic murders, and rampant drug use.

11:31 a.m. 

Remember that caffeine I mentioned in the video? Time to go get some more. I’m also going to use the next two minutes to try to banish the ensemble in this Aldo ad from my memory. Reverse polka dots? Different colored shoes? Why, Aldo? Why?


11:42 a.m.

Back to the magazine. After a Sephora ad (winged eyeliner is the thing, apparently), it’s another promo for Sigh.

11:44 a.m.

Miu Miu ad starring Hailee Steinfeld. I have mixed feelings about a teen modeling high fashion, but I will say positive things about these ads: Steinfeld is not in sexy poses, the clothes she’s wearing are more-or-less age appropriate, and while she’s lying on her back in the final shot, it’s decidedly not a dead-model pose. She’s actually smiling! Good work, everyone.

11:46 a.m.

Nearly two hours in, and I’m finally at Anna Wintour’s “Letter from the Editor.” Which, naturally, contains about 35 words and then cuts off mid-sentence to make room for more ads.

11:48 a.m.

Wintour refers to Moss as this issue’s “cover girl.” Can we as a society put our heads together and come up for a term that means the same thing but doesn’t include the word “girl”? Not a fan.

11:50 a.m.

Ralph Lauren ad features an Asian (or at least Asian-appearing) model wearing an obi belt and a dress with a dragon embroidered on the back. How do we feel about this?

11:51 a.m.

Givenchy now officially targeting the narrow but lucrative segment of Twilight-loving trendsetters. I really hope this model doesn’t hunt me down and bite me.


11:55 a.m. 

Celine ad. Stella McCartney ad demonstrating how to wear a completely sheer dress–just pop an opaque blazer over the whole thing. Alexander McQueen ad model has light and, I don’t know, shrapnel emanating from her head. Gorgeous but weird, which is probably the highest compliment one can pay a fashion designer.

11:56 a.m.

After a Chrysler ad, we’re back to Anna.

11:58 a.m.

…and there it is. Wintour compares Kate Moss’ wedding to Kate Middleton’s, saying they’re similar because both were “quite simply a moment when two people in love came together.” Raise your hand if this comparison surprises you.

12:00 p.m.

What? No hands?

12:01 p.m.

More ads. More ads. Tod’s. Julianne Moore for Talbot’s. Something called the Bellevue Collection, which is not an ad for the New York hospital. A whole gaggle of reality TV types for QVC: Heidi Klum, some Kardashians, and Rachel Zoe. 

12:05 p.m. 

Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s. Those are four words I was pretty sure I’d never have the occasion to string together. 

12:07 p.m.

Finally! The conclusion of the editor’s letter.

12:09 p.m.

Bo-ring. Wintour has effusive praise for the following: China, Mario Testino, Karlie Kloss (who, says the editor, should be a diplomat), and the cast of Glee, who she calls a “talented and exuberant bunch.” Okay, but has she watched the show? What’s funny is that she says they’re the perfect people to film a PSA for Fashion’s Night Out, “after designers and then models.” Ouch. 

12:13 p.m.

This is just what I look like when I snuggle with my cat:


12:15 p.m.

An ad for The Limited asks “How far can you go?” alongside a photo of a model in the produce aisle of a grocery store. She’s already made it to the broccoli despite being way overdressed for grocery shopping; how much farther is she supposed to go?

12:18 p.m.


12:19 p.m.

Missoni for Target ad. That thing I said earlier about putting stuff out into the universe? Yeah, that applies here too. 

12:21 p.m.

Gah, more ads. How many ads are there? So many that I’m actually looking forward to getting to the Plum Sykes/Tom Ford article. 

12:23 p.m.

Demi Moore in a campaign for Ann Taylor, including this quote: “The new Ann Taylor is for modern women who want to take on the world in style.” Sure, Demi Moore said that–when she read it off a piece of paper some marketing flack had handed her. 

12:26 p.m.

“Talking Back: Letters from Readers.” Let’s see who’s pissed at Vogue this month!

12:28 p.m.

Commenter Grace has provided some deets on Arizona Muse. She exists!

12:31 p.m.

One letter-writer calls out Vogue for excessive Photoshop use in their Penelope Cruz editorial in the June issue. That’s great you printed the letter, Vogue, but how about responding? Or changing?

12:33 p.m.

Ads again. The main takeaway: Vera Wang has affixed her name to every consumer good imaginable. Pretty sure she’s going to make cars next.

