There is a hashtag on the cover of Vogue.
The word “selfie” is on there too, right next to the shoulder of one very radiant Kim Kardashian who is wrapped in the arms of Kanye West. And yet somehow, after our initial bout of shock at the news, it was the ampersand between their names that stood out most saliently.
An ampersand is old school. It’s right above the 7 if you hold down your keyboard shift key, but in the year 2014 our pointer fingers have a much easier time locating the number 3’s pound sign. The former signal feels like a relic from the days of handwritten invitations, or something quaint that’s reserved for Pinterest boards and wedding announcements.
Kim and Kanye, though, they are modern. They’re what the fashion world likes to refer to as fresh, because even though they’ve been around for a while there’s something intoxicating about the idea of a controversial rapper and an even more controversial reality star-turned-style icon coming together on the industry’s most time-honored magazine.
Most prominently because it was just last spring that rumors soared through the Internet regarding Anna Wintour’s decidedly unaffectionate feelings toward Ms. Kardashian. That she was subsequently invited to the Met Ball seems like a decent coup on the part of Kanye West. That she has finally landed her own cover of Vogue — arguably the most viable piece of real estate in fashion and beyond — is much more a testament to either Wintour’s business savvy and amenability or Kanye West’s position as a much larger cultural icon across a landscape that has heretofore seemed impenetrable.
And that’s the thing. For an individual to lock in a Vogue cover even after public statements have been issued vetoing his or her role in the relevant stratosphere seems like an impossible task. So what do we make of the news? Has Kanye won and Wintour softened her grip? Or is she simply just so damn brilliant and so many steps ahead that this is flying over the heads of whoever has had the pleasure of basking in Kardashian’s flowing Instagram leak earlier today?
Is it worth mentioning that Kim’s seemingly dressed in the same gown Carrie Bradshaw wore on her fictitious Sex and The City cover? And what exactly are we to make of the fact that this issue has been dubbed “The Shape Issue”? So many questions. Will we achieve answers?
Frankly, we’re vetting in favor of both Wintour’s shrewdness and Kanye’s power. But then again, in the grand scheme of success, popular culture and the driving forces of those who keep it afloat, who is really to say that this cover — or any cover — is the end all be all of anything?
What we will definitely not ask is the following: do you have access to the unretouched photos?
Good on you, Kimye.
— Written by Leandra Medine and Amelia Diamond