12:36 p.m.

 More reader letters. Did you spend your childhood in France? Then write up a memoir and send it to Vogue, which is apparently now in the business of printing such things. The Guess ad next to the letters page, despite being the same black-and-white photos of a bombshell motif that Guess has used for decades, is way more interesting. 

12:38 p.m.

More ads, more reader letters. Agony. I feel like a horse being broken.

12:40 p.m.

Ooooh. Stephanie Dean of Chicago wrote in with an epic takedown of Plum Sykes. Key sentence:

I thought I was going to read a piece about a fitness regimen to help my legs, and instead Sykes wasted my time boasting about her ability to be a debutante and wear short dresses while having a posh job.

Stephanie Dean, I think we’d get along well.

12:43 p.m.

A few ads that I’ve already seen everywhere: Cover Girl, Honora pearls, and then finally! The Contributors page.

12:45 p.m.

The Contributors page lists Karlie Kloss. We’re listing models as contributors now?

12:46 p.m.

Multi-page L’Oreal ad, Bloomingdale’s has multi-colored fur (surprise! it’s hideous!), still more contributor bios that I seriously can’t bring myself to read, Chevy, and yet another page of contributors, with yet another boost for Glee from contributing editor Tabitha Simmons. She says:

I am now officially hooked and think it is a fantastic show.

And I now officially question Tabitha Simmons’ taste in television.

12:50 p.m.

Oh God, is an army of Gleeks going to swarm over here and tell me off?

12:53 p.m.

More ads: Kate Winslet for St. John’s. Kate Winslet is awesome.

12:54 p.m.

At last! An actual article! This seems like a good place to take a break. When I return (in 40 minutes or so), “A Will to Live” by Lauren Manning. Whew.

1:42 p.m.

I’m back and ready to start reading again. While I was away, I may or may not have listened to this for continued inspiration. Cheesy, yes. But if you follow me on Twitter, you know I have a weakness for 80s music.

1:47 p.m.

So, where was I? “A Will to Live” on page 376. Now reading.

1:53 p.m.

Two pages into an autobiographical article about Lauren Manning’s injury on Sept. 11 and her recovery. So, yeah, I’m not going to be able to snark on this.

1:55 p.m.

But I will snark on the ad placement in this article. Manning explains that, due to the extent of her injuries, she was left for dead by paramedics at the scene and, once in the hospital, was given an 18 percent chance of recovery. She says:

I even received blessed water from the Kabbalah Centre and holy water from Lourdes.

The ad on the facing page is for La Mer, and it reads:

Beyond Miraculous

Sensitive, Vogue.

2:00 p.m.

Turns out that was an excerpt from a book. And while it was a gripping story, I often wonder how Vogue staffers envision the tone of this magazine: I mean, it’s a little strange to go from reading about a woman being burned over a huge percentage of her body to an ad for an anti-aging cream. The switch from pictures of expensive clothing to a story about a woman fighting for her life is a jarring shift in perspective.

2:02 p.m.

Up next? The 94-year-old “sex dynamo” promised in the TOC. Oh joy! (And see what I mean about the tone?)

2:06 p.m.

Oh, wow, this profile. Where do I even start? Well, here’s the lede:

The world’s most glamourous art lecturer [this is a thing?--ed.] turned memoirist, Rosamond Bernier, who will be 95 in October, has tamed wild animals, flown her own plane, and befriended the likes of Henri Matisse, Leonard Bernstein, and Frida Kahlo.

So, basically, she’s been very privileged and had famous friends, which makes her life the perfect fodder for this magazine.

2:09 p.m.


Possessed of a furious work ethic, she nevertheless claims a lifelong habit of breakfasting in bed.

2:10 p.m.

OMG again. 

Composer Aaron Copland, resolutely homosexual, fell under her spell and remained a lifelong friend…

“Resolutely homosexual”? One, that has uncomfortable implications about the very nature of being gay; and two, like it’s strange that a gay man would be charmed by and develop a friendship with a straight woman?

2:16 p.m. 

I’m only skimming the rest, but this Elie Saab ad in the midst of the article seems more relatable than the rest of this thing.


2:18 p.m.

Four pages of a Mulberry ad! Do you like to match your dress, belt, shoes, and bag? Then this is the brand for you, especially if you also enjoy standing on chairs.

2:19 p.m.

Ad for Architectural Digest’s Amazing Kitchens app, which is like a litmus test for Vogue readers: are you in the obscenely wealthy demographic, or are you in the aspiring-to-be-obscenely wealthy demographic?

2:21 p.m.

Publishing memories of a French childhood in Vogue: not just for readers! The next article is called “My France” by Chloe Malle.

2:24 p.m.

I’m sorry, I’m sure Chloe Malle is sincere, but this whole article reads like a series of humblebrags. For instance: 

I remember thinking, Oh, Aunt Alicia has that [Louis XVI] chair!, as if it were a top-selling model from Crate & Barrel.


AtLe Coual there is only one television set despite the three stories and maze of rooms.

2:31 p.m.

Hey, Cesare Paciotti, remind me what you’re selling?


2:33 p.m.

A Lanvin ad (so far back?), an ad for something called The Gentlemen’s Fund, and then “Marching to Freedom,” about the Libyan revolution. Timely!

2:41 p.m.

Marching to freedom…the freedom to not wear pants!


2:44 p.m.

“It Girl” Elle Fanning is so obsessed with fashion that “her near-total recall of runway stars would put modelizers twice her age to shame.” Consider me shamed! Also, what the hell is a modelizer?

2:47 p.m.

An ad on the facing page helpfully informs us that Vera Wang is available to purchase at Saks, in case you were concerned whether her 14 billion branded items are available for sale. Thanks, Saks!

2:48 p.m.

OMG, everyone! Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis is Vogue‘s newest columnist! This is great!

2:49 p.m.

I have no idea who Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis is.

2:50 p.m.

Ah, this is one of those columns that names people without providing any context whatsoever, like the average person is just supposed to know who Shala Monroque, Noor Fares, or Olympia Scarry are. 

2:51 p.m.

Yes, I’m well aware Google exists. I just can’t be bothered because, really? Wouldn’t Vogue be fawning all over the place if these people had notable accomplishments other than their pedigree?

2:54 p.m.

But at least the whole adventure was “unforgettable” for Elisabeth! Whoever she is.

2:55 p.m.

More ads, this time a clump of brands that used to land at the front of the book: Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Nina Ricci. 

2:56 p.m.

Fashion content! Of course, I’ve already admitted to owning clothes from Old Navy, so you know, keep that in mind as I proceed to mock Vogue‘s fashion editorials.

2:58 p.m.

“Primary Cool” seems to be more or less the color-blocking trend that’s been thrown at us for the last few months. I am in favor of wearing mismatching colors, but that might be because I have a very small wardrobe, but I’m just gonna pretend that I’m trendy.

3:02 p.m.

Thanks to commenters Danielle and AnnabelleNYC, who have now clarified “modelizer” and the provenance of Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis. You all are a very helpful bunch! Can you follow me through life and feed me answers? 

3:03 p.m.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the cat for a while. Here’s what she’s up to:


3:09 p.m. 

Typepad just ate my last update. I will now attempt to recreate it.

3:10 p.m.

The next few pages in brief: decorators, designer collaborations, Bryce Dallas Howard and a flock of pigeons for Kate Spade. Elettra Wiedemann went to Iceland, and while it sounds like a very pleasant trip, I’m not sure that it really merits coverage in Vogue. (Unless you are interested in learning that a total stranger is now “obsessed with rocks”? No?) Men’s bow ties are featured, and there’s a magenta-haired model in the ad for BCBG Max Azria. Whew. That was it.

3:13 p.m.

Napoleon Perdis says “Not To Prime is a Crime!” Inconsistent capitalization aside, I find his advertising strategy compelling and therefore declare that Not To Read this Blog is a Crime!

3:16 p.m.

More of the “Flash” pages in summary: 

1. Colored lace is in. Kate Middleton is wearing it, so it must be true.

2. A Nike ad promises “Best. Bum. Ever.” The ad goes on to say it puts “your curves out there, confidently, at their best.” So pants supplant your personality, and your curves are distinct from you as a person? Nike, show your work. I’m not getting that answer at all. 

3. Something something “stories of the lives of people and the gardens they tend” something something. 

4. Bakelite jewelry.

5. Anklets + Clarks. In case ankle boots don’t chop your legs off in an unflattering way, perhaps this combination will.

 3:24 p.m.

Page 500! Time for a celebratory drink of water! (As evidenced by “Eye of the Tiger” and now this, I know how to party!) 

3:29 p.m.

I have also opted for a caffeinated beverage whose name rhymes with Piet Smepsi, the manufacturers of which should consider sponsoring this blog, because without that brown bubbly goodness, I might never finish this liveblog. Also? Now that I’ve thought of it as “brown bubbly goodness,” I don’t ever want to drink it again. Ew.

3:31 p.m.

An article called “Hit Parade,” about a “new crop of male tennis stars.” Aha! Wintour’s fascination with tennis players continues

3:33 p.m.

I, however, have zero interest in tennis players, so I’m just going to look at the photos (what? they’re cute!) and skip the text. 

3:35 p.m.

Next, something called “Shop, Girls!” (ugh) showcasing the many, many items you might want to purchase during Fashion’s Night Out. Not before, not after, but that night! There’s a $40 official t-shirt, a Tory Burch tote that’s free with a $100 purchase (so not really free), and $227 FNO jeans. 

3:38 p.m.

This “Flash” thing is never going to end, is it? The same page contains both a story about an innovative teacher and a brief about a golfer wearing all-orange at the British Open. Obviously those stories belong on the same page, right? 

3:42 p.m.

Life with Andre! YES. 

3:47 p.m.

Three measly paragraphs about Karl Lagerfeld? That’s it? There aren’t nearly enough of Andre’s trademark convoluted, name-dropping sentences in this thing, though the article does open with “If I were writing my French Studies doctoral thesis at Brown University today…” Nice pat on the back there, ALT.

3:49 p.m.

Oh wait, there’s more after a few ads. 

3:55 p.m.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve been reading Vogue all day, but pretty much everything in ALT’s column made sense to me. Clearly I’m losing it.

3:58 p.m.

The article titled “Country Strong” is not about the movie or Dolly Parton. Sadface.

 3:59 p.m.

I don’t want to question writer Sarah Mower’s journalistic integrity, but I find her claim that anniversary celebrations for Harris Tweed “broke out” last summer rather suspicious. Like people just spontaneously started celebrating? For Harris Tweed?

4:04 p.m.

This article makes it sound like tweed is a cult instead of a fabric. From the article:

  • Model Stella Tennant is a “tweed freak”
  • Mill owner Stephen Rendle says “They say looking at [tweed]‘s better than drugs, you know!”
  • And Tennant “initiated” designer Dries Van Noten “into the wonders” of a particular mill.

Fashion people, it’s official: I don’t get you AT ALL.  

4:09 p.m.

I’ve been at this for six hours, I’m well page 500 pages, and this article “Far from the Madding Crowd” describes its subject as the “personification of British sanity.” So, yeah, that’s getting skipped.

4:12 p.m. 

After a handful of random ads, I’ve arrived at “La Femme,” a profile of new French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt. Now they’re speaking my language.

4:17 p.m.

Now attempting to read a 700-plus-page magazine with a cat in my lap. 

4:20 p.m.

Okay, the article contained a lot of the typical nonsense–for instance, Alt is so “grounded” she has to live in a house, not a high-rise apartment. But she does say something interesting about nudity:

I respect women. These girls have parents who are looking at the magazine. A nude picture shouldn’t carry a message of sexual fantasy. But I love nudity. I am super French. It’s the body, it’s sexuality, it’s part of life.

4:22 p.m.

Hey, speaking of “these girls have parents,” here’s a photo of Dakota Fanning with a flower vase between her legs. It’s not sexual, but it sure is suggestive. 


4:27 p.m.

Only about 200 more pages to go. Only. BRB, crying softly.

4:28 p.m.

Back to it! Now, Hamish Bowles on Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry. Which doesn’t sound like it’s going to help with the onset of ennui, does it? 

4:33 p.m.

All right, I’ll stop whining. BRING IT, HAMISH BOWLES. (That’s a sentence no human being has ever before uttered.)

4:38 p.m.

So, like, our friend Hamish here once met Elizabeth Taylor, and he has to derail the story (about an auction of her jewelry) in order to drop it in. See:

The collection is a potent evocation of a woman I waited hours in the Moroccan midday sun to see, at a 1989 press conference for her intimate friend Malcolm Forbes’s seventieth-birthday party in Tangier. [boring sentence about hairpieces being woven] I was felled with violent sunstroke, but it was worth the violet-eyed vision.

If you found that palatable, perhaps you will enjoy the article! I don’t think I need to tell you how I feel about it. 

4:41 p.m.

More Piet Smepsi for everyone! Random ads. And an article called “Invincible,” asking why the military look has remained “undefeated in our minds and closets”? Is this for real?

4:43 p.m.

“So why haven’t we fatigued of fatigues?”

4:44 p.m.

Um, this article just referred to J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons as “a general with a big view of many theaters of action.” The author’s dedicated to his metaphor, I’ll give him that.

4:46 p.m.

“The military aspect of the parka,” sys [designer Joseph] Altuzarra, “is associated with men, and I think this is part of the enduring appeal of the whole military trend–it kind of looks like you’re wearing your boyfriend’s jacket.”

Right, because only men serve in the military!

4:49 p.m.

Something something wealthy women sharing expensive clothes. Don’t care. When do I get to Kate Moss’ wedding?

4:51 p.m.

Way more interested in the fact that Teen Vogue runs something called “Fashion University” (as seen in an ad) than Stella McCartney designing ballet costumes.

4:52 p.m.

More from Sarah Mower on page 578! Now the writer who brought us rapturous tales of tweed is back with “Palette Cleansing,” apparently because “we’re clamoring for scarlet, shamrock, and tangerine.” Um, no one calls green “shamrock,” and is the “we” anyone other than Sarah Mower herself? Let’s see!

4:57 p.m.

This article refers to the previous decade as the “noughties.” 


5:02 p.m.

“Style Ethics”  explores the challenging world of bare midriffs organic wedding dresses. Kenneth Cole asks a bunch of rhetorical questions in his ad. The magazine’s executive fashion editor is inspired by, among other things, a $4,400 pair of earrings. The beauty section explains that makeup should be considered part of “fall’s high-wattage wardrobe,” which is clearly a huge departure from every other season in the history of fashion, and Pat McGrath applied Swarovski crystals to models’ eyes at a recent Dior show. Try it at home! (No, seriously, don’t try that at home.)

5:06 p.m.

More Cover Girl ads. Guess they’re doing well. An article about fragrance that says of Burberry’s new scent, “You really don’t need anything under that trench except perfume.” An ad for Botox. An article about a hairstylist who is “shaking up the world of haute hair.” Oh, okay.

 5:13 p.m.

An article about hormone therapy. The “People Are Talking About” section, which describes Zooey Deschanel as part of the tradition of “glamourous goofballs.” A horrifying ad for Katy Perry’s perfume Purr. 



5:18 p.m.

Finally, page 643! Where the fashion stuff begins! Let’s see how well I can relay all of this to you with my limited fashion vocabulary and total exhaustion! (BTW, this post is now more than 5,000 words long. Yikes.)

5:20 p.m.

First, “Go East!” Photographs of Karlie Kloss accompany Jonathan Van Meter’s article about how “China has discovered life in the fast lane.” Here’s a photo of Karlie Kloss apparently practicing for her future career as a diplomat. Or something. 


5:25 p.m.

Just a few paragraphs in and I’m already rolling my eyes:

China has been confounding foreigners for centuries. Turns out they are not so “inscrutable” after all: Just like us, they long for $5,000 handbags covered in tiny logos.

Quick, someone alert the UN!

5:31 p.m.

“Ahhh. The universal language of Industrial Chic.”

5:33 p.m.

I’m quite certain that article is full of eye-rolling goodness, but I just can’t find it right now. On to “Playing to Type,” which features “five distinct personalities” from the fall fashion collections. Which one are you?

  • The Romantics wear floaty layers and have terrible hair
  • The Modernists are into sleek knits and shoe boots
  • The Bourgeoisie are pretty much exactly what you’d imagine from the name, but with worse hair
  • The Artisans, ditto, but with better hair
  • The Subversives, who are apparently “true individuals” because they wear Rick Owens? I don’t get it.

 5:37 p.m.


5:38 p.m.

Ugh, can we get our references straight, Vogue? In the opening spread, these two are like F. Scott and Zelda. On the next, the flower girls are “pre-Raphaelite visions.” Also, there are like forty of them.

5:41 p.m.

Charming anecdote.

“I never did a hairy armpit,” says Kate firmly of those late-eighties grunge moments. “You can look dirty, but you can’t be dirty!”

5:44 p.m.

Wow. Were you all aware that no one in the history of time has gotten married before? This article is fawning over every last detail like Kate Moss and Jamie Hince are the first wealthy, well-connected pair to tie the knot. Three things: Kate was inspired to get married by watching Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, because “these girls, they just spend their whole life waiting for that day–let’s do it!”; her dress designer, John Galliano, says “she dared me to be John Galliano again,” which is an extremely polite elision of the scandal over Galliano’s anti-Semitic remarks; and “…Mrs. Jamie Hince is finally an honest woman.” BARF.

5:53 p.m.

“The Outsider,” a profile of Jon Huntsman, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. 

5:57 p.m.

…which wouldn’t be complete without a description of his wife’s outfit and Huntsman’s own looks. Of course. Oh, and Huntsman’s wife, Mary Kaye, is “super fit.” Good to know when voting!

5:59 p.m.

Breaking! The next day Mary Kaye is wearing jogging shorts! Important!!!

6:01 p.m.

Well, that wasn’t too painful, though this next article surely will be. “Rooftop Playhouse” centers on “anti-trophy wife” Claude Wasserstein’s Manhattan home. Not covered: is “anti-trophy wife” one of the world’s worst expressions?

6:03 p.m.

Did I mention Plum Sykes wrote this? And that there’s still another Sykes article to go? I’m skimming.

6:04 p.m.

Why I’m skimming:

Let’s discuss, I propose to Claude, having six Wasserstein children in your life and simultaneously having a house this neat.

Yes, Plum, let’s discuss. How could be that an incredibly wealthy family has a clean home? Do you think perhaps they might hire people to clean for that? Could that be a remote possibility?

6:07 p.m.

The house does look very nice, though. Next up: “Changing of the Guard,” about the new female head of the IMF.

6:10 p.m.

You know, when profiling the woman who took over the IMF in the wake of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, it’s always good to devote the SECOND PARAGRAPH to her appearance and say that she resembles “a glamourous headmistress her students half fall in love with, half fear.” Yeah.

6:12 p.m.

Just groaned aloud at this:

…Lagarde is also natural, open, and perfectly feminine. 

Oh, good! Wouldn’t want an intelligent, powerful woman to not live up to every stereotype society has about femininity!

6:15 p.m.

And now we’re discussing the secret of her “elegance,” which naturally involves Chanel. Then, the article goes on to discuss the (recently dropped) charges against Strauss-Kahn, and somehow interprets Lagarde’s statement that men should be raised to be self-sufficient (in terms of laundry, cooking, etc.) and that women should raise their children to respect women as saying that women have some responsibility in the overall state of affairs “among both men and women about the difference between seduction and force.” Um, no. Can I break out the Michael Bluth GIF again?

6:18 p.m.

Vogue‘s food writer Jeffrey Steingarten is on the hunt for Mexican food. So am I! For the first time I may actually finish a Steingarten article. (No, seriously, PLEASE tell me where to find good Mexican food in New York.)

6:20 p.m.

Foiled again. Steingarten’s in Mexico. Shouldn’t be so hard there, huh?

 6:23 p.m.

“These are ant eggs, and they were in season.”

And that’s where I stopped drooling.

6:24 p.m.

So close to being done. Next up, the Plum Sykes-Tom Ford Obnoxiousness Showdown. Then something about Glee. Then a couple of fashion spreads. Then I’m done.

6:30 p.m.

Well, “The Ford Face” was unpleasant. We start with this:

“If there is one man in the world I think every woman would literally die to have a makeup lesson from, it’s Tom Ford.”

And go to this:

Ford is endearingly vain. 

There is no such thing. This sentence, by the way, is followed by a description of Ford’s apparently marathon sessions of mirror-gazing. 

And then there’s this:

Ford admits he often feels the current Hollywood standard of beauty is “tragic.” …”Barbies. Real women shouldn’t look at any of it or think about any of it… Women should do the same thing I did when starting my brand.”

And while I agree that Hollywood doesn’t promote healthy, positive beauty standards, I’m even more put off by a man telling women that they should do what he did to deal with those unrealistic expectations. Particularly when that man peddles the same kind of unrealistic standards in a different form.

6:36 p.m.

“Show Stoppers,” with the cast of Glee. Styleite covered the myriad Photoshop errors in the accompanying photo.  And I would like to mention this:

Many of these fans seemed–how shall we put it?–far more like struggling New Directions recruits than lithe, blithe Cheerios.

Presumably these are the same fans Vogue is courting by making them the celebrity stars of Fashion’s Night Out? Nice.

6:39 p.m.

“My Generation,” a fashion spread with Natalia Vodianova in mod-style, sixties-inspired fashions, and an actor named Sam Riley, who, based on his work here, apparently specializes in playing moody, pouty guys. Never look at the camera, Sam! 

6:43 p.m.

But the clothes are awesome. A printed OdlR dress? A buttery leather coat? (Sorry, I know “buttery” is straight out of Lucky. It’s late. I’m tired.) It’s all gorgeous.

6:44 p.m.

“Lofty Ambitions,” wherein “fur-accented handbags and heels take ladylike elegance to unexpected new heights.” So I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate this, because there’s no quicker way to turn me off than to describe things as “ladylike.” (And I say this as someone who wears skirts 90 percent of the time.)

6:46 p.m.

Well, those shoes are interesting. I don’t want to wear them or own them, but they’re certainly interesting.


6:47 p.m.

“At Ease”: If you’ve been dreaming of seeing model Jourdan Dunn in both sweats and fur coats, then you’re in luck. If you haven’t? Well, sorry.

6:50 p.m.

It’s “One of a Kind,” where in “four woman translate fall’s defining trends from the runway to the real world.” Ah, yes, because that usually works so well. Especially when the oldest of your “real women” is 26, one of them is a model, and one of them is an actress.

6:53 p.m.

Oh, wait, they have helpful quotes, too! Like “Cut is more important than color.” Thanks for that, Vogue. Really useful. 

6:54 p.m.

Aaahhhh! The last page! I might kiss it.

6:55 p.m.

No, I am not going to kiss it. Though if you have more than a grand to drop on a pair of velvet shoes, you might want to kiss it.

6:56 p.m.

Clinique ad and…back cover! Missoni for Target! DONE!

Remember, you have until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday to tweet #vogueliveblog and to be entered to win a copy of The September Issue. 

And as always, THANK YOU. Thank you for reading and for cheering me on throughout the day–it helped so much! Cheers!

Photo on 2011-08-24 at 18.58

16 thoughts on “The Fifth Annual September Vogue Liveblog

  1. You have questions, we have answers: I regret to inform that Sunday Riley is a person’s name. From the website: “Sunday Riley Modern Skincare was developed out of Sunday’s belief that nothing is better for your skin than a combination of botanicals and biotechnology.”

    Got that? NOTHING. Is better.

    Thanks for all you do, Wendy.

  2. I found this through Fritinancy’s website, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you for taking one for the team and going through Vogue so I don’t have to (not that I was ever going to anyway, but still, it was very entertaining).

  3. Re. “At Ease”—why, why, why after all these decades, does Vogue insist on having one fashion editorial per issue that poses a model against a drab indoor backdrop and catching her as she jumps in the air with an astonished expression? Is it the photographer? Off the top of my head I seem to think it’s often David Sims.

  4. Belinda, isn’t that the point? Anyone who doesn’t know Rosamond Bernier’s work only knows what Vogue says about her. I don’t think it’s snarking on Rosamond, it’s snarking on Vogue for how they chose to present her.

  5. I went searching the Internet for someone to commiserate with. There you were. I thought it was the worst September issue I have ever read. Made me wish Meryl Streep’s “Runway” was real.

  6. I dont know if youre looking for good Mexican food strictly within NYC, but Guadalajara is very good and my family eats there the most for mexican food. Its located in Briar Cliff.
    We also sometimes go to Tequila Sunrise in Archmond, which has a very good mariachi band that takes requests. Hopefully I’ve helped! let me know if you end up going to either :)

  7. I read every word – of Sept Vogue and of your trenchant analysis – and enjoyed both. This confuses me. I don’t mind that Vogue sweeps me off in a zhushy privilege bubble. But all of your points are spot on. Chalk my love of fash mags up to “guilty pleasure.”

  8. I stumbled upon this by accident and you made my week. While I’m sad that you probably actually paid money for that piece of crap, your insight and wit about it showed us to be on the same wavelength. I learned from a female friend in college, however, that if you get really stoned before you read it, every single word makes perfect sense. (I would think a Kate Moss issue would require cocaine, but that’s nitpicking.) Don’t stop ever, and don’t limit yourself to “Vague”. There’s a career for you in snarky criticism. Air kisses to you (no tongue, I’m British).


  9. Finally catching up (I was offline earlier this month).

    Only thing I have to say: I have no plans to die for any makeup session, ever. Also, I was under the (now Google-corrected) impression Tom Ford was an actor.

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